By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, October 11, 1997

Judge refuses to block
plutonium-probe launch

Federal Judge David Ezra Saturday refused to delay tomorrow's scheduled blastoff from Cape Canaveral, Fla., of the Cassini mission, bearing a record 72 pounds of plutonium.

A disappointed Lanny Sinkin, the Big Island attorney representing the anti-launch groups, today said: "There's so much sentiment for (the launch) not to happen on a worldwide level."

He added: "We hoped the decision would be different."

But U.S. attorney Tony Hoang said: "This project involves 16 different European nations and scientists from 33 states. It's been in development since 1989. It is important that the Cassini mission go forward."

Attorneys for the government and anti-nuclear groups have disagreed about the dangers posed by a NASA space probe carrying plutonium that the Hawaii County Green Party wants stopped from being launched.

The Green Party and the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court asking for preliminary and permanent injunctions against the launch, which was announced Oct. 3.

The mission is scheduled to take off at 10:55 p.m. tomorrow, Hawaii time.

UPW asks judge to order
public-funds restitution

HILO -- The United Public Workers union is asking a judge to order a private landfill company or Mayor Stephen Yamashiro and several County Council members to personally repay millions of dollars to the county treasury.

In a continuation of the dispute over the county's 1993 contract with Waste Management Inc. to construct and operate the Kona landfill, UPW attorney Herbert Takahashi says the contract was illegal and money paid to the company must be returned.

Waste Management spokesman Bob Awana said the amount paid over four years may approach $16 million.

"He (Takahashi) has been threatening to do this all along," Awana said.

County attorney Ted Hong said, "To me it just looks like another example of UPW's vendetta against (Mayor Yamashiro's) administration and against privatization."

The state Supreme Court earlier said Waste Management could not operate the Kona landfill because that kind of work was customarily done by county workers. The union represents those workers.

Bishop lawyer says Bronster
out to get two trustees

An attorney for Bishop Estate has charged that state Attorney General Margery Bronster's office expects to "get" two of the estate's trustees.

"Our sources say that people within the Department of the Attorney General say that they're going to get at least two heads," said estate attorney William McCorriston.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Goya denied the charge.

"We're not out to 'get' anybody," Goya said. "We're out to look for whatever the facts are. And once we determine what the facts are, we'll determine what we're going to do from that point."

McCorriston made the comment Friday to reporters as he delivered to Goya a package containing the minutes of the board's meetings dating back to January 1995.

Bronster is investigating charges of illegal dealings on the part of estate trustees. The attorney general and McCorriston have been waging a battle over what, if any, of the documents subpoenaed by Bronster should be turned over.

See expanded coverage in Saturday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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