Question: Lance Armstrong, the American who is competing in the Tour de France bike race, is said to be part of the U.S. Postal Service team. Is the Postal Service sponsoring the team? If so, why is a government agency sponsoring a bike team?
Bike racing is good
PR for Postal Service
Answer: The Postal Service has been sponsoring the American team in the Tour de France for about five years, said Hawaii spokeswoman Felice Broglio.
That's because the Postal Service is "run like a business and mandated to break even," she said. "A certain amount of promotion must be done to maintain and grow the business."
Broglio said the Postal Service's marketing department decided to sponsor the bikers as a way of promoting its global priority mail in the international market. The sponsorship is assessed every year to see whether it is worth continuing, she said.
We asked how much the sponsorship cost, but figures were not immediately available.
But Broglio said other sponsors, such as Yahoo! and bike and accessory companies, have switched from the private mail couriers they were using before to the Postal Service. "That alone has offset the cost of the sponsorship for us."
When asked about other high-profile marketing efforts the Postal Service has undertaken, Broglio said a notable one was when it helped sponsor the Olympics "two Olympics ago." But that was subsequently dropped because of "so much criticism."
Q: I need advice about the leasehold condo in which I live -- about conflicts of interest and whether we can restrict the number of people who can live in one apartment. The apartments were built to accommodate two people. The board of directors claims we cannot refuse rentals to more than two people, saying federal and state laws allow rental to as many as five to 15 people to an apartment. I think this presents all sorts of problems, health and maintenance among them. Is it true that the condo board can be sued if it refuses to rent to more than two people to an apartment?
A: Your best bet is to call the state Real Estate Commission, 586-2644, and ask to speak to a condominium specialist.
In the end, you may have to check with several different agencies because "It's not just one area that would have an answer to that question," said Calvin Kimura, the commission's executive officer. (You) would have to look at a number of different areas and come to (your) own conclusions."
He suggested first looking at your condo documents, which would spell out rules and restrictions on use of the apartments. On the question of how many people can live in one unit, Kimura also suggested checking with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, which has dealt with that issue, and with the city, which may have regulations limiting the number of people in a particular square footage.
More on car air bagsA new company, Airbag Service, will open next month, specializing in air bags and anything related to that passenger restraint system. It will be the only company on Oahu, so far, installing air bag on-off switches (see Kokua Line, July 20). President Calvin Tamaye said he's obtained the Hawaii and Guam franchise for Airbag Service, which shares the same offices as his Ace Auto Glass company, but is "a completely separate company." Call 841-0279 for information.
Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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