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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Database is just the ticket

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

Robert Bunda is clean. Sam Slom is clean. Les Ihara has a lead foot. Suzanne Chun Oakland fought the law and the law won.

We live in the age of information, where the trials and triumphs and mundane little details of a person's life are available on easily searchable databases. There is so much that can be learned about the comings and goings of our neighbors that if a person gets to a certain age and there's absolutely no information available, it makes you wonder: Why are you hiding your tracks?

In November, the state Judiciary launched a database of traffic citations in Hawai'i. Details of incidents, accidents and peccadilloes are available online. Nobody makes you say who you are and why you want to know. You can just look stuff up, for noble purposes, for ill or simply for entertainment.

For instance, you could run the current list of state senators through the database. Fair game, since they are in elected positions and are trusted to make new laws, right? Anyway, if you happened to look up all the state senators, you would find that none of them have any really dirty stuff like DUI or clipping a parked car and running off. At least not under the names they use on their stationery.

There are, however, some interesting pieces of information.

Robert Bunda, Lorraine Inouye, Paul Whalen, Roz Baker, Gary Hooser, Sam Slom, Brian Taniguchi, Gordon Trimble, Norman Sakamoto and Brian Kanno don't have any traffic violations listed, at least under those names.

Others have tiny blips, like Fred Hemmings, who was stopped in 1997 by a cop with the superhero name of Officer Apollo Kepo'o for no safety check and delinquent motor vehicle tax. The violations were later dismissed.

Colleen Hanabusa has one speeding ticket that cost her $80. No big deal, but the cop that wrote the ticket also had a superhero name: Officer Jeffrey Pohaku.

Shan Tsutsui has two seat-belt violations. Willie Espero has two seat belt violations, but he is not the Willie Espero stopped for speeding.

Ron Menor got a speeding ticket, but he is not the Ron Menor stopped for "blue lights prohibited."

Clayton Hee got a speeding ticket, but it doesn't say whether he was in a car or on his horse. Lucky looks fast. However, he's not the Clayton Hee who got cited for not having a valid bicycle decal. Hard to imagine Sen. Hee riding a bicycle. The spurs would get stuck in the spokes.

Les Ihara was stopped for speeding six times. One of the citations was dismissed. The other times, he paid his fines.

Suzanne Chun Oakland fought her speeding ticket in court but was found guilty.

Nothing egregious. But if something comes up, you know where to look: www.courts.state.hi.us

Click on "Search Court Records," then "JIMS Court Connect."

Lee Cataluna's column runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at 535-8172 or lcataluna@honoluluadvertiser.com.