By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, January 30, 1998

Heftel offers campaign funding reform plan

Former Hawaii U.S. Rep. Cecil Heftel is back in town with a new campaign mission -- cleaning up state and national government.

Heftel is national co-chairman of Public Campaign, a nonpartisan government reform organization lobbying to change how politicians get the money needed to run campaigns.

"The way money is raised is legalized bribery," said Heftel, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Hawaii as a Democrat in 1986.

The local group, Hawaii Clean Elections, along with the League of Women Voters, invited Heftel to speak at a conference on campaign reform 9 a.m. tomorrow at Ala Moana Park's McCoy Pavilion.

The campaign reform proposal, which has been submitted to the state Legislature, calls for candidates to forgo private contributions and accept strict spending limits in return for a publicly financed competitive campaign treasury.

Two states, Marine and Vermont, have already approved such legislation.

Boating dispute divides Kauai, slows economy

LIHUE -- "Everyone has to give a little," Kauai Mayor Maryanne Kusaka told a crowd of Hanalei business people and anti-boating activists who gathered outside her office yesterday.

"It has taken us a long time and cost millions of dollars to tell the world we're back online and ready for business. We can't afford this kind of divisiveness in our community," Kusaka said.

The Hanalei business community has keenly felt the effects of a picketing campaign by a group of Hawaiian and environmental activists known as the Limu Coalition.

"This has become a nightmare," said Fred Kaufman, owner of a pizza shop in Hanalei. "We needed to stand up and be counted."

Kaufman said his business is down 25 percent to 30 percent from this time last year.

Opponents of nonpermitted boating began targeting tourists two weeks ago with picket signs and fliers, asking them to not patronize tour boat companies that operate without county permits.

Activists have picketed at Lihue Airport, near major hotels, in shopping centers in Hanalei, and areas where tour boat passengers are loaded.

Texas prison disputes ACLU assertion

A Texas private prison operator disputes accusations that the Justice Department has found unconstitutional conditions at a corrections facility that houses nearly 100 Hawaii inmates.

Tony Schaffer, general counsel for the Bobby Ross Group, said Justice Department investigators made two inspection visits to Dickens County Correctional Center near Lubbock last fall.

However, Schaffer said the department was surprised to hear reports that it would be sending a letter to Dickens next week telling officials there to correct medical care, security and health problems.

"We were told the Justice Department doesn't know if one will ever be sent," Schaffer said.

Schaffer released a letter from Margo Schlanger, Justice Department trial attorney, saying that the investigation is ongoing and hasn't been completed.

Lee Douglas, Justice Department spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., said she couldn't comment on an ongoing investigation, except to say that a "findings letter" in the Dickens case has not been issued.

She said a "findings letter" is issued once the department completes an investigation under the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act, informing the operators of a facility that it doesn't meet constitutional standards.

She said she can't speculate how far along the Dickens investigation has gone.

Drought causes Big Isle state of emergency

HILO -- Mayor Stephen Yamashiro has declared a state of emergency on the Big Island due to drought. The primary effect is to ban all but small, enclosed fires.

Hilo has had .14 inches of rain in January, compared to the normal average of 9.88 inches, the National Weather Service said.

The drought is getting worse by the day in two respects, said Civil Defense director Harry Kim.

Tall grass and bushes, which got a growth spurt last fall from heavy rains, are now drying out and serving as potential fuel for wildfires, he said.

And people in rural areas who depend on rainwater catchment for their home water are running out, he said.

Last week there was no backlog among water haulers making deliveries to homes. Now the backlog is up to two weeks, Kim said.

That means a homeowner not paying attention to his or her water supply could run out of water in the middle of a shower with no chance of a water delivery for two weeks.

The county, which already has roadside spigots for people to get small quantities of water, will establish more, Kim said.

California man sues Bishop Estate trustees

Attorneys for a California resident yesterday filed suit in federal court seeking damages from Bishop Estate trustees for breaching their fiduciary duties.

In his suit, Lawrence Medeiros also calls for trustees Richard Wong, Lokelani Lindsey, Henry Peters, Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender to be replaced by court-appointed trustees.

Two examples of trustee mismanagement cited by Medeiros are investing $72 million in Southern California Savings and Loan Association and charging owners of the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel a lower annual rent than the $5.6 million awarded by an arbitrator.

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By Star-Bulletin staff

Student reports shotgun threat; suspect arrested

Police arrested a Waialua High School student for reportedly pointing a shotgun at a fellow student.

The victim, 14, told detectives that the suspect, 18, called out for him at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday at the corner of Farrington Highway and Kuhi Street, police said.

When the victim turned around, he was "looking down the barrel of a shotgun," police said.

The suspect then left.

Police arrested the suspect when he arrived for school yesterday. No weapon has been located.

Two booked for burglary at Kaimuki City Mill

Police yesterday arrested two teens for the alleged burglary of the Kaimuki City Mill Home Improvement Center.

Officers responded to a suspicious-activity call to City Mill at 1:58 a.m., police said.

Officers witnessed damage to the building and a car attempting to flee.

When the vehicle was stopped, police recovered more than $2,000 worth of hardware.

A Saint Louis Heights man, 18, and a Wilhelmina Rise man, 19, were booked for second-degree burglary, police said.

Police are also searching for a 23-year-old suspect in connection with the burglary.

$140,000 damage done to 2 North Shore homes

Insurance officials yesterday estimated damage to be $140,000 at two North Shore vacation homes that were blasted by high surf.

Thunderous waves pounded the waterfront homes on Wednesday morning, with one receiving extensive damage.

The homes were unoccupied at the time.

Rescue crew to resume search for elderly hiker

KAILUA-KONA -- Fire department rescue personnel were to resume a search today for a 78-year-old hiker missing on Hualalai mountain.

After Elmer Schwantes of Kailua-Kona was reported missing Wednesday night, a helicopter search for him was conducted yesterday without success.

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