Wednesday, April 14, 1999

Wong’s indictment
should spur removal

Bullet The issue: The indictment of Richard Wong raises anew questions about the fitness of the Bishop Estate trustees to serve the estate.
Bullet Our view: The probate court should immediately remove the trustees, at least temporarily.

THE indictment of Richard Wong on charges related to an alleged kickback scheme would be a shocking development if the Bishop Estate trustees had not already been immersed in a conflict of historic proportions.

Coming after the indictment of fellow trustee Henry Peters in connection with the same scheme, the apparent suicide attempt of trustee Gerard Jervis following the suicide of a female colleague with whom he was caught in a sexually compromising situation, the lawsuit seeking the removal of trustee Lokelani Lindsey for mismanagement of the Kamehameha Schools and the attorney general's attempt to remove all the trustees, Wong's indictment is simply more of the same.

The indictment underlines an obvious and compelling fact: The embattled trustees should not be attempting to manage the affairs of the Bishop Estate.

One month ago, the four surviving authors of the "Broken Trust" article that precipitated the attorney general's investigation of the estate, in a letter to the editor, criticized the delay by Probate Judge Colleen Hirai in deciding the attorney general's request for temporary removal of the trustees.

The four -- Gladys Brandt, Walter Heen, Samuel P. King and Randall Roth -- asked, "How many outside evaluators have to call the trustees' role 'dysfunctional' before a probate judge puts them aside? How many trustees have to be indicted? How obvious must it be that these trustees can't possibly be devoting their undivided attention to the needs of the trust?"

Wong's indictment underscores the urgency of removing the trustees, at least temporarily. These people are fighting to defend their reputations and in two cases to stay out of jail. To leave the affairs of the Bishop Estate in their hands even one day more is inexplicable.

Bishop Estate Archive


Tokyo governor

Bullet The issue: The election for governor of Tokyo was won by Shintaro Ishihara, a prominent nationalist.
Bullet Our view: Ishihara does not control foreign policy, but his outspoken views may shake up Japanese politics.

THE election of a prominent nationalist as governor of Tokyo has changed the complexion of Japanese politics and raised questions about relations with the United States. The winner, Shintaro Ishihara, is the author of the 1989 book, "The Japan That Can Say No," and is a vocal opponent of the U.S. military presence in Japan.

The outspoken author's victory was a setback for Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which had backed a former senior U.N. official, Yasushi Akashi, as its official candidate.

Ishihara's victory was aided by his strong name recognition in Japan. He is a winner of the country's most prestigious literary prize and is the elder brother of one of the country's most beloved actors, the late Yujiro Ishihara.Moreover, the ruling party's vote was divided between Akashi and two other candidates closely tied to the LDP.

Ishihara has said he wants to use Yokota, a major U.S. military air base, as a commercial airport. However, he does not have the power to close the base and a spokesman for the national government said it does not intend to ask the United States to give it up.

Officials in Hong Kong and several Asian nations have expressed concern about the election of Ishihara. His views have an anti-American tinge; he has irritated China by referring to it as "Shina," a term that echoes Japan's militaristic past.

However, Ishihara will have his hands full with municipal problems. Tokyo has debts of $58 billion and in the last fiscal year it ran a deficit of $830 million. In a recent survey, 62 percent of respondents cited medical services and welfare as the most important issues.

The head of Tokyo's municipal government usually has little influence on national policy. Still, having an outspoken figure in such a prominent office could make Japan's cautious political leaders uncomfortable.


America’s Cup

Bullet The issue: The Aloha Racing Foundation is requesting $3 million for its campaign to place a Hawaii boat in the America's Cup Race.
Bullet Our view: This is an opportunity that must not be missed.

HAVING a Hawaii-based entry competing for the America's Cup for the first time is an opportunity that must not be missed. A group called the Aloha Racing Foundation is building two racing yachts in a warehouse at Ko Olina and in other respects as well is making a highly credible effort to compete in Auckland, New Zealand.

The project would give Hawaii millions of dollars worth of world television exposure and, if the Hawaii entry won, the right to host the next America's Cup, which would be a huge boost for the economy.

The foundation is asking the state to contribute $3 million of a budget of $20-30 million, most of which is funded by corporate sponsorships and donations. It's hard for the Legislature to come up with the money, but it seems an obvious call for the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

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