Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ariyoshi: ‘…I Can No Longer Remain Silent…’ ‘…Rail Options Are Important…’ ‘…the City and HART Have Left No Stone Unturned…’

It’s good to read in the morning newspaper that former Governor George Ariyoshi is a strong supporter of the Honolulu rail project. That’s certainly a proper inference from the above headline, but unfortunately, the headline doesn’t accurately summarize Mr. Ariyoshi’s commentary in today’s Star-Advertiser (subscription). It’s only how a movie blurb writer might summarize it.

Movie ads are notorious for using only a few words from a movie review to create a short but entirely erroneous impression – always positive. For example, a review might say “John Travolta’s character is back in ‘Be Cool,’ and although Travolta is as smooth as ever, the picture is a bust….” An actual  movie blurb said “…Travolta is as smooth as ever…”

All the words in our headline today were lifted exactly as quoted from Governor Ariyoshi’s commentary in today’s newspaper. Our “movie-blurbing” was done to make a point: It’s important to read Mr. Ariyoshi’s piece with care and discernment.

Despite the commentary’s cautionary message, rail supporters might take heart from what he revealed in the first paragraph – that he declined to become a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by another former governor, Ben Cayetano, along with anti-railer-in-chief Cliff Slater.

Staying in Touch
Mr. Ariyoshi has been a constant voice for temperance and careful planning since leaving office a quarter century ago. His latest commentary is another in a long series of messages to the public about how he believes Hawaii must proceed with education, business, environmental protection and numerous other issues.

If he considered but declined to join a lawsuit that was filed with the intent to kill rail, that’s good to know and something positive for rail supporters to take from this commentary. Mr. Ariyoshi’s political theme in his day was “Quiet and Effective.” Joining in the lawsuit would not have fit that image. He is not urging that contracts be tossed out and the project start all over again:

“…the public has every right to expect that the City and HART have left no stone unturned to ensure that the right, the best decision is made so that taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely. The public has a right to expect the City and HART to take every precaution to ensure that rail does not just get started, but that it is completed on time and on budget.”
That’s a reasonable cautionary note – something with which officials charged with executing the rail project undoubtedly agree.

They probably would not agree with the implication in Mr. Ariyoshi’s closing paragraphs – that it’s necessary to “take another close look at the options” that already were thoroughly vetted. HART officials so far seem satisfied that winning bidder Ansaldo is qualified and equipped to deliver on its contract and that elevated rail is the only option that will deliver fast, frequent, reliable and safe transportation through the urban core.

We suspect Governor Ariyoshi will continue to watch over the rail project from a distance, and as an attorney, will respect the outcome of the legal challenges to the rail project and its component parts.

He didn’t become “Mister Quiet and Effective” by throwing bombs.

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