Sunday, February 11, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, February 11, 2001

Yonamine's DUI: It's an opportunity

It’s not hard to imagine how state Rep. Nobu Yonamine was feeling Thursday morning. The remorse that can follow a drunk-driving arrest is one of the reasons police take the suspect’s belt away before closing the cell door.

In that bleak morning light, Yonamine said he intends to resign from the Legislature. "It’s the price I have to pay," he said.

He had let his family, his colleagues and his constituents down, he said. What he might not have been able to express, but may very well have been feeling strongly, was profound bewilderment.

How could he have allowed this to happen again? No doubt he had sworn to himself, when he was first arrested for DUI in 1984, that it would never happen again.

As part of the adjudication of his new DUI case, Yonamine will undergo an alcohol assessment. He will need to look very carefully at the reason his best intentions weren’t sufficient to keep him out from behind the wheel — even though he had consumed enough alcohol to blow 0.134 on his 1:30 a.m. intoxilizer test.

That’s because alcohol dependency begins where the best intentions and the strongest will power are no help at all. The most important opinion in Yonamine’s alcohol assessment will be his own. If it’s needed, there’s help available; recovery is happening every day in our community.

That’s why we believe Yonamine should shelve his plans to leave the Legislature. It’s not only because his constituents chose him for his unique qualifications for the job at hand, but also because every catastrophe offers a new opportunity.

Instead of retreating to a place of private torment, Yonamine has the chance to share a personal victory with a community that’s hungry for that sort of good news.

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