Volcanic Ash: Was rail worth all the pain? Voters suggest maybe not
Mayor Kirk Caldwell stood before microphones last week to announce he’ll float a $44 million short-term loan to meet federal demands to get that much more to the $9 billion rail project by Nov. 20.
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Mayor Kirk Caldwell stood before microphones last week to announce he’ll float a
$44 million short-term loan to meet federal demands to get that much more to the $9 billion rail project by
It was the official breaking of a promise to never use city funds and property taxes for rail construction, an accounting trick to avoid federal defunding over missteps that have rail six years behind schedule, the cherry atop $4 billion in overspending that has nearly doubled costs.
“This is not the end of it, there’s going to be further challenges,” Caldwell said. “But it’s worth all the agony.”
It seems 138,594 voters in Tuesday’s general election beg to differ.
They are the nearly
60 percent of voters, along with 25,476 more who left ballots blank, who refused to OK a City Charter amendment making it easier for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to
attain a quorum.
It was a mere housekeeping measure to clear confusion between city and state law, with no substantive
reason to vote it down.
The repudiation can only be read as fed-up voters jumping at a chance to register their disgust with rail, to say no, the endless lies, drama and incompetence weren’t “worth all the
The vote’s practical effect is that HART must have a supermajority of voting directors present to take action — not necessarily a bad thing as it pursues a public- private partnership that
potentially conceals further construction overruns by pushing the costs into future operating expenses.
The bigger implications are political as Caldwell nears his term limit and
voters look to elect a new mayor in 2020.
Leading the wannabes at this point are City Council members Ernie Martin, Ikaika Anderson and Kymberly Pine, all tainted by
association with rail’s
Mistaking backbiting for effective oversight, the Council has been complicit with the administration on rail-related blundering every step of the way. By any objective measure, no member of this lame Council has earned promotion to mayor.
It opens the door to candidates from outside Honolulu Hale, particularly established lawmakers who lost races this year for top state and federal offices such as U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Lt. Gov. Doug Chin and state Sens. Jill Tokuda, Donna Mercado Kim and Will
Espero. Not to mention
former mayoral contender Charles Djou, no longer a
Several have significant knowledge of the city and rail, and most have far greater political gravitas than the three Council
A smart candidate could harness the public disgust with rail suggested by Tuesday’s Charter vote with a worthy idea for stopping the bleeding, relevant experience to make it happen, the political weight to get noticed and enough backbone to stand up to the big money of the rail-at-any-cost lobby.