Today’s focus continues to be the statements made on Hawaii Public Radio’s “Town Square” program one week ago by guests Randall Roth and Cliff Slater. It’s important to do this to uncover the deception by both gentlemen in their interview on HPR – a pattern that mirrors their less-than-truthful newspaper column.
It’s obvious by now that Mr. Slater and his anti-rail cadre frequently bend the truth, gloss over it and misstate it to suit their purposes – all acceptable to them apparently in their headlong rush to kill Honolulu rail. The city and the project's supporters have no such license.
The truth, of course, is that cars traveling through the urban corridor between town and Kapolei do not move people effectively. That’s the whole point of building a travel alternative to congestion on the H-1 and other highways that’s bad now and bound to get worse. The truth is that the trains will cover the entire 20-mile route between Kapolei and Ala Moana Center in 42 minutes, not 51.
Here’s what “John of Makakilo,” a caller to the program, had to say about Mr. Slater’s assertion about the “country C bus” transit time into town:
See our September 1st post for more insight on Mr. Slater’s obfuscation tactics.
To summarize, Mr. Slater (and now Professor Roth, as heard in the KIPO talk show last week) repeatedly say the city was forced to reluctantly reveal in an appendix in the Final Environmental Impact Statement the truth that traffic will continue to grow after rail is built. As we’ve said, most thinking people would agree that when the population increases, traffic increases. In truth, the city has withheld nothing about future traffic levels.
City Council members openly discussed the future congestion with city transportation officials in Council meetings issue over the years, including the meetings leading up to the selection of grade-separated rail as the locally preferred alternative. The City Council Journal notes for the December 7, 2006 meeting specifically mention it (sorry, we didn't bookmark the site and now can't find it again).
Councilmember Okino: “While rail will not reduce congestion or travel time, commute time will continue increasing until there is gridlock without a rail system. A rail system will allow people to get out of their cars which will stop or significantly slow down an increase in commute time.”
According to the City Council Journal’s notes of that meeting, Mr. Slater was in attendance and spoke against rail in his usual fashion, going so far as to admit “while there are benefits from increasing public transportation, there is no reduction in traffic congestion.”
Perhaps the best evidence that puts the lie to the shibai Mr. Slater and Professor Roth are promoting is the radio program in November 2008 during which Mr. Slater and the city’s Wayne Yoshioka both discussed the future congestion issue on the public airwaves! Mr. Slater even agreed with Mr. Yoshioka that congestion will continue to increase beyond current levels after rail is built.
Yet despite all the clear evidence that the city has never said rail would "solve" congestion, Professor Roth could still say last week: “And shame on the city for going out of its way to give them that impression. Shame on the city for not making clear to the public what it has admitted reluctantly to the federal government, which is quote Traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail.”
It’s all just so much BS, and Hawaii Public Radio by rights should give the city equal time to respond to the inaccuracies. So far, it's refusing to do so.
Shouldn’t the public expect the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from a former governor, a former judge and a current law school professor? They didn’t get it, which suggests the opponents are being guided by Mr. Slater, who for more than two decades has led the anti-rail fight and is doing so now.
About those “true” findings by Civil Beat: One was simply the conclusion that a state official had said what the opponents said he said – i.e., no big deal. The second “true” was completely disappointing because Civil Beat bestowed it for the thinnest of reasons – another affirmation that the opponents actually had said what they said in the commentary. Our September 14th post dealt with that one and said it deserved a FALSE . By refusing to change the totally misleading headline above that Fact Check, Civil Beat earned itself the same grade.
(This post has been added to our "aggregation site" under the heading Mr. Cliff Slater (and friends).