Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, December 10, 1997

Trustees keep showing how unqualified they are

When the Bishop Estate trustees criticize CPA Steven Sakamaki's request for information as a "scattergun approach" that bewildered the estate staff, they display their ignorance of a standard, scientifically valid, sampling procedure.

An inspector deciding whether to pass a shipment of 100 baskets of apples does not -- and in practice cannot -- look at every apple in every basket. He uses a scattergun approach and randomly selects a small number of apples for detailed examination.

But in fairness to the trustees, they should not be blamed for their lack of knowledge. At the time they were appointed, they had neither the experience nor the education to handle the job of managing a huge, complex, business-oriented charitable organization.

The important question which cries out for an answer is why were such clearly unqualified individuals appointed in the first place?

Robert Goldman

Bishop Estate Archive

Liu would be great running mate for Lingle

It is always good when the people are provided strong choices at the polls.

The GOP will have a strong candidate for governor in Maui Mayor Lingle Lingle. To help her, I think the Republicans should encourage Mike Liu to take the supporting spot of lieutenant governor.

From Oahu, he brings credibility on economic issues, and quality experience at senior levels in the private sector and government.

Hawaii's voters would have a real choice in a race between Cayetano/Hirono and Lingle/Liu.

Tony D. Ypil

Reversals can be blamed on prosector's offices, too

As a criminal defense lawyer, I want to express concern over most of the recent media coverage concerning the reversals by the Supreme Court of Hawaii of the convictions in the following two high-profile criminal cases:

1) The sexual assault case on Maui where the trial judge gave erroneous instructions.

2) The murder case on Oahu in which the trial judge refused to excuse for cause from the jury a deputy prosecuting attorney.

Most of the criticism has been directed at the Supreme Court, and this is wrong. All the court did is what the law required it to do -- to reverse these convictions.

In any criminal trial, the primary responsibility to avoid legal error rests with the trial judge. Clearly, the trial judges in these two cases blundered.

However, the prosecutors also had a clear duty to assist the trial judges to avoid obvious errors. In both of these cases, the prosecutors failed in their duty to protect a conviction from reversal.

Unfortunately, there seems to be little public understanding of the clear responsibility of the Honolulu and Maui prosecutors for these reversals.

Sadly, these two reversals are only part of a long history of reversals caused by prosecutorial incompetence or misconduct, yet the media never asks what action is being taken against the offending prosecutors.

Earle A. Partington

Hawaii was built in six days as well

On the first day God created a mammoth highway through the garden of Eden, and the tall statuesque Koolaus, to speed up the good message from east to west, and north to south of his Paradise. Giant pillars were driven into the earth to support 16 miles of asphalt. And he saw that it was good.

On the second day God commanded all the ladies of the evening to seek forgiveness by exiling them to Kahoolawe to clean up the practice ammo of battles not yet won. And he saw that it was good.

On the third day God commanded all the tilapia in the Ala Wai Canal to requisition wet suits, nose clips and shovels, and proceed to clean up the filth of man-made spills. And he saw that it was pristine and good.

On the fourth day God widened the channels of all inlets to the mighty harbor of Honolulu, so that ships of many nations could enter, bringing their worldly goods to feed his population. And he saw that it was deep and good.

On the fifth day God commanded all small businesspeople who had declared bankruptcy to demolish all the endless malls of concrete that plastered his earth, and he brought back parks and trees and flowers. And he saw that it was green and beautiful, and good.

On the sixth day God commanded all the Bishop trustees to lay tracks for mass transit, from one end of the island to the other. And he saw that it relieved the congestion and gave us back clean air. And it was on time and good.

On the seventh day God commanded members of the state Legislature and City Council, town planners, architects and engineers to attend a luau supper at his new convention center, allowing them to rest on this hallowed day.

They were also asked to write an essay on what he had accomplished in six days.

John L. Werrill

Prayer breakfast was violation of amendment

In your Dec. 4 editorial about the Annual Governor's and Mayors' Prayer Breakfast, you claim the First Amendment does not require a total separation of church and state. We disagree.

In federal guidelines concerning this issue, President Clinton declared, "The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from acting in a manner that would lead a reasonable observer to conclude that the government is sponsoring, endorsing or inhibiting religion generally or favoring or disfavoring a particular religion."

The prayer breakfast was unquestionably a violation of the separation of state and church, which is exactly why the state attorney general and city corporation counsel so readily agreed to our demands.

We assume the Star-Bulletin is not so naive as to believe government would make these changes without fully understanding the legal ramifications of defending unconstitutional practices.

Mitchell Kahle
Hawaii Citizens for the Separation
of State and Church

Bishop Estate Archive

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