November 2006 Home   Newsletters

January 2007

February 2007

President's Message (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Rail Proponents Turn Down Prime Time on Television (Pearl Johnson)
PBS's Island Insights Hosts League (Pearl Johnson)
Rail Plan Information on the Internet (Pearl Johnson)
Ah Quon McElrath Addresses League (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Rail vs Bus Decision Coming (Charles Carole & Pearl Johnson)

Rail Proponents Turn Down Prime Time on Television

When given the opportunity to debate, in prime time on KHON television, the merits of his rail transit plan, Mayor Mufi Hannemann refused.

The League of Women Voters of Honolulu asked KHON to air a debate on the proposed rail plan in prime time. The station offered an hour from 7 to 8 pm on Wednesday, December 20. They assigned a producer. Supporters of bus mass transit would be Cliff Slater, UH Professor Panos Prevedouros and LWV Planning & Transportation chair Pearl Johnson.

By telephone and letter, the League asked the Mayor to participate in the debate in support of his rail plan. After several days, the Mayor said he would not appear.

We then asked Toru Hamayasu, director of Transportation Services, to appear. Citing family obligations, he refused. Mark Scheibe of Parsons Brinckerhoff, whose firm wrote the Alternatives Analysis in support of rail, refused.

Karl Kim of UH Manoa also turned down the opportunity to promote the rail plan of which he has written and spoken so favorably. City Councilman Gary Okino, a vocal supporter of rail, agreed to appear, but pulled out after a few days.

In view of these difficulties, KHON talked about reducing the program to a half hour at a later time. As lack of rail-support participation advanced, two-minute spots at the end of news shows came up. One minute for each side, but would rail show up? In the end, KHON gave up. No prominent rail supporters would defend rail on the most-watched news station in Hawaii.

Pearl Johnson

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