Thursday, August 9, 2012

Civil Beat Follows Yes2Rail’s Lead, Fact-Checks Cayetano Radio Spot and Finds It Only ‘Half True’ – but the Analysis Gets Just as Bogged Down in Statistics as the Candidate’s Anti-Rail Campaign and Misses 4 Big Points

It took Civil Beat two weeks to do what Yes2Rail did on July 26th when we concluded a Ben Cayetano radio spot is “flat-out wrong” in suggesting drivers won’t benefit once Honolulu’s rail system is in operation.

Civil Beat’s analysis seems to be precisely correct in finding fault with the spot based on various tables and data within them in rail’s Final Environmental Impact Statement. Well and good, but can we please get our noses out of the FEIS and step back to appreciate the bigger picture?

Here’s are four points we think Civil Beat missed in an analysis that must warm the hearts of every stat fanatic and accountant:
Point One
Does anybody really believe Ben Cayetano is driving this bus? In finding the Cayetano radio spot only  HALF TRUE , Civil Beat merely confirms what we’ve been harping on here at Yes2Rail for years:

Cliff Slater deliberately uses misinformation and obfuscation to confuse the public into believing rail would be a failure if congestion continues to grow long after rail is built. And now he has Mr. Cayetano doing it, too.

Rail’s “failure” to prevent congestion from growing as the population grows is Mr. Slater’s top talking point, and you hear it in Mr. Cayetano’s statements, too – slipped to the candidate behind closed doors by anti-railer-in-chief.

The anti-rail mayoral candidate is leaning so heavily on Cliff Slater for his campaign’s theme that it may as well be Mr. Slater who’s running for mayor so he can kill rail transit now and forever on Oahu.

We provided links two days ago in Yes2Rail's post to several earlier posts about Mr. Slater’s obfuscation campaign. You’re invited to click on them, read them and then reflect on whether the current campaign against rail is what citizens have a right to expect from their leaders.

Point Two
Can we settle for anything less than the whole truth from people who want to run this city? We’ve made this point before, too, and our summary of Civil Beat’s Fact Checks on the Gang of Four’s August 2011 commentary is worth a repeat visit.

Of the seven issues Civil Beat checked, it found only two that were  TRUE  , two that were completely  FALSE  , and three that were  HALF TRUE , which means they also were  HALF FALSE  .

That’s a terrible record for a quartet made up of three attorneys – including a former governor, a current law school professor and a former judge – and Mr. Slater. By relying on a self-proclaimed 'transit expert' for their material, the three lawyers are willing passengers on Mr. Slater’s bus – The Obfuscation Express.

Point Three
The radio spot avoids any reference to the benefit rail will provide for the people who need it most – west Oahu residents who travel to and from town through the east-west urban corridor. It lumps all drivers into the same category – people from East Honolulu, the Windward Side, the North Shore, everywhere – and suggests rail will be a failure if they don’t plan to ride the train.

Rail isn’t being built for everyone! Oahu’s #1 congestion problem is precisely where the rail line will serve communities and residents in that corridor. The radio spot’s intellectual dishonesty is undoubtedly obvious to my fifth-grade granddaughter and her friends!

Point Four
As we noted two weeks ago, commuters who continue to drive their own cars will enjoy less congestion after rail is built than if we did nothing at all. That’s a close paraphrase of Mr. Slater’s admission before the City Council in July 2010 when he conceded that rail will have the positive benefit of slowing congestion’s inevitable growth.

The project believes island-wide congestion as measured in vehicle hours of delay will be reduced by 18 percent in 2030 with rail in operation.  The anti-rail radio spot is flat-out wrong.

Bottom Line
We’re not finding fault with Civil Beat’s analysis of the spot. It did a good job as far as it went. But there’s so much left unsaid in most media coverage of the rail debate, including this Fact Check, that Yes2Rail has had no trouble feasting on what's been left out over the past four years.

The Cayetano campaign's recent radio spot is more of the same – easy pickings actually.


Roy Kamisato said...

Civil Beat gave the claim their half false rating because like the anti-rail coalition they believe in twenty years half of the people who will ride rail will be today's existing bus riders. Civil Beat has bought into the anti-rail nonsense that rail is short term. I guarantee you in thirty years most of the people who ride rail then will not be today's existing riders. Doug, in thirty years we will be able to tell the Civil Beat, I told you so. Assuming we are both still around. :)

Anonymous said...

Will wonders never cease, Ben Cayetano has come up short in his bid to win the Mayor's race outright and must face Kirk Caldwell in the general election November!