Friday, August 15, 1997

Bishop trustee Lindsey
sketches school plan

ONE of the recommendations made in the "Broken Trust" article written by five prominent members of the community and published by the Star-Bulletin last Saturday was that the Bishop Estate trustees should "draft and widely distribute a strategic plan with clearly stated vision, goals and objectives for both protection of the endowment and operation of Kamehameha Schools." On Tuesday the trustees adopted a plan for the schools covering 1997 through 2005.

Although the timing appeared to be coincidental, the action might be considered partial fulfillment of the recommendation. Trustee Lokelani Lindsey explained in an interview with the Star-Bulletin's Rod Ohira published yesterday that the schools previously had no strategic plan. She said the plan as adopted was the result of an assessment of the schools to determine whether their programs were producing the desired results.

Lindsey, a professional educator, has assumed special responsibility for education since joining the board and has been criticized for heavy-handedness in dealing with the schools' faculty and administration. This criticism led to an unprecedented protest demonstration by alumni and parents of students against the trustees' policies last May.

In the interview Lindsey admits that she made mistakes in implementing changes. She said she did not fully appreciate the pressure she was placing on the faculty in view of their other responsibilities. But she claimed that she had been maligned and wrongly accused.

This is not the place for a full discussion of the trustees' plan for the schools. But some observations are in order.

Lindsey says $11 million saved by eliminating some programs was used to implement the schools' "Go Forward" plan. But the critics charge that millions of dollars was squandered by the trustees on investment schemes that turned sour, money that could have been used for educational programs and perhaps avoided the need to drop or cut programs.

She underestimates the turmoil that she has caused at the schools. The damage to faculty morale and alumni confidence in the trustees' handling of the schools is great. It may take years for the wounds to heal, particularly if the rumored ouster of the popular president, Michael Chun, occurs. Gaining acceptance of the new plan has been made much more difficult.

Finally, providing a strategic plan for the schools could at most satisfy only one of the recommendations made by the five authors. Perhaps the most important, an investigation by the state of the trustees' practices, has been adopted by Governor Cayetano and should proceed.

Richie's sentence

HAWAII'S law against promoting prostitution was interpreted in extreme fashion last year in the trial of Carl Richie. Kauai Judge George Masuoka sentenced him to a prison term that was unduly harsh -- 10 years. A group of community leaders petitioned Governor Cayetano last month to release Richie from prison while he awaits a decision on his appeal. Their request should be granted.

Missing document

THE sexual harassment suit filed by a former city outreach coordinator against former Assistant Chief of Police Joseph Aveiro Jr. and others brings the issue home in a distressing way. The complainant, Sharon Black, alleges that Aveiro, who was her superior, assaulted and harassed her for more than five years and that he nevertheless was allowed to retire in December with full benefits.

What is most perplexing is Chief Michael Nakamura's claim that he never received a recommendation from the city equal opportunity officer regarding action in the case until two weeks ago. He said he would have disciplined Aveiro last fall if he had received the recommendation.

What happened to the recommendation? Was it conveniently lost by a friend of Aveiro?

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© 1997 Honolulu Star-Bulletin