Citation should have been ‘last resort’
I was driving through Ala Moana Park at 11 p.m. and got stopped and cited by a police officer for entering a closed park. There was no sign at the Diamond Head entrance to the park saying we couldn't enter, only one that says "No parking after 10 p.m." I just wanted to look at the beach and relax and talk with my friend. I think this is unfair. The officer could have at least warned me, but he probably didn't like the way I looked or he had a bad day. If they close the park at 10 p.m., why don't they put up a chain if they don't want anyone to go in? What is this island coming to? You can't even sit by the beach when you want.
Answer: The Honolulu Police Department says it does not cite people simply for driving through the park.
Even when officers see a car parked during the park closure hours, they will generally inform the occupants that the park is closed and ask them to move, according to Capt. Frank Fujii, spokesman for the Honolulu Police Department.
"Citations are really a last resort," he said.
Without knowing all the details, he could not say why you were cited or why you were not given a warning first.
Since you first contacted us, your case did go to court and you informed us recently that the ruling was in your favor.
We asked the Department of Parks and Recreation about making the signs more clearly visible or, as you suggested, putting up a barrier.
We drove recently into the Diamond Head entrance of Ala Moana Park and observed on the right -- only because we were looking for signs -- a blue-and-white sign set back from the roadway that said "Park Closed 10 p.m.- 4 a.m. Park closed to public unless authorized by permit. Violators subject to fines and imprisonment or both."
Dana Takahara-Dias, deputy parks director, noted there are a total of 31 red-and-white "no parking" signs stating the 10 p.m.-to-4 a.m. closure posted throughout the park along the roadway, plus the "park closed" signs at both the Diamond Head and Ewa entrances.
For now, the situation will remain status quo, although officials will "look into the position of the signs," she said.
Meanwhile, there are no plans to install gates or any other barrier at the entrances because doing so would be "cost prohibitive."
"There is no manpower to secure the gates at 10 p.m. or to reopen them at 4 a.m.," Takahara-Dias said.
Night closures became permanent at the 119-acre park in June 2006 after a three-month trial period, because of problems with the homeless.
To a kind lady who helped my father, Kazuo, who had tripped on the driveway of his home in lower Manoa near the mailbox and hit his mouth on the rock wall. She helped him to the front door of his home. Mahalo also to Straub Hospital's emergency room staff, who stitched his inside upper lip. -- T. Ishii
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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