Friday, September 19, 1997

Trustees’ attorney
has twisted the facts

THE new legal hired gun for the four beleaguered Bishop Estate trustees, William McCorriston, accuses the Star-Bulletin and other members of the news media of "rushing to judgment" in criticizing his clients. If that is so, the same might be said of the five eminent authors of the explosive "Broken Trust" article that prompted Governor Cayetano to order an investigation of the trustees' behavior.

In fact, there was no rush, because the allegations against the four trustees are not new. What was new in the article was that the accusations were brought together in a compelling way and that some of the most prominent and highly respected people in the Hawaiian community made them.

What the Star-Bulletin has done is essentially to agree with the "Broken Trust" authors and support the attorney general's investigation. Let McCorriston accuse the authors -- Gladys Brandt, former principal of the Kamehameha School for Girls, Senior Federal Judge Samuel King, retired state Court of Appeals Judge Walter Heen, Monsignor Charles Kekumano and University of Hawaii Professor Randall Roth -- of "rushing to judgment." We would be honored to be counted with them.

The hiring of McCorriston is another sign that the four accused trustees have no intention of cooperating with the attorney general's investigation and that they should be replaced by a court-appointed receiver until the investigation is completed and a judgment rendered. Attorney General Margery Bronster has rejected the "Broken Trust" authors' call for the appointment of a receiver, but she has herself complained that the trustees are resisting her efforts to obtain estate documents. They can be expected to fight her every step of the way, using all the resources at their command.

It must be reiterated that, despite the disinformation efforts of the trustees, this dispute is not an attack on the Bishop Estate or the Kamehameha Schools. It concerns the highly questionable behavior of four of the trustees. By using Bishop Estate funds to pay McCorriston to defend themselves, they are further compounding their abuse of authority.

Bishop Estate Archive

Katie finally awakens

WITH all of the bad news about children being severely hurt and even killed in local child abuse cases lately, it's heartening to learn when a youngster is getting better. Twelve-year-old Katie McKenzie was struck by an out-of-control car on Bishop Street on Aug. 8. Her injuries were extensive, and throughout August she was comatose -- a condition her parents euphemistically referred to as "sleeping."

Earlier this week, however, Katie's mother called a press conference to share a happy announcement. Carole McKenzie told reporters that Katie had opened her eyes on the first Sunday of September. The seventh-grader at Kailua Intermediate is talking again, has spoken on the telephone to her grandparents and older brother on the mainland, and is using complete sentences. Her first statement: "I love you, Mom."

What a relief not only to the Roger McKenzie family, but to the community at large. She is finally able to open her Aug. 15 birthday presents, which were stacked in her room and left untouched while she "slept."

Land-mine treaty

IT wasn't a popular decision, but it was the right one. President Clinton is taking heat for rejecting a total ban on land mines that was endorsed by 89 countries at a conference in Oslo, Norway, with another 20 nations attending as observers. The president insisted on exceptions to the proposed ban to protect American soldiers, particularly in South Korea, where 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed.

The danger of invasion from North Korea continues. Land mines are a component in South Korea's defenses; their removal could increase the likelihood of an attack by the North.

The greatest threat to civilians comes from mines that are still capable of exploding years after the conflicts for which they were intended have ended. The development of "smart" mines that can be easily rendered harmless when their intended period of use has expired has dealt with this problem.

Finally, any nation that is under attack and considers the use of land mines advantageous is going to use them, treaty or no treaty.

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John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

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