Letters to the Editor
Monday, September 1, 1997

Bishop Estate
Reader Reaction

Saturday, August 30, 1997

Hawaiians must defend
Bishop Estate against attack

How can the state administration investigate allegations of wrong-doing by Bishop Estate trustees when it can't even put its own house in order? To many of us, state government is the problem. How can it pursue this controversy when the state politically appointed, in one way and another, the present gang of trustees?

The attorney general's investigation will be just another whitewash job. The original charge by the schools' alumni of micromanaging has now been blown out of proportion by the news media, causing much hysteria. If we Hawaiians are to get any just decision on this matter, it's got to be resolved by the Hawaiian beneficiaries and not by others.

All Hawaiians must come to the defense of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate itself. It is under siege, like so many of our Hawaiian institutions, by people in high office with questionable ulterior motives that threaten the well-being of Hawaiians.

Paul D. Lemke
Kapaa, Kauai

Trustees are spending
estate money on PR

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the Bishop Estate ad in your newspaper this week, "Some call it micromanagement..." Don't the trustees get it yet? They are working for a charity, and they have no right to use the charity's funds to promote themselves.

They are not the estate; they are the servants of the estate! They owe the money that they used for this ad to the beneficiaries of the estate.

It is obvious that they are not living up to their fiduciary responsibilities in this latest example of their work.

Beverly J. Katz

Aloha is lacking at Kamehameha

I was brought up to believe that Hawaiians were a people edified by the spirit of aloha. In order to have aloha, one has to practice it. It is a choice one makes daily.

Yet I heard recently that a faculty member of Kamehameha Schools was let go who was an excellent teacher. Over 20 years ago, I can euphorically recall treasured memories of this man.

I remember standing on the first floor of Paki Hall looking at the panoramic view of Honolulu. Every morning before school started, there would be the chilled fresh air and the enraptured sounds of the oratorio "The Messiah," played by this teacher. My first class began with him and the study of anthropology.

I am not judging the Bishop Estate trustees, nor am I blaming them. But why did this system, which I revere, fail this teacher and so many others like him?

I pray that our people can return to the basic tenet of our culture: practicing aloha.

Richard Kuaana Jr.
Kamehameha Schools
Class of 1969

Somebody remind Harris
Honolulu isn't Singapore

Mayor Harris was quoted as saying, when asked about the Bishop Estate controversy, "The job of the media is to report news, not make the news."

When the press reports details of an ugly scandal which everyone knows about but no one in power will act upon, the mere act of breaking the code of silence about what is "news" is, in itself, tremendously newsworthy.

It is shameful that this issue was brought to a head by families marching in the streets. The media did their jobs and reported this breakthrough action by a group of citizens who were fed up.

This isn't Singapore, where criticizing the government leads to turning the critic's life upside down by a compliant judiciary. Or is it?

Beverly Kai
(Via the Internet)

Shame about controversy
is felt on the mainland

Growing up in Kamehameha Heights in the '40s, just below Kamehameha Schools (Kealia Drive), we used to chant as kids to one another, "Hanakokolele, I goin' tell yo' maadda." Perhaps the four Bishop Estate trustees need to hear that.

Apparently they forgot where they came from and whom the princess intended to bless. They also forgot what the words trust, honor and responsibility mean.

My home state is well known for its liberal and pluralistic social lifestyles and beliefs, and is tolerant of wide differences in world views. But some things in Hawaii have always been held in sacred esteem and were not open to base exploitation. Used to, anyway.

Nick Wilson
Cedar Hill, Texas
(Via the Internet)

Bishop Estate Archive


Monday, September 1, 1997

Manoa residents aren't
seeking special treatment

Richard Klemm, in his Aug. 25 letter, argued that Manoa residents should pay for undergrounding the proposed 138 kv high-voltage power line, which they don't want to go overhead on Waahila Ridge.

First of all, Heco's "Honolulu City Line" is not for Manoa. It is a transmission line which Heco says will directly benefit more than half of all its customers on the island.

Second, there are three segments being built by Heco. The first two are going underground. Residents along that part of the line don't have to look at overhead power lines. Why shouldn't the last segment, from Kamoku to Pukele, go underground also?

Manoa residents are not asking for better treatment. They are asking to be treated no worse that anybody else.

Brian Baron

Insurance firms reaped
big profits in the past

Why does the Star-Bulletin carry the torch for insurance company profits? Your Aug. 19 editorial, "Auto insurance profits report is misleading," is in itself misleading! Consumers who are neither lawyers nor insurance companies need both sides of the story.

While it is true that companies experienced an 18 percent loss in 1990 and a 2 percent loss in 1991, prices edged up for consumers during those "loss" years. More than that, profits have climbed since then. Figures from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners show profits at 10 percent in 1992; 14.25 percent, 1993; 14.35 percent, 1994; 23.5 percent, 1995; and 20 percent, 1996.

Considering profit figures as they have been for the past five years, consumers are indeed owed substantial decreases in premiums. Your shifting of blame for unconscionable rates onto the trial lawyers is grossly unfair.

Ruth Ellen Lindenberg
State Legislative Committee
American Association
of Retired Persons

Kalaheo High librarian put
controversy in perspective

I applaud Martha Robertson for her "Storm at Kalaheo High School" article in the Aug. 23 Insight section. She put into words the opinions and feelings of myself and almost everyone I've spoken to on the subject.

This "scandal" has become an overblown issue characterized by bad handling on all sides, misinformed and unknowledgeable critics, and questionable motives. It was a breath of fresh air to read this reality check.

Michael Paxton
Kalaheo High School
Class of 1997

Bronster wrongly defends
convention center secrecy

In your Aug. 26 issue, state Attorney General Margery Bronster sounds a little like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, the one who says, "When I use a word, it means what I want it to mean." In this case the words are "conflict of interest."

Bronster tells taxpayers that we can't see the Convention Center bills we are paying for? Hmmm.

Judge Chang calls that "curious." Attorneys at the state Office of Information Practices (OIP) feel that the public has a right to see the bills it pays. Previous OIP opinions, unopposed by Bronster, also tell us that we get to see how public money is spent.

So why in this case -- where her husband is on the Convention Center Authority that wants secrecy on construction costs -- does she say the state does not want or need to examine the bills it pays, including a reported $5-million-plus in construction overruns?

How can Bronster know if she has a conflict of interest if she won't look at these costs or let the public see them?

Paul Berry

Same-sex archive

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