Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, December 10, 1999

Skateboard park
requires major work

Question: At Harding and Kapahulu avenues in Kaimuki, under the H-1 freeway, there is a place the YMCA used to run as a skateboard park. That was discontinued and now there is construction equipment in there. My son wants to know: When will that equipment be removed so he can start skateboarding there again?

Answer: The popular skateboard park run by the Central YMCA was closed in late summer because of construction work on the H-1 freeway, said executive director Kendall Hirai.

The work for "seismic retrofitting" was expected to last at least six months. The park is on federal land leased to the state, then to the city, then to the YMCA.

Hirai said a major factor in determining when the park can reopen is the need to rebuild it. Ramps and obstacles were damaged when they were disassembled and carried out, Hirai said.

The YMCA is looking at ways to raise about $25,000 to purchase materials to rebuild the park. Hirai said information will be made available later about a fund-raiser.

If all goes according to plans, Hirai hopes the park can reopen by next summer.

That should be welcome news to about 400 members who regularly used the park.

Q: The state is suing the gasoline companies for allegedly fixing prices. Recently there was an announcement of a settlement of $15 million with two of the companies. Who will be entitled to the settlement money, not only the $15 million, but any future settlement for the whole case? Will the drivers of the state of Hawaii get any of that money?

A: As Star-Bulletin reporter Rob Perez reported Nov. 23, Hawaii consumers could get part of the $15 million and any future settlement of the state's antitrust lawsuit against seven oil companies.

But that likely won't happen for years, the experts say.

Perez's series of stories on gas prices in Hawaii preceded the state's $2 billion lawsuit last year.

A federal judge must approve the settlement with Tesoro Petroleum Corp. and BHP Hawaii Inc., and then decide how the money will be distributed. That decision is not expected to be made until early next year at the earliest.

In documents filed in the settlement proposal, the state is asking that $1.23 million of the $15 million be used to reimburse the state for litigation costs incurred so far.

About 20 percent of any settlement, less costs, would go to the San Francisco law firm of Hosie Frost Large & McArthur, hired by the state on a contingency basis to handle the lawsuit. That amounts to another $2.7 million of the $15 million.

Any money left over would be deposited in an interest-bearing account and probably held until the lawsuit is resolved, which could take several years.

Consumers who don't like the proposed settlement can ask to be excluded from the state's suit on behalf of motorists and try to get a better deal on their own.

Lawrence Welk, where are you?

We're looking for an accordion player to play polkas for a party we're having on Dec. 18 and haven't been able to find anyone in town. Can you help? -- Joyce (If you have a lead, call Joyce at 261-2043.)


To Eileen Nona and her uncle for fixing my flat tire in the Medical Arts Center parking lot. As usual, flats happen when you're in a rush. But they fixed it quickly and efficiently. Much mahalo. -- No name

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