Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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Kokua Line

City car licensing unit devises system to foil sticker thieves

Question: In talking to family and friends, one always hears about someone who has had a vehicle registration or safety sticker stolen off their car’s license plate or bumper. This means the victim has to fork up more money to get a duplicate sticker. Does the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division have any idea how many vehicle registration stickers or safety stickers are stolen in a given year in Hawaii?

Answer: The Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division does not keep such statistics, and neither does the Honolulu Police Department.

However, the division may have found a way to thwart sticker thieves: Many vehicle renewal emblems now carry the license plate number.

"In the future, all motor vehicle transactions that result in the issuance of an emblem will use the license plate number as the emblem’s serial number," said Dennis Kamimura, division administrator. "This should deter people from stealing emblems to put on a different license plate."

Vehicle owners renewing their registrations began getting the new type of emblem through a pilot "print-on-demand certificate of registration with the emblem-attached program" launched at satellite city halls in mid-2008.

Currently, people renewing their registrations at a satellite city hall, by mail or online will receive an emblem showing the three-letter month abbreviation, year and license plate number as the emblem control number.

Because the program has proved successful, "with the majority of glitches corrected," Kamimura said his office intends to expand it to print certificates of registration for license plate and emblem replacements, as well as transfer transactions involving an emblem.

However, those transactions require extensive re-programming of computer files, so might be phased in based on the availability of programming staff, he said.

Question: What is the penalty if a dog defecates on another person’s property and the owner doesn’t pick it up? Can the dog owner get arrested for this?

Answer: Not picking up your dog’s poop on public or someone else’s private property is a violation under Section 29-4.4(a)(9) of the city’s litter law (see www.co.honolulu.hi.us/refs/roh/29.htm).

But either a police officer or someone willing to testify against you has to witness the violation, said a spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department.

The violation is punishable by a criminal fine of up to $500.

It’s unlikely you would get arrested, but if you do the right thing, that won’t even be a consideration.



The letter from the frustrated state employee about the Employer-Union Trust Benefit Fund (hsblinks.com/2hq) was the way I felt after my husband died. I first went to the Employees’ Retirement System office and could not have had better service: fast, efficient, compassionate, and they followed through with everything. Everyone at the head of the line was complaining and not very pleasant. I found the same situation at EUTF — excellent customer service under difficult circumstances. They told us they just can’t answer the phone because of staffing. I also had staff give me their direct line on a Post-It because the state has cut business cards. Please walk in the employees’ shoes (cuts, staff doing other’s jobs, furloughs, etc.) before you complain. It could be you on the other side of the counter.

— Sue Palumbo

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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