Question: An Oceanic Road Runner commercial has been running on television for a while. It depicts a driver receiving a traffic ticket from a solo motorcycle officer. The officer is wearing what looks like an official Honolulu Police Department uniform, with a badge, patches and even HPD collar pin clearly in view. Is the use of an HPD uniform for personal profit allowed?
Answer: Even though the uniform appears authentic, neither it nor the motorcycle are "real" HPD property, according to Oceanic Time Warner Cable officials.
The commercial used actors and the uniform was borrowed from the "Hawaii Five-0" production.
No permission was sought from HPD, but it isn’t required.
"HPD policy prohibits officers and employees from allowing their names or photographs to be used in any commercial testimonial that alludes to their position or employment with the department without the permission of the chief of police," said HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu.
However, the policy does not address — nor preclude — actors portraying HPD officers.
Question: Will you alert the general public that vehicles NOT displaying a disabled parking placard are not necessarily in violation of the law to display a placard of that type? Vehicles with state license plates containing the international disabled icon are not required to display a placard. This will be more common now that new procedures allow for the issuance of only one placard and the special license plate to those people qualifying for a permanent (blue) disabled placard. I suggest that people reporting a "placard" violation to police first check the license plate.
Answer: You are correct that displaying a disabled parking placard is not the only way to park legally in a disabled parking stall.
In fact, we pointed it out in a Nov. 13, 2010, column.
People who have obtained a special license plate that shows the international symbol of access (a stylized graphic of a person in a wheelchair) may park in the stalls, without having to hang a placard.
This is not anything new, said Francine Wai, executive director of the state Disability and Communications Access Board. Such license plates have been available for several years.
But, there have been more requests for the license plates since the state instituted a one-placard limit beginning last August, she said.
During the last fiscal year (July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010), there were 580 such plates issued statewide. Between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2010, 154 license plates were issued, while 190 plates were issued between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.
"This last quarter was the first full quarter where two placards were not available," Wai said. "So, extrapolated to a full year that would be about 760 license plates per year."
While not a huge increase from last year, "as they accumulate yearly, it will seem like (there are) many more cars out there with (disabled parking) license plates," she said.
To "Annoyed in Kahala" who complained about a man who had to walk around them at Times Supermarket saying, "EXCUSE ME, LADIES" while they talked to a friend (Kokua Line, Feb. 10). Why is it that people in Hawaii do not realize when they block what should be open pathways in the supermarket, on the curb, on the bus, on the road and at the airport as planes are loading or unloading? Auwe for not being simply considerate by moving over a few feet.
It’s called manners. — Anonymous
Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail email@example.com.