Friday, April 6, 2001


UHPA HSTA strike logo

Picket lines are
quiet as strike enters
its second day

Big Island cabbie still at-large
afer bumping into a
UH-Hilo prof

By Rod Thompson and Rod Antone

NO MAJOR INCIDENTS were reported on picket lines this morning on the second day of a state-wide strike by public school teachers and University of Hawaii and community college faculty.

Rain today didn't appear to dampen the spirits on those on the picket lines.

Meanwhile, Big Island police continued their investigation of an incident yesterday in which University of Hawaii-Hilo professor Robert Fox, a former member of the state Board of Education, was allegedly knocked to the ground yesterday by an angry taxicab driver.

Fox said the driver, in a row of cars leaving university grounds, was cursing at him because the cars were slowed by picketers.

Fox turned his back on the man and felt the cab "make contact" with his legs.

Fox got the cab's license plate number, but the driver left the scene, he said. Fox was uninjured and continued picketing the rest of the day.

Police Sgt. James Sanborn said an accident report was made, and police will interview witnesses regarding a possible assault charge.

A similar though reverse situation occurred on Oahu at the UH-Manoa campus, where police said a picketer struck a car.

Alex Strobele wiled away the time playing on his Game Boy
while his dad, a University of Hawaii lecturer, joined
colleagues on the picket line yesterday.

Assistant Chief Stephen Watarai said the female driver of the car was not going to campus but was on her way to visit her mother on Kalele Street when the incident happened. "As she was driving through, one of the picketers slapped her car," Watarai said.

Other than that, Watarai said things went "as expected."

Later he added, "Be mindful, this is Day 1."

Honolulu police were posted at 36 of the 147 schools being picketed yesterday morning. HPD stopped manning eight of those posts after morning rush-hour traffic subsided.

On Maui and Kauai, police departments each posted officers at 17 locations. They included public schools, Kauai and Maui community colleges, and state buildings.

Kona police said they had officers rotating posts at 11 locations. Hilo police said they had no police posted at strike sites and that beat officers instead were monitoring the situation.

Maui Police Chief Tom Phillips said the amount of overtime will be in the thousands of dollars but as of this morning, he didn't know the number of overtime hours worked by police officers.

Phillips said police have been taken off of duties as detectives, vice officers, trainers and anti-drug-abuse educators to work at teachers' strike posts during the day.

Phillips said the police reduced the number of officers assigned to strike posts by about 10 today and will continue to look at ways to decrease the numbers.

"It's a huge drain on our resources," he said.

Besides the Hilo situation, police across the state said the first day was uneventful. However, there were some students who did not behave as well on their day off as their adult counterparts.

"We had a couple reports of fights or confrontations between students outside of the schools -- nothing related to the strike," Watarai said.

Overall, police said protesters worked with them to keep traffic from getting backed up too badly.

"We thank them for their patience and cooperation, and we hope the strike is resolved soon," said Kauai Inspector Clayton Arinaga.

>> HSTA Web site
>> UHPA Web site
>> State Web site
>> Governor's strike Web site
>> DOE Web site

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