Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, March 31, 1999

City and state workers
enjoy Good Friday

s Question: Why does the state honor Good Friday with a holiday, especially when it's not a federal holiday?

Answer: It's a state-sanctioned tradition, dating back to 1941, that has been upheld by the federal courts and untouched by the state Legislature.

Despite past challenges and attempts to change either the name or thrust of the holiday, which is tied to the Christian observance of Easter Sunday, the day off for state and city workers remains intact.

Last year, for example, former state Sen. Rosalyn Baker introduced a bill to substitute the Good Friday holiday with a nonsectarian Aloha Day, to be observed the first Monday in April.

The bill failed. There is nothing similar in the Legislature this year, although there is a resolution asking for a study on eliminating one paid holiday for state workers.

Good Friday is one of 13 paid holidays for state and city workers.

Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, which has successfully challenged other government practices, also challenged the Good Friday holiday, but state Attorney General Margery Bronster last year noted that the courts previously have upheld the observance.

In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Hawaii and 12 other states could observe the day as a paid holiday for state workers, rejecting arguments that the holiday violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

Question: There is or has been much remodeling and construction going on along parts of Halekoa Drive. Do city building inspectors go around anymore inspecting for permit and property boundary violations? Or do they wait until there is a formal complaint?

Answer: If someone gets a permit, inspectors will check to make sure work is conforming to the permit, said Melvin Lee, chief of the city's Building Safety Division.

If, while checking on a work site, inspectors notice some other work going on nearby, they may also check on that, he said. But they don't drive around randomly looking for violations.

About 14,000 building permits are issued a year, from high-rise construction to fence poles, Lee noted, and there are only about 30 inspectors. If you have a question or complaint, call 523-4505.


On Sunday, March 14, at 11:22 a.m., we witnessed a man stealing aluminum cans from the Lanakila Elementary recycling bin. You were driving a green Acura. You acted as if you were putting your cans into the bin, but we saw you climb in, digging bags full of cans out with a stick. Not only were you trespassing, but taking fund-raising monies that the school uses for improvements. -- No name

(In the future, call 911 immediately, said Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu. We passed on your complaint and the license number you provided to HPD, which already had received your complaint and had followed up. Depending on the circumstances, police will talk to the alleged offender, send a warning letter or file a report, Yu said.)


To a very nice lady who helped me the morning of March 5 on the freeway, just before the Waipahu cutoff. She gave me a ride so I wouldn't have to walk three miles. -- No name

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

E-mail to City Desk

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