Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Telephone poles
under shared patrol

Question: There's a telephone pole on the corner of Hanakahi Street and North Road in Ewa Beach that is so badly tilted, it looks like the pole would break if we had a strong wind. After living in Ewa Beach for quite a number of years, I've seen this pole get worse and worse. Other people have noticed it also. If this pole should break, it would either injure or kill someone in the house next to it. Why aren't these poles checked by inspectors?

Answer: Many of the utility poles around the island are "joint poles," meaning they are jointly used by Hawaiian Electric, Verizon (formerly GTE Hawaiian Tel) and the city, with electric and telephone lines and street lights.

In fact, there is a Joint Pole Committee made up of representatives from the three organizations, and you can call any one of the three to report a concern or complaint: Hawaiian Electric: 548-7961; Verizon, 611; or the city Department of Customer Service, 523-4381.

Whichever one gets the call will send out an inspector or pass the word along to the appropriate agency.

We called HECO, which sent an inspector to check on the pole, which turned out to be one that is jointly shared. His assessment was that although the pole is "slightly bent" and leaning at the base, it is basically "OK," said HECO spokesman Fred Kobashikawa.

HECO has an estimated 70,000 poles on Oahu, most of them jointly used.

"Crews typically inspect 10,000-15,000 poles a year, and the inspection and maintenance of these poles is an ongoing priority with us," Kobashikawa said.

Q: I am just a curious spectator of the Merrie Monarch Festival and was looking for some information regarding the judging of this contest. Why do all these contestants from the mainland never place? Is there a reason? If so, what is the scoring method? It seems very unfair to have these people travel many miles to participate and not get any type of recognition.

A: Although no out-of-state halau has ever won the top awards at the state's premier hula festival, some, including Mark Ho'omalu's halau from Oakland, Calif., have placed over the years, said Dottie Thompson, who has directed the festival since 1969.

She noted some callers to a radio station claimed the judges were "racist."

"The judges are not racist," Thompson said. "Everybody is judged the same way."

By the same token, no one is given a break just because they have traveled a long distance to dance. But, overall, "I think they do a good job," Thompson said of the out-of-state halau.

The seven Merrie Monarch judges key in on these areas: ka'i -- the entrance; interpretation of the mele or chant, "which is very, very important" and the biggest source of potential points, according to Thompson; expression; posture; precision; hand gesture; foot or body movement; ho'i -- the exit; authenticity of costumes; adornments; grooming; and overall performance.

High and low scores are knocked out, Thompson said.

Got a question or complaint?
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Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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