By Rich Figel
Back in March I blogged about getting nailed for doing just over 35 mph on a 4-lane major street in Kailua that is supposed to have a 25 mph speed limit... which bugged me because the police set up their radar gun in an area where you first go up an incline, then go downhill on a straight stretch where there are no pedestrian crossings or intersections. As I wrote in that post, I returned to the scene and took video of the street and the two cops who were playing tag team, pulling over car and after car -- while letting some speeders go scot-free if they slammed on their breaks upon seeing the radar gun.
Anyhow, I checked off the "Not Guilty" box on my ticket and wrote a detailed three page account of what happened, which I mailed in. Lo and behold, last week I got my ruling: Case dismissed in my favor. I suspect the judge has been hearing an earful about these police speed traps that are set up during the day with the sole purpose of writing hundreds of tickets, while the real problem of drunk driving and speeding on highways at night doesn't seem to get that same kind of attention. And sure enough, there was another fatal accident that occurred late at night related to speeding and drinking right after I posted my mini-rant. Coincidentally (or not) after I wrote that blog, an HPD spokesman sent a letter to the Star-Advertiser in which he stated that they actually do set up similar speed traps at night to catch drunks and speeders.
Lately, I've also been reading more letters from people who are upset about cops writing tickets for jaywalking Downtown, instead of going after drug dealers and real criminals. I understand why the police want to discourage jaywalking -- and speeding -- but if the person wasn't endangering himself of anyone else, why can't the cops give them a warning instead? It would serve the same purpose, and not take up so much of the court's time dealing with extra paperwork and nuisance fines that do little to address more serious problems and crimes.
Belated kudos to the big winners of this year's Merrie Monarch: Halau I Ka Wekiu, kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang. If you watch Career Changers TV, their faces -- along with one of the male hula dancers -- may have looked familiar because we featured them on our show last year. Here's a link to that video, which was shot and edited by Rob "Aukai" Reynolds, who performs with that halau.
Aukai left CCTV to accept a full-time job as multimedia director for the HART project. Speaking of which, Howard Dicus wrote an intelligent, level-headed blog piece on why he supports it (click here for his post). I agree with him a hundred percent, and have been making the same argument for mass transit and long-range community planning for the past 20-some years, while watching in frustration as the cost has multiplied due to all the delays and naysayers -- who still don't get that it will cost even more in the future, because it is inevitable that we will need some sort of rail system sooner or later.
It's the same with arguments against legalizing marijuana or gay marriage. Like it or not, those things are inevitable simply because of common sense. The War on Drugs has failed and you cannot say that pot is more dangerous than alcohol or prescription drugs, which come with a page full of side effects in small print. And not allowing gays to marry is discrimination, which is not permitted under our Constitution. The states that have passed laws against gay marriage, ironically, are practically ensuring the matter will have to go to the Supreme Court... and no matter what their politics are, I believe they will have to rule that you can't discriminate on the basis of one's sexuality or gender. It's like the judge who read my three-page letter about why I did not deserve to be ticketed for speeding -- what is "legal" or illegal is not the same as what is right.
More high school sports playoffs on OC16 this week, meaning the current episode of Career Changers TV is being preempted. But you can still see the new video segments on the CCTV YouTube Channel or DVR it during the weekday (click here for our normal viewing schedule and On Demand channel info).