Cliff Slater and his Gang of Four have been working their PR campaign at fever pitch this week, starting with a Sunday commentary in the Star-Advertiser (subscription) that had as much substance as a donut hole. We’ve been writing about it all week starting Sunday, and a Star-Advertiser columnist channeled it yesterday.
The Gang has lost the public opinion war – as verified in three scientific polls – and is flying around like a magician’s assistant on the stage. “Look over here at my distractions," they’re saying, “not over there at the evidence of our failure."
One wonders what PBN’s editors think of those results, if they think about them at all. Dismissing them as biased would be charging local polling firms QMark and OmniTrak with dishonesty and a willingness to sacrifice their credibility by slanting poll results to favor rail.
No, Oahu residents have clearly listened to everything that’s been said for and against the project over the past five years and concluded they do want rail, by an average majority in those three polls of 58.6 percent.
We’ve never assailed their reputations, because they are what they are, including leader Cliff Slater, who we’ve been calling “ABC” Cliff – Always By Car – for more than a decade. He never saw a taxpayer-subsidized highway he didn’t like, and his favorite kind is HOT Lanes, the anti-equity subsidized mode that favors the wealthy and, of course, car owners.
Here’s a good example in PBN’s editorial of its swooning over businessman Slater’s views – the first of several points in the Gang’s commentary that PBN says “cannot be summarily dismissed:"
"ABC" Cliff has been peddling this intellectually manipulative, misleading and embarrassingly dishonest argument for years, as he made clear in his interview with Civil Beat in July 2010. He said then – and we’ve called attention to it at least a dozen times since – that he starts his presentations by noting the project’s cost, then says traffic will be worse after rail’s built than it is today, then asks for questions – as if that neatly sums up the anti-rail argument.
Sorry for shouting (can PBN hear this?), but Of course traffic will be worse in 2030 than it is today!!! What else could it be, PBN, with 200,000 more people on the island in 2030 than 2005?
The Gang has convinced PBN that rail’s goal is to reduce traffic congestion decades into the future – forever maybe? – when that is not one of the goals. They aren’t hard to find in the FEIS; we started the year by listing them. THOSE are the goals, not the straw-man-of-a-goal "ABC" Cliff has propped up and then helped PBN in all its gullibility knock down.
Elevated rail will be the only way, PBN, for commuters in this and future generations to travel through an increasingly crowded urban core with an ever-increasing number of vehicles in it and completely avoid all traffic congestion. Is that a goal worth pursuing? And oh yes, because residents will come to realize that, an estimated 40,000 former drivers will be riding the train by 2030, reducing congestion by about 18 percent in the urban core from what it would otherwise be without rail.
Fast, frequent, reliable and safe transportation that’s equitable for all people and rationally guides future development on Oahu – that’s a recap of the project’s goals.
One wonders what the Gang of Four told PBN about their own preferences – what plans they have as an alternative to rail. We think they had nothing, because if they had them, they’d have said so, and there's nothing in the commentary about the Gang's preferences.
The plaintiffs, after all, are honorable men, and PBN is here to praise them. We're left to wonder what George Mason, PBN's late and great publisher and editor, would think of his baby today.