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Wednesday, July 5, 2000

Kapiolani bandstand
is vast improvement

Bullet The issue: The city-county has dedicated the new bandstand at Kapiolani Park.

Bullet Our view: The bandstand is an important enhancement of a treasured resource.

HONOLULU marked Memorial Day 2000 with the dedication of the partially renovated Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. That was followed yesterday by the Fourth of July dedication of the handsome new Kapiolani Park bandstand.

The Royal Hawaiian Band, which will hold its regular Sunday concerts at the bandstand, was on hand for the celebration, of course, and so was a host of prominent local entertainers.

The new bandstand is an impressive structure, with a gleaming copper roof and dark, inlaid wood, in a style reminiscent of the original structure, built in the 1880s. Adding to its appeal are a dramatic stone stairway, a reflecting pool with recirculating water, and tasteful landscaping. There has been some criticism of the pond as a potential nusiance but if it is properly maintained it should be an important asset.

This is a vast improvement over the old bandstand, which was coldly utilitarian and had been badly damaged by termites. The conspicuous location of the bandstand makes the improvement particularly important.

Similarly, the renovation of the Natatorium was sorely needed, although restoration of the pool remains to be accomplished. Even more than the old bandstand, the Natatorium had become a disgraceful eyesore. Mayor Harris and the City Council deserve credit for enhancing Kapiolani Park with both projects.

Harris said the structure was an attempt "to recapture the charm of old Hawaii," and we think it succeeds.

The park has also benefited by the renovation several years ago of the Waikiki Aquarium adjoining the Natatorium and by improvements in the snack bar, shower facilities and park furniture at Queen's Surf beach. The Honolulu Zoo has been transforming itself into a more open environment for its animals -- another significant innovation.

Kapiolani Park has been a treasured resource for the people of Honolulu since the 19th century. With the growth of tourism it has also become an attraction for visitors to Waikiki. It's imperative that the city preserve and improve the park and its varied attractions. The new bandstand is an excellent contribution.

Perot won’t run

Bullet The issue: Ross Perot has rejected overtures to seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party.

Bullet Our view: The decision clears the way for Pat Buchanan to obtain the nomination.

ROSS Perot appears to have lost control of the Reform Party, which he founded in 1996 to support his presidential ambitions. That leaves the way clear for Pat Buchanan, the former Republican, to gain the Reform nomination against a weak opponent, John Hagelin.

Perot spurned overtures for him to seek the party nomination -- and make a third run for the presidency. A spokesman said Perot based his decision on the fact that deadlines for getting his name on the ballot have passed in many states. However, it appeared that he was tempted to run.

Instead, Perot tried another tactic to stop Buchanan. In a letter to the nominations committee, Perot asked that party members be given the option of "no endorsement." In a show of independence from the party's founder, the committee rejected his proposal.

Perot's supporters object to Buchanan's conservative positions on social issues and say they don't want the Reform Party to become a "right-wing Republican Party" behind him.

By contrast, Perot has focused on a balanced budget, a protectionist trade policy and campaign spending reform. He might have been more comfortable with Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura as the party standard-bearer, but Ventura refused to run.

Reform Party ballots are being mailed to potential voters starting this week, with voting to conclude Aug. 9. The party will officially nominate its candidate at a convention beginning Aug. 10 in Long Beach, Calif.

The party nomination is valuable for the money that goes with it, if for no other reason. The law says that any party candidate who gets at least 5 percent of the popular vote in the previous presidential election gets a federal subsidy based on that vote. Perot in 1996 won about 8 percent, which would mean $12.6 million for the 2000 Reform Party nominee. Getting access to that money presumably was the attraction of the party for Buchanan, who had no chance of securing the Republican nomination.

The law requires the Federal Election Commission to make the funds available to the nominee of the party, not to the party itself. Consequently a "no endorsement" result would have denied the funds not only to Buchanan or Hagelin but to the party as well -- which could have crippled it.

Besides Buchanan, the likely Reform nominee, the presidential election will include Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, and Harry Browne of the Libertarian Party. It's safe to say that none of the three will be the next president, but they may affect the contest between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush in some key states. It would be a mistake for either Gore or Bush to fail to take the fringe candidates into account.

Published by Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership

Rupert E. Phillips, CEO

John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

David Shapiro, Managing Editor

Diane Yukihiro Chang, Senior Editor & Editorial Page Editor

Frank Bridgewater & Michael Rovner, Assistant Managing Editors

A.A. Smyser, Contributing Editor

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