Thursday, December 14, 2006

Transporting Hawaii

I guess people are finally waking up to the realization that the proposed rail system is not a panacea but actually a Pandora’s Box of problems that threatens to disrupt every facet of life in these Islands -- beginning with the one, that simple truths can never be honored and taken at face value henceforth. If powerful interest groups desire to, they can pack the testimonials with any number of people who will be flattered at their opportunity to convince everyone else of what is not true -- as a testimony of their personal power and status.

Having lived in most of the major metropolitan areas in the country, the obviously successful rail systems are east of the Mississippi, in which most of the inhabitants do not own a single car in their household -- which a lot of people living west of the Mississippi, find hard to believe. The notable exception is San Francisco -- where public transportation works because there is no other means of viable transportation, even including biking, because the city is famously hilly, with the hazards of rail everywhere, in addition to not owning cars. They have a larger population packed into 49 square miles, 7 X 7, rather than dispersed over 600 square miles -- which is the hub that draws on a population ten times larger.

New York City is the same way -- only ten times larger. And curiously, what is most successful at getting most people outside the city in, is bus transportation, and not rail. Rail is effective, for those already living in the city -- but for moving people from the suburbs into the city, even New York, London, Tokyo, Paris, know it is not cost-effective -- despite their great success with inner city modes.

The density is which rail is unconditionally successful is with densities of 20,000 people per sure mile -- rather than 2,000. With 20,000 per square mile, one can go to the same station at the same time daily, and not recognize any familiar faces -- nearly all one’s life. In 2,000 people densities, one can go to the same bus stop every day at the same time, and see the one other person waiting for the same bus each day -- as we do in Honolulu.

One just can’t create a pattern and tradition just because one wants to. The far more appropriate thing to do would be to hire someone like Jeremy Harris to coordinate and run a car, van pool and alternative transportation system based on an electronic bulletin board that could be the foundation for use in the 21st century in which information and communication become more important than transportation.

Transportation considerations are the remnants of old society and culture. We don’t need to get more students to Manoa for them to be informed. We don’t need to congregate people anywhere, for a discussion and dialogue to take place. That should be obvious by now. We just need to want to share information -- and not hoard and manipulate it to the advantage of a few, in the old way.

That new development and realization is what I hope to see in the Legislative processes of this coming year.

5 Comments:

At December 14, 2006 5:59 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Is it time for a revolution?

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1753761/posts


New America Survey Shows Overwhelming Support for California Citizens Assembly
New America Foundation ^ | 12/14/06 | New America in California

Posted on 12/14/2006 7:22:30 PM PST by NormsRevenge

SACRAMENTO, CA – As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger calls for more competition in elections, a survey commissioned by the New America Foundation finds that nearly three-quarters of California voters would like to see the governor and the Legislature create a citizen’s panel to explore ideas for making the state’s election process more fair and competitive. If lawmakers did not convene the panel, two-thirds said they would vote for an initiative to create one.

The findings identified overwhelming demand for better elections, as the governor and other leaders have sought to achieve through an independent redistricting proposal. Nearly 70% of respondents said they are unsatisfied with the quality of candidates on the ballot and they "often feel [they] are voting for the lesser of two evils." More than three out of four voters also said the system favors Democrat and Republican candidates and is unfair to independents or minor party candidates. And nearly 60% said the system needs improvement and that government would perform better if a wider variety of candidates were elected.

But the poll also suggests that voters don’t trust politicians to set the rules for their own elections and they are much more confident in citizen-based solutions. About 70% of the poll respondents said they would be more likely to support the recommendations of an average citizens panel as opposed to government or political leaders. Just 10% were more likely to support government recommendations. Voters also were more likely to support a recommendation from an average citizens panel than one composed of independent experts.

"The biggest problem for political reform may not be the message, but the messenger. People don't trust politicians to design their own election system," said Steven Hill, director of the Political Reform Program at New America Foundation, which sponsored the survey. "The poll findings suggest a highly popular method for improving California’s electoral system and creating a government with a wider variety of lawmakers and more public confidence," Hill said.

The support for citizen recommendations was also reflected in the reaction to a citizen-based reform model that was used recently in British Columbia (Canada). Nearly 73% of respondents said California should repeat the British Columbia model, where 160 voters were randomly selected to participate in a year-long evaluation of their democracy. At the conclusion, the recommendations of the panel – known as a Citizens Assembly – were placed on the ballot for all voters to decide.

Under the Citizens Assembly model, average California voters could recommend improvements to the state’s election process, possibly including an independent redistricting commission, open primaries, campaign finance reform or alternative election methods. The survey found a majority of voters across the state already support two alternative election methods – Instant Runoff Voting or Proportional Voting.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) has been used in San Francisco to elect local offices since 2004. Under the plan, voters are allowed to rank their first, second and third choices for each office. The second and third choice rankings are used to elect majority winners in a single election if no candidate receives more than 50% (a majority) of the first choice rankings. The idea is designed to encourage a wider variety of viable candidates, discourage negative campaigning and save taxpayer money by eliminating traditional runoff elections. On Nov. 7, Oakland voters overwhelming passed Instant Runoff Voting with 69% of the vote, and Davis voters passed it with 55%.

Nearly 52% of the poll respondents liked the idea of ranking their choices for elected office. Support for the idea increased to 59% if voters thought it would discourage negative campaigns and to 70% if it would save taxpayer money.

A similar majority in the poll supported Proportional Voting, which also uses ranked choices as well as multiple seat districts to help elect a wider variety of candidates and give voters more viable choices on election day.

The survey was commissioned by New America Foundation and conducted by the Survey and Policy Research Institute in San Jose. It interviewed a random sample of 600 registered California voters who had cast ballots in at least one of the last four elections or who were newly registered to vote. These voters are referred to as active voters. The Surveys were conducted Nov. 27-30 in English and Spanish by EMH Opinions of Sacramento. The statistical margin of error for the survey, at the 95% confidence level, is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The poll analysis, survey questions and results are available for download in PDF format.

About the New America Foundation: The New America Foundation, based in Sacramento and Washington, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute that aims to bring new voices and ideas into the policy debate. With support from the James Irvine Foundation, the Political Reform Program aims to identify and develop the best opportunities for political and electoral reform, educate opinion leaders and the public about electoral alternatives, and encourage the formation of a broad-based coalition for reform.

 
At December 15, 2006 6:54 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

So who can you trust?

http://www.nysun.com/pf.php?id=45266

The Mendacity Of the Liberal Press

BY ALICIA COLON
December 15, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/45266

The first time I heard the word "mendacity" was in the film "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." I loved the way Burl Ives's character spits out the word as something vile and unacceptable.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where untruthfulness is routinely accepted and even mandated by politicians, union leaders, and members of the press. New York is the headquarters of the biggest producer of mendacity, the New York Times. Fortunately, it's also the home of the antidote, Lucianne.com.

I pity the Americans who do not have the computer expertise to access the exposés of lies of corrupt politicians and gullible television anchors, biased newspaper headlines, and anything from the Associated Press. If it were not for the Internet and Lucianne Goldberg's Web news forum, I would never learn the truth behind the Times headlines as pitched by the Drudge Report.

Matt Drudge, who may or may not be a willing accomplice to the distortion of news reporting, must be held responsible for the dissemination of the bias in the liberal press. Studies have shown that the readership of the Times is down — as it is in other liberal publications — and so are the television ratings of the alphabet networks and CNN and MSNBC, while Fox News is up.

Nevertheless, the propaganda of the enemedia — an excellent descriptive term coined by one poster to Lucianne.com — continues to sully news coverage, thanks to Mr. Drudge. A study of press bias by a professor of political science at the University of California-Los Angeles, Tim Groseclose, listed the Drudge Report as one of the most liberal sites on the Web because it consistently posts articles from left-of-center sources.

My patience with the Drudge Report ended when I saw a photo of Frank Rich of the Times posted on the site along with his words: "We are losing in Iraq." It isn't too encouraging to the morale of the nation, but posts like this are common on Drudge.

The site gives top billing to every possible negative statement about the Iraq war and the Bush administration, and it gets about 13 million hits a day. Is it any wonder that President Bush has record low approval ratings?

The week before, Mr. Drudge posted a quote from the new secretary of defense, Robert Gates: "We are not winning in Iraq." Did he really say those words? No. At Mr. Gates's confirmation hearing, Senator Levin, a Democrat of Michigan, asked him if we were winning in Iraq, and he answered, "No."

Lucianne, of course, pointed out that Mr. Gates went on to say we're not losing, either. His exact words were: "Our military forces win the battles that they fight; our soldiers have done an incredible job in Iraq. And I'm not aware of a single battle that they have lost. And I didn't want my comments to be interpreted as suggesting that they weren't being successful in their endeavors."

Mr. Gates, you can be 100% certain that everything you say from now on as secretary of defense will be misinterpreted by a certain New York publication headed by Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger.

This is the man who in the 1960s, according to author Harry Stein, when asked by his father whom he'd rather see shot when an American soldier runs into a North Vietnamese soldier, replied: "I would want to see the American get shot. It's the other guy's country."

That statement is something Mr. Sulzberger appears to be proud of, as he repeats it from time to time. Maybe he actually believes that this lack of nationalistic empathy is necessary for good journalism. I think the truth would be a better measure of it, but the Times is continuing to put out news that is completely mendacious, even when it's not about Mr. Bush or Iraq.

I was certain Pope Benedict XVI had given in to Muslim pressure. Why? Because the New York Times reported this in a headline: "In Reversal, Pope Backs Turkey's Bid to Join European Union." Of course it was posted on the Drudge Report. Was it true? Not according to Richard Neuhaus, the editor and founder of First Things, a distinguished religious publication. On December 1, he wrote, "Even by today's standards, this is a breathtaking instance of journalistic shoddiness, if not downright dishonesty."

But mendacity pays in this town, whose residents survived the worst attack on this country in history, yet they still can't recognize the danger of lies in wartime if reported in the Old Gray Lady.

My name, Alicia, means truth, so here it is. We are at war. Our military is the best in the world and the smartest we've ever had. Our enemies are barbaric beheaders who want us dead — period. You cannot negotiate with them. They exist on mendacity.

You have been warned.

 
At December 15, 2006 7:17 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I think what I like about this article is that it stops all pretenses to being the mainstream media -- and calls it what it is, the "liberal press," like any other self-serving, partisan interest group. Of course, they will still insist that they alone are the selfless, "objective" arbitrators of the public opinion -- of which they've anointed themselves the leaders and leading spokespersons for all that is politically and morally correct in society.

 
At December 15, 2006 7:23 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

They are rather disgusting, contemptible types.

Have you ever noticed how these people who are complaining every single day about how everybody is not living up to their expectations, when viewed in person, are these "people" barely recognizable as human forms?

Tell me again, what they think the rest of us have to do to win their approval?

 
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