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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, January 21, 2000

Cubans can stay in
U.S. upon arrival

Question: Had Elian Gonzalez's mother's boat landed safely in Miami, would that have entitled her to legal entry into the United States? When I called the Immigration and Naturalization Service, they did not know the answer. To me, this is the answer to the current Gonzalez dilemma.

Answer: According to the INS, Cuban refugees automatically have the right to stay once they arrive in the United States -- no matter how they arrive. They can apply for permanent residency one year after arrival.

In that way, they are treated differently from other immigrants.

In the early days of the custody battle over the 6-year-old boy, the Cuban ministry blamed the U.S. government for the deaths of Elian's mother and 10 other Cubans who drowned when their boat capsized in their attempt to reach the United States.

"The entire responsibility for these new and painful deaths falls on the government of the United States because of the senseless way that illegal immigration is promoted, stimulated and rewarded from that country," the ministry said.

Q: Is it legal for someone to store cars on Lurline Drive? Several cars have no license plates and no safety checks. But apparently they get by the abandoned vehicle inspectors because they're moved a little. What can be done? That's a lot of parking spaces being taken up.

A: Call 911 and provide specific addresses.

You're right that if the vehicles are moved, even just a little bit, at least once every 24 hours, they cannot be considered abandoned. If that's the case, abandoned vehicle inspectors will "close the investigation," said District 7 police officer Paul Nakajo.

However, police can cite vehicles found on public streets for not having either current motor vehicle registrations or safety inspections, he said.

Q: There are several cars parked on Paty Drive in Manoa that look abandoned -- flat tires, broken window, no current safety check or registration. We've also seen people working on their cars on the street and more cars keep appearing and they're parked for months without moving. Paty Drive is narrow so pedestrians are forced to walk in the middle of the road. I thought you weren't allowed to work on your car on the street, and is there a limit to how many cars you can park on the road?

A: See answer above. If the cars really haven't been moved, call the city's abandoned vehicles section (733-2530). If they have no current registration or safety stickers, or if work is being done on the street, call 911.

City law prohibits parking a vehicle "upon any roadway for the principal purpose of displaying such vehicle for sale, or washing, greasing or repairing such vehicle, except repairs necessitated by an emergency." (Traffic Code, 15-14.7.)

But, according to a police spokeswoman, there is no limit as to how many cars you can park on a public street, so long as they're not abandoned or derelict and are parked legally.


To a good Samaritan who on Dec. 23 stopped and got out of his car to help me with my brother, who had slipped and fallen on the slippery muddy walkway fronting the cemetery on 18th Avenue. He went out of his way to take us home. Our family greatly appreciates his kindness. May he and his family enjoy a healthy and happy 2000. -- R.G.

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

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