But an equally rich vein to mine is the obfuscation campaign conducted by anti-railers like Cliff Slater. If his HonoluluTraffic.com website has a theme, it’s a determination to divert the visitor’s attention from that central fact by highlighting other issues.
Case in point is the website’s video of the anti-rail presentation to the Rotary Club of Honolulu on October 11 by four plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit intended to kill rail. We attended that presentation and called attention here at Yes2Rail the next day about its shallow content.
But not on the video. At 3:23, new material has been inserted – remarks Mr. Slater made later at the Rotary Club meeting after anti-rail pitches by Messrs. Roth, Cayetano and Heen. He uses the 13 inserted seconds to deride the appearance of the rail system’s stations, which he calls “ugly as sin.”
At 3:36, the video jumps back to the original “live” sequence of events: “To cap it off,” says Mr. Slater, “the city admits in the EIS that traffic congestion in the future, with rail, will be worse than it is today. So do you have any questions?”
Traffic congestion growth is normal, natural and expected over time, and reacting to Mr. Slater’s opening gambit as if he had just delivered the coup de gras to the project was – well, embarrassing.
The editing job is telling, too. It tells us that criticism of Mr. Slater’s shallow presentation opening seems to be getting through. If not, why did he find it necessary to edit the Rotary video? Why did he change the sequence of the October 11th presentation from what Rotarians saw that day?
We think the answer is that he, too, now realizes the folly of his dumbed-down illogical conclusion – that rail will fail if traffic continues to increase. What seemed to him to be a good argument in July 2010 has long since started to ring hollow. With just a little thought, citizens are able to see through it.
Mr. Slater still seems capable of fooling some of the people all of the time, like many of the good Rotarians he met last month, but as another American president once famously remarked, you can’t fool all the people all the time.
With Oahu residents consistently giving their majority support to Honolulu rail, Mr. Slater’s ability to fool most people has passed.