Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Business of fake IDs
should be curtailed

Bullet The issue: Teens are being solicited on the streets of Waikiki to buy fake identification cards that can be used for illegal purposes.

Bullet Our view: The proliferation of these authentic-looking reproductions should be investigated by Hawaii lawmakers. Regulations are needed to crack down on their usage.

WHAT'S wrong with this picture: It is NOT against the law for shops in Waikiki to make and sell fake adult identification cards -- from states other than Hawaii -- to young people under 21 years of age. Yet it IS illegal for these minors, armed with these false representations, to break the law by misusing the cards.

C. Richard Fassler isn't the only one scratching his head over that seeming contradiction. In a View Point column printed in the Star-Bulletin's Saturday Insight section, the Manoa resident recounted how his daughter and a friend, both 15, were solicited between Kalakaua and Kuhio avenues by someone willing to sell them false cards bearing false information. It is apparently a booming business in Waikiki.

According to Fassler, the fake ID is a driver's license from California, Wyoming, Colorado or other Western locales. The customer is asked to select a state other than Hawaii, to choose a birthday, have a photo taken at a nearby location and then to pay $35. The next day, the faux photo ID can be picked up and is ready for use. Sometimes, before handing over the card, an enterprising business person will scrape it on the sidewalk to dirty it up and disguise its newness.

While the shops cranking out this product are marketing it as a "souvenir," it is undoubtedly a license for mischief or worse. By misidentifying the bearer as an adult, a teen can presumably buy liquor and cigarettes, get into strip shows, go to R-rated films or even rent a car -- activities normally barred to those who are underage.

Regulations must change so this practice doesn't continue. "We must push our legislators for a penalty for those who produce false identification, and institute a stiffer punishment for the possession, use or acceptance of these IDs," Fassler wrote in his commentary. "The thought of sharing the roadway with a drunken 14-year-old trying to figure out how to drive sends shivers down my spine."

He's not the only one.

Military commissaries
will boost isle products

Bullet The issue: Eighteen Hawaii food manufacturers will sell their products to commissaries at four mainland military bases.

Bullet Our view: The arrangement is an example of what needs to be done to strengthen diversified agriculture.

THE military presence in Hawaii has long produced economic benefits for the state. Now those benefits will extend to military bases on the mainland.

Under a marketing arrangement by the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association, 18 Hawaii companies will sell their products to commissaries at four bases, two in California and two in Washington state. Among the products involved are coffee, tropical fruit condiments and drinks, Maui onion sauces, taro baked goods and macadamia nuts.

Senator Akaka, who helped with the marketing agreement, pointed out that income from diversified agriculture in Hawaii has increased an average of 5.5 percent annually for the past five years and has now surpassed $300 million. Gaining a foothold in military commissaries, which have combined annual sales of $4.9 billion, could be an opportunity for further growth.

This is particularly valuable for the state because of the collapse of the sugar industry, which has left thousands of acres idle. Diversified agriculture's growth is filling the gap left by sugar. Finding new markets such as mainland military commissaries is essential.

Conflict of interest

Bullet The issue: Legal counsel for the University of Hawaii has determined that it is not a conflict of interest for a sitting regent to bid on a UH contract.

Bullet Our view: If regents want to profit from university work, they should resign from the board.

PEOPLE who agree to serve on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents are making a great contribution to the community, and they should be thanked for their dedication. But they should not be directly profiting from their influential posts, nor should they convey the appearance that they may be.

This may be the case with new regent and public relations practitioner Sharon Weiner, who is bidding on a proposal to train UH personnel to respond to media interviews. UH general counsel Walter Kirimitsu determined last week that there was no conflict of interest in Weiner vying for the work, as long as she did not "participate" in decision-making on the bid.

Since the contract is not necessarily awarded to the lowest bidder but to the one submitting the "best" proposal -- a highly subjective term -- this decision could easily lead to charges of favoritism in the selection process.

If Weiner truly believes she is the best qualified to teach UH administrators how to deal with the press, she should donate her services as a gift to the university, or resign and bid for the work like others not serving on the decision-making body.

Published by Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership

Rupert E. Phillips, CEO

John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

David Shapiro, Managing Editor

Diane Yukihiro Chang, Senior Editor & Editorial Page Editor

Frank Bridgewater & Michael Rovner, Assistant Managing Editors

A.A. Smyser, Contributing Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin