Sunday, February 17, 2002

Jones contract snag
carries complications

The issue: Contract renewal talks
between the University of Hawaii and
football coach June Jones have broken off.

WAS it something somebody said, or are messy money problems tattering the love affair between Hawaii and June Jones? The popular football coach's agent has broken off talks with the University of Hawaii over Jones' contract renewal. The falling out is complicated by the agent's own financial relationship with the university, a relationship that should have been avoided.

When Jones left a pro football coaching opportunity with the San Diego Chargers to accept the UH job, he made it clear it was not for the money. "I am excited that I'm going to a place where I've wanted to retire, where I wanted to live," he said, "and I think it could be a 20-year job if I can get it going in the next four to five years." The five-year contract carried an annual salary of $400,000, the highest in UH history but pretty ordinary in the world of major college football.

And did he get it going! In his very first year, Jones turned the team with the nation's longest losing streak into a conference champion and Oahu Bowl winner, winning himself national coach-of-the-year honors. After a bumpy second year, Jones last year led the Warriors to a 9-3 season, capped by a blowout of longtime nemesis Brigham Young.

Meanwhile, as Star-Bulletin columnist Rob Perez reported recently, Leigh Steinberg, Jones' agent and friend, was carving out his own deals with UH. Steinberg entered into a $100,000 nonbid consulting contract with the university in April 2000 to evaluate, among other things, UH's sports marketing. The university later put a Steinberg company in charge of sports marketing. The company was paid $235,000 in the first year, and the athletic department is expected to receive more than $900,000 in marketing revenue -- the most ever -- for the current fiscal year.

Steinberg keeps the marketing and consulting division of his company separate from its agency representation division, according to a company official. Now the agency division has broken off talks with UH after proposing a pay raise that would make Jones among the 10 highest-paid coaches in the country and rejecting the university's counteroffer.

Hawaii football fans continue to embrace June Jones, even as college and professional football programs ogle from afar and consider enticements that could steal him away. A successful UH football team not only is exciting for Warrior fans but, for many people, provides an important ingredient in Hawaii's attraction as a place to live.

Those considerations are important in any negotiations of a football coach's contract. The question is whether UH officials will be able to conduct further Jones contract talks -- if there are any -- as if Steinberg's marketing operation were not in the next room.



Global warming plan
is a chilling policy

The issue: The Bush administration
prescribes a weak cure for
greenhouse gas emissions.

PRESIDENT Bush's plan to combat global warming by tying the volume of emissions to the nation's economic output is a trick of accounting that will do little to curb the gases that cause the problem. The plan effectively preserves at least status-quo levels of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases that contribute to the warming effect.

The hazy blueprint is in keeping with the administration's reluctance to rein in the pollutants that not only harm the Earth's atmosphere but increase respiratory diseases, such as asthma. The plan has no muscle. Instead, it relies on manufacturers, utility companies and other businesses to reduce pollutants voluntarily, an unlikely scenario given their practices.

It should come as no surprise that Bush's proposal lacks any substance. In his first months in office, the president made clear he did not hold air-quality issues dear. First, he reversed a campaign pledge to require power plants to reduce carbon dioxide discharges, considered to be a major cause of global warming. He then rejected the Kyoto Protocol, the international accord intended to decrease heat-trapping gases. Declaring skepticism that global warming was "a real phenomenon," he ordered a new examination of the issue by the National Academy of Sciences. When the academy reported the threat genuine, Bush put the matter on the back burner.

Now comes this ill-conceived and misnamed "Clear Skies" plan, which, based on the administration's projections, would allow emissions to increase 14 percent through the next decade, the same rate at which they grew during the last 10 years. By linking gross domestic product to gas volume, it ignores projections that the GDP is expected to expand at least 30 percent through 2012.

In an effort to paint himself green, Bush's proposal would extend for five years $4.6 billion in tax credits as incentives for utilities to develop renewable energy sources and for consumers to buy solar devices and fuel-efficient vehicles. While that sounds like a lot of money, it would amount to less than a penny per day for every citizen in the United States, hardly enough to motivate anyone, much less bottom-line-oriented companies. Further, the plan would defer for 10 years reductions in toxic mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions now required in the Clean Air Act.

In rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, Bush contended that the accord would have cost the country millions of jobs and industry billions of dollars. In announcing his plan, he proclaimed that as president he is "charged with safeguarding the welfare of the American people and American workers."

That's true. It is also true that safeguarding the air Americans breathe and the environment in which they live is his responsibility as well. Bush contends that his plan will keep the economy pumping. It further assures the pollutants that harm the globe will keep pumping, too.


Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, managing editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
assistant managing editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, assistant managing editor 529-4762;

John Flanagan, contributing editor 294-3533;

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