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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, November 7, 2000

Magic Island parking
lot opens earlier

Question: We were swimming on Wednesday morning, Oct. 18, at Magic Island. When we came out, about 5:30 a.m., someone told us a policeman was ticketing cars. He told one woman, "You have a driver's license. Can't you read the sign?" His attitude really got my dander up. Although the sign does say the parking lot is not open til 6 a.m., the chain blocking entry to the lot was not up. There were about 50 cars there. Many senior citizens like to go early to swim or walk or exercise and, especially for the handicapped, it's more convenient to park in the lot. I think because a lot of senior citizens complained, the parks people started opening up the lot earlier. This has to be settled. Why can't we park there before 6 a.m.?

Answer: You now can, beginning at 5 a.m., according to William Balfour, director of the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

Although you indicated permission for such an early entry was granted before Oct. 18, that was not the case.

Balfour said the chain was not removed to allow seniors early access. Police, "as a special service" to the Parks Department, have been securing the chains at 8 each night. But that may not happen sometimes if police have to respond to serious crimes or other activity, Balfour said.

However, Balfour said the Honolulu Police Department was notified that, effective Oct. 19, the day after your complaint, that parking lot closure hours have been changed to 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. -- year-round.

"This is our department's initiative to improve customer service to the 50-100 seniors who desire to utilize the parking lot at 5 a.m.," Balfour said.

Previously, HPD was enforcing the parking lot closure until 6 a.m.

The officer you cite issued only handwritten warning notices "to preclude the issuance of citations" in support of the department's parking lot closure hours, Balfour said. No citations were actually issued, he said.

Q: How can someone purchase a new vehicle in April and still have a paper license plate? I notice a Mercedes SUV near my home with the paper plates being changed every month. Can you get an answer?

A: By law, those temporary paper plates are good only for 30 days, said David Mau, the city's assistant administrator for motor vehicles and licensing.

New vehicles also have to be registered through car dealerships. His office then provides registration papers and plates to the dealers to pass on to new car buyers.

The turnaround time is usually only about one day, Mau said. Even if it is about a week, "that's well within the 30-day period."

He said the issue is a matter of law enforcement and if you continue to see the vehicle driving around with a temporary plate, to call police.


I just had an experience with a magazine that I want to warn other readers about. I had subscribed for 21 issues. A month prior to the subscription running out, the magazine automatically renewed it. I found out when I saw a charge on my Visa bill for $24.98. When I called the magazine, they apologized, saying they assumed I would renew. When I called Visa, the man I spoke with said they had gotten complaints from several people about this happening without their authorization. Please warn people to check their Visa or Master Card bills carefully to make sure they're not getting magazines renewed without wanting them renewed. -- Barbara

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