Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Judge tosses out city’s
publication rack policy

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

The city is being forced to overhaul its publication rack policy in Waikiki as a result of a federal judge's ruling.

District Judge Susan Oki Mollway granted Honolulu Weekly's request to throw out the city's policy of barring noncoin-operated publications from participating in a lottery for coin-operated racks in Waikiki.

James Bickerton, attorney for the Weekly, said the policy gave better treatment to paid publications such as the Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser.

Bickerton said there are 200 boxes in Waikiki that are divided among the three paid publications seeking space: the Star-Bulletin, Advertiser and USA Today.

Meanwhile, each of 20 or so free publications must compete for about 20 boxes each, he said.

Under Mollway's order, existing permits for coin-operated racks will be revoked and a new lottery held.

Managing Director Ben Lee said the city likely will appeal the case but will hold a new lottery in the meantime that will be open to free and paid publications.

"They will have to purchase a coin-operated box, but it doesn't require them to use the coin-operated portion of the box," Lee said.

Lee disputed Bickerton's numbers.

He said there are about 576 free slots and 288 coin-operated stands.

"We felt this was a reasonable way to regulate the publications in Waikiki because it did provide reasonable time, place and manner," he said. "And it's cleaned up Waikiki of a lot of visual clutter."

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