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Saturday, October 10, 1998

Presidential drift

Independent counsels should follow Walsh's example

Whoever wrote the headline for Dan ThomasStar-Bulletin, Oct. 6son's column called it perfectly -- "Hypocrisy on the independent counsel," (). It took an incredible amount of hypocrisy for one of Ken Starr's cheerleaders to claim that Lawrence Walsh was "a model" of an "abusive, obsessive prosecutor."

He says "five years...later, Walsh was still unsuccessfully" pursuing the case, and cites a "made-up allegation" as if this was all that Walsh had accomplished. He carefully neglects to mention that, in the end, Walsh had amassed enough evidence to convict 14 of Reagan's and Bush's closest advisers, and that only two of his indictments were overturned, one on grounds of national security, the other due to Bush's blatant abuse of the presidential pardon.

Walsh was a Republican of impeccable credentials dating back to Thomas Dewey. He has stated that he came into the post of independent counsel confident that he would quickly dispose of the accusations, but that, as the evidence mounted, he was dismayed and disgusted at the rot he discovered within his own party.

If anything, Walsh is the model of a responsible independent counsel, who did the job that an IC is supposed to do. It's too bad we don't have his equal today.

James R. Olson jr.
(Via the Internet)

Clinton can't be trusted to take care of 'village'

"It takes a village to raise a child," Hillary Clinton said, over and over. But can I trust my daughter with the village chief?

Patsy S. Chun

President's detractors don't care what the people think

I don't get it. Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans insist that they won't be deterred from impeachment proceedings by either President Clinton's high approval ratings or public distaste for the Starr Peep Show.

But if the public has no effect on their deliberations, what possible justification is there for their determination to dump as much tasteless and unwelcomed material on us as they can possibly dredge up?

Faye Kennedy

Here's sure-fire way to end Monicagate

Like most Americans and people all over the world, I'm tired of hearing about Monica Lewinsky and Ken Starr every time I turn on the television. I think there is a solution.

Understandably, many U.S. senators and representatives have boxed themselves in, and now feel they must go forward or lose all credibility. But every member of the Congress could be put under oath and asked one question: "Have you ever been involved in an extra-marital affair?"

Most would lie, to protect their reputations and the lives of their family members and lovers. And then they would all be intimidated -- for fear that an overzealous judge might find them guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. And they would quickly drop the entire matter.

Keith Haugen
(Via the Internet)

GOP Congress members should be impeached

It is time to start calling for the impeachment of the Republican Congress. It has done nothing more than focus on the tribulations of President Clinton. Its members have forgotten what they were elected to do. The infighting and bipartisan bickering have wasted millions of dollars.

It is true that the president has behaved in deplorable ways. But, as we find out more about the private lives of Republican stalwarts, Clinton's behavior is no different than theirs. Each time after their own trysts, they went home and lied, too.

Independents like me need to speak up. We must demand that this Congress, Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott and their friends, Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition, move on to more important matters.

Jack Larson

GOP never intended to treat Clinton fairly

Republicans are saying if Clinton hadn't been evasive, they might have been fair.

Baloney. If they honestly cared about justice, they never would have asked those questions in the first place.

Mary Mulhall
Kapaa, Kauai
(Via the Internet)

Clinton has no sense of morality at all

I thought that perhaps a residual sense of shame might make President Clinton observe some modicum of caution, if not of contrition, in his dealings with Congress. But then I saw him in the Rose Garden actually presuming to lecture Congress on doing the right thing.

That's when I realized we are dealing with a fundamentally dishonorable man, perhaps the most dishonorable man to ever occupy the White House and one without a shred of decency. He evidently has done the numbers and concluded that he doesn't have to fear impeachment.

Richard Griffin
(Via the Internet)


Judge Hirai must remove five trustees

On Oct. 2, Probate Court Judge Colleen Hirai heard Attorney General Margery Bronster's review of the report on the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate (KS/BE), filed by court-appointed Master Colbert Matsumoto. Bronster has petitioned Judge Hirai for the immediate interim removal of the KS/BE trustees.

We unequivocally support Bronster's petition and her call for the appointment of a receiver to protect and manage KS/BE following the trustees' removal. The receiver must demonstrate expertise in the operational aspects of the trust and have an appreciation for the primacy of the educational mission that Ke Ali'i Pauahi envisioned for her trust.

We have provided the AG and Judge Hirai with examples of ongoing trustee abuses of power by Trustees Wong, Lindsey and Peters that erode trust assets and adversely affect students, their families and KS/BE employees.

In brief, the chaos at Kamehameha continues. The school is held hostage by these three trustees and their administrative agents on campus. To maintain our school, we need protection and relief now.

Although we know that the trustee majority is responsible for our deepening crisis, we support the idea of temporarily removing all five trustees. This option affords an opportunity for the Probate Court to provide immediate protection to Pauahi's trust, her beneficiaries and the staff of KS/BE.

Trust law empowers Judge Hirai to remove all five trustees temporarily if she deems this to be in the best interest of the beneficiaries. She need not first establish individual culpability for breaches of trustee fiduciary responsibility, a process which could require a lengthy court review during which time the majority trustees would maintain their stranglehold on the school and estate.

The trustees will nonetheless have their day to defend themselves in court, when Bronster's petition for their permanent removal is heard. At that time we will again affirm our gratitude for the fact that, throughout this crisis, trustees Stender and Jervis have taken personal risks and expended their own assets to bring resolution to our shared predicament.

Their actions attest to the positive role we expect they will play in the future of our institution.

We urge other groups and individuals to join us to voice our support for the immediate temporary removal of the KS/BE trustees and to send this clear message to Judge Hirai.

Donne Dawson
For Na Kumu o Kamehameha

Editor's note: Na Kumu o Kamehameha is a group comprised of
230 Kamehameha Schools teachers and administrators.

Bishop Estate Archive

Feeding the pigeons makes problem worse

Cindy Newburg ("Feral cats don't need to be starved," Letters, Oct. 5) needs to think with her head instead of her heart.

It is almost impossible to walk down some city streets without getting bombarded by pigeon and dove droppings because "compassionate" people insist on feeding the birds. Hair, clothes, cars, lawns and water fountains become instant disease centers that are hazardous to our health.

Since the birds don't need to look for food, they spend their time creating more birds to enjoy the bounty of paradise. In the process, they displace native birds and insect eaters, which consequently multiply the population of insects, which multiply the number of pest control sprayers, which multiply the toxic chemicals filtering into our food chain.

Food put out for birds, cats and dogs frequently ends up in the stomach of a mongoose, rat or wombat. It's time to stop killing ourselves with kindness and realize the delicate balance of nature is best served by one rule: "If it isn't yours, don't feed it!"

Rico Leffanta

Hawaii isn't tax hell and should publicize it

For those who have been bad-mouthing Hawaii's tax climate, and for the rest of us who have believed them, the October issue of Kiplinger's will be a revelation. It did a comparison of state and local tax bills for two of the largest cities in every state and the District of Columbia.

For each city, it totaled the state income tax, local income tax, property tax and sales tax for a married couple with two kids, who had an annual combined income of $75,000, lived in a home worth $250,000 and spent an average amount on food, clothing, household goods and gasoline.

On this basis, Kiplinger's found that D.C. and major cities in 36 states imposed higher tax burdens than in Honolulu. As to the particular tax that Kiplinger's found to be the most hated, the property tax, those taxes in Honolulu -- amounting to $1,000 per family -- were the nation's lowest.

For those who point out that property values are higher in Honolulu than in other major cities, Kiplinger's analyzed the figures and concluded that the actual values of homes would not skew the rankings.

Perhaps the moral is that we should stop the loud, public and inaccurate carping about tax rates in Hawaii, which only serves to discourage new business entrants. Instead, we should publicize our low rate of family taxation, including the coming income tax reductions, as well as our fantastic climate, incredibly beautiful scenery and aloha spirit.

Richard S. Miller
UH Professor of Law Emeritus

Critic wasn't present at HSTA board meeting

Pam Smith's letter in the Sept. 26 edition about HSTA was ludicrous at best and filled with blatant untruths. Is she even a public school teacher? Since I know that Smith was not at our board of directors meeting, I would ask her to seriously scrutinize and question the accuracy of information that is fed to her.

Rumors, half-truths and misconceptions are expeditiously used to fan the flames of dissension and distrust. To be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem requires much more than Smith has demonstrated.

Mark Rieben
Hawaii State Teachers Association
(Via the Internet)

Judiciary has been friend to Hawaii's crime victims

If the Crime Victim Compensation Commission succeeds in its struggle to survive and becomes self-sufficient, it will be largely due to the unselfish support of the state judiciary.

The judiciary has spent countless hours planning and implementing the recently passed compensation fee bill, which allows judges to order convicted defendants to pay a compensation fee. All fees collected would go toward financing the commission's program, compensating victims of crime.

Despite the cutback in staff and eventual elimination of state funds next year, the commission remains reluctant to cut back services yet. Instead, our goal is to maintain and perhaps even increase our current level of productivity by streamlining operations.

Thirty-one years ago, Hawaii was the third state to pioneer a crime victim compensation program. Now there is a program in every state. We do not intend to have Hawaii become the first state in the country to let this essential community resource go out of business.

We are therefore grateful to the judiciary for assisting the commission in its struggle to survive and for demonstrating a commitment to Hawaii crime victims.

Paula Chun
Crime Victim Compensation Commission

DOE is abiding by consent decree

While improvements in mental health services are needed, recent reporting on the status of the Felix consent decree has some omissions. Not mentioned are facts from the report which reflect excellent work being done by school personnel.

For example, Honolulu and Central Districts processed 99 percent of their special needs referrals within the required 100-day time limit. They input an entire layer of additional paperwork required by judge and lawyers involved in the class-action suit. This is 34 percent of the 4,134 referrals processed in this time period.

There is a wide range of compliance within the other districts, from a low of 45 percent to a high of 92 percent. Perhaps the resources wasted on fulfilling paperwork trails for lawyers might be better spent improving any deficiencies.

While plaintiffs will complain about a lawsuit, balancing that dissatisfaction with the vast majority who are satisfied with their services would be appreciated.

Jim Wolfe

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