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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Sunday, June 2, 2002


Parking-ticket procedure
modified after complaint

Question: My son's car was reported stolen to the Honolulu Police Department in April. When it was finally found two weeks later, parked on a public street in Waikiki in a metered parking stall, I was surprised to discover the car had been issued eight parking tickets.

How is it that in this day and age of computers that a car that has been reported stolen can be issued a parking ticket eight times and not trigger some response from HPD?

What if the car had been stolen a second time and used in some illegal activity? What about additional damage from other people who may have realized the car was abandoned when all these tickets were on it?

And now I have to take time off from work to pay or attempt to resolve these eight parking tickets in court. Is there some way to resolve these eight tickets through the mail or over the phone without having to lose more time and money from my job?

Answer: Unfortunately, you have to go through the process of getting the tickets dismissed because they were issued, rightly or wrongly. However, you have the option of sending a written statement to the Traffic Violations Bureau, as you always have when issued a traffic citation, according to bureau manager Carol Nakagami.

The other options are just paying the fine or appearing in court.

In your written statement, you should explain the circumstances under which the tickets were issued. You should include the eight citations, plus a letter from HPD verifying when the car was reported stolen and when it was recovered, Nakagami said.

When your statement contesting the citations is received, a court date will be set for a judge to review your case. You do not need to appear in court.

A decision and judgment notice will be mailed to you after the judge makes his decision, Nakagami said.

If the judge finds in favor of the state, you still have the right to contest the tickets through normal trial procedures. If the judge decides in your favor, the tickets would be dismissed immediately.

As for why the car was issued eight parking citations before someone realized it was stolen, Lt. Ron Bode of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division acknowledged, "we dropped the ball. ... It should not have gotten to that point."

However, because of what happened in your case, HPD has put a new procedure in place for the parking enforcement section, which is now under HPD's jurisdiction. The eight citations you received were issued by parking enforcement officers (a.k.a "meter maids").

When such an officer comes across an illegally parked vehicle, issues a citation, then sees the vehicle there the following day, he or she now is instructed to mark the tires.

The probability is that the vehicle is abandoned, Bode said, but "they will also make a stolen-vehicle check at that point."

If it has been reported stolen, a beat police officer will be sent to recover the vehicle, he said. But if it is not stolen, a second citation will be issued for illegal parking. When a parking enforcement officer returns a third time and the vehicle has not moved, the vehicle will be treated as an abandoned vehicle.

The city's abandoned-vehicle section will be notified, and the process will begin to have the vehicle removed, Bode said.

There is no automatic check to see if a car that is illegally parked was reported stolen. That's not practical because there are so many illegally parked cars, Bode explained.

He also said since the citations were issued to you in error, HPD did try to have them canceled but was advised by the Traffic Violations Bureau that the only way to cancel a ticket was if there was a defective meter or some kind of error in what was written on the citation.

Q: I got a telephone call from a person saying they were calling from the Honolulu Zoo and asking for a donation for arts and crafts. The amount they asked for was $30 and some odd cents. Is this true?

A: Yes, it is, according to Honolulu Zoo Director Ken Redmond.

The fund-raiser is being handled by the Honolulu Zoo Society, the nonprofit group that helps to support the zoo, he said.

"The odd amount is just an attention-getter," Redmond said, with amounts solicited ranging from $20-plus to more than $500. The money raised will be used to pay for such things as classes for underprivileged children and toys for the animals.

Mahalo

To all who showed concern for me when I fell off the steps of Murphy's Bar & Grill as we waited to greet the UH men's volleyball team. I apologize for not getting your names, but I'd like to thank the lady who went into Murphy's for paper towels; another lady who gave me Band-Aids; the two ladies who work for HMSA in the Harbor View Towers who brought supplies from their company's first-aid kit; and a young girl who asked how I was an hour later. I was bruised and hurting, but my pain was eased when I thought of the wonderful people who came to my aid. -- Linda

Mahalo

To Ed and Darci, who found my car key on the ground by my car at Kapiolani Park and carefully placed it by my right front tire with a note under my windshield letting me know. What could have been a real downer was transformed into an appreciation-charged spirit booster. -- Jean King





Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
E-mail to kokualine@starbulletin.com




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