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Sunday, May 18, 2003

Suit against Audubon should be nixed

The good news that the National Audubon Society has been chosen to operate Waimea Falls Park also means that Waimea Management is finally out. It is ludicrous that Waimea Management now is threatening to sue, questioning Audubon's qualifications and the openness that the city followed.

Waimea Management mismanaged the park, one of the most beautiful places rich in historic cultural and ecological assets. Neither the city nor Audubon has the time and money to waste answering this frivolous lawsuit.

Alfred L. Rogers

Callous tax cut would mostly benefit the rich

You reported on May 9 that the U.S. House had just voted to cut taxes by $726 billion, at a time of fiscal crisis that has already led Hawaii and other states around the country to slash Medicaid benefits. Without Medicaid, our neediest people cannot afford health care.

Instead, $726 billion in tax cuts over the next 10 years could be spent on the people of Hawaii. If that money were used to support state and local programs, Hawaii would receive $462.3 million in fiscal year 2004, which could provide health care for 216,627 of our children, according to the National Priorities Project.

The sheer scale of the tax cut in this context is surprising enough. But when you consider that people earning a million dollars or more would reap $90,000 in tax breaks, while the poorest half of us would get less than $100 each, the House's callousness becomes truly shocking.

Ivona Xiezopolski

Ewa transportation included in state plans

Ewa legislators have done an excellent job in obtaining funding for district transportation projects. Tesha Malama's May 9 letter to the editor about the impact-fees bill is without merit.

Contrary to Malama's accusations, I advocated and voted for the impact-fees bill four times, on March 6, 17, 19 and 21. However, there was no consensus on this bill among all the stakeholders. In fact, the City and County of Honolulu submitted testimony opposing the impact fees.

In addition, the state and county easily can enter into an agreement to allow the funds to be transferred if needed.

We appropriated $15 million this session to widen Fort Weaver Road, and none of the Ewa highway projects will be negatively affected in any way. The state Department of Transportation did state that bill was not needed this session.

Our transportation projects for Ewa are on schedule and are not expected to be delayed, as critics claim.

Rep. Romy M. Mindo
D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point

U.S. forges ahead on 'suitcase bombs'

The U.S. Senate has been asleep at the wheel of our foreign policy ("Panel OKs end to ban small nuke research," May 10). In the coming weeks, the Bush administration will be pushing for the acceptance of a nightmarish future.

With eyes closed to reason, hawks seek to forge ahead with the development of small-yield nuclear weapons -- "suitcase bombs." For 50 years we have held nukes while abhorring their use under our Mutually Assured Destruction policy. Exploiting our fear of terrorism, these leaders want us to embark on research to develop portable nuclear devices.

The logic and rationale for these weapons of mass destruction are as absurd as a Saturday Night Live skit. The reality is that these horrors could erase neighborhoods in Tel Aviv or Honolulu. Do we live in such a twisted dreamland as to believe that only we good and decent people would use such abominations?

Larry R. Jones

Increased competition likely in banking wars

I am chuckling over the war of words between Walter Dods, head of First Hawaiian Bank, and Clint Arnoldus, CEO of Central Pacific Bank ("Dods derides rival banker as a hostile 'malihini,'" Star-Bulletin, April 18).

My father, Kazuo, held the same job as Arnoldus three chief executives ago. While he was still working, I asked him if a local person was being groomed to take over the management of Central Pacific Bank.

My parents' living trusts designated CPB as the corporate trustee. With assets free of encumberances, I had expected their trusts to be concluded within three years. It is now more than five years.

Arnoldus' raiding of the FHB Trust Department personnel to increase by 100 percent the CPB Trust Division is a positive step that will increase competition and improve services to consumers.

I predict that within the next few years, Zions Bancorp of Utah will purchase the merged CPB/City Bank.

Takeshi Ishii

Allow all Hawaii stores to join duty-free game

It is obvious after a few years of late payments and attempts to renegotiate airport rents that Duty Free Shoppers' business model no longer works in Hawaii.

Duty Free and its duty paid subsidiaries are one of the largest retailer operations on Oahu. As such, Duty Free's activities are in direct competition with all other retailers who pay taxes to the state, rent to local landlords and keep their profits in the state.

Duty Free has an unfair competitive advantage in that it is not paying the same rents and taxes that other merchants must pay and it is seemingly unable to pay the license fee to the state in lieu of these rents and taxes. The profits from Duty Free's enterprises are going to a foreign-owned parent corporation and are leaving the state.

I suggest turning Waikiki, Oahu or even the whole state into a duty free port, allowing locally owned businesses to participate in these sales. Individual businesses could subscribe to a duty free distribution system, thus transferring the profits from a foreign-owned non-taxpayer to locally owned businesses that are paying taxes and percentage rents to local landlords. These local businesses could pay the state for this privilege in any number of ways, from a license fee to a percentage of sales.

This change would create an immediate and dramatic increase in the sales and tax revenues on Oahu and even statewide. As this revenue would stay on the island, all would benefit and finding new sources of tourists or new industry to increase sales and tax revenues would be unnecessary. Imagine the effect of many hundreds of millions of dollars of increased sales revenues trickling through the local economy.

Douglas Lupton

Columnist asked what we all need to know

Hear, hear, Molly Ivins! Finally, someone has asked the question that should be on everyone's mind: "Did we lie about Iraq or are we just incompetent?"

We know that Saddam Hussein was the worst kind of despot and needed to be deposed. But never did our administration provide believable evidence that he posed an immediate threat to the United States.

If there had been incontrovertible evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or even considering the fact that he slaughtered many of his own people, our pre-emptive invasion should have been initiated under the auspices of the United Nations. Our action undermines our credibility with the entire world, giving license to any nation to make similar pre-emptive attacks against any perceived enemy.

Our current administration made a grave error that inevitably will come back to haunt it. Unfortunately, it will come back to haunt us all.

Wendell Davenport

Why don't Muslims condemn terrorism?

Once again murderous fundamentalist Muslims have scattered blood and carnage across the landscape ("20 killed in attacks," in Saudi Arabia Star-Bulletin, May 13). It is not just an American landscape, but one devoid of boundaries, where anyone -- Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Jew -- is a target of their misogyny, murder and misguided martyrdom.

If a band of religious zealots of any other persuasion caused even a fraction of the terrorist horror that these lunatics have caused across the globe, there would be a deafening chorus of condemnation from their mainstream brethren.

So where is the Muslim chorus? More is needed than token appearances at Sept. 11 memorials. Much, much more.

Steve Lane

Bike lane will save money in long run

City Council Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi wants to cut the money for adding a bike lane on Young Street, suggesting it would put our city even more in debt.

This is an example of short-sighted thinking. Is she aware of how much damage cars do to our streets and the cost of the maintenance vs. that for bicycle use? By her way of thinking, nothing should ever be changed or improved because it might cost something extra at startup, no matter how much is saved down the road -- not just in repairs but in health costs, commute time and improved air quality.

As for decreased parking, bike riders do not need parking spaces.

Kathy Harter

Bike riders deserve respect, safe routes

Thank you for reporting recently on the City Council's move to eliminate funding to make Young Street a safe bike route to and from downtown. I live in Palolo Valley and ride my bicycle to work downtown. I have seen fellow bicyclists get hit by cars, yelled at for being "in the way" and dodge drivers pulling out from behind parked cars. Many of us do not even take Young Street at certain times, even though it's designated a "bike route," because of the dangers with traffic flow.

Drivers, please keep an eye out for bicyclists and remember that we're helping reduce traffic congestion.

City Council, please help make our city safer by putting the Young Street funding back into the budget. Even one more accident will be too many.

Josh Stanbro

Bike route best choice in the long run

The City Council is losing sight of the bigger picture that the Young Street Bicycle Corridor represents. Creating a better and safer bicycle infra- structure will encourage more people to ride bikes. What this means is that in the long term we reduce the number of cars, we reduce daily wear and tear on our city streets, and therefore we significantly reduce the maintenance costs of our streets as well.

With almost 800,000 registered vehicles in this state and traffic problems getting worse every year, will it make more sense to spend even more money trying to widen or stack our roadways? On an island with finite borders, this idea is impractical if not impossible. We are at a point where we can recognize a growing problem and present solutions before it gets completely out of hand.

This is not a plan that pits cyclists against motorists. This is a plan that will benefit everyone in the long run. If this makes sense to anyone else out there, please write to your Council member, whether you are a cyclist or not, in support of this great plan.

Matthew Yee


In support of Hamilton McCubbin ...

Reporting was no crowning achievement

As a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Class of 1989, I have witnessed first-hand many changes at Kamehameha Schools. And yes, my mother is Toni Lee, who with concern of many Hawaiians heavy on her shoulders helped form Na Pua, which took on the dark past of the Bishop Estate trustees.

In regard to Hamilton McCubbin's sudden departure from office, those of us who are educated enough to read through the article "McCubbin resigned after 2 inquiries" (Star-Bulletin, May 8), from the sensationalism it begins with to its half-hearted reporting of the fact that he was not found guilty of those allegations just really rips me in two. I weep for the Hawaiian people who have constantly been led astray about who to believe in in our community. I hope you have made your quota on paper sales.

I used to be proud to be affiliated with this paper, even proud to have my crowning picture on the side of the delivery vans awhile back, but now I am just sad and disappointed because I can no longer trust that the information you put out is balanced and concise.

Brook Lee
Miss Universe 1997
Pearl City

Papers gave readers a lascivious feast

Recently the front pages of the local papers have read more like The National Inquirer than like the family dailies we're used to. It hardly bespeaks aloha, and it doesn't say much for paradise. Hamilton McCubbin hasn't been tried, but he sure has been pilloried in the press.

We'll never know how many of the charges are true. I have strong doubts about much of what has been said for several reasons. One is that I've sat on several committees with McCubbin. While it certainly cannot be said that I know him well, he appears far too normal to be mixed up in the kinky, obsessive behaviors reported in the newspapers. He also appears to be too quiet, almost too reticent and shy a man to be so occupied. He's also good- natured. When we maneuvered him into picking up the check for dinner for 10 of us one evening, he did so without complaint.

As one looks carefully at the Kamehameha allegations, it appears that it may all boil down to a jealous office worker's resentments. Of course, it may not. But the point is we don't -- and can't -- know that. Yet some people seem ready to vilify with or without confirmation. That's the shame of it. We all ought to be ashamed of ourselves for a lascivious 10 days at a fellow human being's expense.

Mary Anne Raywid

Father has been unfairly tarnished

It is 5:30 a.m. on May 7 in Minnesota as I read the details of the alleged scandal surrounding my father, Dr. Hamilton McCubbin, in the Star-Bulletin. The insensitive nature of these articles takes me back to 1999 as my father, my sister, Laurie, and I traveled to bury my grandmother Betsy McCubbin. En route to the burial in Kaneohe, my father received the call on his cell phone: The University of Wisconsin provost, John Wiley, informed my father of the same details that are being shared with the Hawaii community today.

I only wish Wiley and the authors of today's articles took the time to inform the Hawaiian community of the truth. Instead, the articles were expressions about the destruction of a fine individual.

The McCubbin ohana began to work together to present the truth, as I do today on behalf of my brother, my sister, our extended family and for the Hawaiian community.

>> Following its official ruling against Jikyeong Kang regarding her allegations against my father, the University of Wisconsin-Madison entered into a financial agreement with her, which also called for her to resign from the university.

>> Upon receiving the official report of the university's findings that there was no wrongdoing and no violation of university policy, my father announced to Chancellor David Ward that he was resigning from the deanship to return to teaching and research.

>> My father returned to being a professor in child and family studies. Ward announced this to the public and praised his accomplishments as an administrator and scholar.

>> He became a consultant and friend to the sheik of the United Arab Emirates and agreed to help design two English-speaking universities for women there. He took time off to volunteer to serve as a dean of these universities.

>> While in the Middle East, my father was invited by the Kamehameha Schools trustees to consider and ultimately accept the invitation to become its first CEO. His dream to give back to Hawaii and the Hawaiian people was now a reality.

>> My father realized that he could not take a leave from the University of Wisconsin to become a CEO, so he chose to retire. He did not leave the university under pressure.

I know my father and mother will once again feel the anguish and pain generated by this revisiting of the past. How my sister, brother and I wish we could remove the pain that your articles create for both of my parents.

My father spoke the truth then as he does now. If he has a major fault it is that he is much too open and transparent. He has spent his lifetime seeking to find the truth, particularly through science. He talked to the McCubbin ohana about his need to reveal (the new jargon is "disclose") to the trustees the allegations against him at the time of his candidacy for CEO. He had nothing to hide then as he has nothing to hide now.

We, his children, are indeed biased in how we see our father, but this bias is not void of seeing the truths about this special man. He is filled with pride in being a Hawaiian and Kamehameha graduate, and he cherished the wonderful opportunity to give back to his alma mater and to become a living part of the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop to give to future generations of Hawaiians.

Those who mock and judge my father will never take away his sense of fulfillment and quiet pride in having given to the people of Hawaii. My mother Marilyn also sacrificed her prominent career to give to the Hawaiian people. Their contributions, however small, will forever be a part of the history of Hawaii and Pauahi's legacy.

Mahalo to the people of Hawaii and particularly those of you of Hawaiian ancestry for listening to a daughter and children of a nice man, father and mentor. Dad and Mom, we are with you and always will be. We know and shared the truth as best we could, and we love you.

Wendy Ann (McCubbin) Frantz
Laurie Dawn McCubbin
Todd Jonathan McCubbin

Graduates of the Kamehameha Explorations program


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