Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, March 17, 1999

Justice center assists with neighborhood flaps

I live in a duplex by Punchbowl, in a densely populated neighborhood. I never had any problems, until recently, when a nearby condominium owner told me she did not appreciate my hobby because of the noise. On a couple of occasions over the past two years, I made bookshelves and a coffee table in my yard. I always make sure I use my tools only between the hours allowed for noisy activities and I own the lowest-end tools made for hobbyists. I know these tools make some noise, but they are not nearly as annoying as a weed trimmer. I have looked into wood shops, but so far, the ones I've found charge $17 an hour, making it absolutely not economical. I believe I should be able to use my tools, but I also believe in not annoying neighbors. Any suggestions for a peaceful resolution?

Try the Neighborhood Justice Center.

"We're set up to facilitate," said J.C. Ellsworth, acting executive director. Call 521-6767 and someone will try to set up a mediation session involving you, your neighbor and two co-mediators.

The key: your neighbor has to be willing to participate.

"No one is forced to do anything," Ellsworth emphasized. "They're not forced to come, they're not forced to agree, they're not forced to stay. Anytime they feel uncomfortable with the process or there is no progress being made, oftentimes the mediator will end (the meeting)," he said.

But more often than not, "we write up a very simple agreement and the parties walk away. They may not be fast friends, but at least, they're talking to each other and feel good about resolving (the dispute)," Ellsworth said.

This is "not arbitration and we don't act as jury or as a judge," he said. "We're simply here as resource to assist the parties in reaching a compromise of what's going on and how it might be addressed and resolved."

Noise issues are among the center's most common points of dispute, Ellsworth noted. "As more and more people live in closer proximity, noise is a constant complaint, particularly when you have people working different hours."

If both sides will agree to mediation, a meeting will be arranged at the center (200 N. Vineyard Blvd., Suite 320), typically after normal work hours and/or weekends. "We have a vast array of volunteers, all with experience," Ellsworth said.

Cost: $10 for each participant.


More on Palolo Books

People who wish to donate books to children in Palolo can do so by dropping them off at the Palolo Valley Community Center. The center is run by Palolo Housing tenants and may not be staffed at all times. It is best to call first -- 732-1796. A wrong number was given in Saturday's column.



To drivers who ignore traffic signs (speed limits, stop, yield, temporary signs in construction areas, traffic hazards) and markings painted on streets (directional arrows, dividing lines, solid lines, crosswalks). Please obey signs and markings for the safety of everybody. -- Rufino


Mahalo update

You recently printed a mahalo to an angel who showed concern for my father, Stanley Wong, when he was hit by a car in December. Through your column, we were able to contact another angel, Carol Barretto and her son, Christopher, who helped make my father comfortable. She also told us about some other good Samaritans -- Jerome Van Lancker and Teri-Lyn Lau. Mahalo to them all for caring for my father and directing traffic around him. He was unconscious for about half an hour and was unaware of those who came to his assistance. Aloha means giving of yourself with no thanks expected as these individuals did. -- The Wongs

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

E-mail to City Desk

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