Train, News Merger, Funny Farm Biz

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - September 09, 2009
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Bring on that elevated transit train from Kapolei to downtown Honolulu, and start thinking spurs to Mililani and Hawaii Kai.

Are you out of your mind, Jones? Have you no sense of money? Do you want to blight our island? Have you sold out to some politicians or construction unions?

No, yes, no and no. And I’m mad as hell at Mufi’s transit man for lying to us about early revenue shortfall projections. But that’s an argument for another time, because the revenue could come back with a bang by 2011 and initial construction costs seem to be edging down.

And my read on that rumored cease-and-desist action being readied by some powerful business interests along the right-ofway is that it will be dead on arrival in the court because of current Supreme Court eminent domain rulings.

Let’s look at the reality and the baloney about the rail project our City Council OK’d three years ago and you voters approved.

Sight blight: We built like Hong Kong and blotted out the Koolaus. Local architects lined up to erect the high-rises that separate ocean from mountain. Now those same architects claim that a 30-foot elevated train guideway will be a blight. Do you mean worse than the current blight from the airport into town, worse than our Taco Bell hillside and Kahala houses, worse than the concrete Federal Building?

OK, an elevated train guideway is not an aesthetic improvement. I’d rather have a train running right alongside traffic.

Can we do that?

No. We could have a streetcar, but not a speedy, computer-operated train. The train will be several cars long and would block traffic crossways. The train’s going to be fast and automated and unable to instantly stop for that distracted pedestrian or motorist.

The train’s going to be a train. I don’t know why the city keeps saying “light rail.” It’s a train. A helluva big train! Like Bangkok’s Sky Train, it will zoom from stop to stop and brook no obstacles. That’s why it’s elevated.

Every now and then a community is asked to make a leap ahead and a leap of faith. Highways, harbors, airports - we have the option to say no. Molokai’s done that and it’s an economic graveyard for its people - but they made their choices and they live with them.

We’ve made some bad choices on Oahu: allowing high-rise development at the foot of Diamond Head, allowing hotels on the beach rather than preserving a beach walkway, not penalizing car/taxi useage with heavier taxation.

The damage is done. We cannot remake this island into a postcard paradise. We’re a big city. We’ve got to move people. Roadways can’t handle the job. Flyovers can’t handle the job. We’ll need this first increment train and some after that.

We need to get over our “oh, the old days” mentality and accept a future- minded reality for the 12th largest city in America.

three star

The KHNL-KGMB newsroom merger layoffs are under way. An early job loser was Randy Ennis, KHNL assistant news director/operations.

He had written at the No Train, No Gain journalism Web site:

“It seems that reporters have no problem spending the time to massage and rewrite their pieces, thus leaving very little time for the videotape editor to do anything but slap the piece together so it makes it in the newscast. As a result, the final product looks like s—t.”

Anchorman Howard Dashefsky is out, too. He was an “A” student of mine when I taught broadcast journalism at the UH. Dashefsky was a very good baseball player but had said “chances of making it into the majors are slim, and I want to learn a skill that will always give me a job.”


three star

Did you read that the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation supports development at Ho’opili rather than farming?

The HFBF’s mission is “to support agriculture in Hawaii.”

Ask HFBF president Dean Okimoto about that next time you see him at his Nalo Farms stand at the KCC Farmers Market. What’s the politics there, Dean?

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