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Saturday, February 3, 2001

Governor urges UH
to take over stadium,
keep it profitable

By Pat Omandam

The University of Hawaii could save about $800,000 a year in rent at Aloha Stadium and possibly generate more income for itself if the state Legislature agrees with Gov. Ben Cayetano's plan to put the stadium under the jurisdiction of the university.

Legislature 2001 The move would place more oversight responsibility with the Stadium Authority, which the governor said isn't being done while the stadium and its management body remain under the control of the state Department of Accounting and General Services.

The governor said he believes UH can keep the stadium profitable without paying the $800,000 in stadium rent for UH football games.

"If the stadium goes under the jurisdiction of the university, one thing is clear, the stadium has to be self-sufficient, as it is now," Cayetano said.

"And they're going to have to find ways to generate revenue."

One way might be to sell the naming rights of the stadium, as was done at Oregon State University in Corvallis after a $5 million donation from businessman Al Reser, a Beaver graduate.

The university gave Reser the option of keeping his name on the former Parker Stadium until 2024 for an additional $7.5 million.

Asked about possible corporate names for Aloha Stadium, the governor suggested "Sony Aloha Stadium" could bring in a few dollars. He also said his bill has the support of the university, including athletic director Hugh Yoshida and football coach June Jones.

A hearing has not yet been scheduled on the measure.

Meanwhile, here's a look at some legislation action at the State Capitol next week as well as what happened this week:

Bullet Kindergarten rules

The Senate Education Committee on Monday will hear a bill that changes the cutoff date for kindergarten entrance.

Pupils must now be 5 years old by Dec. 31 to enter kindergarten. The bill would change the cutoff date to Oct. 1 beginning with the 2002-2003 school year, and to July 1, beginning in 2003-2004.

The measure also requires the Department of Education to establish pre-kindergartens and to reduce the student-teacher ratio to 20:1 for the third grade and below.

Bullet Flowers and skirts

Although we all know it is, May 1st would officially become Lei Day in Hawaii, and the state would adopt an official state tartan that will be registered in Scotland, under proposals being heard Tuesday by the House Tourism and Culture Committee.

Bullet Bahamas ban

Gov. Ben Cayetano said he'll no longer talk to the media about his recent trip to the Bahamas because he doesn't like the aspersions and insinuations cast in reports about who accompanied him on the trip to the Atlantis Resort and Casino to view a world-class saltwater aquarium.

The governor explained he has taken hundreds of trips as a legislator and as governor during his career and "all kinds of people have gone along with me."

"So this is the end of it. Whether you like it or not, this is the end of it," he told reporters yesterday.

Bullet Legislative budget bill

Both chambers yesterday passed a $12.7 million legislative budget, which included a 4 percent raise for House staff members.

The budget increase drew opposition from a handful of House Republicans, who felt the Legislature should hold the line on pay raises for its own staff in light of the more pressing state needs.

Bullet Gambling pro and con

Bills legalizing bingo, a state lottery, horse-racing and casino gambling, among others, are now before the Legislature. Gambling proponents continue a media campaign to win public support for a resort gambling proposal.

Gambling opponents began their counterattack this week and met with two dozen state lawmakers to discuss the social dangers of gambling. They all say gambling is not worth such risks.

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Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes

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