By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer
Q. What telephone number do I call to report illegally parked cars on my street? I don't want to tie up 911 when it's not an emergency. But every week a group of people crowd our street, blocking fire hydrants, parking at the corner, double-parking and preventing anyone from using the street.
A. Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu appreciates your concern but says 911 is the right place to call.
Q. I went to the satellite city hall to renew my parking permit for people with disabilities, but the workers there told me that I had to get a recertification from my doctor. I am missing a leg, so my disability is a permanent one. Why do I have to go through this nonsense?
A: First off, state and city officials who deal with these parking permits aren't doubting your disability but say they're trying to limit the placards to people who need them. The law is written to require people to renew the permits regularly so a placard doesn't end up in the hands of a person who is no longer eligible.
The state Disability and Communication Access Board is in charge of the program that issues parking permits for people with disabilities. Charlotte Townsend, assistant director of the board, said even a person with a long-term disability must apply for a four-year permit and get it renewed.
She understands that renewal may be inconvenient, but describes it as a precaution designed to prevent fraud and abuse. "We're not questioning the fact that their disability may be lifelong," Townsend said.
Why the bureaucratic hurdle? "People have died and their placards are alive and well and driving around," Townsend said. She said her agency, which is under the state Department of Health, took over the program from the state Department of Transportation in 2001 and found permits being used by people who weren't disabled.
Once a doctor recertifies the need for a permit, the staff of the city's satellite city halls can issue the permit, according to city spokeswoman Carol Costa. For more information, check on the Web at www.hawaii.gov/health/dcab/ or by calling the Disability and Communication Access Board at (808) 586-8121.
Do you ever get frustrated or confused trying to navigate the various layers of government? Are you looking for an answer to a simple question but can't figure out where to start? If you have a question or a problem and need help getting to the right person, you can reach The Bureaucracy Buster one of three ways:
The Bureaucracy Buster
The Honolulu Advertiser
605 Kapi'olani Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 535-2454 and leave a message.
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