Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, May 24, 2002

Limits on sign-waving proposed

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer

City Councilman Gary Okino is proposing limits on where people can wave political signs, as a safety precaution for drivers.

Okino, who ran for office last election, said he had received several complaints from angry motorists that he and his supporters were creating a hazard by sign- waving.

"I recognize and acknowledge that sign waving is an inexpensive and traditional way of communication in Hawai'i and I don't believe that we need to outlaw it entirely," Okino said.

But he said that placing restrictions on the political activity will help reduce the distraction to drivers. He proposes that people be prohibited from holding, wearing or supporting a movable sign in the area near a street corner, a mid-block crosswalk, a bus stop, along a highway with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or higher or on a pedestrian or vehicular overpass or bridge.

Okino said he has not yet sought the support of his fellow council members to determine what the measure's chance of passage might be. Regulating sign-waving is a perennial election-year issue in the Islands, where some people praise the waving as a tradition and others call it an annoying distraction.

Okino said he doesn't believe the practice can be outlawed because "it's a first amendment issue."

Yesterday, Okino also introduced a charter amendment to propose merging the city Board of Water Supply with the city's wastewater workers, who oversee the sewer department.

"We can get great savings out of it, great efficiency." He said some cities estimated that they saved 20 percent in expenses by combining the agencies, which have similar needs for staff.

Okino said it would also help to prevent the city administration from tapping the sewer fund to help balance the budget. That was an issue during the bitter budget battle this year between the council and the administration of Mayor Jeremy Harris.