Imua Rail is an Oxymoron

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BY GLORIA GARVEY – The political pulp that is being promulgated by mega-corporate-group-person that calls itself Move Oahu Forward is an insult to our collective intelligence.  I have not visited the site that is advertised on the television commercials:, but I am offended by its cognitive dissonance.  It is concrete  proof of who thinks they own native culture.  Imua and Rail do not go together.  Imua has its place in Hawai`i.  Rail does not.  What an insult to the Hawaiian language, and the people of Hawai`i.


Imua rail is an oxymoron.  An unfunny joke.  Perfectly awful.  Pure Evil.  A fine mess.  A “little” big.  A sincere lie.  A terrific headache.  A white lie.  Willfully negligent.  Voodoo science.

Rail itself  is a cluster bomb of stupidity, with consistent uncertanties.  Arguments made for it are consistently inconsistent.  Thinking is conspicuously absent.

Rail is creative destruction of our environment.  It will be a crash landing on the environment.  When they actually start to build the cars, it will be a dark day in Hawai`i.  Although its costs are already rising, it promises us easy payments and economic stability.  It is an express bus that stops 19 times.  They say rail got a fair trial with the manipulated question on the election ballot, but it is fairly obvious that with 5 million dollars on the side of rail, that people did not know what they were voting for.

Rail is a creation of the developers;  the reason traffic will increase on O`ahu is not because people will buy more cars, but because the corporate landowners want to develop their land, and reclassify their ag land to commercial land.  This is the reason for rail.  Based on land classifications, development of O`ahu was likely to be complete and done by 2005.  That was seven short years ago.  Now they reclassify the land;  they approve developments and :  we need rail!    There was a thirty year moratorium on building in Waikiki.  That was smart.  Then it ended.  That was dumb.

The problems that have cropped up around rail are positioned as innocent bureaucratic blunders.  Based on insane logic, the argument is made that rail will offer comfort and ease getting into town.  That being said, if it were to be built, and its cars were to have the 64 seats they now say they will have, and if they get the ridership they claim, more than half the passengers will be standing.  Unable to sit down.

Is rail the lesser evil or the lesser good?  Middle East Peace will happen before steel-on-steel rail makes sense in Hawai`i.

Imua Hawai`i.  Say a’ole to rail.

Gloria Garvey is a Hawaii entrepreneur and branding expert.





  1. Gloria Garvey – what a writer!
    I could not have said it any better – thank YOU for your ability to seize the issues and their ramifications.
    Tell it like it is, oxymoron at its worst (best?).

  2. maliaioana was right…It could not have been said any better.

    “Gloria Garvey for Governor!”

  3. The attitude expressed in this article sounds like that of a TOXIC MORON. “Imua Rail is an oxymoron.” Really? I think someone needs to look up the definition of oxymoron. I’m offended by it’s “cognitive disconnectedness” to the needs of THIS culture in THIS time period and the needs of future generations. This article is insulting to THIS native and thousands of other forward thinkers like me. I wonder, does the author even understand the meaning of the word Imua? Imua means to go forward. Another might say to progress (holo imua). It also implies improvement upon ones self or community. So to me the true meaning of “Imua” isn’t simply forward movement, but the act of becoming better than before. What it doesn’t mean is to remain as you are; to never improve. And it certainly doesn’t mean to go backwards. This article is a strong example of backwards thinking.

    She makes a statement of there being proof of “who thinks they own native culture”. 1) I didn’t know you could own a native culture, 2) Since when does adding a train to our beautiful growing metropolis diminish or erase in any way any of our culture, and 3) What native culture would this author be referring to? Hawai’i’s divers culture in the 21st century is not the same “native” culture of, for example, Kamehameha’s day. I respect the Hawaiian culture and our ancestors greatly. With all due respect, they are our past; our history. WE are THEIR future. More importantly, we are NOW. WE are the inhabitants of this land in THIS time. We are not trying to preserve a 17th or 18th century lifestyle or mindset in the present time. The old ways are just that… “old ways”. And we are certainly NOT trying to go back to them. Don’t get me wrong, our history is rich and I respect it for what it was and for the goodness which has made us who we are NOW because of it. But let it remain what it is… “history”.

    She says, “Imua has a place in Hawai’i. Rail does not.” In her own words, “a cluster bomb of stupidity.” That’s like saying Hawaiians have a place in Hawai’i, haoles do not. WHAT?

    I, like many other native people, have had the opportunity to live outside Hawai’i for a period of time, in places that have rail. In my humble opinion it’s a good thing. Yes, I had a car, and I used the rail just about every day. It was extremely fast and convenient and I saved a butt load on gas money and parking fees alone. Not to mention the time I saved commuting.

    She makes a comment about the rail not having enough seats and how some people would have to stand. Hello?! Has this person been on a bus? EVER? Riding a bus in to town from the windward OR leeward sides is standing room only during morning rush hours. It’s the same thing again in afternoon rush hours. And I say hours (plural) because it’s not just one rush “hour”. It’s nice when you can get a seat on the train or bus, but unfortunately there are times when you have to stand. Well, boo hoo. If you don’t like standing while you ride, try walking home. Maybe you’d enjoy that better, I don’t know. But here’s my point, excluding grid locked car traffic, with the choices being standing room only on the bus or the train, I would rather stand for 15-20 minutes on a speedy train than for 60-90 minutes on a grid locked, stuck-in-traffic bus. Depending on where you were traveling to, you could literally spend more time “standing” at a bus stop waiting for your bus, than the time it would take to travel home on the rail. With that said, compare 15-20 minutes by rail and you could be home versus 15-20 minutes by bus OR CAR for that matter, and you’re not even out of the city yet.

    Regarding her final statement, “Middle East peace will happen before steel-on-steel rail makes sense in Hawai’i.” A more accurate statement would be, “Middle East peace will happen before steel-on-steel rail in Hawai’i makes sense to Gloria Garvey.” As for myself and people of like-minds it makes sense right now and has for years. In that sense you could say we are ahead of our time and are excited for Hawai’i to catch up.

    • I don’t know who you are, but I sure made you mad. You are absolutely right that Middle East peace will happen when steel-on-steel-rail in Hawaii makes sense to Gloria Garvey — as in me — as in it will never make sense in Hawaii and Middle East peace will never happen.

      I am not a moron by the way, neither am I toxic. Are you that mean all the time? Must be exhausting.

    • I couldn’t agree more with this post. As a native Hawaiian who has traveled extensively and has used rail systems all over the world, I would have to agree that rail works. It’s an efficient, convenient, expedient transportation option.
      Let’s face it, progress is going to happen, people are going to continue to move here, generations will continue to be born and the population will continue to expand. It’s inevitable. Why not accept it and try to get ahead of it? Our roadways are already overburdened and antiquated and I can only see matters getting worse. Honestly, we are already overdue for transportation revamps and upgrades. Our Aina Is small, space is limited and it is unlikely that we will be able to build the kinds of roadways that will be needed to accommodate future traffic (especially in Honolulu). I see a well planned rail system as a viable solution to our traffic problems. It’s very easy to criticize, but quite another thing to come up with workable solutions. I’d like to ask Gloria Garvey, what she suggests we do instead. So please Ms. Garvey, spare us your high minded, impractical opinions and misuse of the word oxymoron. If you are so opposed to rail, come up with something else that will help remedy our very real transportation problem.

      • SpugiaOfPerugia states that “I see a well planned rail system as a viable solution to our traffic problems. That is nice but the rail system that is being built is neither a viable solution to traffic problems (traffic will be continue to be worse even with rail) or was it very well planned. If I thought the rail project would be useful I possibly would support it. It is a horrible waste of taxpayer money that is being build to benefit developers. If the developers want it let them pay for it, not the taxpayers of Oahu!

    • Ms Garvey, you may not be a moron but such strongly worded anti-rail statements about a system that offers a viable solution to our very real traffic problems certainly qualifies as moronic. I also find such adamant criticism and backward thinking quite toxic. Again, I have lived in cities where properly implemented rail systems have worked extremely well. We need a SOLUTION not merely complaints and we needed it YESTERDAY! With regard to your comment about peace in the middle east…. Achieving peace in the middle east is no more attainable than your suggestion that we stop progress and development in Hawai’i. Seriously? This is your solution?

      • Hi SFFH: I did not offer a solution. I was commenting on the insensitivity of people who appropriate the Hawaiian language for commercial purposes. At any rate, you and I will n never agree on this, so I hope you can take a rest. There are other ways to address our traffic problems, but there is no point in
        discussing it on line with you. have a nice day. GG

  4. Gloria Garvey,
    I just wanted to thank you for writing such a powerful piece! I COMPLETELY agree with you. As a native hawaiian who attends the prestigious Kamehameha schools, I was completely insulted when I had heard the “imua rail” commercials. How dare they even associate such a disgusting idea with the beautiful and profound culture. and to the person above, I would like to say that you may think that a rail was completely helpful in other places in the world, but it will simply not work for Hawaii. Our state survives off of our tourism industry and we are putting that on the line when we obstruct the beautiful natrualness of Hawaii. People pay thousands to get away from the cold cemented cities and its rail systems. Now we are going to bring that here? i think not. It is evident that many people who have authority are only using it to get recognition from leading the rail project and are using the rail as a trophy. It is amazing how people want to defend such a horrible idea that we know that the state cannot and may not ever be able to afford. We simply cannot afford it. If people cannot afford a mercedes, then they dont go out and buy a mercedes. what excludes Hawaii from doing the same? We cannot afford rail, therefore we should not pay for rail. But instead, there are people who are simply looking for their second of fame. just something to think about.

  5. Imua Rail would be a great motto if the current rail design and costs were “an efficient, convenient, expedient transportation option” or if it was going to be “properly implemented” and it sure isn’t “an efficient, convenient, expedient transportation option” as it is presently designed and unfortunately now being built.

    Wonder what the costs to tear down the new construction underway will cost taxpayers?

    Those who decided the final route and station locations appear to be clueless and/or simply indifferent to what is truly needed by the people of Oahu when it comes to traffic.

    It is way past time for our legislators to show if they actually possess leadership skills and if so, then muster up and lead for what is right for those who put you in office.

    • Agree with you completely. I was horrified to learn that the current Imua Rail campaign is not the big money rail PAC — that is to come later.

  6. Thank You for your article! My stomach turns every time I see those “Imua Rail” commercials. The problem with the current rail proposal is not so much the proposal of mass transit but the lack of future planning of what they are trying to accomplish. I think the HART Board of Directors are really trying to understand it themselves and the only thing these commercials are doing is creating Mass Hypnosis! There are better ways to have spent the 20 million dollars already invested in the future? I’m just saying, in 30 years of planning, this is all they can come up with? A’OLE RAIL!

  7. Light rail would be a TERRIBLE idea for Hawai'i.
    You have NO need for rail anytime in the foreseeable future.
    It has been a disaster in smaller cities like Honolulu.
    It has only been successful where it has connected large, sprawled-out suburban towns to larger inner cities.
    Hawai'i should say "No" to the developers who want to line their pockets at the expense of the people !
    -"A mainlander haole who loves Hawai'i"

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