Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Grade, yet Another Reason To Question What Critics Are Saying about Honolulu Rail

Here’s what the Slater-Cayetano-Heen-Roth Gang of Four said in their August 21st attack on the Honolulu rail project: “The city initially claimed that rail would create 17,000 new jobs during the construction phase, but later lowered its estimate to 10,166, without explanation.”

Here’s what online investigative news site Civil Beat published today about that statement: “The opponents provide no evidence that the city lowered its estimate, nor could Civil Beat find any. The 17,000 figure has been used as a peak figure, while the 10,000 figure has been used as an average.”

There’s a lot more in Civil Beat’s Fact Check today on the imprecise nature of using economic modeling to forecast job creation for mega-projects like Honolulu rail and on the difficulty of ever identifying exactly which new jobs are created and where those people are working.

But when all’s said and done, CB’s judgment is that the Gang could not back up its allegations of fictional job creation or numbers slashing.

The Bottom Line
“The opponents have some basis for saying the job creation estimates are exaggerated,” says Civil Beat. “They are correct that specific jobs haven’t been identified, but that’s an unrealistic expectation. The rest of their claims are not supported by facts (emphasis added). That is why our grade in this case is half-true.”

To put it in plainer terms, claims that are not supported by facts are often called   FALSE  !! What else could they be? If statements about the biggest project in the state’s history cannot be substantiated by facts, they are falsehoods.

Shouldn’t these particular critics use the truth and nothing but the truth in commenting on the project? The former governor is an attorney, another is a retired judge and yet another is a University of Hawaii law professor.

Since the fourth member of this group is anti-rail-forever Cliff Slater, the truth of this commentary is undoubtedly that he wrote it and the others signed on to add the appearance of weight and credibility. So much for that hope; Civil Beat is making mincemeat of their criticism.

Report Card
Of the four grades bestowed so far, CB said one is   TRUE  , two of them are   FALSE   and one is   HALF-TRUE   (aka HALF-FALSE) – in other words, one A, one C and two F’s. And we’re supposed to believe what this Gang is saying about rail?

We’re sticking to our original assessment – that Mr. Slater’s anti-rail campaign has failed to win over the public on rail, as three principled opinion surveys have shown. His recent commentary, which contained virtually nothing new and absolutely no suggested alternatives to rail, is a fourth-quarter Hail Mary bomb thrown in desperation with the hope of building public support for the lawsuit the same four individuals have filed to stop the project.

As the editorials always say, the outcome of this case remains to be seen, but if their arguments in court are as wobbly as what they've put in the newspaper, the project is looking good.

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