Wednesday, May 9, 2012

‘Mainstream’ Media Fail To Flush BRT Plan from Cayetano, so Atomic Monkey Breaks a Parody, but Wait: Candidate Reveals a Slice of His Plan -- Bus-Only Lanes on King, Beretania Streets! Auwe!!

First we simply tried blogging here, here, here, here, here, here and here about Ben Cayetano’s refusal to reveal his bus rapid transit plan. He says he’d implement BRT after he kills rail, so we naively thought the media would take the hint and start asking questions about such an ambitious suggestion.

When that didn’t work, we wrote an Open Letter to the Star-Advertiser reporter who’s covering the mayoral race and asked him to please start asking Mr. Cayetano to explain himself. That didn’t work either.

So you can imagine how thrilled we were to read Atomic Monkey’s scoop yesterday. Thanks to the Monkey (and thanks for the Monkey's permission to use its cartoons), Mr. Cayetano’s plan is revealed in all its complexity, which the story says “incorporates a half dozen ideas and technologies that have already been abandoned as obsolete, too dependent on imported oil, or just plain lolo. However, the Cayetano team insists that when all used together, they miraculously produce a superior solution."

“I always wanted to build a tunnel somewhere,” highway expert and UH Professor Panos Prevedouros told the Monkey, “so when Ben asked me what I wanted out of this, I jumped at it.”

You won’t find a better parody than Atomic Monkey’s treatment of the Cayetano Campaign’s Still-Secret Bus Rapid Transit Plan. In truth, the candidate’s failure to reveal it in full detail is no laughing matter.

Details Leak Out
Learning exactly what Mr. Cayetano has in mind after he kills mobility-restoring, travel-time-reducing, development-guiding, transportation-equity-enhancing and job-creating Honolulu rail is a deadly serious quest. Civil Beat seems to think so, too.

Writer Michael Levine reminded his readers yesterday that Mr. Cayetano “…said a detailed plan would be forthcoming in mid-April. In the weeks since that self-imposed deadline came and went, I’ve reached out to the campaign to ask for an interview to offer him a chance to share details in an op-ed and to invite him to come to Civil Beat headquarters to meet with our editors. So far, no go. But some details are slowly emerging.” 

Imagine that – a politician running away from an open invitation to provide unedited details of his campaign’s centerpiece. Any day now Star-Advertiser columnist Dave Shapiro, who devotes his space today (subscription) to yet another swipe at rail supporters, will find a way to praise Mr. Cayetano’s opaqueness on his BRT plan.

Here It Comes
Mr. Levine then quotes from a recent interview Mr. Cayetano gave to the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. Civil Beat has a link to the entire article and quotes the most relevant paragraph on the alleged BRT plan, including this gem:

“So we’ll look at running (BRT) down King Street or Beretania Street. We may have to elevate it in certain areas but it’ll run on the freeway, so we won’t have to create a new elevated structure. When it enters Downtown, it will need a dedicated lane which may require taking away some parking here and there.”

Mr. Cayetano says the system has worked in Europe, South America and Japan, so it must be good, right? We all appreciate Honolulu’s obvious similarities with Europe, South America and Japan.

C’mon, Atomic Monkey. Now you know Mr. Cayetano is prepared to duplicate the death knell of the Harris Administration’s BRT plan – taking away car lanes and giving them to TheBus. We need a new cartoon one with cars scrunched together as an empty bus rolls by in an empty bus lane. The Parody Potential is Positively Limitless!

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