Pro-rail Shenanigans in Honolulu


Published:

Interesting piece at the Honolulu Weekly, interviewing a former employee of the pro-rail PAC, Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP), named Justin Hahn. He gives an eye-opening account of PRP's ground strategy.

In May, I wrote about some of the dishonest statements being made about rail by PRP and its media campaign, I Mua Rail.

Since then, things got even uglier. Former governor and current mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano is now suing PRP for defamation, for claims PRP has been making about his campaign spending in the past.

PRP is the public relations wing of the carpenter's union, and has dropped more than $2 million trying to convince us that rail is right for Honolulu—outspending both mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell (campaign spending of $552,000) and Cayetano ($271,000 in spending) combined.

No doubt, rail will be terrific for union carpenters. Decades of construction could comfortably take any number of them all the way to retirement, then, who cares if it finishes on time, or if ridership meets projections or if the project  stays within it's already staggering budget? Not PRP's problem. They'll have gotten theirs and the rest of us can just pay for it. Forever.

PRP's involvement, with its big money spin and mud-slinging tone, adds an interesting dimension to the mayor's race. This election started out as a referendum on rail. Now it seems to be a referendum on an even larger issue, which is, who runs this town? The unions? Or the public?

 

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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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