Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Civil Beat Fact Check: Slater Wrong on Stations; Gang of 4’s Ridership Claim Is Ripe for a ‘False’

Civil Beat is progressing with its Fact Check of the Cliff Slater-inspired commentary in the August 21st Star-Advertiser. The process involves sending inquiries to Mr. Slater and asking for documentation to back up what he and his co-authors wrote.

The tally is in on only two of seven issues; one is  TRUE , bestowed yesterday on a relatively minor matter, and the one found to be  FALSE  was announced today. We predicted the latest score in our own tally yesterday; Slater and his three co-authors did not tell the truth about the size of rail stations in their commentary, and Civil Beat has called them on it.

The issue we’re tackling today is whether, as the Gang of Four asserted, the city used a dated forecast for 2030’s population to predict future ridership. We won’t know for sure about its accuracy for decades, of course, but we can examine which side – the city or Slater – seems more likely to have made the better prediction of population and therefore of ridership.

Civil Beat asked Mr. Slater for documentation to support this statement in the op-ed:

“The city has also cherry-picked data. It relies upon a 2004 30-year population forecast even though the 2008 30-year population forecast indicates 100,000 fewer people in 2030 than was previously forecasted.”

Mr. Slater’s response referred CB to the state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism’s “Population and Economic Projection for the State of Hawaii to 2035.” It’s dated July 2009.

Mr. Slater obviously believes this document was a better predictor of Oahu’s population decades from now. We wonder if he knows how wrong it was in predicting the population only one year later.

Way Off
The DBEDT forecast said Honolulu County’s 2010 population would be 911,800. According to the U.S. Census, the island’s actual 2010 population was 953,207. DBEDT had predicted 4.2-percent growth during the decade. As Civil Beat’s chart noted earlier this year, the actual rate was more than twice that – 8.8 percent.

Since the population forecast Mr. Slater relied on was far below what the count turned out to be less than 18 months later, it’s reasonable to conclude that it similarly has under-estimated what the US Census will certify in 2030.

The project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement’s 2030 population prediction is 1,117,200. DBEDT’s prediction is 1,017,600. There’s the 100,000 difference Mr. Slater and his co-authors wrote about.

We’ll have to wait on Civil Beat’s Fact Check to see its grade for Mr. Slater’s claim that the city used a dated population forecast. It might be  BARELY TRUE  and worthy of orange-trending-to-red based on its date alone, but as for Mr. Slater's assertion that the city erred in using it to predict future rail ridership, it deserves a  FALSE .

You wonder if the Gang of Four's other members are regretting going "all in" on Mr. Slater’s say-so!

(This post has been added to our "aggregation site" under Cliff Slater.)


Anonymous said...

All this discussion about height but what I don't understand from rail critics is this. How many buildings do we have on this island over 100 feet? Why is this not considered visual blight? Made of the same steel, concrete, and glass that rail stations will consist of? A PBN editorial they refer to has a rendering of the Pearl Highlands rail station as exhibit A of visual blight. Ironic, to the right of the station is an existing condo. Tell me how is this bldg not landscape changing? As it stands, does it really fit in to the surrounding space? Once again, doubletalk.

Anonymous said...

Civil Beat has already comfirmed, by simply studying the preliminary scale drawings in the EIS, there are NO TEN STORY STATIONS in the 20 mile line. This claim was graded FALSE. Another Slater Lie!