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Wednesday, July 5, 2000


Complaint against reporter was warranted

It's mind-boggling that your June 30 editorial would use a complaint lodged by this office against Pacific Business News to accuse Governor Cayetano of having "little regard for the First Amendment" and being "intolerant of criticism."

PBN has long been one of this administration's most vociferous critics. For anyone to claim PBN fired its reporter because this office complained is incredible! The Honolulu Community-Media Council complaint against PBN was about accountability.

It was filed after several state officials complained to the governor's director of communications about the reporting by Malia Zimmerman in a number of PBN stories that lacked objectivity and reflected a personal bias.

We found it troublesome that Zimmerman's coverage of state government operations was not just slanted and negative, but often parroted state Sen. Sam Slom's own writing in the newsletter of Small Business Hawaii.

The media council can't issue gag orders or sanctions. If the complaint was frivolous, the council could have rejected it. It didn't. It encouraged PBN and the governor's office to work out a solution before taking it to a mediator to settle. We simply asked that the reporter go through ethics training.

In the end, PBN chose to terminate Zimmerman for reasons other than the complaint. Zimmerman herself says she wanted to use her position at PBN to effect change, whereas editor Gina Mangieri wanted straight reporting and documentation of the facts.

Kathleen Racuya-Markrich
Press Secretary to the Governor

Another example of need for two papers

Thank you for your June 30 editorial in unequivocal support of the First Amendment. Recent disgraceful conduct on the part of Governor Cayetano's office and the management of Pacific Business News, in the firing and attempted blacklisting of reporter Malia Zimmerman, was and is a gross violation of freedom of speech.

I wrote the editor of the Honolulu Advertiser to call this to his attention and to call his hand on honoring the "mission statement" of his paper. That statement proclaims his newspaper's dedicated adherence to the First Amendment.

The Advertiser knows about the Malia Zimmerman story but apparently cannot drum up the courage to call a spade a spade. That reminds me of the "Broken Trust" story that the Advertiser refused to print before you did.

Same church, different pew. Save the Star-Bulletin!

Richard O. Rowland



"We miss the islands a lot.
Of all the places we've been, it's still
a great place to live, work and raise
children. Maybe someday
we'll get back."

Gen. Eric Shinseki
Wistful about the islands, especially his home county
of Kauai, while he pursues his vision of building
a fighting force capable of speed and flexibility


"What are we gonna do?
Serve hamburgers?"

Patrick McCain
Saying that the longline fishing ban will lessen
the availability of fresh fish in the state, harming the
local restaurant and visitor industry as well
as Hawaii fish connoisseurs

How to finance underground lines

Everybody wants their utility lines underground, but no one wants to pay higher telephone or electric rates. The good news is that a city ordinance passed in 1966 ensured that almost all new 12-KV powerlines and telephone cables would be underground.

This has had very little effect on utility rates because developers and new homeowners paid the extra costs associated with these underground systems.

The visual effect of the old overhead lines has worsened in recent years because of increased demand for cable TV and Internet service. The numerous big, black, low-hanging communications cables have adversely affected older neighborhoods like Lanikai, Manoa and Kalihi Valley.

A reasonable solution to the problem of how to pay for the undergrounding of old systems is SB 2287, introduced in the last legislative session. This bill proposed an equitable cost-sharing arrangement between the affected community, city, electric and telephone utilities, and customers.

If the next Legislature would pass a similar bill, the utilities could work with the Public Utilities Commission to include an appropriate annual expenditure for undergrounding these old utility distribution systems.

Alan S. Lloyd

Homelessness problem isn't getting better

Ron Lim, special assistant to the governor, is akamai in the areas of housing and homelessness. So our consortium of homeless providers is chagrined that he has misstated statistics on Hawaii's homeless.

Lim would have us believe that the homeless population has dropped from 5,400 in 1992 to 3,200 in 1999 -- a decrease of more than 40 percent. That just isn't so.

More important than the exact numbers is the negative impression that Lim's statement can make. A decrease of 40 percent in any problem gives the impression that it is going away so we can stop working on it or go on to something more important.

In case you haven't seen for yourself, homelessness is still a major problem for our community. We continue to need your help.

Lynn Maunakea
Chairwoman, Partners In Care

Historic headstone needs Hawaii home

Burl Burlingame's June 22 article on the headstone of the submarine F-4 was very well written. I --and more than 100,000 submariners who have served our country since 1900 -- appreciate your helping us obtain a final resting place for our headstone.

As memorial chairman for the U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc. Capitol Base, I have spent many hours negotiating with Arlington National Cemetery on how we can save the F-4 original headstone. It has been super cooperative in helping to find a permanent home for this piece of naval history.

Richard B. Mendelson
Rockville, Md.

Reimburse taxpayers for Elian case

The Florida relatives of Elian Gonzalez, together with Cubans and organizations in that state, steadfastly opposed the reunion of Elian and his father, and their ultimate return to Cuba.

Their attorneys knowingly and deliberately challenged the Justice Department in court, and costs incurred by both governments have exceeded $3 million.

They should be held accountable for these costs, and the Justice Department should sue them for reimbursement.

How Tim Chang

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