DoBOR’s Ala Wai parking fails are getting innocent people towed (sign petition below) and are starting to look like a miniature version of The Rail taxpayer slaughter

Taxpayers and boaters getting fleeced over DoBOR contractor whiffs

Land and homeowners in Hawaii should prepare themselves for the Big Fleece — Hawaii's government infrastructure DNA is programed to lose big money and will have no choice but to look at mainland tax models

Should DoBOR be making deals with outside contractors?

A typical DOBOR contractor roll out:  everyone is left in the dark, no one knows what's going on and cars are getting towed away for, what appears to be, no reason. Welcome to DoBOR's latest brainchild, yet another parking lot manager contractor.

It's no secret that DoBOR Administrator, Ed Underwood, has, in the past, made some pretty squishy deals with outside contractors that have ended up costing taxpayers and boaters hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost funds and revenues over the last decade.  Just a few years back there was the Ala Wai 800-row fiasco, an electrical contractor fail that left an entire pier with 72 rental slips on it completely empty and generating zero income for a three-year period.  Underwood's electrical contractor for that job had "a few difficulties" and was unable to complete the job. Taxpayers and the Boating Special Fund were on the hook for thousands . . . we lose and Ed's still got his job.

The illegal Navitech II catastrophe that Ed Underwood materialized seemingly from thin air — we still don't know what his reasoning was for even getting involved in that mess — cost boaters and taxpayers $10s of thousands of dollars in lost funding.  The storage and disposal of the Navitech II monstrosity, a derelict and abandoned 85' commercial tourist ship  that was dragged over from the DOT commercial harbor into a DLNR recreational small boat harbor, has cost taxpayers and boaters dearly.  It sat on the old Ala Wai Marine property for so long that it turned into an illegal homeless shelter, attracting drug dealers and meth labs and, while attempting to get this monstrosity out of the water and onto the Ala Wai property, the adjacent seawalls were destroyed (DLNR: 1, Taxpayer:0).   Members of the Waikiki Yacht Club, directly across from where the two-story derelict was being stored were livid.

And remarkably, as if that whole incident was just a mirage, the Ala Wai recreational harbor now has a new visitor — an 80', what looks to be, abandoned fishing ship, the Fortuna, that used to be moored at the DOT's Honolulu Harbor.  We're told that, after two month's berthing, there's never been permitting displayed on the ship and the homeless have already found this Shangri-La and have proceeded to move their personal effects on board.  DoBOR is mum — Ed, we'd love to hear from you on this one.


The Diamond Parking Fiasco and lots of questionable towing

Before Secure P, the latest parking lot manager for the Ala Wai and surrounds, there was the Diamond Parking fiasco.  Diamond Parking managed the parking for the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor (AWSBH) for around four years.  The terms laid out in the contract were sketchy, the numbers did not add up so Diamond, a few years later, losing fist-fulls of money, asked the State of Hawaii for a renegotiation. Rather than renegotiate, the State scoffed leaving Diamond Parking with no other choice but to pull up stakes, yank their machines and get the heck out of Dodge.  This had the immediate effect of leaving taxpayers and boaters holding the bag (we've heard the number $100,000 owing) and boaters, surfers and beach goers confused about the parking arrangement, some getting towed as a result of the confusion.

The towing issue started when Diamond Parking took over.  Towing was lucrative. It seemed that everyone was getting towed no matter how they were complying with parking rules.  In order to cut down the amount of time it took to deliver a towed car to Sand Island and return for another, they set up a towed vehicle storage lot closeby on the old Ala Wai Marine property adjacent to the Waikiki Prince. The complaints about the towing of compliant vehicles grew in numbers,  lawsuits were filed, a cease-and-desist was demanded from the governor's office, and the illegal towing came to a screeching halt.


Illegal towing still a problem today

Today, in 2021, we're experiencing a similar phenomenon.  Horribly vague and sometimes unreadable signage misleads or confuses a lot of users.  A growing number of vehicle owners are reporting to us that they are coming back from a day at the beach to find their car missing. After realizing (usually with the help of witnesses) that their car wasn't stolen but towed, they then have to find a way — ofttimes late in the evening — to get out to Sand Island to retrieve the vehicle. When they finally get there, the tow truck company demands nearly $200 before they will release the vehicle.  In many cases, the vehicle owner did nothing wrong.  Signage was either missing, unreadable, or so vague that it wasn't clear what the rules were.


Grassroots to the rescue

Grassroots to the rescue once again. Kate Thompson, a practicing nurse,  USCG certified boat captain, lifelong sailor, and tenant at the AWSBH has come up with an idea to erect highly visual signs in all of the right places hoping to eliminate, once and for all, the confusion that is getting innocent people towed to far off  — and expensive — tow lots.  The signs are highly visible and easy-to-understand.  See more on this from KITV's recent article/video. While the powers-that-be, Underwood, Case, and Senator Sharon Moriwaki have shown an interest in this idea, as of this writing nothing has happened yet.  Given the latter three's track record, no one is holding their breath.

Sample designs by Kate Thompson


Warning to all taxpayers — it's just The Rail all over again

As minor as this whole parking lot conundrum may seem — after all, it's not happening in my backyard — there is a dire warning embedded.  The State of Hawaii's DLNR and the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) so poorly manages the public's assets that it's costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in lost funds and revenues and creating a lot of unnecessary huhu for a lot of good people. 

The Rail debacle that's costing taxpayers billions of dollars is capturing all of the headlines.  But the fact is, the bungling that we're seeing in The Rail example is the same that exists everywhere in Hawaii's government;  bungling that is strangling taxpayers and making it difficult for middle income earners to stay afloat. The ongoing Rail bungle, the mismanaging of Hawaii's 17 public harbors, and the part-time mentality of Hawaii's government operatives will eventually come crashing down on those of you who own property.  In the not-too-distant future your property taxes will have to, by necessity, double as the State will look at other property tax models throughout the country and will inevitably have to make a decision to raise your taxes accordingly. Don't make the mistake of thinking that less expensive blunders not happening in your backyard will not affect you.  The failures are cumulative and ubiquitous and affect everyone.  The same mentality that allowed for The Rail blunder exists throughout the state of Hawaii's government and the evidence is everywhere for anyone who wants to look.


Hawaii's part-time lawmakers

Hawaii's part-time legislators with dubious agendas and connections, a part-time lieutenant governor, and mayors who have come and gone with commitments to big-money interests that were of little benefit to the community; when does this stop. We've got a mess, and it's hurting everyone who lives here.

The people of Hawaii should have a long look at upcoming elections.  It's time to get rid of the old guard . . . it's just not working.



(Regarding parking lots in the State of Hawaii): (Please sign the petition)  (Link here):

We want clear, easy to understand parking signage in parking stalls in and around the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor — and surrounds — and throughout the State of Hawaii so that the rules are clear and innocent people are not having their car towed  (Please sign the petition)

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