White House appraises Bronster for 9th CircuitThe FBI has begun a background check on state Attorney General Margery Bronster for a judgeship on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
An agent Friday interviewed U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye about Bronster, who informed Inouye late last year that the White House had contacted her to discuss the position, said Mark Fox, Inouye's legislative aid.
Inouye told the FBI she was a good attorney, but that he knew her husband better, Fox said.
Bronster's husband, Mark Fukunaga, is chairman and chief executive officer of Servco Pacific Inc., an automotive, marine and real estate development enterprise.
Fox also said Inouye told the FBI that he didn't recommend her and that the White House didn't follow historic procedures for judicial nominees with Bronster.
He said the White House usually seeks comment from the senatorial delegation for potential judges.
Fox also said Inouye over the last two or three years had proposed state Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert G. Klein for the appeals court, "but the White House failed to nominate anybody, much less Justice Klein."
Lindsey's attorney says she's a scapegoatAn attorney for Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey said he is not surprised she has a 58 percent unfavorable rating in a Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii News 8 poll.
But he said once her side of the story comes out, public opinion will change.
"Lokelani Lindsey has been too much of a lady to really fight back. And I'll tell you something now: That day is over," said attorney Michael Green, who is representing Lindsey in a petition filed by trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender to remove her from the Bishop Estate board.
Green charged that Stender and Jervis have been making "leaks" to the Attorney General's Office -- which is conducting an investigation into the estate -- and the poll shows they have made people believe Lindsey has done something wrong when "she hasn't."
"Those people who are pointing fingers at her, like Jervis and Stender, better buckle their seat belts because the truth is going to come out, and they are not going to make her the scapegoat for anything anymore," he said.
Green suggested the backlash against Lindsey stems in part from her efforts to improve education for the students at Kamehameha Schools.
"When she found things that should be changed, it got a little hot for people," he said.
Bishop Estate Archive
Lenders vie for Liberty House's creditLiberty House Inc. is caught in a tug-of-war between two mainland lenders offering to provide up to $50 million in emergency funding for the cash-strapped retailer.
Friday, attorneys for Liberty House's chief lenders -- Bank of America and Merrill Lynch -- squared off with General Electric Capital Corp.'s lawyers in federal bankruptcy court over who will bail out the state's largest and oldest department store chain.
The bidding war erupted after the Bank of America group, which charged that Liberty House was in default of some $170 million in loans, on Thursday submitted a surprise offer to recapitalize Liberty House, which filed for bankruptcy reorganization last week.
The Bank of America group last week also moved to replace Liberty House's six-member board with three of its own directors.
Liberty House initially had been seeking court approval for a rescue plan from GE Capital, which offered to provide up to a two-year, $50 million loan facility.
The retailer argued that GE Capital's financing was necessary to allow the company to operate uninterrupted and replenish the company's inventory of merchandise.
But now Liberty House is openly courting the second bid.
"We're actually in a very fortunate position: We have two major lending groups competing to make a loan with us," said Bruce Bennett, attorney for Liberty House.
"We take significant comfort in that, and it means that this case is going to be adequately financed. The only question is who is going to finance it."
Governor wouldn't block Con ConGov. Ben Cayetano said he won't block any legislation put on his desk asking voters this fall if the state should hold a constitutional convention, even if it would be costly to have one.
"During these times a Con Con would be very expensive," the governor said.
"You're looking at perhaps $15 million -- at least -- once you get it going.
"But I think if the Legislature is inclined to put it on the ballot, then it is something that I certainly would not stand in the way of. So it is a question of them needing to decide."
That sentiment -- to let state lawmakers debate whether a Con Con question should be on the 1998 ballot -- echoed throughout the state Capitol Friday after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused to order a new state election on whether to hold a convention.
The decision sided with an earlier Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that blank and spoiled votes in a 1996 ballot question on a Con Con counted as "no" votes, and therefore a convention wasn't needed.
Last show for unique local 'salon'Artist Pegge Hopper remembers the excitement of her first show at the Honolulu Advertiser Gallery around 1981. "I was just a kid -- I mean, I was 35 or 40, but just a kid -- and it was the big time.
"An opening at the gallery meant you had arrived. Everyone got all dressed up, and that was the social event of the month."
For a few hours Monday night, Hopper and hundreds of artists, patrons and curators will gather for another show at the gallery. Ironically, in a time when artists are struggling for survival, the event doesn't mark another opening, but the passing of an era.
"So Long Salon," a one-night exhibition and benefit for The Contemporary Museum, will be the last event for the gallery, after which the space will be reclaimed by the Gannett Corp., which bought the News Building and the Honolulu Advertiser in 1992.
About 200 artists, all of whom have exhibited there sometime during the gallery's 37 years, will participate. As of 4:30 p.m. yesterday, more than 130 works had been delivered. All will be for sale.
The gallery, first named the Contemporary Arts Center, was the creation of former Advertiser owner Thurston Twigg-Smith, whose ambition was to "make contemporary art available to all the people of Hawaii."
State delays natatorium permitWarnings from experts that restoring the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium would be a "substantial risk" to the Waikiki marine conservation area forced the state Board of Land and Natural Resources to delay approval of a permit needed for the city project.
But Michael Wilson, state land board director, said after Friday's five-hour meeting that a decision would be made at the board's next meeting in two weeks.
Faced with a critical 31-page report urging that the natatorium project not go ahead as planned, the city asked for the delay. The report came from the DLNR staff.
The latest problem with the $11.5 million proposal pushed by Mayor Jeremy Harris involves the construction of two groins, or jetties, on the seaward corners of the crumbling 70-year pool.
The groins, 60 and 75 feet long, would be several feet out of the water most of the time and would be built on state land, so they need a special permit.
The city says the groins are needed to redirect the water flow through the pool to keep the sea water clean and clear.
Opponents, however, say the city would be better off demolishing the pool, constructing a beach and improving the area for residents.
See expanded coverage in Saturday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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