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For almost a decade, I headed the Office of Information and Complaint for the City of Honolulu. I loved the job because when people called my office with a problem, I had the considerable clout of the Mayor behind my efforts to make things right.
But nobody bats 1.000.
There was, for instance, the time I received a call from Melanie MacArthur, the wife of actor James MacArthur, who had the role of Danno in the original Hawaii 5-0 TV series.
Melanie was the owner of one of dozen shops in Kilohana Square, a small boutique shopping center located off one of the main roads in a suburban area of Honolulu.
She called me because business was poor and the shop owners felt a big reason was that potential customers had trouble finding the little cluster of shops. The shop owners were in agreement that what they needed was a large sign that would better identify the shopping center and would be more visible from Kapahulu Avenue.
Could I arrange for someone from the City to come out to their little shopping center? Someone who could help them determine where a new sign could be located and how big it could be?
Of course I could. And I should note here that Honolulu has a very strict sign ordinance, limiting the size of the signs and prohibiting any signs above the second floor of any commercial building. In fact, there are no billboards in Hawaii; they’re illegal. It was, therefore, a good idea for the shop owners to find out what they could do before getting any farther into the sign project.
I called the appropriate city department and spoke to the lady in charge, who said she would personally go out to the little shopping center and see what she might be able to do that would be helpful.
Three day later, I received a call from Melanie MacArthur, who reported that the lady from the Building Department had indeed come to Kilohana Square. But she not only declined to offer any advice for a new, larger sign, while she was there she cited four of the shops for having illegal signs.
As I was fumbling for something to say, Melanie said, “We had a meeting of our group last night and and a resolution was passed unanimously . . .
“Be it resolved that the Merchants Association of Kilohana Square shall never, ever again, under any circumstances, ask Jim Loomis for help.”
How’s that for a legacy!
This article first appeared on www.trainsandtravel.com
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