Changing Hawaii

By Diane Yukihiro Chang

Monday, January 4, 1999

Top 10 editorial
topics of the
great ’98

Year in Review LAST Thursday, various sections of this newspaper ran their top 10 story lists for 1998. The biggest local scoop: the continuing controversy at Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate. The most jaw-dropping business tale: Liberty House filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. And the biggie for sports: UH's firing of football Coach Fred vonAppen and hiring of June Jones of the San Diego Chargers.

Not wanting to be left out, the commentary page presents our top 10 editorial topics in 1998. These are the people/issues that gave editorial writers Carl Zimmerman and Lee Catterall the most ammunition with which to launch opinionated scuds via word processor and pen:

1. Getting ill over Bill. "Nobody could reasonably argue that Zippergate compares with Watergate. But where does it say that it takes an outrage of the magnitude of Watergate to qualify for impeachment?" (Dec. 10)

2. Ben and Linda. "In the belief that Hawaii sorely needs change, the Star-Bulletin endorses Linda Lingle for governor...A vote for Cayetano is a vote for the status quo. A vote for Lingle is a vote for real change, change that Hawaii needs to reposition itself for the next century." (Oct. 30)

3. Lack of trust. "The litany of abuses is long and the evidence against the KS/BE trustees -- certainly Lindsey, Peters and Wong -- overwhelming. The trustees must be removed immediately to permit the estate and its beneficiary, the Kamehameha Schools, to get on with their mission without further distraction while the court weighs the petition for permanent removal." (Sept. 11)

4. Taking the economy to task (force). "The Economic Revitalization Task Force convened by Governor Cayetano produced a bundle of recommendations. Most of them failed in the Legislature -- evidence of the lack of political sensitivity of the task force members, most of whom were business executives." (May 15)

5. Japan Inc. "If (Prime Minister) Obuchi succeeds in dealing effectively with the sensitive issues of tax cuts and the staggering amounts of bad loans in the banking system, he will surpass expectations. The problem is the whole international economic system may depend on bold action by Japan." (Aug. 1)

6. The delicate handling of China. "Beijing has responded to Clinton's pro-democracy overtures with defiance. Washington will have to reassess its China policy in light of Beijing's latest pronouncements (on its dissidents)." (Dec. 24)

7. Life after Marcos. "Imelda Marcos has won another legal battle. The Philippine Supreme Court overturned a lower court's 1993 decision finding her guilty of graft...The 'iron butterfly' has again demonstrated her survival skills." (Oct. 7)

8. Government ineptness. "Why does the state have to pay $74,100 a year to clean the two reflecting pools that ring the state Capitol while the city pays only $7,200 to clean the pools at the Blaisdell Center?" (Dec. 29)

9. Da Natatorium. "The Waikiki Natatorium in its present crumbling condition is an eyesore and a safety hazard, the result of decades of disgraceful neglect by state and city politicians. To his credit, Mayor Harris has pushed for full restoration, as urged by preservationists, water sports enthusiasts and veterans groups." (Nov. 19)

10. Bombs away. "The attack was the appropriate sequel to an ultimatum to answer promptly Saddam's defiance of the United Nation's orders to open all facilities to arms inspectors." (Dec. 23)

Now, bring on 1999...

Diane Yukihiro Chang's column runs Monday and Friday.
She can be reached by phone at 525-8607, via e-mail at, or by fax at 523-7863.

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