Friday, November 23, 2001

Ward brightens
Kakaako’s future

The issue: Victoria Ward Ltd. hopes
to capitalize on its success in building
attractive retail centers in the district

Victoria Ward Ltd.'s ambitious plans for its Kakaako property paints an optimistic picture of Honolulu's retail landscape buffeted by the current economic crisis. The company, which takes its name from the matriarch of a kamaaina family whose land holdings once stretched from Thomas Square to the sea, has obviously been mindful of its island roots as it has unfolded its redevelopment projects.

Instead of a monolithic, enclosed shopping mall, Victoria Ward's retail spaces are airy and lower in profile. Termed an "urban street experience," the shopping district's design takes full advantage of Hawaii's fine weather with outdoor-seating restaurants and cafes, benches along sidewalks and swaths of greenery that echo Ala Moana Park across the boulevard.

Even the company's latest tenant, the upscale Nordstrom department store, which intends to open in 2005, will be no more than three stories high. As it considers residential development, it would be fitting for the company to measure the pleasing view plane it has created against the blocks of concrete of other condominiums a few blocks away.

Victoria Ward has wisely spaced its parking areas, minimizing concentrated lines of cars entering and exiting lots and generating the foot traffic retailers desire. The quarter's popularity, however, has created pedestrian safety problems. Some moviegoers, apparently too lazy or rushing to make show times, jaywalk across Auahi Street, despite the efforts of security people. Police say that under certain circumstances, the law allows pedestrians to ignore crosswalks. The danger, however, is evident enough that authorities should issue warnings, even citations, before someone is hurt or killed. Meanwhile, Victoria Ward officials should press the city, which is reluctant to install a midblock crosswalk, to find a way to discourage such irresponsible behavior.

The company's plans have given a boost to the state's hopes for redevelopment of Kakaako, which has moved along in fits and starts since efforts began more than 30 years ago. The fact that Victoria Ward, Kamehameha Schools, which hopes to develop a high-tech office complex nearby, and the state, which wants to build a biomedical research facility on its land, have agreed to hire a design firm to plan jointly for their properties bodes well for Hawaii.

With Victoria Ward's initiative and this cooperative effort, Kakaako -- which in Victoria Robinson Ward's day was considered the outskirts of the city -- may well turn out to be a gem along Honolulu's waterfront.

Bush pledge widens
war on terrorism

The issue: President Bush has
agreed to assist the Philippines in
combatting insurgent groups

PRESIDENT Bush's pledge to increase military assistance to the Philippines was a significant extension of the U.S. war against terrorism to Asia and the Pacific. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also came away from Washington with help against insurgents beyond Osama bin Laden's international network. The agreement raises questions about just how broad the U.S. anti-terrorism campaign could become.

The United States has provided equipment, intelligence and military advisors to the Philippines' war against Abu Sayyaf, a radical Islamic separatist group that has ties to bin Laden's al-Qaida network and operates in the southwest corner of the Philippines. Following a meeting this week with Macapagal-Arroyo, Bush agreed to provide the Philippines with $92.3 million in military equipment, including a C-130 transport plane, eight Huey helicopters, a patrol boat and 30,000 M-16 rifles.

Abu Sayyaf, which numbers about 450 insurgents, is the most radical of the Philippines' Islamic separatist groups. The group has been holding missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham of Wichita, Kan., and a Filipino nurse for nearly six months.

Even before Macapagal-Arroyo's visit to Washington, Abu Sayyaf had been included among the terrorist groups listed in Bush's executive order freezing their assets. Bush also agreed to add to the list the communist New Peoples Army, which comprises the country's largest insurgency, and indicated he might add some other Muslim groups. That could include the 15,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has launched a series of attacks recently on Mindanao but has no apparent connection to al-Qaida.

Adm. Dennis Blair, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, told reporters in Malaysia that the United States will work with other countries in Asia and the Pacific to fight terrorism. Muslim extremists operate in parts of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Malaysia. In addition, Blair said the campaign could be extended to combat piracy, gunrunning, drug activities and human trafficking.

In announcing the assistance, Bush said the United States would hunt down terrorists "in Afghanistan or the Philippines or anywhere al-Qaida exists." That seems to include all terrorist or insurgent groups -- al-Qaida-related or not -- in countries where at least one group has al-Qaida connections.

Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, managing editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
assistant managing editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, assistant managing editor 529-4762;

Richard Halloran, editorial page director, 529-4790;
John Flanagan, contributing editor 294-3533;

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