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John Heckathorn Reports...


(page 3 of 9)

On Prosecutor Charles Marsland’s War on Porn

“Porn Wars,” July 1986

Since [the city’s first conviction in a pornography case] Ching has turned prosecutions over to his 29-year-old deputy Randal Yoshida. It was Yoshida who convinced a jury that Angel Cash was pornographic. The clerk who sold the film was fined $500 and sentenced to 15 days in jail.

The reporter, try as he might, is having a hard time being offended by Angel Cash. It is not a bad film—technically speaking. The sound and color are good, and the actors and actresses are attractive and athletic. No one is likely to confuse Angel Cash with great art. The film is mainly pictures of people having sex, with minimal characterization and plot. After half an hour or so, it becomes repetitive and cloying. Still, watching it seems unlikely to topple Western Civilization.

Ching shrugs off the reporter’s opinion. “The law says the standards are supposed to be those of the average person,” he says with a smile. “And juries have turned out to be far more conservative than anyone expected.” …

If juries convict [in the pending cases] it is not likely to be the death of civil liberties in Hawaii, as some fear. Nor is it likely that ridding Honolulu of erotica will do much to diminish violence against women and the abuse of children, as supporters of the anti-pornography crusade seem to hope. …

Still, at least some of the tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of Honolulu residents who have rented erotic videotapes in the past few years are going to miss them. And more Honolulu residents are going to be outraged that the prosecutor’s office has seen fit to decide what they may and may not watch.


On Restaurant Row as the Hot New Thing in Town

“Alan Beall’s Dream,” Dining, December 1987

Alan Beall is stoked. The 49-year-old developer, with a touch of gray in his hair and beard, is walking through his latest project, Restaurant Row. He can hardly contain his excitement. “This is really coming together,” he says. “It’s going to knock your socks off when it’s done. Banners, flags, lights, people. Can’t you just see it?”

Actually, it’s hard to see. The only people around are workers in hard hats, hammering on scaffolds or touching up the concrete with mini-sandblasters. There are no walls or windows yet on the ground floor, just exposed concrete pillars and ducting and plywood barriers. A power saw whines persistently in the background.

But Beall has no trouble envisioning all 90,000 square feet filled with nine major restaurants, a dozen or so smaller food operations, a couple dozen specialty retailers—and thousands of Honolulu residents, all of them having fun and spending money. …

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