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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Bank sale criticism rooted in ignorance

The July 7 letter from George Simson ("Dods' flame-out may be due to the sale of bank") was inaccurate and illogical.

He criticized last year's acquisition of BancWest Corp. As CEO of a public company, I would have been irresponsible to reject the 40 percent premium offered for our shares. The shareholders agreed, voting 99 percent "yes."

He said we were "selling out one of our capital-poor state's chief sources of capital ... we should not sell our capital." BancWest, First Hawaiian Bank and their "capital" haven't gone anywhere. First Hawaiian is just as interested as ever in making loans here. In fact, now we are backed by the world's fifth largest bank, BNP Paribas, which plans to expand our operations in the Western U.S., including Hawai'i.

"If Paribas does not invest here," Mr. Simson asks, displaying his ignorance of capital markets, "where does Mr. Dods think the profits will go?" Where does he think any profits go? Most are reinvested in the company.

Also, BancWest (like all public companies) had thousands of shareholders — including many local residents, but mostly Mainland institutional investors. Shareholders risk their capital and hope to profit through stock appreciation and dividends. Now we have one shareholder, but the same local staff, management and "capital."

First Hawaiian voted for campaign finance reform by ending corporate contributions to political candidates. Showing that no good deed goes uncriticized, Mr. Simson implies this would have been illegal anyway. Wrong again. Corporate contributions by our bank have been (and still would be) entirely legal under Hawai'i law.

Walter A. Dods Jr.
Chairman of the board, CEO, BancWest Corp./First Hawaiian Bank

Mauka-makai streets need synchronizing

Our city government has done a good job in synchronizing the traffic lights that regulate traffic on streets like King or Beretania. It's the streets that run mauka and makai that cause our frustration.

After reading Mike Leidemann's article on the subject, I was moved to call the Traffic Signals & Technology Division at their listed number to report a problem light. There was no answer.

If anyone in that department reads this, please time the lights on Pi'ikoi mauka-bound, between Ala Moana and Kapi'olani. Had I reached you by phone, I would have told you that the light across from the Channel 2 Studio was installed some time ago and appears to have just been turned on without being timed at all. The result has now been a normal traffic backup onto Ala Moana Boulevard, in front of the shopping center.

Also, may I suggest one of those high-tech answering machines for your phone system?

Jeff Hossellman

Why is Wal-Mart opening new store?

When I read about Wal-Mart opening a store in Pearl City, I had to wonder why. Is there not a Sam's Club nearby and a Daiei down the street?

I like progress and change as much as the next person, but why give Wal-Mart the opportunity to dominate or monopolize in the state?

Has anyone considered bringing Target to Hawai'i? Target has a decent reputation on the Mainland. Some consider it far better than Wal-Mart in terms of worker's rights. Bringing Target to Hawai'i might also spur competition, which as most people know drives prices down.

Ruby Marcelo

Lingle would support Hawai'i agriculture

Perhaps the most significant event for the future of Hawai'i agriculture took place on July 3 in Hilo. Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle said, as governor, she would direct all state agencies to purchase Hawai'i-grown agricultural products whenever possible.

This is huge! It means that Hawai'i's prisons, hospitals and schools would actually be buying from and supporting Hawai'i's agricultural producers. If Hawai'i's premier chefs openly support buying local products, the state government should do the same.

Despite the magnitude of this pledge, most newspapers around the state ignored this story. "Buying local" is common sense and should already be state policy.

The only support for diversified agriculture from the current governor has been lip service. It's time to change. Linda Lingle will support Hawai'i agriculture with deeds, policy and action.

If you care about agriculture in Hawai'i, its contribution to our economy, its role in providing green spaces in our Islands and our rural lifestyle, then I urge you to help elect Linda Lingle as our next governor.

Eric Weinert
Farmer, Kurtistown, Big Island

Developer agreement is too little and too late

So the developers and landowners have reached an agreement to pay the state's share of badly needed road projects in the 'Ewa region. These projects are badly needed only because of the overdevelopment of the 'Ewa region. Furthermore, these projects needed to be completed prior to this area being developed.

Now the residents of this area will be subjected to more construction and related traffic delays after putting up with years of this already. And what difference will these completed projects make? Unless the whole traffic structure is improved islandwide, where will the traffic go once it meets up with the old infrastructure?

The underlying problem here has been the 40-year stranglehold of the Democratic Party. Its extreme lack of vision has been further blinded by its corrupt greediness.

The developers, landowners and state officials have already lined their pockets with gold at the expense of this state's citizenry. What a joke this "agreement" is. It's too little, too late and for nothing. The residents of the 'Ewa Plains are in for a couple of horrible decades of punishment as a result of policies made by this present Democratic-controlled government.

Mel McKeague
'Ewa Beach

• • •

Kamehameha admissions furor

Hawaiian children bring unique talents

There was always one thing that set me apart from most of my childhood friends: I went to Kamehameha and they didn't.

I have known so many Hawaiian kids in my lifetime who so earnestly wanted to go to Kamehameha and weren't accepted. It stuns me to think there is not the same kind of craving on Maui. Every one of my friends who wanted to go to Kamehameha had extreme talents in some aspect of life. The reason they weren't accepted had nothing to do with their qualifications, but because of the huge group of competitive Hawaiian children applying.

It pains me to hear that Dr. Hamilton McCubbin, a "Hawaiian leader," fails to realize that any Hawaiian child is qualified to go to Kamehameha, each with his or her own talents to bring to the campus. Perhaps, instead, it is Dr. McCubbin who has fallen short of reaching the qualifications of a true Hawaiian leader who can bring out the potential of Hawaiian youth.

Punihei Anthony

Other non-Hawaiians have been enrolled

This situation that the Kamehameha Schools is in is nothing new; it's that it has now become public. For many years, there have been non-Hawaiian keiki going to this school, but only because of the recent troubles in the school has it become public.

As a Hawaiian, I am glad that they are now willing to show all the people of Hawai'i that anybody can can go to Kamehameha, and that they will give all keiki a chance.

I am not a alumnus but a product of the public school system. I just wish that the state Legislature and Department of Education would do something to improve our public schools so that all keiki would be given the same chance of a better education.

David Ho

Admissions change is a strategic move

As a 1971 Kamehameha graduate, I believe Dr. Hamilton McCubbin and the trustees are implementing a strategy that provides Princess Pauahi's trust with long-term sustainability.

The successful challenge by Freddie Rice of OHA non-Hawaiian voting rights to the U.S. Supreme Court and the consistent ethnic saber-rattling of Ken Conklin should indicate to all Hawaiians that our most precious educational resource is a legal decision away from being taken from us.

The acceptance of a non-Hawaiian child to Kamehameha Schools, although distressing, stays within the parameters of the will that preference be given to children of Hawaiian ancestry. It also defuses the argument that Kamehameha is racially biased and should be legally scrutinized for its federal tax-exempt status.

Kamehameha's mission to educate more Hawaiian children is taking root (expansion of two new campuses on Maui and Hawai'i, and commitment to the conversion model of charter schools in communities with a large Hawaiian population), provides visible commitment to a broader educational policy led by Dr. McCubbin.

Alvin Naawao Parker

Kamehameha should admit only Hawaiians

I was at Kamehameha Schools during the period when faculty members' children were allowed to attend the school. It greatly bothered me then, and it continues to bother me again, now that the issue of admitting non-Hawaiians has arisen.

It is hard to believe that there are not enough qualified Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian children to fill those vacancies on Maui, or any of the other campuses. Surely there has got to be a qualified individual among the long waiting list. To use that as justification for allowing a non-Hawaiian admittance to Kamehameha seems to be the first step toward breaking the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

I find that very disturbing, and it saddens me.

Rosina Moanauli Valencia
Kamehameha Class of 1966

Kamehameha should get JROTC back

I am not against the CEO and trustee decision to accept a non-Hawaiian student into Kamehameha. I am actually writing because a couple of months back, Kamehameha Schools decided to cut off all ties with the federal government to keep the will of Princess Pauahi Bishop "unsoiled."

The federal government gave Kamehameha Schools federal grants for programs such as JROTC. But non-Hawaiians said that it isn't fair that the government should give Kamehameha Schools money if they are "racially discriminating" against children of non-Hawaiian descent.

Kamehameha should get the federal grants back and be able to support federal programs such as the JROTC program.

Jeffrey Williams
10th grader, Kamehameha Schools

Practice didn't begin yesterday

I can understand why some native Hawaiians may be upset about admitting a non-Hawaiian into Kamehameha Schools. After all, the princess intended for the school to be exclusive.

However, this practice didn't begin yesterday. I had friends in the 1980s who attended Kamehameha School for their entire high school years: Two were full-blooded Filipino and the other was pure Italian. And only now they complain?

Becky Jensen

Admission policy is un-American

The entrance requirements to the Kamehameha Schools are reflective of the state of Hawai'i in general: antiquated and un-American.

Being a relatively new resident of Hawai'i, I have discovered that the Islands are not quite the paradise they seemed as a tourist. Thus far the state appears to be ripe with corruption, mismanagement and racial tensions. I believe the Kamehameha Schools debate serves as a prime example of the attitudes that allow such an environment to exist.

The U.S. is a country of immigrants founded on tolerance and religious freedom. Our country fought the Revolutionary War and the Civil War to ensure that freedom and tolerance were cemented into the fabric of our society. The work of maintaining this tolerance and freedom must be carried on by all Americans.

The Kamehameha Schools entrance policy smacks in the face of these very principles our country was founded upon. The mere notion of a school district that only admits people of a certain race conjures up, at worst, images of Nazi Germany and, at best, images of Jim Crow and the Old South.

J.T. Taylor

Academic criteria?

Did I miss something? I don't recall reading anything in Pauahi Bishop's will about academic criteria.

Ruth Yong