BY JESSE FRANKLIN-MURDOCK – If you live in Hawaii, there’s a good chance you have been bombarded with pro-rail advertisements–on the radio, on television, even at your front door–by I Mua Rail.
I Mua Rail is an enormous public relations campaign run by Pacific Resource Partnership, an organization working to advance the interests of major contractors and unions in Hawaii.
This should be very troubling to you–even if you are a staunch supporter of the controversial $5.2 billion elevated steel rail project.
Here’s why. PRP, the apparatus behind the I Mua Rail campaign, is not affliliated with the actual rail project nor with public transportation in general.
PRP would benefit hugely from the rail project, as billions of dollars in contracts would be awarded to the contractors it represents.
The organization is spending upwards of $1 million trying to sink Ben Cayetano’s mayoral campaign because Cayetano is opposed to the rail project.
It is extremely troubling to me that an organization, whose purpose is to funnel money to large contractors, has positioned itself as one of the major voices in a debate that ideally should be about transportation and what is best for Hawaii–not about lucrative contracts and windfall revenues.
I resigned from I Mua Rail because I believe they are using their deep pockets to steer the debate about rail away from discussing what is best for Hawaii and toward what is best for their organization.
I thus urge you to consider this enormous conflict of interest the next time you see an I Mua Rail advertisement.
Jesse Franklin-Murdock is a Former I Mua Rail Canvasser and a resident of Honolulu