Monday, October 24, 2011

Does Repeating a Lie Over and Over Make It True? What Else Can Anti-Railer’s Main Claim Be Called?

Paying any attention whatsoever to what Hawaii Reporter “reports” is probably a fool’s game, but we’re compelled to do so because Honolulu rail is so often a topic there.

The online site is forever publishing anti-rail commentaries, including its own, so although we know in advance what we’ll find, sometimes what we find is worth a post here at Yes2Rail.

Today is one of those times. On Friday, HR reported the comments made at last Thursday evening’s Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Board by anti-railer-in-chief Cliff Slater. Under a red-lettered headline proclaiming “Honolulu Rail Won’t Improve Traffic,” the site reported:

“…traffic will be worse when the rail line is completed in 2030 than it is today without rail. Slater, who attended the meeting last night, said no public official advocating for the rail….have (sic) ever explained or admitted to the public that this is true.”
If that’s what he said Thursday, Mr. Slater did not tell the board members the truth. A reasonably savvy fifth-grade student can easily refute it using an iPad.

Spreading It
Mr. Slater has made this accusation without reservation so often that it has become the centerpiece of his anti-rail campaign, and he’s managed to convince his fellow anti-railers (Randall Roth, in particular – he of the “Shame on the city…” scoldings) that the city “has never explained or admitted to the public” that traffic will continue to increase.

It’s simply not true. The city has never withheld the facts about future traffic congestion. It’ll get worse! Oahu in 2030 will have about 200,000 more residents than it did in 2005. As population goes, so goes traffic congestion.

Want proof the city has been open about this issue? Spend a few minutes listening to a KHVH radio program broadcast on November 3, 2008 – the day before Oahu voters approved the “steel-on-steel” Charter amendment. The program was described as a two-hour debate during which the City’s representatives agreed (emphasis added) that while the rail transit proposal would reduce traffic congestion, it will still be far worse in the future with rail than it is today.”

That’s from Hawaii Reporter’s own website! Need we go on? Has Hawaii Reporter forgotten what it wrote in 2008 regarding a city official’s statements on the public airwaves about future congestion? Here’s part of the dialogue Mr. Slater and Mr. Yoshioka engaged in on the KHVH program:

Slater: “…the public has a different take of what is gonna happen with traffic congestion in the future than you do or we do, OK? We in the room here all understand that traffic congestion is gonna get worse with rail in the future, OK. That’s not what the public understands. The public thinks that traffic today, today’s unendurable traffic congestion going from here out to Kapolei, OK, will be reduced from today’s levels once rail goes in. That’s what they believe. OK, and we don’t believe it. You and I don’t believe that, but on the other hand, that is what the general public believes."
Yoshioka: "What the public is asking for some kind of relief, and I think that the only realistic relief they can expect is through the rail system as opposed to putting more cars, more buses onto the already jammed streets systems. That’s not gonna give them the relief."
Always In Public
Messrs. Slater and Yoshioka debated these same points in public elsewhere, including a City Council meeting in July 2010. Mr. Slater apparently has forgotten this encounter, too – either that or he’s deliberately telling his audiences something indisputably false.

So what are we to make of this key plank in Mr. Slater’s platform? We could charitably suggest that time has taken a toll on Mr. Slater’s memory, but we don’t think that’s the right explanation.

Mr. Slater and his anti-rail friends deliberately mislead their audiences by not telling the truth about the city's record on future congestion levels. He did it two weeks ago at the Rotary Club of Honolulu; he did it in his Civil Beat video interview in July 2010; he did it on public radio last month, and he did it last Thursday night before the neighborhood board.

This particular plank in Mr. Slater’s platform is rotten to the core. He knows it, and everyone on Oahu should know it, too.

This post has been added to our "aggregation site" under the heading Mr. Cliff Slater (and Friends).

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