Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anti-Railers’ Main Tactic: Repetition Ad Nauseum, Plus: Law Students Get Lesson in Meaninglessness

Mr. Leslie T. Rogers
Regional Administrator
Federal Transit Administration, Region IX
U.S. Department of Transportation
201 Mission Street, Suite 1650
San Francisco, CA 94105

Subject: Recent Correspondence

Dear Mr. Rogers:

Kindly disregard Randall Roth’s letter. You’ve heard it all before.

Yours truly,


Our apocryphal letter to the FTA is a response to a letter publicized yesterday from anti-railer Randall Roth to the agency. He's one of the Gang of Four plaintiffs who want to kill Honolulu rail. Civil Beat has posted it (access is free to occasional users) and sums it up as “a reheated version of all the arguments against rail you’ve heard before….”

Professor Roth of the UH Law School dredges up everything under the tropical sun in his letter – anti-rail Governor Linda Lingle’s “study” written by known rail opponents; sewers; the retirement system; UH dormitories; the six-year-old internal emails between FTA colleagues, and he ends with a flourish by repeating Cliff Slater’s trademarked obfuscation – a quote by the city in the Final Environmental Impact Statement:
“You are correct in pointing out that traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail, and that is supported by data included in the Final EIS.”
Had we actually written to the FTA, we would have pointed out the deceptive nature of the Slater/Roth/Gang of Four’s anti-rail main talking point: (1) Congestion will increase even if rail is built; (2) Why build rail?

The FTA itself says why rail should be built: “…the purpose of the Project is to provide an alternative to the use of congested highways for many travelers.” Honolulu rail will be the congestion-avoiding option that’s missing today.

Even Mr. Slater had to admit when cornered at the City Council that traffic congestion will be worse without rail than with it. The FTA knows the truth of that statement, but it’s a truth the Gang of Four doesn’t want the public to know.

Springtime Follies
HawaiiReporter.com posted this oxymoronic headline yesterday: “New Secret Weapon in Federal Anti-Rail Lawsuit in Honolulu: University Law Students.”

The inventive Professor Roth has come up with a new way for his law students to earn extra credit – either in actual practice or in the minds of the law faculty. Nine of them are spending their spring break reviewing 155,000 pages of documents turned over in the anti-rail lawsuit by the city and federal governments.

The FTA has overseen Honolulu rail for years and has granted it a long list of approvals, culminating last month with the issuance of a Letter of No Prejudice. The LONP authorizes the city to begin construction, so there’s no doubt where the FTA stands on Honolulu rail.

The meaninglessness of the law students’ quest in dredging up “gotcha” emails from the trove of documents is easily appreciated if you imagine the FTA emails as if they were written by technicians inside the XYZ car company years before a new model rolled off a Detroit assembly line.

“If those guys up in planning keep working like this, we’ll all be part of the next Edsel,” says one. “Yeah, you can’t take seriously their solution to the radiator overflow problem,” responds another.

Once the bugs are fixed and the new car model is sitting in showrooms across the country, those emails are meaningless eyewash, yet Mr. Roth and friends would have you believe they’re the car company’s smoking gun.

It’s ridiculous, of course, and the UH law professor would know that if his judgment hadn’t been so thoroughly co-opted by the truth-twisting Mr. Slater.

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

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