Friday, July 25, 1997

Moving radar center
from Diamond Head

APPROVAL by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee of $12.1 million for the relocation of Honolulu's radar approach control center has important implications for the restoration of Diamond Head crater. The radar facility, now in the crater, will be moved to the air traffic control tower at Honolulu Airport. The move was dictated by the Federal Aviation Administration's need to expand the center, which could not be accomplished by remaining in Diamond Head.

Senator Inouye, who announced the committee's approval, said construction of the new facility will be completed in July 1999. After that it will take about a year to install and test the communications and radar equipment and an additional six months to train the air traffic controllers. The facility, called the Combined Center Radar Approach Control, is scheduled to be operational Jan. 1, 2001.

That will open the way for demolition of the current facility in the crater, which has operated since 1958 -- and help clear the crater of inappropriate structures. Diamond Head has national landmark status and under state law the crater is supposed to be restored to a semi-wilderness condition.

Governor Cayetano seems to have backed off from earlier proposals for a golf course or theme park in the crater in the face of criticism from environmentalists. Recognizing the popularity of Diamond Head among hikers, he has released $1.6 million for a visitor center, improvements to the trail and lookout, and a park information booth. Another welcome development was the demolition of three abandoned buildings in the crater by National Guard units.

It will be years before Diamond Head crater can be restored to something resembling its condition before development began and provide a scenic refuge from the busy city around it. Moving this FAA radar center is an essential step.

Cambodia diplomacy

SECRETARY of State Madeleine Albright says her top priority in Southeast Asia is to restore the ousted first prime minister of Cambodia, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, to power. Accordingly, she has dispatched a special envoy, former New York Rep. Steven Solarz, to prod Cambodia's feuding leaders to resolve their power struggle.

Whether enough pressure can be applied to force Hun Sen to retreat is open to question. But at least the United States and its friends in ASEAN are trying. After decades of turmoil, Cambodia's people should be spared more violence.

Waikiki prostitutes

FRUSTRATED in its attempt to remove prostitutes from the sidewalks of Waikiki, the city decided several months ago to cite the state's nuisance abatement law to seek injunctions against streetwalkers. The strategy was imaginative and worth the effort but, alas, legally flawed.

If the city wants to use civil lawsuits to further the effort to rid Waikiki of prostitution, it will need assistance from the Legislature. In the meantime, prosecutors may seek probationary conditions for convicted streetwalkers that would ban them from Kalakaua Avenue and other streets frequented by prostitutes.

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