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John Heckathorn Reports...


(page 8 of 9)

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On Hawaii’s Public Schools

“Government Schools,” Foreword, May 2001

Plenty of people have fixes for public education. From student-centered learning, to core curriculum, to values, to a computer on every desk. None of these go to the heart of the problem. Why do our public schools proclaim their mission so loudly and deliver so little? Why do they seem more like places to get your driver’s license renewed than places children can awaken to the world?


On Monstrously Big Laulau

Dining, October 2002

If you must have the combo [at Ono Hawaiian Foods]—and who can resist?—order either the kalua pig plate or the laulau plate. The combo plate comes with both those items, and unless you’re Robert Kekaula, say, you can’t eat both. The kalua pig is a pastel plastic bowl full. The laulau is as big as an unshucked coconut, as big as a child’s head, as big as the rock you might prop behind your front tire to keep your car from rolling down a severely sloped driveway. It’s Mauna Laulau.


On Hawaii Governors

Editor’s Page, January 2003

Linda Lingle is the third governor I’ve interviewed for these pages, but my fourth gubernatorial interview. I interviewed John Waihee in 1987 and again in 1993. In August 1998, I sat down with Ben Cayetano, in our well-remembered “two cover” issue before the hotly contested ’98 election. …

The ’98 interview with Cayetano was the most contentious, partly because it was an election year, partly because the state was mired in a prolonged economic slump, partly because Cayetano himself pulls no punches. When I asked several questions about the economy and the failure of his economic reform package in the Legislature, he finally turned to me and said, “Talking to you is like talking to a brick wall.” …

When I read over the three previous gubernatorial interviews, I was struck by how similar many of the themes were. The economy. The failings of the public schools. The inefficiency of state government. The need to settle the ceded lands questions and find justice for Hawaiians.

They are problems still. …

It would be nice to have some of these issues behind us. And to have some new problems for a change.


On Favorite Restaurants

“Fun, Some Fun and No Fun,” Dining, February 2003

People always ask me if I have favorite restaurants. Not in the way most people do. I don’t have restaurants that I go back to time after time, comfortable places where I am a regular. Instead, I keep a list of new restaurants on my computer. When it gets too long, I go check a few of them out, finding new places. A lot of times, I wish I could have gone to one of the old familiar favorites. Still, you have to get out there, because you never know what’s around the corner.


On the Honolulu Rush

“The Honolulu Rush,” Dining, February 2004

Any new restaurant gets mobbed immediately.

It’s not just the restaurants, of course. When you live on an island, you get desperate for novelty. Almost anything new in town gets the Honolulu Rush. Honolulu may be the only city in America where a Kmart opening set off traffic jams.

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