Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pro-Rail INSIGHTS Guest Deserves Question #8: ‘Why Do You Support Building Elevated Transit?’

We’ve been proposing questions for the past week that reasonably could be asked on Thursday’s “INSIGHTS on Hawaii PBS” TV show. All seven questions so far are aimed at the two anti-rail guests, but the other two are rail supporters – Drew Astolfi, director of Faith Action for Community Equality (FACE), and former Honolulu City Council member Gary Okino.

In creating questions for them rather than the opponents, we’re tempted to mirror the old joke: “Enough of this talk about me. What do you think about me?” The rail opponents’ positions are so vulnerable to probing questions in a “live” TV format that we’d just as soon finish the list with more of them for Cliff Slater and former Governor Benjamin Cayetano. But fairness demands we make a sincere effort to draw out Messrs. Astolfi and Okino on rail-related issues.

The Set-Up
Today’s set-up relies on former Council member Okino’s appearance on an INIGHTS show in February 2010. His comments then showed he’s in complete opposition to the transit preference of Mr. Cayetano, a fellow INSIGHTS guest on Thursday who favors at-grade transit. Here’s Mr. Okino’s quote from 2010:

“…If you put a system on the ground, you dramatically change the benefits of a system. You put a train on the ground, you change the speed of the thing. You can’t put a train on the ground and go 60 miles an hour (as if it were) elevated. So it changes the capacity. The cost. They (at-grade advocates) downplay the cost of putting something on the ground as being cheaper. That has to go through a total analysis. I disagree that it’s gonna be cheaper, not in Honolulu. It’s gonna change all the factors. It’s gonna change operating costs of this thing, because now you gotta put drivers on the train. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of things. It’s practically a new project once you make it touch the ground.”

Question #8
“Mr. Okino, you supported rail throughout your terms on the City Council, including your vote to shift the system’s route from Salt Lake to the airport. You were subjected to all the arguments raised by rail opponents, including Cliff Slater, and you rejected them all. My question has two parts: Why did you consistently vote for rail and dismiss Cliff’s objections to building rail, and why do you still favor an elevated system instead of at-grade transit, which Governor Cayetano prefers?”
Yes, that question does have a “what do you think about me” quality to it, but it would produce a lively exchange between Messrs. Okino, Slater and Cayetano. Isn’t that what “live” TV is all about?

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

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