Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Elderly and disabled wait in vain for stalled State elevator repairs

I deeply appreciate the work of Hawaii's dedicated cadre of investigative reporters. The Advertiser's Jim Dooley made the phone call that no one in the state bureaucracy thought to make. He learned, from a national distributor of elevator parts, that whatever gizmos were needed to put one of only two elevators available to residents of the Kalakaua Homes back into service were readily available. See: Elevator parts are available after all and Elderly wait and wait for elevator repairs. The second article notes:
For months, elderly and disabled residents in four state-owned housing projects have had to wait as long as 30 minutes for elevator service, virtually marooning many tenants in their upper-floor apartments and endangering others in need of emergency medical care, according to state officials and building residents.

Officials of the state Public Housing Authority blamed the problems on obsolete equipment. The officials said they are working to repair the elevators, but the work may take at least three more months.
Jim Dooley's article today shows that the state isn't actually working at all. Amazingly, we find this disturbing statement:
Despite the availability of parts for the Kalakaua Homes elevator, the state has no immediate plans to repair them. The state has lost confidence in Tomihara and his company, Hawaii Vertical Transportation Inc. [the current repair contractor], and has decided not to attempt more repairs until a new company can be selected.
It's easy to be an armchair critic since I'm not privy to what plans may be afoot for emergency repairs, but state-run housing has been plagued with chronic elevator problems for some time. As the earlier Advertiser article points out, the situation endangers anyone in need of emergency medical care.

The problem should be considered a public emergency and the state should deal with it immediately. Instead of stopping all repairs, those parts should be immediately ordered and put on a plane to Hawaii. If our state government can't do it, maybe Jim Dooley could render a further public service by offering to make one more phone call for them.

But do seniors matter to this Administration? Governor Lingle might want to do something to make up for withholding funds for Kupuna Care until just before election day last year. She could make these repairs happen.

If she can't, maybe her new-found buddies in Indonesia can lend a hand. Sorry, I can't get it off my mind that we are rendering assistance to the Indonesian military for helicopter repairs and we can't even fix a couple of elevators.

The other thought that entered my mind: I'm glad the state won't be running the trains in Honolulu.


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