Tuesday, June 9, 1998

Bishop Estate trustees
trying to suppress facts

IN addition to all the other allegations against the three-member majority of the board of trustees of the Bishop Estate, they're trying to suppress the facts. They have ordered an investigation by their law firm of the disclosure to the press of an accreditation report by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges on the Kamehameha Schools that was strongly critical of the trustees.

Lindsey The two dissenting trustees, Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis, called the investigation a "Gestapo approach" and filed court papers criticizing the majority's decision. Stender and Jervis said the probe was initiated by trustee Lokelani Lindsey, who until recently served as lead trustee for the Kamehameha Schools.

The disclosure of the investigation followed word that the Western Association had granted the schools accreditation for only three years, not the six years requested. Presumably the shorter term is the result of the criticism of the trustees' management of the schools. The estate is appealing the decision.

Now the trustees are intent on hunting down the culprit who leaked the embarrassing report to the news media. Is this a proper use of the funds of the estate of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop?

This has nothing to do with furthering the education of Hawaiian children. It has to do with shielding the shamefully overpaid trustees of a charitable trust from public exposure of criticism of their performance.

This is another example of the trustees' arrogant disregard for any attempt to hold them accountable, and their insistence on running the schools as if they were their private domain. This is the kind of behavior that makes their removal essential.

Bishop Estate Archive

Doctor-assisted suicide

THE movement to legalize physician-assisted suicide has gotten a boost from the Clinton administration, even though the president says he remains opposed to the practice. Attorney General Janet Reno decided that the Drug Enforcement Administration does not have legal authority to arrest or revoke the licenses of doctors in Oregon who provide lethal doses of medicine for terminally ill patients.

This decision overrules a DEA finding that Oregon physicians who helped their patients die were flouting the federal Controlled Substances Act. An Oregon law authorizing physician-assisted suicide took effect last October. Since then only three patients are known to have died in Oregon with their doctors' help. The threat of punishment under federal law might have deterred doctors from providing such aid.

Reno's ruling could be nullified if Congress changed the law, and it might be. Within hours of her announcement, Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., proposed legislation to bar doctors from prescribing lethal doses of medicine.

The controversy could affect Hawaii. A panel appointed by Governor Cayetano has been weighing physician-assisted suicide and other issues related to death and dying. It is expected to recommend that physician assistance be legalized for persons who are terminally ill or suffering from unbearable, uncontrollable pain.

This is a highly sensitive issue, but with adequate safeguards we believe physician-assisted suicide should be permitted by the law. It is widely acknowledged that it is already practiced in many cases that are never reported. A.A. Smyser, the Star-Bulletin's contributing editor, has argued for years in his column in support of legalization. Reno's ruling removes an impediment to the Oregon law and other state laws sanctioning the practice, but this fight has a long way to go.


After-school programs

IN many communities throughout the nation, public schools are becoming all-day facilities. Hawaii got involved with the launching of the A+ program, but that only begins to tap the potential. A report by Neal R. Peirce published on this page yesterday stated that as many as a third of the nation's schools offer some before- and after-school activities.

Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley says after-school athletics, tutoring and counseling have been a priority of his administration since he took control of city schools in 1995. In California, the Senate voted $50 million to launch an after-school learning and safe neighborhoods program for middle schools and junior high schools.

Hawaii's A+ program, initiated by Ben Cayetano when he was lieutenant governor, has a different focus -- latch-key children. It's for younger kids whose parents work and have no one home to watch them when school lets out. Some of the parents can afford private programs for their children. A+ is aimed at helping children whose parents can't afford those programs.

Peirce points out that many states have increased spending on school construction and repair -- Hawaii has accelerated capital improvement spending to stimulate the economy -- but "local groups are asking: Are we simply throwing up school buildings? Or will childrens' and families' full needs be addressed?"

School facilities can be used before and after classes for a variety of programs, not only for latch-key children but also for older youths who often don't have enough to do and lack adult supervision. Of course that will take some money, which is currently in short supply in state government here, but the cost is small compared with the potential for enriching our children and keeping them from delinquency.

Published by Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership

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John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

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A.A. Smyser, Contributing Editor

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