Friday, May 12, 2000
Cleaning house at Kamehameha
Investigation into holdovers is ongoingRandall Roth's May 6 letter and your May 9 editorial suggested that we, the Kamehameha Schools interim trustees, should "clean house" and that "individuals who for years were at the epicenter of abuse and are still on the payroll" should be removed.
We have released some employees of Kamehameha Schools and terminated contracts with some outside service providers when we felt it advisable to do so. However, employees during the tenure of the five former trustees have been retained.
We have treated employees and service providers in an honest, open and fair manner. "Cleaning house" or terminating people because they were employees at an unfortunate time does not accomplish this purpose, unless good reason exists.
We are having an independent review done to determine whether these persons should be retained as employees or service providers and, if so, in what capacity.
An opportunity will be given to those who have made these charges to present their complaints and allegations in writing to the investigators, so they can be given consideration.
We hope that the many well-intentioned supporters of Kamehameha Schools will not rush to judgment until this investigation is complete.
Robert Kihune, David Coon
Francis Keala, Connie Lau
and Robert Libkuman
Ex-trustees abused Kamehameha employeesAs a graduate and employee of Kamehameha Schools, and with no authorization from my superiors, I would like to respond to Randall Roth's May 6 letter urging the interim trustees to "clean house."
Roth has no clue as to the turmoil that went on internally at Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate during his quest to remove the former trustees.
He was ranting about their abuse of power, yet he still fails to understand that many of the employees, including our top executives, were forced to yield to that power.
True, no guns were pointed to our heads, but jobs and livelihoods were threatened. The former trustees would have fired many people, if not for all the negative publicity they were already receiving.
Since Roth didn't work here during the year and a half of chaos, he did not witness the verbal lashings I received from some of the former trustees. He didn't hear the verbal abuse that the former trustees hammered on these people he calls "holdovers."
Most important, Roth fails to realize that some of these very holdovers were instrumental in the permanent removal of the former trustees.
Bishop Estate Archive
Schools need money, not superintendentThe big winner from this year's legislative session was none other than our own superintendent of schools, Paul LeMahieu.
While 2 percent raises for teachers didn't pass, while per pupil expenditures remain the same, while capital improvement funds focused only on high-profile cases, LeMahieu will be eligible, according to SB1276, for a 66 percent salary increase.
He will also be allowed to receive money for acting as a consultant to outside agencies.
When will we be able to commend our Legislature for putting taxpayer money where it will do the most good for our students?
Dogs should be on leashes in publicAs a dog owner, I have seen a number of dogs running loose. Sometimes the animal escapes by itself but, often, owners purposely let their dogs out unattended. Some people walk their canines without a leash.
But unleashed dogs, however good-natured they seem, pose a potential threat.
One day, for example, my dad and I were walking my dog, when a loose animal trotted down the street. It left my pet alone, but kept pace with me, fixing me with a steady stare. It was horribly unnerving, because the dog was large enough to inflict serious injury if it got riled.
When people don't follow the leash law, police should enforce it with greater severity. Although this may seem overly cautious, it is necessary to uphold the well-being of the community.
Why have a bandstand with no benches?I understand there will be no benches or seating at the new bandstand at Kapiolani Park. I know that we can sit on the grass, but many of us are a little too old for that, I'm afraid.
Question: If the band is there, but nobody comes to listen, is it really playing?
Marshallese are having adjustment problemsYour May 9 article about Marshall Islanders seeking reparations explains a lot about the situation we are experiencing on the Big Island.
There are, according to accounts, several thousand Marshall Islanders who have relocated to Hawaii County. Schools are experiencing problems with the children. Public health officials are concerned because of the tuberculosis cases that have been found, different strains of head lice and other health problems.
In Ka'u, a number of Marshallese "communes" exist, with extended families living in unsanitary conditions, non-permitted shacks and structures, etc. Some of the children have been involved in shoplifting, vehicle theft and other criminal acts.
Is it fair to them or the communities where they now live that they have been relocated without any orientation as to what to expect?
Shouldn't government agencies be providing them with orientation so they understand the differences in culture and a basic understanding of local laws? Wouldn't this make their move easier on them and their new neighbors?
Finally, do any other communities have programs in place to make their transition smoother?
Maui Family Court should be investigatedI have no direct knowledge of or involvement in the French child custody/kidnapping case (Star-Bulletin, May 5). I also believe that the federal government had no choice but to apprehend Mary Lou French because she violated federal law.
Looking at the situation logically, however, there must be another side to the story.
I and many other people who have been involved with child custody cases in Maui know that proceedings in its family court are frequently and seriously corrupted by individuals with their own private interests, most often to the detriment of the children whose custody cases are in progress.
There must be a reason why Mrs. French -- a successful businesswoman and mother with a new family -- would elect to flee and deal with the federal government rather than family court. Perhaps the press should address this problem rather than vilify a mother who was forced to make such a devastating choice.
Philip R. Foti
"Even my husband said,
'It's a cute idea but I don't think
you'll get very far.' " Karen Sotomura
PRESIDENT OF JOSEPH K. & CO. The state's Small Business Administration Exporter
of the Year who makes multimillions in sales of
Hawaiian Christmas ornaments, mostly
on the mainland
"His failure to recognize
this flag as a symbol of... hatred of
African Americans is comparable to
accepting the swastika symbolizing
Jewish persecution as a matter
for the Germans to work out." News release
FROM THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN
ASSOCIATION OF HAWAII Criticizing Riley Wallace, UH men's basketball coach,
for not supporting the NCAA's position on the
Confederate flag at the South Carolina capitol
Fire chief deserves an apology: This is itAfter reading Honolulu Fire Chief Atillio K. Leonardi's May 4 letter, it appears I owe him an apology. I had read somewhere that he had made the statement that money was not relevant when a human life was at stake.
According to his letter, however, he did not say that. Since Chief Leonardi is an honorable man, if he says that he didn't say it, that's gospel for me. Chief, I am sorry to have put words in your mouth.
Richard O. Rowland
'Live Aloha' isn't practiced in HawaiiI moved here from Alabama a year ago and I know racism when I see it. It's rampant here. "Live Aloha" makes a nice bumper sticker, but not many people practice it.
Oahu schools get first crack at repair moneyWhat a shame to read your May 9 article about how Lahainaluna High School is falling apart.
Our schools must have the highest priority when it comes to upkeep. Students don't deserve to be educated as though they live in slums, while legislators surround themselves with fancy koa.
In Hawaii, we have two sub-states to speak of: Oahu and the rest. Oahu gets everything and then, if there is anything left, the outer islands must share.
So, students at Lahainaluna High on Maui, don't hold your breath. Oahu has lots of urgent school repairs that need to be taken care of, too.
Medical marijuana will ease sufferingGovernor Cayetano should sign into law the legalization of marijuana for specific medical purposes. I have seen several of my friends who are police officers and HPD retirees succumb to various forms of cancer. It is not a pleasant sight.
Some of them have used these "herbal" products for relief from nausea, especially after chemotherapy treatment. Some turned to marijuana after all medically prescribed forms of relief did not work.
Properly prescribed and controlled, medical marijuana gives comfort to those who need it, especially the terminally ill.
Steven T.K. Burke
Retiree, Honolulu Police Department
Presence of Clintons defiled cardinal's funeralAmerica and the world lost a great leader with the passing of Cardinal John O'Connor of New York. Was it really necessary to compound the tragedy and defile his funeral with the presence of Bill and Hillary Clinton?
Michael F. Parry
Do military duffers want golf course sold?I attended a recent public meeting on the development of Ford Island, and confirmed that one of the project funding proposals is the sale of the Barbers Point Naval Golf Course. I was shocked that no military personnel spoke against this proposal to sell, as surplus, their prized recreational facility.
Only about 40 people were in attendance. Had this been a meeting about closing the Ala Wai Golf Course, it would have been standing room only!
That's when I realized that maybe no military personnel (at least those interested in furthering their military careers) would testify against a decision made by the top brass. Are they members of the "silenced majority"?
The Ford Island Development Project appears to be a good one. It would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Pearl Harbor operations. But the above-mentioned funding scheme smells.
Why sacrifice a highly desirable recreational facility, resulting in possible long-term negative impacts on the morale of our nation's defenders and their families? Our congressional delegation must assist the military's "silenced majority" to right this wrong.
Why must homosexuality be accepted by all?What happened in Vermont, where the homosexual community won a big victory for the same marriage benefits as heterosexual couples? Is this the "new tolerance" sweeping the country?
This new tolerance is the false assumption that we must approve and endorse a person's beliefs, values and lifestyle. If we don't, we're considered intolerant and bigoted.
Whatever happened to traditional tolerance, in which we can reject another person's lifestyle, and still love and accept that person as one created in the image of God?
Hawaii Revised Statutes
Write aWant to write a letter to the editor? Let all Star-Bulletin readers know what you think. Please keep your letter to about 200 words. You can send it by e-mail to email@example.com or you can fill in the online form for a faster response. Or print it and mail it to: Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or fax it to: 523-8509. Always be sure to include your daytime phone number.
Letter to the Editor