Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Navy will review access
for taxis to Pearl Harbor

Question: I'm one of several taxi drivers who depend on Pearl Harbor Naval Base and other military installations for daily survival. Even well before Sept. 11, 2001, drivers who need to access Pearl Harbor were additionally screened for security, and issued annual stickers for $130 by the Navy Exchange. (The city performs criminal record checks when they issue the Taxi Driver's Certificate.)

Several parking spaces for taxis were provided near numerous gates inside Pearl Harbor. Additionally, we were allowed to stand by at parking lots (outside fences) along ships during special operations/exercises, such as RIMPAC, and were supervised by additional security. But all on-base taxi stands were closed after 9/11. However, other branches of the military improved their security procedures and reopened to us after issuing new passes. Not Pearl Harbor, and not even after some of us again spent $130 for new stickers.

Who would spend $130 knowing taxis would continue to be banned from the base? We all understand the need for tighter security, even if it threatens our survival in these horrible economic times. However, I see certain discrimination going on at the main gates at Pearl Harbor. Pizza delivery cars can gain access to the base, but taxis with $130 stickers can't? Even though most of our passengers are active duty with IDs, we have to pick them up and drop them off outside the gates.

We are not the enemy. We are American citizens who are concerned also about our bases' security. Is there some information we are missing? Please help us. We need to get into naval bases for our survival.

Answer: For now, the situation as you describe it will not be changed.

However, "plans to possibly change the taxi procedures are currently under review," according to Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, spokesperson for Navy Region Hawaii.

She said access issues are continuously reviewed, based on security requirements.

Campbell explained that for nearly 10 years, the Navy Exchange (NEX) issued decals to licensed taxi services at Pearl Harbor. But the decals are not "security decals," implying security clearance, she said. Prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, they simply authorized limited access to marked spaces at various locations at Pearl Harbor and at the Navy Exchange (which is Navy property, but off-base).

Taxis without decals were allowed to drop off passengers with authorized IDs on base but were required to immediately leave after drop off, Campbell said. They were not allowed to park and look for new passengers.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, access for taxis with decals became limited to the NEX Main Store area. Personnel, including those with valid Department of Defense ID cards, must be dropped off at the gate at Navy installations, while those requesting taxi service must meet a taxi at the gate. The alternative is for them to use free shuttle service to the Navy Exchange and pick up a taxi at designated taxi zones.

Campbell said the $130 fee for the decals are meant to offset administrative costs, maintain the parking spaces and signage, and add revenue to the Navy's Quality of Life programs.

Quoting Navy Exchange officials, she said that since last September, at no time did they imply a decal would provide access to the base and that all applicants are reminded of the restrictions under heightened security measures, "and that we did not know if, or when, they might be lifted."

Refunds will not be issued whether the decals are used, she said.

As for allowing pizza delivery vehicles into Pearl Harbor, Campbell said there are a number of active-duty service members who are authorized to work part-time jobs, such as delivering pizza.

Those who do so and who have normal access to the base (valid vehicle decal, Department of Defense ID) are allowed entry, she said. Also, any family member with a valid Department of Defense ID may also work as a pizza delivery person, she said Pizza delivery personnel who do not have base access must meet their customers at the gate.

Q: I don't know if you can help me, but maybe you could tell me who could. I am a single parent with two teenagers. My ex-husband is a "deadbeat dad." I know where he works and what company he works for, but he is working for "cash" and the Child Support Enforcement Agency cannot do anything. Is it legal for a contractor to have employees working for him and just paying them cash? Is there an agency that I can report this to? My children are owed over $20,000 in back child support. Life is hard enough being a single parent; it's even harder when no child support is being paid by a deadbeat parent who is working.

A: You can report individuals or businesses that you suspect may not be paying the required state taxes to the state Department of Taxation's Taxpayer Services Branch by calling 587-4242 or toll-free 1-800-222-3229; by faxing to 587-1488; e-mailing to Taxpayer_Services @; or sending a letter to P.O. Box 259, Honolulu, HI 96809.

Informants should provide as much information as possible, said tax department spokeswoman Annette Yamanuha.

"Based on the information given and resources available, the department will research and review the complaint and follow up on any tax violations accordingly," she said. Any information provided will be kept strictly confidential, she added.


To a very kind and concerned witness who helped us when we were in an accident on the H-1 Freeway about 2:45 p.m. Sept. 21. My son and I were headed toward Pearlridge Center and had just passed the Arizona Memorial cut-off when a truck rear-ended our car pretty hard. A man held my head still and braced my neck. He comforted me with his words. I felt his hands trembling. Unfortunately, I failed to ask his name because of my pain and concern for my son. I thank God I have no broken bones and am recuperating from back and chest pains. Mahalo also to both Kalihi-Kai Fire Station and the paramedics who transported me to Kaiser Moanalua's emergency room. -- Rosalie Kapaona

I would like to add my mahalo to Mike Kergin for lending me his cell phone to call my wife. He was really helpful to HPD and me. If not for Mike, I would not have anything to fight for. -- Mark Kapaona


To Dr. Walter Sakamaki at Ala Moana. I needed urgent attention for a broken tooth recently and was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Sakamaki said there would be no charge for his treatment. My wife and I have come up from New Zealand every year for 15 years for our annual three-week vacation. We now have a lot of wonderful friends here, and Hawaii is our second home. It is the unexpected graciousness and aloha spirit extended by people such as Walter Sakamaki that make us want to return each year. -- Robin Thompson, Council Member, Hibiscus Coast, Auckland, N.Z.


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