By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, April 18, 1997

'Compromise is not Justice,'
say gay-marriage advocates

Civil libertarians and others are protesting the Legislature's move toward a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-gender marriage.

About 40 people circled the state Capitol atrium yesterday with signs that said, "Compromise is not Justice" -- a reference to conference committee bills agreed upon Wednesday night that would put the amendment before voters while giving gays and lesbians limited state benefits.

"When it comes to fundamental rights, you cannot compromise, and that is exactly what the House and Senate did," said Vanessa Chong, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and one of the event's coordinators.

The protesters represented the Clergy Coalition, a group of more than 40 church leaders who favor equal rights, and the Coalition for Equality and Diversity, composed of some 30 civil rights organizations.

Among them was the Japanese American Citizens League, which pointed to the World War II internment camps as an example of how majority attitudes can harm an unpopular minority.

"We fear that by trying to appease a vocal and well-funded group of moral zealots, a questionable and dangerous precedent is being set that betrays Hawaii's traditions of acceptance, tolerance and fairness," said Steve Okino, vice president of the Honolulu chapter.

Chong said the protesters are seeking permission to conduct a "vigil of mourning" from Sunday to the end of the legislative session.

UH takes over management
of Institute for Astronomy

The University of Hawaii administration is taking a series of actions to control the Institute for Astronomy's management after an audit some call politically motivated.

Concerns about the Mees Observatory and astronomy on Haleakala, Maui, run through the audit, conducted by Grant Thornton, accountants and management consultants.

In response to the findings, the UH administration suspended authority delegated to Institute Director Donald N.B. Hall to make certain administrative decisions.

Personnel actions, financial transactions over $4,000 and other administrative matters now must go to the Office of Research Services for review, then processed to other offices. Every appointment longer than one year must be approved by regents.

Hall said the audit identified problems that are systemwide rather than specific to his institute, or are paperwork or procedural violations. "Many are inherent to running an internationally competitive research institute within a state university and (university) procedures."

The Board of Regents' Finance Committee yesterday approved the audit report after a subcommittee recommended acceptance. It was on the regents' agenda for approval at a meeting today.

Bank robbery suspect
left trail of evidence

Big Island bank robbery suspect Sonny Mansfield Hoopai III left a trail of evidence behind him, according to an affidavit by FBI agent Thomas L. Carpenter.

Federal Magistrate Francis I. Yamashita yesterday found probable cause to hold Hoopai on bank robbery charges.

Carpenter said Hoopai's first robbery April 9 at the First Hawaiian Bank got him $1,260, but that included $200 of "bait money" with prerecorded serial numbers. Later that day, the bait money turned up at a car dealership, where Hoopai and another person made a $1,000 down payment on a pickup truck, Carpenter said.

In a second robbery Monday at Pioneer Federal Savings Bank, Hoopai, wearing black clothing, got away with $4,000 and a maroon bag with Pioneer's name on it, Carpenter said. He said both tellers identified Hoopai in photo lineups.

Hoopai admitted he committed the two robberies, Carpenter said. The Pioneer bag and his black clothing were found in the pickup truck.

Hoopai was on furlough from the county jail for a previous conviction and would have been free yesterday.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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By Star-Bulletin staff

Woman reports rape
by 4 men in Waikiki

A 25-year-old Waikiki woman walking home Wednesday after a night of drinking was held for two hours and raped by four men, she told police.

She was being treated at Kapiolani Hospital, police said.

The woman was walking at the rear of 2240 Manukai St. about 10:30 p.m. when a man grabbed her by the shirt and dragged her behind a trash bin where three other men allegedly waited. All four men allegedly held her down and sexually assaulted her, police said. She walked home after they released her, and reported the incident.

She described the man who dragged her off the street as a man in his 20s, about 6-feet, 200 pounds. He wore a black tank top and blue shorts.

Man burned during
moped repair dies

A 29-year-old Kalihi man who was severely burned Tuesday while repairing a moped died yesterday at Straub Hospital. The medical examiner's office identified the man as Michael R. Poyo of a Kalihi Street address.

Poyo suffered burns over 80 percent of his body. He was pronounced dead at 8:50 a.m.

Poyo was working on a moped at a heavy equipment repair yard on Sand Island Access Road when the gas tank caught fire. Gas spilled onto Poyo's clothing, which also caught on fire.

Rodney Tagala, 28, suffered burns over 20 percent of his body trying to smother the flames that engulfed his friend. Tagala is listed in stable condition at Straub.

Other Police/Fire headlines
in today’s Star-Bulletin:

  • Father who hurt baby indicted for assault
  • Suspect in car theft had gun in pocket
  • Fast-food robbers demand cash, soda
  • Suspected shoplifter pointed gun at officer

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
See our [Info] section for subscription information.

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