Monday, March 19, 2012

Embarrassing Anti-Rail Tactics Attracting Ridicule; What Will Opponents Try Next – Foot-Stamping?

It’s a well-worn tactic, this constant repetition of the same anti-rail material. Cliff Slater has been doing it for years, and national anti-mass transit personality Randal O’Toole and others are working the routine here, too.

Mr. O’Toole’s piece at ever-ready anti-rail today repeats the same talking points launched last week by mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano. Using six-year-old emails sent within the Federal Transit Administration, Mr. Cayetano suggested the FTA is seriously concerned about Honolulu rail.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorialized yesterday that the effort was "a disservice" to the community and that residents "deserve better" (subscription required): “The rail project is important to the future redevelopment of urban Oahu, which desperately needs reliable transportation options unfettered by automotive traffic,” the newspaper said. “And that means the facts should not be treated in this cavalier and politically cynical way.”
Coming a day after this long editorial and four days after Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s endorsement of Honolulu rail, Mr. O’Toole’s piece not only doubles down on the cynicism but is embarrassing, too.

Rail’s prominent opponents, including Messrs. Cayetano and Slater, apparently are unfazed by the embarrassment or perhaps can’t even see how their tactics appear beyond their circle. Exaggeration and misrepresentation are tools of their trade.

More Embarrassment
The anti-rail radio host was banging away with those tools again this morning. His upset with the project included station security, fare collection, coloring books produced by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation for children and bathrooms.

A caller who had recently visited Vancouver, B.C. noted the lack of bathrooms in the city’s rail transit stations, thereby giving the talk show host a launching pad for another anti-rail rant.

His upset over bathrooms is ironic, since the host and many of his listeners object to additional government involvement in citizens’ lives, yet the host has added the alleged absence of bathrooms in the stations to the list of reasons to oppose the project.

Aside from the fact that stations will indeed have bathrooms, bus stops in Honolulu don’t have bathrooms today, and neither do buses! Residents who ride TheBus apparently have figured out how to use mass transit and time their bathroom breaks without government’s involvement.

Nobody called the station to confront the host on his embarrassingly ludicrous anti-rail argument, but nothing is too ludicrous or embarrassing for the ardent anti-rail minority. Randal O’Toole's commentary fits the pattern.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm upset that the govt hasn't built rest areas with porta-potties on the freeway and highways so when I get stuck in traffic, I can pull over and relieve myself.