Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Few avenues exist
to bust isle litterbugs

Question: I tried to call the state Highways Division hot line, 831-6714, to report someone littering on Fort Weaver Road in Ewa Beach. I couldn't seem to even leave my phone number. On Sept. 3 at 10:30 a.m., we witnessed a woman driving a Chevy pickup, between Geiger Road and Renton Road, throwing rubbish out her window. What's a good number for the public to call to leave such a complaint?

Answer: The Department of Transportation's Highways Division hot line was flooded with calls during that period, which would explain your call not getting through, said spokesman Scott Ishikawa.

But he said complaints like this should be referred to police at 911.

However, the Honolulu Police Department said officers can't cite anyone for littering unless they personally witness the violation. It suggested contacting the city's environmental hot line, 692-5433.

That hot line, however, is set up to handle illegal dumping complaints.

The bottom line: There is no one place you can now call to report such littering.

The state used to have a hot line to report people littering from cars, but it was discontinued long ago.

Suzanne Jones, the city's recycling coordinator, understands your frustration and anger about such a cavalier attitude toward trashing the environment.

"When you see someone throwing out their window, you just want to know, 'What can I do about it?'" she said.

Jones said she thinks expanding the city's hot line for illegal dumping to handle calls like yours would be a "natural extension."

"Littering may be the little cousin of illegal dumping," she said. "It is indicative of an attitude that we need to change. ... There is an attitude shift we need to pursue."

Still, don't call the city's hot line for now, because it is not yet set up to handle such complaints.

"But, it looks like people would appreciate it" if we do, Jones said, and she's working on it.

Q: Is it legal to have a University of Hawaii student sell a free ticket? Tickets were given to UH students for the UH-Florida Atlantic football game. While at Aloha Stadium, I saw a number of students selling their free tickets. I think this is not right and can really hurt ticket sales for UH in the long run.

A: It might not be ethical, but it doesn't look like it's illegal.

UH officials were not aware of students selling their free tickets "and certainly don't condone that," said Lois Manin, director of sports information for the UH athletic department.

About 1,900 tickets were given free to UH students for the first home game of the season, she confirmed. However, students had to show an ID twice: at the time they picked up tickets and again when they entered the stadium, she said.

"So they have to be a student to enter the stadium with that (free) ticket," she said.

Meanwhile, there is nothing illegal about people scalping tickets -- buying tickets and reselling them at a higher price.

There used to be a state law against the "illegal profiteering from the sale" of tickets, but that was done away with in 1973.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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