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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, May 2, 2000

Blaisdell lot
is subject to
close scrutiny

Question: I recently parked in the Blaisdell Center parking lot in the afternoon, paying the event rate of $3 and received a used five-day-old ticket as my receipt. An attendant holding a fistful of cash collected money. Is this the normal collection practice? Doesn't the city contract out this parking? Does the city get paid by a percentage of the concession profit or by a flat rate? There is a high potential to skim money. Is this facility subject to unannounced audit and review to prevent any loss of revenue? Is anyone being held accountable?

Answer: Diamond Parking, the concessionaire for the Blaisdell Center lot, investigated your complaint and found there was actually an "overage" of $3 in that day's receipts, rather than any cash shortage, said Alvin Au, director of the city Department of Enterprise Services.

The parking attendant who gave you the wrong receipt "was new on the job and made a mistake in using the old tickets, which were in the booth for training purposes," he said. "For various other reasons, that particular attendant is no longer employed by Diamond Parking."

Au explained that the city's parking lot concession contract guarantees a minimum monthly amount and a percentage of gross receipts for amounts over the minimum. The minimum concession fee with Diamond Parking is set at $26,000 per month, or 72 percent of gross receipts, whichever is greater. The estimated annual revenue is $850,000.

Receipts are audited daily, and there are automatic counters to count the number of cars entering and leaving the parking lot.

"As with all concession contracts, the city is concerned about accountability and proper handling of revenues and does conduct unannounced audits and other operational measures to ensure compliance with the contract," Au said.

The concessionaire also is required to submit an annual certification from an independent CPA, he said.

If you or any other patron has a question or complaint regarding the parking concession contract, contact either Diamond Parking or the city.

Au said either will investigate and respond to your concerns or questions.

Q: I travel on the H-3 every day. Why does the car radio work in the tunnel in the Kaneohe-bound direction, but not in the Honolulu-bound direction? When it first opened, I think it worked both directions, but for some time now, you can't get radio reception in the Honolulu-bound lanes.

A: State transportation officials are "aware of the problems with the AM/FM radio rebroadcast system" in the H-3 tunnel, but can't answer your question about what exactly is wrong.

And it may be awhile before the reception is restored.

"We've been working with the contractor to resolve these problems," said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Marilyn Kali.

"Right now, we're not able to say when they'll be working again because they're still trying to figure what's wrong with them and get replacement parts."

There is no estimated time when the reception will be operational again, she said.

Sewing machine, anyone?

I want to donate a very old, but sturdy and still working power sewing machine, like the ones garment companies use, to a school or nonprofit group. If interested, call Jane, 944-8755, ext. 235.

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

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