To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, December 20, 1997

‘Caine Mutiny’
or ‘Ship of Fools’?

IN the latest installment of The Perils of Lokelani, our villain, trustee Lindsey of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, has taken a few torpedo hits along the waterline and appears in danger of sinking.

The latest master's and fact-finder's reports both zeroed in on Lindsey. Her management style was characterized as "fear and intimidation." Meanwhile, she has heaved to and is riding out the storm with a palace guard of lawyers and public relations professionals.

She says she made radical course changes because Headmaster Mike Chun let academics slide. Comparing scores of recent classes -- who tested into the schools on merit -- against older kids selected by lottery, she says the longer kids stay at Kamehameha the dumber they get. There's a false spin on those statistics.

Educators who worked with Lindsey in her prior life as a DOE administrator hear false notes in the chorus of denunciations. "She wasn't like that at all," one told me. "She was easy to work with, very accommodating."

An insider says Lindsey isn't solely to blame. With its regal roots, KS/BE's corporate culture is a throwback. One imagines staffers, vying for power and influence like imperial courtesans, amplifying each trustee comment, whim and reflection into policy, program and fiat.

Poultry tycoon Frank Purdue used to say, "It takes a tough man to raise a tender chicken." It also takes one tough, smart bird to avoid the excesses of unbridled power.

Bishop Estate Archive

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

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