Tuesday, September 19, 2000
joins OHA Board
of TrusteesThe issue: Governor Cayetano has named a non-Hawaiian among nine trustees appointed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board.
Our view: The appointees are responsible people and may be more effective than the old board.
THE Supreme Court's decision in Rice vs. Cayetano, which invalidated the Hawaiian-only restriction in voting for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, seemed to imply that the OHA trustees similarly could not be restricted to persons of Hawaiian blood.
In his appointments of interim trustees, Governor Cayetano demonstrated that he held that opinion by choosing a non-Hawaiian, Charles Ota.
Ota is a distinguished citizen. A Maui resident, he is a small-businessman and a decorated veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He has served on the Maui County Council, the state Land Use Commission and the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Ota commented that his ancestry is Japanese "but I feel I have been Hawaiian all my life."
Cayetano also appointed three of the trustees who resigned Sept. 8 -- Clayton Hee, Hannah Springer and Colette Machado --plus singer Nalani Olds, Nani Brandt, a former commissioner with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Gladys Brandt, former University of Hawaii regent, Dante Carpenter, former Hawaii County mayor and state senator, and Ilei Beniamina, a Hawaiian language teacher.
Not surprisingly, the governor passed over his fiercest critics among the former trustees, and they have responded by continuing to berate him. However, his appointees are solid, responsible people and may be an improvement. The new board isn't likely to be "dysfunctional," Cayetano's description of the former board -- with which many would agree.
The new trustees' appointments will last only until the winners of the next elections are installed. On Nov. 7 Cayetano's critics will have their opportunity to regain their seats -- if the voters approve.
Bishop settlementThe issue: The state attorney general and former trustees of the Bishop Estate have agreed to settle the lawsuit alleging mismanagement of the estate.
Our view: The settlement hopefully will hold the ex-trustees accountable for their mismanagement.
COMBATANTS in the tumultuous Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate affair have agreed to an out-of-court settlement in the spirit of looking to the future. Specific terms of the settlement are confidential at this point but hopefully will not dismiss the accountability of the former trustees. Many of their actions were too egregious to be buried with the past.
Before being forced to resign, the former trustees of what has been renamed simply Kamehameha Schools authorized the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in their attempts to retain their $1-million-a-year positions. Former trustees Henry Peters, Richard Wong and Lokelani Lindsey wasted vast estate resources in attempts to silence their critics.
They went to extraordinary lengths in what was characterized by a court-appointed special master as a "destroy the opposition" campaign against judges, law enforcement agencies, the Star-Bulletin and critics among the trust's own beneficiaries.
That included the expenditure of $1.4 million in fees to the law firm of McCorriston Miho Miller Mukai for research into possible lawsuits against the attorney general's office and this newspaper, among other things.
Clyde Matsui, a probate court-appointed master for the state's three-year-old lawsuit against the trustees, said the estate's insurance carrier has agreed to commit its policy limit of $25 million to the settlement. The estate will receive $15 million toward covering the alleged mismanagement of trust assets, which resulted in investment losses of $200 million.
The settlement also will provide about $1.3 million in costs incurred by the attorney general's office and $4 million in legal fees that have been paid by the ex-trustees. Matsui said the settlement money will not be used to pay for the legal defense against related criminal charges pending against Peters and Wong.
A report earlier this year by attorney Robert Richards, a court-appointed special master, recommended that the former trustees be required to compensate the estate for the $5 million in fees for legal work assigned to outside lawyers. Relieving Peters, Wong and Lindsey of responsibility for such compensation, relying instead on insurance funds, would fail to hold them fully accountable.
GEORGE Kanahele, who died Thursday on Guam at 69, was a scholar who played a unique role in promoting Hawaiian culture in the visitor industry.
Of Hawaiian ancestry, Kanahele earned a doctorate in political science and wrote several works on Hawaiian history, including a biography of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.
He made a mission of persuading the visitor industry to embrace and emphasize things Hawaiian. This, he felt, would benefit Hawaiians as well as tourism.
For years he had been advising hotel managers and other business executives on ways to impart Hawaiian values to tourists through their staffs.
In a 1994 report called "Restoring Hawaiianness to Waikiki," he laid out dozens of proposals for improving the tourist district.
His work inspired the phrase "a Hawaiian sense of place" and organizations promoting Hawaiian culture. He will be remembered as the leader of a much-needed movement to prevent the visitor industry from losing its character.
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