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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, November 7, 2002

City parks don't allow drinking

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Q. Is there a way to obtain a permit to drink alcohol at a city park or beach? I have seen people drinking in those areas and was wondering if there were any circumstances under which it was legal.

A. Sorry, but you'll have to do your drinking elsewhere. Drinking at parks and beaches is not permitted under any circumstances, city spokeswoman Carol Costa said.

There are signs posted at most of the city recreational areas that indicate it's illegal. She said if you see people drinking at the park, you should call the police.

Drinking in a public place is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 30 days in prison, although a police officer may choose to issue a citation rather make an arrest.

Q. My complaint concerns police officers on Merchant Street citing drivers who stop only to pick up passengers, like me waiting for my husband to pick me up after work, which takes less than 30 seconds. This is in a no-parking zone, but drivers who pick up passengers after work are not actually parked there for more than a minute (at least my husband isn't). I'm just wondering why police officers are waiting to cite drivers in this area. This seems to me like a waste of time and police power.

A. According to police Maj. Michael Tucker, parking is not allowed on Merchant Street between Bethel and Alapai streets. There are a few freight loading areas where permitted vehicles can stop for up to a half-hour, except between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Tucker said people stop to pick people up anyway and, as a result, you'd have "one 30-second pickup at one point along Merchant Street and one 30-second pickup at another spot along Merchant Street. When you multiply that several times, he said, "soon another driver moving along Merchant Street may have to change lanes several times while trying to get through downtown."

Then drivers call to complain and police respond to all complaints because "one person's minor inconvenience is another's quality-of-life issue," Tucker said. The officers are posted on Merchant Street because "it is a more responsible position for police to defend why we serviced a complaint than to ignore a complaint or do nothing."

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