Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is it OK To Question Four Rail Critics’ Expertise? Guess Not if They’re ‘Distinguished Citizens’

Here’s what we think Mayor Peter Carlisle’s takeaway is from the Star-Advertiser’s regular Wednesday columnist today (subscription): Unless you want to be accused of “bullying,” do not vigorously defend the Honolulu rail project.

Be deferential to the four “distinguished citizens” leading the anti-rail effort, and do not question their expertise in transportation issues, even though the quartet wants to kill off a transit project that’s been endorsed over and over again by Oahu’s citizens.

Do not describe these four as the “Gang of Four,” as that might imply unsavory connections and criticism of their tactics and statements, even though independent investigative journalists have concluded some of their assertions are not true.

And above all, do not be consistent in representing what your administration believes to be the facts about Honolulu rail, lest you be accused of “lazily mouthing” Mayor Hannemann’s “old tunes” – which just happen to be the facts.

Tripping Over Themselves
What’s with this fawning adulation some local journalists are heaping on the Cliff Slater, Ben Cayetano, Walter Heen and Randall Roth four-some? Who knew local scribes could be so deferential and easily impressed? Since when has the attorney class been this praiseworthy – with reputations so far “above reproach”?

Do these journalists believe any of the three penned a single word of their August 21st op-ed piece? It had the tone and depth of Cliff Slater’s decades-long anti-rail disinformation campaign throughout. Civil Beat’s Fact Check process already has graded two of its major assertions  FALSE  and one only HALF-TRUE. Should these critics be associated with anything but the truth? Heaven forbid that they'd be forcefully questioned about their campaign to kill rail or subject to criticism over their  attempt to swing public opinion away from supporting rail.

Wednesday's columnist has been fighting the rail project for years and doesn’t spare those tasked with defending the project from the inaccuracies of its detractors. He’ll have many more weekly opportunities to disparage the administration, the project and its supporters before the quartet’s lawsuit to block rail is concluded.

Just once we’d like to see him cast a critical eye at Mr. Slater’s disinformation campaign. We’ll make it easy for him; he can start by clicking this link to a Yes2Rail post on Mr. Slater’s implication that Honolulu’s future train will make the Kapolei-Honolulu trip slower than TheBus.

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