Letters to the Editor
Monday, December 15, 1997

Jealousy didn't motivate criticism of trustees

In defending the trustees of the Bishop Estate in his Nov. 27 letter, Paul D. Lemke said they deserved their huge compensation because they invested wisely, and that created allegations by people with impressive credentials boiled down to jealousy.

That position is untenable! The huge annual incomes of the trustees and revenues of the estate are not because of meritorious investment performances but rather because of four structural factors:

1) The estate is tax exempt, paying no federal or state income taxes.

2) In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the estate in the Hawaii Land Reform Act, forcing the estate to sell its leased land. This resulted in a windfall of tens of billions of dollars.

3) Huge purchases of real estate, businesses, etc., by the Japanese in Hawaii years ago inflated values.

4) Inflation.

Those individuals and groups critical of the trustees are mostly Hawaiians. They are not jealous of the trustees, but are critical of them because they have mismanaged the Kamehameha Schools, breached their fiduciary responsibility and made speculative investments that were unfit for a charitable trust and that resulted in huge losses.

Despite numerous articles in the press critical of the trustees, Lemke has vigorously defended them. How sad.

H.T. Chang

Bishop Estate Archive

Police should do better job of fighting crime

A friend of mine came home after work last week to find his home broken into and ransacked. His TV, computer, jewelry, stamp collection -- gone. Lots of vandal-style damage. He called the police. They came in about 30 minutes, looked over the chaos that was his home and said it looked the same as "one last week, a couple streets away." Perhaps a gang of kids.

The officers weren't discourteous, but neither were they very friendly. They did their work efficiently, and left saying they would let him know if they got any of his property back.

He now felt abused by the criminals and somehow unhappy with the police.

Was something missing in the above story? I think so: Where was the apology? If the police have the responsibility to assure your home is secure and there is a major breach, don't they have any sense of failure? The plain fact is that they failed in their job.

If you hired a painter to paint your house and, two months after he finished, the paint started falling off, don't you feel he should be apologetic -- in addition to making it right?

Do we lack leadership in our police department or what?

Richard O. Rowland
Immediate Past Chairman
Libertarian Party of Hawaii

Cheeseburger eatery didn't deserve searing review

I recognize that it can be useful and entertaining to offer reviews of restaurants, and that it may be a public service to warn about a meal that did not live up to its reputation.

Those of us in the food service industry live or die by our respect for the guest and the presentation of a product we can be proud of. If Nadine Kam found our menu lacking in her review of our new Waikiki location, she is entitled to constructively criticize it.

But we take exception to her mean-spirited description of our staff. When we made the decision to locate our long-awaited second unit in Waikiki, we wondered if we would be blessed with a staff with the strength of character and genuine spirit of aloha that we were fortunate to have found on Maui.

To our delight, our Oahu staff is an exceptional group of mostly local citizens, both young and not so young, who exhibit a wonderful sense of aloha.

They are graciously sharing their home, their island, with strangers every day. We could not be more proud of them and the job they perform.

Laren M. Gartner
Founder and President
Cheeseburger In Paradise
Lahaina, Maui

Live toad is best charm to pack for Las Vegas

Reading your Nov. 24 article, "Charmed and ready for action," reminded me of what proved to be the best lucky charm for a trip to Las Vegas -- a live toad.

My yard is filled with slugs and toads at night, especially after it rains. I like to keep my athletic shoes on a shelf in an outside storage area.

For my Las Vegas trip, I packed these shoes in my luggage in case I needed to moderately dress up.

On the second day of the trip, my friends and I were going to the Strip. I grabbed one shoe and noticed it was wet. Being a typical male, I sniffed my fingers. It smelled like crab or some other shellfish.

As I was making the opening of the shoe bigger for my foot, my thumbs felt something move. I dropped my shoe and freaked out. Out came a toad.

I opened my hotel room door and chased the toad into the hallway. Unfortunately, the maids were making their rounds. They started to scream and jumped on their push carts.

I decided to leave, and passed the toad jumping in the hallway. When I explained why I took so long, my friends cracked up. Two of them went upstairs to see the action.

By the time they got up there, security had imprisoned the toad in a cup.

After that, I went on to win a couple thousand dollars. Best Las Vegas trip I ever had.

Quin Ogawa

DOT insert raises some very interesting questions

The state of Hawaii Department of Transportation insert in your Dec. 8 issue answered a few of my nagging concerns about the H-3.

Example: Who should use the tunnel? Answer: people who want to go from one side of Oahu to the other. Can trucks use H-3? Why, yes.

But the insert has raised several more questions:

How much did it cost to put out this primer on how to use a tunnel?

What are the required qualifications to be a tunnel operator?

In two to three years, when the systems break down and the "highly trained tunnel operators" and maintenance crews abandon the Traffic Operations Center and move on to other state jobs, can I store some stuff over there?

Joseph Tamatoa
Ewa Beach

Bishop Estate Archive

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