Sunday, July 20, 2008
Richard Borreca calls it like it is on Honolulu transit bulldozer
by Larry Geller
It’s not fair snipping from Rich’s column today. Please click on over to read the complete article, City forgot 3 little words: We the people.
Although most cities let the electorate decide in one form or another about issues as big as building a new transit system, Honolulu plunged ahead without any citizen approval.
First there was the jerry-built coalition stapled together by Mayor Mufi Hannemann to convince the Legislature and the governor to allow the city to raise taxes to fund a transit system. Implied in the tax increase was the acknowledgment that Honolulu wanted a transit system, but nothing letting the people say yes or no.
Then the Council busied itself for a year with the "whither rail" question and never said "Hey, what do you people think?"
Maybe I’m among the few who say it’s not right to steamroller over us (and the communities we live in). Maybe we don’t want that. Maybe we would like to plan our own communities first.
The question of whether We the People want transit is premature. We the People could use some time to talk together, and then we’ll let you know, Mufi. Maybe we will come up with a train. Maybe not.
If the community were allowed to weigh in, perhaps we’d also ask for bus maps and even route numbers on the bus stop poles. Maybe they’d ask for buses that don’t show up early, or for convenient locations based on the needs of the riders. Maybe we’d like to have some transit connect to the airport to start with. Maybe we’d like it to connect to UH Manoa to start with. The city doesn’t know what we want, hence all this opposition. Heck, we don’t even know what our neighbors want.
Maybe we’d ask for free buses and light-rail in town, the way Portland has. How come the mayor isn’t offering us those free rides? Wouldn’t that help get cars off the streets? He could do that now, no need to wait for his buddies to make their profits building a system that much of the public had no part in choosing.
I’m sure even those who support rail would have liked to have their say about it.
I thank Richard Borreca for getting down to basics on this.
I believe you are feeling how many on Maui felt/feel about the SuperFerry (and $200 Million prison which is is being planned for Maui).