Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, October 15, 1999

Taxpayers don’t pay
fines for state cars

Question: Last week, I went with my friend to pick up her towed car at Oahu Towing when I noticed a state vehicle -- with DAGS and a state seal imprinted on the side -- being towed into the same lot. There was a baby seat in the back seat. It was shocking enough for us to have to pay for the tow charge and parking ticket, but do we, as taxpayers, also have to pay $100 for towing, plus $45 for a parking ticket for a state car?

Answer: Taxpayers don't pay for towing charges, parking tickets, speeding citations or any other traffic violation incurred by a driver of a state vehicle, said Harold Sonomura, head of the state Automotive Services Division.

In the case you cite, the car was towed away because it was parked in a no-parking zone.

"The driver had to pay cash to retrieve it," Sonomura said. "The general policy is that drivers are responsible for any traffic violation."

The car came from the Department of Accounting and General Service's motor pool and was checked out to the Department of Human Services. It was being used by an employee in child welfare services whose job includes transporting children, hence the car seat, Sonomura said.

Q: Can you warn your readers about an e-mail scam? I was told that Congress was considering a bill to allow phone companies to charge long-distance rates for e-mail and given a list of congressmen to write to. I sent a whole mess of e-mail only to find out that that wasn't true.

A: Kokua Line constantly gets calls from readers about various Internet scams and spams. One place to check them out is

Q: Where Wal-Mart is, why are they allowed to let vendors sell food in the parking lot?

A: Retailers are allowed to temporarily set up tents or conduct sales in parking lots under the city Building Code if they obtain a permit from the city Department of Planning and Permitting.

If you have a question or a complaint about such an activity, call 527-6341.

Aloha Air coupon update

You can purchase a book of six coupons for interisland travel on Aloha Airlines for $330. The price quoted in Wednesday's column was obtained in September and did not reflect an Oct. 1 increase.


A Black Cherokee Jeep was traveling down South King near Kalakaua Avenue in somewhat of a hurry on Sept. 30, when a patrol officer sounded his siren and pulled up alongside the vehicle. Instead of issuing a citation, he politely instructed the driver to slow down and continued on his way. This officer impressed me as a compassionate public servant, one deserving recognition of being a good and proud representative of the department. I'm certain he is fully aware of the role he plays in our lives. Unfortunately, I could not get the number of his motorbike, but hope he reads this and knows that his deed did not go unnoticed. Thank you for being a faithful servant to the people of Hawaii. -- A.K.


To all the telephone solicitors who every day and night invade our privacy and waste our time with solicitations for donations and unwanted products or services. Screening calls is a good solution, but the personal touch is lost for our friends and others who call with legitimate personal business. -- 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

E-mail to City Desk

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