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Friday, May 22, 1998

Criticizing coverage isn't same as rapping newspaper

David Shapiro's May 16 column seems to equate criticism of the media with insults -- as if finding fault with how the Star-Bulletin has played the Bishop Estate story over the past several months is the same as insulting the newspaper.

That perhaps explains why Shapiro and many others in the media are so sensitive when confronted by legitimate criticism, which most of us have learned can be healthy.

For example, the Star-Bulletin's front-page story on May 16 was headlined, "Trustee pay rose in '97" in large type. Yet the increase was .00179 percent. Readers had to turn to page A-6 to learn that the estate had earned record revenues of $377.5 million in 1997, an increase of nearly 86 percent.

I suggest that the Star-Bulletin's "spin" of these two facts --- highlighting a minuscule trustee pay increase and burying the huge revenue increase -- was yet another example of its uneven handling of the Bishop Estate story. In so doing, I am not insulting the Star-Bulletin; I'm criticizing its coverage, and the distinction should not be lost.

Doug Carlson
(Via the Internet)

Editor's note: Doug Carlson is the public relations spokesman for Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey.

Lawmakers knew what had to be done, but didn't do it

Legislators knew what they had to do this session. They know that taxpayers are being ground to a pulp. They know that the crime rate is rising, and that bankruptcy rates, car repossessions and home foreclosures are increasing.

They know that the public wants smaller, more efficient government. They know that union labor is the most expensive kind of labor force.

But members of the old political machine decided not to act on most real issues. They even extended the session so it would cost more taxpayer dollars and leave us, more or less, in the same mess that we have been in for seven years

It was a terribly disappointing legislative session.

Roy Murch
(Via the Internet)

U.S. didn't 'overthrow' the monarchy in Hawaii

A line in your May 14 story on Haunani-Kay Trask referred to the 1893 U.S. "overthrow" of Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani. It was not a "U.S. overthrow" -- except in the minds of some activists.

The 162 U.S. troops who came ashore that day to protect American lives and property dipped their colors to the queen as they passed her palace. They never pointed their guns at anyone, kept their arms stacked during the brief resolution and, a few hours later, went back to their ship as they had several times in earlier years.

They didn't land to overthrow or invade, and took no part in the revolution.

It was clearly not U.S. policy to take Hawaii, as President Cleveland demonstrated a few weeks later when he pulled back the bill for an annexation treaty that had been introduced by the previous administration.

He went further and sent emissaries to Hawaii to try to talk the revolutionists into giving back the kingdom. They refused and Hawaii continued as an independent nation until its eventual annexation to the U.S. five years later. There was significant native Hawaiian support in 1898 for that move.

Thurston Twigg-Smith

Miss Universe Pageant brought much-needed PR

Maybe I'm too young to understand, but what's wrong with 81 model-like women walking around on stages in Hawaii? I welcome this image, and hopefully the worldwide viewing audience did as well.

Over the years, TV viewers have failed to see Hawaii's trademark beaches, sun and overall beauty due to a lack of Hawaii-related shows and ads. Instead they've been bombarded with commercials and TV shows celebrating the beauty of Florida, Jamaica and the Bahamas. In other words, Hawaii has been in the back of consumer minds when it comes to tropical getaways.

That's why it was important that the Miss Universe Pageant was brought here. Hawaii's image of exotic dancing hula girls has slowly faded ever since "Magnum, P.I." left the air. It's time the image is conveyed to the world once again.

Eric Hananoki
Age 14
(Via the Internet)

Homeless don't live in Aala Park by choice

Regarding your May 19 editorial, "Reclaiming Aala Park," what is "long overdue" is an approach to address the situation that does not further marginalize the homeless. Remember, our community may not exclude the homeless simply because they make some of us feel uncomfortable or threatened. These are human beings, not vermin.

Your editorial seems to suggest that people "loiter" at Aala Park in lieu of pursuing better opportunities. Sadly, for many this is not even close to the truth, especially for those who are mentally ill and/or in poor health.

To the question, "Where shall the homeless go?" the editors' solution seems to consist of only a mean-spirited, "Away!"

Douglas White
(Via the Internet)

Money should be used to upgrade water system

Mayor Harris' proposal to return $76 million from the Board of Water Supply to residents is a political ploy. It is quite clear that the cost and effort to return the money -- that no one even knew they were overpaying -- would be tremendous.

Therefore, the money should be used instead to upgrade the rapidly decaying underground water piping that needs replacement. That would be the best use of the funds.

Consumers will eventually have to pay for the replacement of the piping anyway. Where will the money come from then?

Jon von Kessel

Prostitution should be legalized in Chinatown

The flap over turning the parking lot at Smith and Beretania into a park brings back memories. A long time ago a park did exist there.

At the other corner, Smith and Pauahi, there was a hotel, Rex Rooms, a "house of ill fame," and across the street was another, the Bungalow, and further down Smith Street Camp Rooms, above the popular restaurant Sun Yun Wo.

Further down Pauahi was the Anchor, and at the corner of Maunakea the red brick Service Hotel, and a block away the Western Rooms above the original Columbia Inn, etc., for a total of 12 within just a few square blocks of Chinatown.

They were all illegal, but winked at and kept acceptably low key by HPD Chief Gabrielson, with weekly medical checks and very strict rules of behavior, like no streetwalking.

When they were closed down in '44, and Chief Gabrielson lost his job, he was hired by the Tokyo Police Department as a "consultant" -- no doubt to show the city how to run a red light district.

It would seem that the money-strapped state would be wise to open it up again -- money-wise, health-wise, crime-wise, legalized and again under similar tight control, as a regulated industry. The very significant profits could go to the state. The presence of these houses would happily bring adjacent merchants almost more business than they could handle.

It is an industry that cannot ever be stamped out, as proved by the many who have tried.

Ted Chernin

Lawyers having field day with Microsoft lawsuit

The observation in your May 19 editorial that Microsoft could "block Netscape" is ridiculous, as anyone with a rudimentary knowledge and experience with "internetting" knows.

Over the past five years, I have used software from any number of companies, including Netscape, which co-exists very nicely with other browsers.

If you had watched the Justice Department's presentation to the media on C-Span, what you would have seen is a bunch of politically ambitious lawyers mouthing the same sort of thing we hear all the time from our politicians in Hawaii.

If you like what they did in the last few weeks, you'll love the anti-trust action.

James M. Hykes
(Via the Internet)

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