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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 24, 2010

Perfect ditty for mayor's train

By Lee Cataluna

It's not on YouTube yet, but I'm hoping... hoping...

Seems like in the last week, everybody in America has done a version of the insanely catchy rap song by Larry Platt called "Pants on the Ground." Who would think a 63-year-old auditioning for American Idol with a song scolding rappers about pulling up their drawers could become such a sensation?

If you search "Pants on the Ground" on YouTube, there are more than 8,000 remixes, covers and parodies. But nothing from Mayor Mufi Hannemann. Yet. And it's all teed up for him, too:

Train on the ground

Train on the ground

Lookin' like a fool with your train on the ground

Get it up!

He can add that to his transit music mix along with "The Loco-Motion" and "Love Train."

Gov. Linda Lingle's informational meeting on rail this week seemed like a political move more than anything else: a "let's mess with Mufi" party rather than "we should consider all the options" session, especially since the process is way past considering those kinds of basic questions. The decision between street-level or elevated rail was made nearly five years ago by a City Council vote. Pau already. The decision whether to pursue rail at all was made by voters already. Pau. Let's move forward. Sitting in traffic near the Sears distribution center with bladders bursting and gas gauges on E is taking years off good people's lives.

A street-level rail system would be cheaper to build, but who wants to ride a cheap train? And the first time there's an accident where a kid on a bike or a family in a car gets whacked by a train on ground-level tracks, the community will cry out, "Why, oh why didn't we build elevated tracks!"

Hannemann needs Lingle to sign off on the environmental impact statement before construction of the rail project can start, but even if she holds it up or refuses to approve, it's just a temporary setback for him and for the project. She'll be out of office by the end of the year. Hannemann can use her decision either way in his anticipated campaign for governor. If she approves and the rail project breaks ground, that's an accomplishment he can crow about, saying he's the can-do guy Hawai'i needs. If she refuses to approve the EIS, Hannemann can say, "and that's why Hawai'i needs a get-er-done guy like me as governor!"

Regardless, you can bet Hannemann won't be able to resist singing that irresistible Larry Platt song. Wait for it. Keep trolling YouTube. And if we're really lucky, Kirk Caldwell will make a cameo as his back-up dancer. Hoping hoping