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Reactions mixed to proposed hike for zoo parking


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POSTED: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Spear fisherman Kainoa DeMello and his buddy were unloading gear from his white Ford at the Honolulu Zoo parking lot yesterday when he heard the news: Mayor Mufi Hannemann wants parking prices at that lot to go up 500 percent.

The proposed increase to $1.50 an hour from 25 cents was just one of a series of increased user fees Hannemann unveiled as a way to balance the city's budget.

“;Wow, that would do a lot to my budget,”; said DeMello, who said he regularly hunts for fish in the Waikiki waters. “;I don't think they should put extra tax on this lot. A lot of local people use it.”;

His buddy, who works for the city and declined to give his name, ventured, “;I know plenty places they can cut costs. I know because I work for them.”;

Parking next to DeMello was Dave Finke from Oregon, who said $1.50 is what he would expect to pay for a prime parking spot in Waikiki. “;Property is so valuable, the city could put up a parking mall and really make some money,”; Finke said.

Also slated to rise are fees for the Honolulu Zoo, going up 50 percent, an increase to $6 from $4 for local residents.

“;It will be good if it goes to having more animals and exhibits. Right now it looks like the animals aren't even being taken care of,”; said Jane Agngarayngay, of Aiea.

The increase, Agngarayngay said, was still affordable, especially considering the Waikiki Aquarium already charges $6.

Bus riders, however, were not cheering Hannemann's plan to increase the monthly bus pass 25 percent, to $50 from $40.

“;Ouch! I think that is a little high for the bus pass,”; said Donna Viveros, of Nuuanu. “;I work two jobs to make ends meet, so $50 for a bus pass would kill me.”;

Her fellow bus rider Mary Tangonan called the proposed increase “;way too much.”;