Sunday, October 9, 2011

Inquiring Minds Want Answer to Question #6: “Where’s the Evidence Rail Is ‘On the Ropes?’”

We’re on the downhill slope of our TEN QUESTIONS project just in time for the (mainland) ski season as we roll into Question #6 today. All 10 are suggested as “interrogation” material for PBS Hawaii’s INSIGHTS show this Thursday (8-9 pm on KHET).

The four guests will include anti-railer-in-chief Cliff Slater and one of his three recruits in his new/old campaign against the Honolulu rail project – former governor Benjamin Cayetano. We can only hope they’ll be asked at least one of the 10.

The quartet’s campaign has been touching all the media bases since their August 21st commentary in the Star-Advertiser that as good as accused the city of lying to the public about Honolulu rail. That op-ed piece has been followed by radio, TV and Rotary club appearances. Three of Mr. Slater’s team will be at the Rotary Club of Honolulu on Tuesday talking on “How the City Misled the Public on Transit Issues.”

Questions 1-5 addressed aspects of their campaign, including the alleged misleading (see Questions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 posted over the past five days), but today’s Yes2Rail post tries to get to the campaign’s underlying theme – that Honolulu rail somehow is in trouble.

The Set-Up
This premise seems to rest on nothing more than the team members’ own convictions and maybe those of their media advisers, if they have any (something Honolulu’s “investigative journalists” might look into). The quartet just keeps saying it, and compliant websites like fashion their own version of the mantra. A recent rail-related post at is headlined “Honolulu Rail on the Ropes.”

On the ropes? Where’s the evidence of that? Is the simple filing of a lawsuit to kill rail enough to put the project on the ropes? Is the multi-media campaign the opponents are waging – with virtually nothing new in it that the public hasn’t already heard – giving the rail project rope burns?

Beyond the quartet – lawsuit plaintiff Randall Roth is even following Yes2Rail’s lead in calling it the Gang of Four – and a few anti-rail websites, there is no outcry against rail. Not a single letter to the editor in every Star-Advertiser edition since last Monday, including today, mentioned the project. If there’d been a deluge of anti-rail letters into the paper, you can be sure at least one would have been printed during the week.

Question #6
“Governor Cayetano, you’ve been a close observer of the local transportation scene for decades, and now you’re one of several lawsuit plaintiffs who want to kill rail. You’ve presumably seen and heard it all over the years, so please tell our audience exactly what is new about this latest anti-rail campaign that’s obviously led by Cliff Slater. Give us your evidence that the ‘city has stacked the deck' in favor of rail and has lied to the public, as your fellow plaintiff Randall Roth strongly suggests. Exactly what was flawed in the Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Impact Statement process that’s been overseen by federal agencies? You personally have benefited from the principle of majority rule in all your election campaigns – you’ve never lost a race – so why doesn’t it matter to you now that most Oahu residents want to build rail?”

Thursday’s show will be “live,” so get your tweets and emails ready.

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

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