Wednesday, June 10, 1998

Appointment ties
Cayetano to developer

GOVERNOR Cayetano finds himself in an awkward situation in the wake of the disclosure that Maui developer Everett Dowling paid House Speaker Joe Souki $132,000 as a so-called consultant's fee for his role in the sale of Maui land to the Bishop Estate. The payment was made public after the legislative session, in which Souki tried to kill a bill that would limit the compensation of Bishop Estate trustees. The disclosure raised the issue of conflict of interest.

Last April, before the controversy over the land sale surfaced, Cayetano appointed Dowling to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. At the time, no questions were raised, but now some are. Asked Monday about the appointment, the governor said it was "appropriate and proper." But he added, "Whether it has a bad appearance or not, I'm not certain. That's for others to say." We'd say it looks bad.

It turns out that in addition to the payment to Souki and a $42,000 payment to Sen. Joe Tanaka in connection with the same land sale, Dowling and his wife contributed $10,000 to Cayetano's campaign last year and smaller amounts to Souki's and Tanaka's campaigns.

Yet Cayetano said the money had nothing to do with Dowling's appointment as a regent. Really?

The governor said Dowling is an intelligent person, has a good track record and is free of any scandals. Well, unless you consider his payments to Souki and Tanaka scandalous.

Commenting on Dowling's payments, Cayetano said the people should decide whether they were proper. "When you have a part-time legislature in what really is a small, big town...we all know each other, then I think you will find that business transactions like those do happen," he said.

Sure they happen, but when they pose a conflict of interest, the legislators involved should declare their conflict and excuse themselves from voting on related measures. Cayetano didn't suggest that Souki and Tanaka should have done that. Ironically, the governor is on record as supporting a limit on Bishop Estate trustee compensation.

When Cayetano served in the Legislature, he was often outspoken in denouncing questionable deals by politicians, including fellow Democratic politicians. Now he seems to reserve his criticism for his Republican challenger.

Bishop Estate Archive

Arts in the schools

BEING a well-rounded student means more than reading, writing and 'rithmetic. Other important subjects -- like P.E, health, citizenship and, of course, the all-important arts -- nurture the development of the body and spirit. On Saturday night, at the Hawaii Theatre Center, local schools that have done an exceptional job of cultivating an appreciation for art, culture and music were honored by the Hawaii Alliance for Arts Education. The awardees were:

bullet Kauai High School, particularly for its excellence in choral direction by David Conrad, and the high caliber of visual arts instruction by Carol Yotsuda.

bullet Roosevelt High School, for its innovative partnership with the Hawaii Opera Theatre, and the leadership of Robin Ogino in the CORE program and Karen Matsunaga in French.

bullet Waianae High School, for its broad-based integration of a variety of fine and applied arts, and specifically the work of art instructor Christine Ho.

bullet Sacred Hearts Academy, for a fledgling arts program that has already borne fruit.

bullet Mid-Pacific School of the Arts at Mid-Pacific Institute, under the leadership of director Linda Johnson.

bullet Punahou School, for the continuity of its K-12 art-integrated learning.

bullet Honolulu Waldorf High School, for a distinctive philosophy of learning, as epitomized by art instructor Van James.

Teaching the arts effectively is an art in itself. Congratulations to this year's Alliance Award winners, including Agnes K. Cope, winner of the 1998 Alfred Preis Award for her decades of commitment to arts education in Hawaii.


Larson’s last command

CHARLES R. Larson served as commander in chief Pacific in the early 1990s, and could have retired from the Navy after his tour of duty in that high-level post. Instead he took on the challenge of reforming the U.S. Naval Academy.

Larson had been superintendent of the academy in the 1980s. He was asked to come back in 1994 after Annapolis was rocked with a cheating scandal. A review board had determined that 134 students obtained advance knowledge of the final examination in an electrical engineering course. Eighty-eight midshipmen were found guilty of cheating and 24 were expelled.

Success didn't come immediately to Larson in his return to Annapolis. Two years later midshipmen were charged with selling drugs and stealing cars. Observers asked whether Larson was more concerned with concealing problems than solving them. A professor accused Larson in a newspaper article of fronting an "ethically corrupting system." He called that period the lowest point in his career, but refused to quit.

Now the admiral is retiring after 40 years in the service and he's being called the man who saved the Naval Academy by restoring discipline. Larson restricted some freedoms and handed over more responsibility to midshipmen. The Baltimore Sun, in a report on Larson's retirement, quoted Tim Feist, a recent graduate, as saying, "As discipline increased, so did morale."

The report said Larson "expelled bad apples. Then he learned the apples weren't the problem, it was the tree."

Larson seems to have restored the tree to health. It's a great way to top off a distinguished career.

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