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Saturday, November 7, 1998

Attorney general is acting like Ken Starr

Well, I suppose it had to happen! Hawaii's attorney general, Margery Bronster, finally transformed herself into a Ken Starr-like cartoon character.

BronSTARR started out investigating the questionable business dealings of the Bishop Estate. Now she's using BATF tactics -- descending upon a private residence, threatening citizens, demanding entry, photographing and inventorying personal possessions. What's next? Peeking through keyholes, rummaging through trash cans, checking for DNA samples, wiretapping phones?

Will the BronSTARR Report, complete with salacious details, be broadcast over the Internet anytime soon? Exactly when will public opinion in our fair state begin to turn against the accuser?

C.T. Marshall
(Via the Internet)

Two major changes are needed at estate

The multibillion-dollar Bishop Estate has long been a swollen, self-serving, rancid, predatory lobby. It is a boondoggle thinly disguised as an educational charity. It should have been stripped of its tax-exempt status decades ago.

The trust may be allowed to retain its privileges as a non-profit charity if it makes two changes:

bullet The current trustees should immediately be replaced by a broad-based citizens' board drawn from all walks of life and socio-economic status, with people of Hawaiian descent predominating.

Instead of compensation of $800,000 a year, each trustee should be paid $100 per meeting. It requires neither celestial intelligence nor great experience to preside over a mass of land holdings (managed day-to-day by experts) that, left unattended, would quietly grow in value by 5-10 percent per year.

Should additional expertise be required, it could be hired by the board at competitive rates. This change should reduce the estate's administrative costs from many millions to a few hundred thousand dollars per year.

bullet The estate must be mandated to spend all of its annual income each year on its dedicated mission of education; its capital of $1 billion or more may be preserved. Figuring a conservative annual return of 5 percent (although 10 percent is more probable), the estate would have $50 million per annum to fund its educational goals.

This would be sufficient not only to richly maintain the Kamehameha Schools, but also provide full college scholarships for all ethnically qualified Hawaiians who maintain at least a B average in their secondary school studies.

Funds left over each year after the trust's domestic goals have been met can be used to fund scholarships for Hawaiian boys and girls worldwide.

Martin Blinder

Bishop Estate Archive

Hawaii should reduce gasoline prices by law

According to the American Petroleum Institute, Connecticut passed a law to reduce its taxes effective July 1, leaving Hawaii in the No. 1 spot for highest gasoline prices. It would help Hawaii consumers if our lawmakers followed Connecticut's example.

P. Franz
(Via the Internet)

Returned library book shows aloha is alive

We occasionally hear comments to the effect that aloha is disappearing from this aina. I'd like to share evidence that the spirit lives.

The other day I was so distracted by my newborn baby that I forgot that I had placed a book on the roof of my car before driving off. It was a library book, no less!

Later, when I spoke with a librarian about the matter, I learned that an anonymous motorist had picked it up and kindly turned it in for me. He or she didn't leave a name, so I can only hope you will find the space in your letters section to extend my sincere mahalo for this random act of kindness.

David A. Pendleton

Blaisdell should rein in out-of-control audience

My wife and I recently attended the musical "Cats." While we enjoyed the show as best we could, the overall experience was trying. During the performance we attended, two beepers went off, one cellular phone rang, people conversed throughout the show, wandered in and out of their seats, and arrived late for both acts.

The ushers did nothing to stem the flow of late arrivals.

I wonder if the Blaisdell's management would consider an effort to rein in the audience.

I'd like to offer a suggestion. In San Francisco, as we entered a theater, we were handed a sheet titled, "Audience Members Code of Conduct." It talked about the audience being an integral part of the performance.

The list addressed points such as arriving on time (for all acts), cellular phones, pagers, gum chewing, paper shuffling, talking, candy wrapper crackling, and perfume dousing.

It also stated the overture and the finale are part of the performance. These are not times to talk story or stampede to the parking lot.

I urge Blaisdell management to draft its own code of conduct and pass it out with the playbills as people enter. I also urge management to dust off off its late arrival policy, reread it, retrain their employees on it, and then start enforcing it.

Russell & Virginia Ratay
(Via the Internet)

Film festival looks like it can be intimidated

The Hawaii Film Festival recently removed the pro-Tibetan film, "Windhorse," from consideration for a top award because of fear of reprisals from the Chinese government.

There are lessons here for everyone when we allow intimidation to rule.

Can we believe in any independence of the Hawaii Film Festival?

Will the prestigious Golden Maile Award truly have merit, when we know that outside forces can dictate which films can even be considered for awards?

Bobbie Slater

Clinton bombed Sudan to divert attention from affair

President Clinton should be impeached, not because of whom he has had sex with but because he has proven that he is dishonest in his dealings with the American public.

Also, he ordered innocent people in Sudan and Afghanistan to be bombed to further his political agenda (he wanted to get the Lewinsky affair out of the headlines).

Attorney General Reno advised against the bombings, because there wasn't sufficient evidence to do so, and the Joint Chiefs of staff apparently weren't advised.

What kind of president puts the lives of innocent people at risk to further his political agenda? For this action alone, Clinton should be impeached.

Bob McCulloch


Election '98

Post-election blues

Hawaii must now suffer with horrible status quo

Once again the voters of Hawaii have kicked the door closed on change. Here's what we have to look forward to:

bullet A lame duck governor who doesn't have to respond to voters.

bullet Government in the pocket of unions.

bullet A high cost of living due to congressional members' continued support of the Jones Act.

bullet A do-nothing state House leadership.

bullet Continued exodus of people to the mainland.

bullet Talk of tax increases in about six to 12 months as our state "surplus" disappears.

Probably the best chance for this state to move forward has been lost. Only time will tell how this election will affect the future of this state.

Randy Harrod
(Via the Internet)

Election results mean no improvement

Where is the logic in voting for the political party that has brought this state to its knees? Hawaii has the highest unemployment in the nation, so what do 51 percent of the voters do? Why, they voted to keep it that way!

Dave Hunt
(Via the Internet)

Party-line voters ignore candidates' merits

Our family lived in Hawaii over 16 years, where I was a sugar cane and turfgrass researcher until 1993. When we left Hawaii, we moved from the most Democratic-controlled state in the union to the most Republican-controlled, Utah. In both cases, I marvel at how so many people can vote on the basis of party rhetoric while ignoring the actual merits of the individuals involved.

How else does one explain lopsided victories the majority party achieves, race after race, election year after election year? To me, this reflects laziness on the part of the voters and puts both states in a bad light, nationally.

As the Deseret News and Star-Bulletin editorials both suggested following the election, having a strong two-party system forces candidates to become more responsive to their constituents.

If seven years of economic depression in Hawaii isn't enough incentive to mandate a greater balance in political parties, then one has to wonder, "What is going on in the heads of the voters that they would vote for another four years of status quo?"

Thomas Tew
Provo, Utah
(Via the Internet)

We'll have four more years of same old stagnation

So, the Democrats say they got a wake-up call with the gubernatorial election? They say they will need to address the worries and concerns expressed by those who voted against Ben Cayetano.

Well, I've got news for you! Nothing is going to change in the next four years. Oh sure, the Dems will beat their breasts and wrinkle their brows. They'll promise change! But nothing will change!

Our soon-to-be-lame-duck governor will continue the same old song-and-dance of kowtowing to the union bosses and sucking up to the big money interests. The Legislature will do what it does best -- make sure it stays in power. And nothing will change!

If you don't believe me, meet me here in four years. You'll recognize me. I'll be the one giving the "I told you so" speech.

Michael Weaver
(Via the Internet)

'Traditional marriage' needs lots of work

Now that the initiative to allow the Legislature to define marriage has passed, will heterosexuals finally remove the spotlight from homosexuals and shine it on themselves, where it belongs?

Contrary to vigorous scape-goating, homosexuals are not to blame for the sorry state of heterosexual marriage. Despite the massive support given to heterosexual marriage by religious, cultural, social, political and economic institutions, heterosexuals still can't live up to the institution that they so loudly defend as theirs and theirs alone.

The massive number of divorces, the crisis of spouse and child abuse and neglect, and the everyday fact of irresponsible procreation all point to the need for heterosexuals to add responsibility to the great number of rights they have inherited.

Instead of whining like a spoiled child who has been asked to share his candy, heterosexuals can now stop obsessing on homosexuality and start earning the privileges that they enjoy -- the very same ones withheld from homosexuals.

Esther Figueroa

Religious conservatives impose their values

I guess we can finally dispense with this "liberty and justice for all" hypocrisy. As a happily married father of two and grandfather of two, I fail to see how same-sex marriage poses a threat to my marriage and family. While I am not a member of the Catholic Church, Mormon Church or the Christian Coalition, I find myself increasingly living under their rules and regulations. This campaign season has effectively erased the line between organized religion and government in Hawaii.

Laws aside, there is a societal consensus that a person's right to smoke ends where it interferes with another's right to breathe. I wish that we could arrive at the same consensus with second-hand religion.

Your right to worship ends when it tries to control what goes on in my brain, bloodstream or bedroom.

John Flynn
Kapaau, Hawaii
(Via the Internet)

Poll workers showed their own bigotry

As I was standing outside the polling place waiting to vote, I realized how much gay persons are discriminated against here. A young man asked a woman working at the polls what the marriage question meant. She replied, "Just vote 'yes.' It's important to keep those people from getting married."

I was not fazed by this and cast my vote in favor of stopping bigotry and hate from overwhelming our state. I voted "no."

I know that the church (specifically the Mormon Church) has a way of controlling its mindless flocks, but I never thought that almost 70 percent of my friends and neighbors would be drawn into deceit and lies. If this was not a civil rights issue, what was it?

Jereld Sharitz
(Via the Internet)

It's hopeless effort to get recount in suspect races

An Oct. 6 article about election recounts mentions two previous challenges filed at the state Supreme Court. Mine was probably one of them.

In 1996 I lost the Democratic primary for the House seat in District 21. Even though a poll conducted by an independent firm just days before the election showed my opponent and myself in a tight race in precinct 1, the final count was an incredible 415 to 75 in favor of my opponent.

The count was delayed that night while the computers were being tested. Some may recall the uproar at this delay since many candidates had to wait until after midnight for the results.

Of course, my petition for a recount was denied. The state Supreme Court has yet to rule for a recount since state law does not allow it. The burden of proof is put on the candidate to show that there were enough votes to change the outcome, but to do this is impossible since the candidate is not allowed to inspect the ballots. If I could have seen just a portion of the ballots in that one precinct, my doubts would have been satisfied.

A year later I met Dwayne Yoshina, the chief elections officer. He had no reply when I asked in frustration, "Do you realize that I will have to live the rest of my life wondering if I really won or lost?"

I sympathize with those candidates who will always wonder, as I do, if the results were correct. The right to vote loses its value when there is no confidence in the system. Is this really a democracy when a candidate is not allowed to see proof that the process was fair? Perhaps a Constitutional Convention could find a way to remedy this situation.

The denial of the right to a recount can also affect the integrity of the elections office. If a candidate claims that the election was not an honest one, the elections office would not be able to prove otherwise. There would be no vindication since the truth must remain hidden by law, and justice would not be served.

Carol Sword
Former Candidate
State House, District 21

Same-sex marriage:
Past articles

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