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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Saturday, February 17, 2001

New owner
of old bike
questions fees

Question: I answered an ad in the newspaper for a 1958 antique motorcycle and purchased the bike after checking the vehicle identification number. The last title transaction was in August 1996, when the owner I bought it from turned in the plates and placed them in "storage." By law, you have to change ownership within a number of days to avoid a penalty. On Jan. 3, 2001, the Division of Motor Vehicles charges me $55.50 -- including a $20 state fee, $20 county fee and $10 title transfer fee, plus miscellaneous fees, to have the title changed because "after a number of years, storage vehicles are taken out of the computer." If the plates have been put in storage, why all this up-front money just to have the name changed when the bike never hit the road?

Answer: Here's the explanation: Because you chose to record the transfer of ownership even though the vehicle is kept in storage, the law requires the vehicle to be currently registered. To be currently registered, you have to pay all required fees and taxes, said Dennis Kamimura, city motor vehicle and licensing administrator.

"The reason we do this is because there now is no such thing as a refund (of fees) for a stored vehicle," as was done in the past, he said.

The law does not require you to record a transfer of ownership for stored vehicles, although he can understand why people would want to do so.

Actually, according to Kamimura, the city did give you a break because you were charged only for one month of taxes instead of 12 months, as is for vehicles on the road. The fees, however, are not "proratable," Kamimura said.

Q: Can I file a claim to the city or state for damage to my car? My daughter and I were driving to the opera on Pensacola Street, near the Makiki Post Office recently, when she suddenly felt something on her side of the car. Sure enough, when we pulled off the street, we discovered one of the tires had been totally demolished. I had to buy a new tire. I am certain the flat occurred because of the roadwork around the post office.

A: The roadwork in that area is under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Transportation. Call the state Department of Accounting and General Services' risk management office, at 586-0547, to obtain a claim form.

For damages involving city streets and other property, call the city corporation counsel's office, at 523-4639, for a claim form.

Q: I know where the eight police districts are, but do you know how we can find out exactly where the beats are?

A: Not easily and, according to the Honolulu Police Department, not in any one place.

Apparently, HPD does not have a centralized listing of its beats, with each district keeping track of its own.

If you want to find out what beat you live in, call the station in your district, advised HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu. It sounds as if you would have to do your own legwork by calling each district and compiling it yourself.


I'm a taxpayer and a senior and I do a lot of walking. I cannot believe how bad litter is everywhere: along Date Street, along and inside the golf course, in Kapahulu. I was dropping off something at Goodwill around the 900 block of North King Street and it also looked like the garbage in the area hadn't been picked up in months. Where are the city crews that are supposed to be cleaning our streets? -- Tony L.

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

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