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Ethics panel: Anderson crossed line in threats over parking

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED: 03:22 a.m. HST, Jun 27, 2012

The Honolulu Ethics Commission said Councilmember Ikaika Anderson tried to get special parking privileges by threatening retaliation against city parking office employees and misusing his authority.

The commission said in a press release Tuesday that Anderson violated city ethics law prohibiting favoritism or special treatment. 

"He knew or should have known that he was using the authority of his city position to intimidate the parking office personnel with legislation that office personnel had opposed and that may affect their jobs," the commission said.

According to the commission, the threat happened on Dec. 22, 2010, when Anderson went to the parking office about a parking violation warning he was issued for letting a visitor park in his assigned, reserved stall, and for parking his own car in an undesignated area.

"Councilman Anderson addressed the Parking Office employees in a loud and threatening voice," according to the commission. "He said that since he pays for the assigned stall, he can do what he wants with it including trading stalls with other councilmembers and having guests park there. He stated that the warnings and rule enforcement were 'baloney' and that these warnings from the Parking Office need to stop, otherwise he will bring back Bill 62 and 'we'll see what happens to your job.'"

Anderson had previously introduced Bill 62, which would have transferred oversight of the parking office to the City Council chairman for Council parking.

Anderson maintained during hearings on the complaint against him that he was not threatening anyone's job, the commission said. "He also denied asking for special treatment and stated that he regrets that city employees feel that he threatened them," the commission said in its press release.

The commission said it will be up to the City Council to decide on any disciplinary action, and late this afternoon Council Chairman Ernie Martin said there would be no further action. 

Anderson issued the following statement:

"In late December 2010, I allowed a constituent, who was meeting with me, to park in my reserved stall in the City parking garage. Around the same time, a staff member inadvertently parked my car in the assigned stall of another councilmember, which resulted in the other councilmember parking their car in my stall. At the parking office's direction, I entered the parking office to discuss these matters. In light of the circumstances – the limited public parking available for my constituent due to Honolulu City Lights, an honest mistake resulting in my car and a colleague's car being inadvertently parked in one another's stalls, and the fact that I pay a monthly fee for use of the stall - I was understandably frustrated. I had a verbal exchange with an employee in the parking office and as a result of this exchange an ethics complaint was filed against me, which was ultimately sustained by the commission. No threats of any kind were made nor did I use any profane or vulgar language. Nonetheless, I do regret the incident and sincerely apologize for its occurrence."

Honolulu Ethics Commission finds windward councilmember misused city position in attempt to obtain parking ...

Honolulu Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 2012-3

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