Drive-by gifts for
cheer squad are legal
Question: Recently, there have been cheerleading groups collecting money with fishnets at intersections. One was on Acacia Road in Pearl City, and the other at Kaneohe Bay Drive and Kamehameha Highway. Is this legal or just a nice form of panhandling? It really bothers me to see these kids in traffic, although there were adults around.
Answer: The girls, representing two different Pop Warner squads, were raising money to attend a national Pop Warner cheerleading competition next year, an official with the Pearl City Pop Warner league said.
At least nine different squads from Oahu Pop Warner alone are planning to attend the event in Orlando, Fla., he said.
The official, who asked not to be identified, acknowledged that other people had raised concerns about the legality and safety of the fund-raiser, but said his group had cleared it with police.
A Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman said that if the fund-raising posed a hazard to either solicitors or motorists, people should call 911. Otherwise, there was nothing illegal about the solicitations, she said.
HPD officers did express concerns about the girls walking to the cars, the Pearl City official said, so the plan was for adults to supervise and go out to the cars, and the girls to stay on the sidewalks.
However, "there were occasions where people called out (for the girls to come to the vehicles), and you're going to get one or two going out there."
The fact is that this method of fund raising has proved to be lucrative and will likely be done again.
The girls had held car washes and other fund-raisers, and got "no response," a mother of cheerleaders said. One day, as the girls stood on the sidewalk futilely holding signs for a car wash, someone came by and donated $20. That's when the idea of soliciting motorists came up, she said.
The mother acknowledged the safety concerns and is glad that "people care," but said "there is a lot of good that comes out of it."
Q: Prior to the UH-Army football game at Aloha Stadium, we were tailgating when two groups of elementary school-age girls, Pop Warner cheerleaders, came by, saying they would do cheers for a donation. It just didn't seem like this was the right venue. Was this authorized to take place on state property?
A: An official with the Pearl City Pop Warner league said officials were already looking into the matter because the solicitations were not authorized by the league.
Neither were they approved by Aloha Stadium.
"We discourage solicitations in the parking lot for safety reasons," explained Eugene Tokuhama, the stadium's events manager. Fund-raisers are only authorized inside the turnstile gate, with prior approval.
Solicitations generally are not allowed in the parking lot so as not to "harass" people, as well as for safety reasons.
"If (people are) collecting money, somebody can rob them easy -- they don't have security," Tokuhama said. If you are solicited in the parking lot, he said to contact a parking attendant, and "we'll check whether it's authorized."
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