Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Monday, June 4, 2001

Police offer apology
in teacher’s surprise tow

Question: I am a student teacher at Enchanted Lake Elementary School. Our class went on an overnighter to Camp Mokuleia, and I left my van in the staff parking lot. Upon returning, both my mentor teacher and I noticed our vehicles were not where we left them. We initially thought they had been stolen but later found out that police ticketed them for trespassing and had them towed. The tow company would only release my van after I paid a $130 tow charge. I was not parked in a tow-away zone or "no parking" zone. It is unsettling to think that I cannot park my car in the designated parking area located on school property while doing my job! Several police officers suggested that had I placed a note on the windshield explaining why I was parked there, that may have prevented the towing, but that does not prevent someone from approaching my vehicle, reading the note, breaking into my car, obtaining my home address and burglarizing my house. Teachers beware: Parking in a designated area could lead to your car being ticketed and towed.

Answer: We had to shorten your lengthy complaint in which you noted the "countless hours" spent in contacting practically everyone in authority to no avail. However, your persistence was not all for naught. Even though you can't make up the hours spent trying to resolve the ticket and tow, you should be able to get reimbursed for the towing charge, as well as have the citation dismissed in court, said police Capt. George McKeague of the Kaneohe station, who said he has since spoken to you as well.

He apologized "for everything" that happened, explaining that the officer involved should not have towed your car from the school. "She had no authority to do so; there was no law that permitted her to do that," McKeague said, noting that a school official has to authorize a tow. The officer "was counseled about the limits of her authority."

McKeague noted you had been advised to contact the city corporation counsel's office for a claim form, to seek reimbursement for the tow charge.

Meanwhile, Enchanted Lake Principal Carole Kuwahara said she did write a note to help resolve your trespassing citation.

Kuwahara said the school does not have a no-parking policy regarding after-school hours and was unaware that police were having cars towed.

The police officer had been assigned to check schools at night, looking for any illegal activities, McKeague said.

Kuwahara noted that although Enchanted Lake has not had any problems with vandals or burglars recently, two neighboring schools have reported damage.

Q: I am very embarrassed to ask this question, but I need some help. Garden stores sell potting mixes sometimes by the quart and sometimes by cubic feet. I want to compare what the unit price is, but I don't know how many quarts make a cubic foot or vice versa. Do you have the answer?

A: We looked in the back of our Webster's New World Dictionary to "Tables of Weights and Measures." Under cubic measures, it says 1 cubic foot is equal to 1,728 cubic inches. Under dry measure, it said 1 quart is equal to 67.20 cubic inches. So, there would be 25.7 quarts in one cubic foot.

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