Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Scam Letter Using Fake Hawaiian Electric Job Offer

I received the following email:

Re: Employment Opportunities
Friday, July 16, 2010 9:55 AM
From: "Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc."

Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc 
900 Richards Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
We have a job opening for the position of Accounts receivable officer. Would you like to work from your home and get paid weekly ?? We are offering this position to all interested applicants. Please carefully read through. 
This employment opportunity is targeted at providing part/full time job seekers, and also people who would like to working from home, and get paid weekly. 
Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc is a well established provider of Electrical and Telecommunications service solutions, Established in 1891, Hawaiian Electric procures, warehouses, and delivers just about any kind of electrical or communications and data product, component, or related service to its customers. It stocks and sells hundreds of thousands of items from thousands of manufacturers.
We deliver high quality precision products to some of the largest and best known companies in far back Asia, Europe, the Regions of America and Rest of The world. You will find our high quality Electronics in the BEST products on the market today. 
We serve the entire Europe, United States/Canada and a growing export market, particularly in the supplies of Electrical and Telecommunications products. 
Your primary task as a representative of the company would be to coordinate payments from customers and help us with the payment process. You are not involved in any sales. Once orders are received and sorted, we deliver the product to the customer, after this has been done, the customer has to pay for the products but in most cases we make our clients prepay for orders or items they order for. 
About 90 percent of our customers prefer to pay through Certified Checks or Money Orders drawn from the United States/Canada based on the amount involved. We then decided to throw open this new contract -to-hire job position as a way of giving back to the Nation in form of extra job creation and as a way of corporate social responsibility to the populace and ultimately to fill up this position. 
Your First Primary task (Collection of Payments): 
1. Receive payment from our Customers or Clients. 
2. Cash Payment at your Local Bank. 
3. Deduct 10 % which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed 
4. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the offices you will be contacted to send payment to. 
You will have a lot of free time doing another job, because this job is part time, you also will get good income, but this job is very challenging and you should understand it. We are sure you will be a diligent and timely worker; you do not need any form of data entry experience to perform the job duties. 
Get back to us with the below information, so that we can add your mailing address to our Regional database and forward it to our customers for them to start sending payments. 
First name................... 
Middle name.................. 
Last name.................... 
Address Line 1............... 
Address Line 2............... 
Zip/Postal code.............. 
Home phone................... 
Cell phone................... 
Your response to this email is needed, so that we can reconfirm your mailing/residential address details we have in our database. 
We will be updating you as soon as a payment is being sent to you, and you will be directed as to where to have the remaining 90% of the money sent to, after the deduction of your 10% wage on any payments received and processed by you. 
A swift acknowledgment of the receipt of this email will be appreciated. 
Thanks for Your Total Understanding. 
Richard M. Rosenblum,
Chairman, President and CEO, Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc  
900 Richards St. 
Honolulu, HI 96813

Actually, I had received a similar letter from the same scammer using the Sending Address hawaiinelectric1891@zzuli.edu.cn but subsequent emails use the addresses dispalyed above.

I contacted Hawaiian Electric about this and they told me that they were already aware of it and the emails had been circulating since early April 2010. They advised me to simply ignore them.

I then contacted the email providers of W.CN and ZING.VN in an effort to get the addresses shutdown, but I have not heard back from either of them. In fact, it was after I had contacted ZING that the scammer began to use the W.CN address as a Response Address.

Tracing the IP of the first email, I discovered that it had been sent from Ghana, which is not unusual since scammers will use any free email system that they can find and prefer those which are most difficult for complaintants to have closed.

The second email was traced back to Vietnam, which is the home country of the email service ZING.VN, while W.CN is from China. As both websites use Chinese or Vietnamese text on their websites, I have concluded that the scammers are Vietnamese who are also literate in the Chinese language or are Chinese scammers literate in Vietnamese. The ZZULI.EDU.CN address is the website of Zhengzhou University of Light Industry which is a public university located in Zhengzhou, Henan, China, so a Chinese identity is more likely.

The initial Ghana IP brings up the possibility that Ghanan scammers initially helped the Chinese scammers get started, which is not an unknown occurrence among scammers who will often help each other get scams started, often in exchange for a share of the money raised or will get whatever personal information is gathered from potential victims.

I have also reported the original email to the administration of the school itself, but there is no telling what kind response I will get, if any.

As for the phone number, it appears to be valid. I notified the police in the city where the phone number is registered, Lilburn, Georgia. If the phone number weren't valid, it is unlikely that it would have been included in the email or that the scammer would offer that as a means to contact him. I haven't heard back from the Lilburn Police either.

Scams are more known to be run from Africa, but can come from any country. In fact, I am surprised that it has taken this long for Chinese scammers to get in on the action. Russian scammers have been active for years, mostly with fake business offers and romance scams. Then again, Russian criminals are usually quick to jump in whenever there is the possibility of making a quick ruble, while Chinese criminals are more known to be very patient and test the waters, see how others are doing, and then move in with full force. Essentially the same as the Chinese military.

In the past, Chinese hackers have engaged in a covert war against the US government, businesses and American hackers. This is more done out of sense of Chinese patriotism and a resentment over what they perceive as American arrogance, than a general desire to cause havoc. In fairness, American hackers are known to cause havoc for its own sake, as in the case of 4chan, 711chan and others, though they are also known to go after genuinely bad people like animal abusers, child molesters, and racists.

I received emails from the scammer on July 10, 12 and the 16th, so I'm guessing that he runs through his list every few days. It is with a certain sense of amusement that he sent an email to some one who actually lives in Hawaii and can easily find Hawaiian Electric's real phone number, rather than the fake one used in the emails. Obviously, anyone from Hawaii would recognize that the phone number should have an 808 area code and not a 770 code. Never mind the fact that the VN and CN suffixes would be an obvious tipoff that something was amiss. Nevertheless, some one from outside Hawaii may miss the obvious discrepancies and send their personal information to the scammer and who knows where it will end-up?

Just passing this on.

Duane D. Browning

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Secret Shopper" Scam Letter Received on 15 July 2010

It seems to be the easiest job around: shop at a store, eat at a restaurant or use some sort of service. Then, you write an evaluation of the quality of service for your boss, whose company was hired by the owner of the service provider to check-up on their staff to make sure they are treating the customers right and that the quality of the product or service is kept at a professional level. Since shopping, eating at a restaurant, etc is easy enough by itself, it seems to be the perfect job. Do something you like doing and get paid for it.

Sadly, most of these "Secret Shopper" jobs that are offered on websites like Craigslist and Backpage are scams. The "employers" ask you to send them your personal information, so that they can work some kind of scam on you, such as identity theft. Once they know where you live and how to contact you, you could soon find yourself receiving calls from people that you don't want to talk to and receiving mail from mailing lists that you never signed-up for. Those are just a few things that can happen if you sign-up for a "job" with agroup like these.

Here is a typical example of a scam letter. I received it today:

From: "Kimberly Kilgore" 

Subject: ******************** SECRET EVALUATOR ********************

Retail Survey Concept is a market research company that uses Mystery/Secret Shopping or Mystery/Secret Evaluation to measure quality of retail service or gather 
specific information about products and services. We work with some of the largest, reputable businesses in the world;from Fast Food to Petroleum, 
Technology or Fashion Retailers and more.

Retail Survey Concept is presently recruiting SECRET EVALUATORS in all states of 
the USA.

POSITION TITLE: Secret Evaluator


START DATE: Immediate

COMMISSION: $200 Per Assignment (2 Assignments weekly).

JOB DESCRIPTION & RESPONSIBILITIES: You will be hired to conduct an all expenses 
paid surveys and evaluation exercises on behalf of RETAIL SURVEY CONCEPT®. Your 
job will be to evaluate and measure quality of retail service or gather specific 
information about products and services. As our mystery shopper posing as normal 
customers, you will expected to perform specific tasks—such as purchasing a 
product or using a service.

We presently have a couple of outstanding contracts, which means you will be
directed to outlets, firms and corporate bodies to report on your experience by 
forwarding us a mail.

PLEASE NOTE: You will be provided funds in advance for any upcoming survey via 
Checks and Wire Transactions to cover expenses.

You do not require any special skills for this opening, however in order to
Apply for this job you need to ensure you have access to your e-mails two( 2)
times a day and will reply to all notifications promptly.

Interested Candidates should simply fill the form below to make an Official

Full Names: 
Address Line 1:
Address Line 2:
Zip Code: 
Phone Number: 
Cell / Mobile Phone Number: 
Current Occupation: 
Have you had any work of this nature before: 
Email Address: 

Kimberly Kilgore,
Evaluation Manager.

All applications should be sent to:::rsurveyconcept@aol.com
©2006-2010 Retail Survey Concept™ Corporate Headquarters
3231 Industrial Boulevard,
Bethel Park, PA 15102 ..

Being a person who takes little for granted anymore, I did a trace of their IP, to find out where the email actually originated from. I copied and pasted the headers (not displayed here in order to save space) and discovered that the letter had originated from within the USA, as opposed to a foreign country where most such letters come from. Specifically, the email cam from Marinette, Wisconsin. Notice how at the end of the email they said that their address was in Pennsylvania? If the email was legitimate, then the email should have come from Pennsylvania. Either that or they should have given a Wisconsin address instead.

Also notice how they are using an AOL address, instead of an email address from their own company, like RetailSurveyConcept.com. The reason scammers use Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, etc is so that they can close these accounts if law enforcement starts sniffing-around, it makes it easier to conceal themselves from people they've scammed and they can open a new account anytime they wish to keep the scam going.

I next tried to find the supposed company headquarters at 3231 Industrial Blvd, Bethel Park, PA by using Google Maps, which can show you the actual buildings at the street level. To keep it short, there is no such address. The map pointed at a location in the middle of the road. It bears noticing that they gave no phone number for you to call. The better to keep themselves distant from victims complaining that they never got their reimbursement checks or even whatever paychecks they were promised.

I also did an Internet search for "Retail Survey Concept" and got no hits, at all. Not really a surprise, considering everything else I found. I also got no matches on the email address. The name "Kimberly Kilgore" got me 161 matches on a search of Facebook, though.

When I saw the email in my Inbox, I thought it was part of a 419 Advance Fee Fraud scam, due to the overuse of asterisks in the subject line and the title being typed in all capital letters. That's how a lot of those scammers send their letters, too.

All the warning signs are there:

  • flashy use of eye-catching symbols in the Subject line;
  • extremely high rate of pay offered;
  • Company name does not show on any Internet searches;
  • email uses a disposable address;
  • no phone number given;
  • given physical address does not exist;
  • IP address does not match the given physical address.
With people across the USA trying to find a job - any job - scammers sink to a new low when they exploit people who are living in fear of not being able to pay their bills, buy food or get medical care due to lack of money. Scammers have shown themselves willing to use any tragedy, including Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 Attacks, to make themselves money at the expense of the innocent.

If Retail Survey Concept has a response to any of what I have posted, I'd be glad to see it.

Duane D. Browning

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I See Homeless People...Everywhere

Tonight, I was riding my bike on Kona Street, after a few drinks at Jazz Minds. I got to the intersection of Atkinson and Kona and I saw on the little concrete island a small camp that had been set-up by a homeless woman who camps there for the evening almost every night.

There were a few belongings, including a small children's bicycle I suppose that she used to carry her stuff around. I didn't see the woman, though. Then, I turned and saw her bedded-down for the night under the shelter of an awning of one of the small businesses nearby. I guess she moved from the island to the sidewalk when the rain started.

I have ridden past the Atkinson/Kona intersection hundreds of times and this woman has only begun camping there in the past few months.

A week ago, as I rode past Puuhale Elementary, I noticed a homeless man camped next to the school's fence, along the dirt driveway. I used to go to that shool.

There was a time, not long ago, where homeless people used to camp in places removed from the general public view as much as possible. If you wanted to find them, you needed to go to a park or to the beach. usually, it was someplace where they could get lost in a crowd of other homeless people and you would be unable to single them out. Those days are over.

I'm seeing homeless people camped-out in very public places: in front of Puuhale Elementary, at the intersection of Kona and Atkinson as well as the intersection of Kapiolani and Atkinson. You're seeing them camped in ones and twos, instead of in larger groups, no doubt forced there by the evictions from state and city parks.

We're seeing them throwing aside all thoughts of trying to hide themselves from public view, giving-up all sense of being embarrassed by their homelessness and simply camping where ever they can that no one else has staked a claim to previously. It's no longer a matter of trying to be inconspicuous, but of simple survival.

Without a real solution, without giving them a place where they could stay and not be molested by police, they will find other places not currently in use by other homeless people. The undersides of bridges are spoken-for, as are parks and beaches. The government has chased and hounded them from one place to another and they are left with no choice but to camp out in the open where they can easily be seen.

We are entering a dangerous phase in the homelessness crisis, where people are being backed into a corner with no place to go but down. Humans are still part of the Animal Kingdom and no animal is more dangerous than when it has been backed into a corner with no choice but to fight or die.

With a lot of people thinking that the solution to homelessness is simply for homeless people to go out and get a job when even people who are not homeless are having a hard time finding even a part-time job, shows the general lack of concern too many of us have.

The homelessness issue has gone beyond being a problem or an annoyance. It has become a crisis that is becoming more difficult to ignore and evidence of it is in every neighborhood and on every street and park.

I know what could stop the evictions and I know it will never happen. Whenever there is an eviction of homeless people from a beach or park, if there was a corresponding massive protest outside the State Capitol or City Hall and thousands of phone calls, faxes and emails coming to their offices without ceasing, politicians would no longer be able to simply sign-off on an eviction without realizing that there would be a massive protest immediately thereafter in retaliation. Elected officials know that while many people say they care about the homeless, they don't care enough to make a phone call, let alone carry a sign on a picket line.

So, we'll hear a lot about "those poor houseless people" living on the beach and we'll see their little campsites as well as news stories informing the people that yet another homeless campsite has been broken-up and the homeless people have scattered to the Four Winds.

But, we're not likely to see real solutions any time soon.

Duane D. Browning

Fireworks: Good & Bad

There are few things that can draw a good crowd like a fireworks show. People stare in wonder at the exploding  rockets, which are often arranged to go off in patterns of colors beautiful to the eye. A lot of our local culture does have fireworks in its history, especially among the Chinese-American community, whose ancestors invented fireworks and gunpowder.

July 4th and New Year's Day would seem incomplete without a pyrotechnic display of grand scale and awesome visual effects.

However, all is not perfect in fireworks and it is the imperfections that have drawn criticism and calls for an outright ban. While there has been much talk of banning fireworks for all but displays put together by professionals, they have usually failed because of the Culture Card being played to great effect, as well as complaints from vendors who fear that their incomes would suffer if they were not allowed to sell them to private individuals.

While fireworks have their upside, their downside is very serious and cannot be overlooked.

First, you have the very real danger of fires. Every year, a building is engulfed in flames because of fireworks that have gotten onto their roof and started a fire which soon got out of control. People have been rendered homeless because somebody couldn't control their fireworks and this is a steep price to pay to have a little fun. As far as finding the people responsible, with literally thousands of rockets flying around, each packed with a small amount of explosives, you won't be able to keep track of all of them and one will eventually get loose and onto some one's house. So, finding the persons responsible can often be impossible.

Second, you have the danger of personal injury due to explosions and burns. Fireworks are made to burn and/or explode and children are most susceptible to injury when they get scared and either forget to let go of it or one falls in front of them or on them. We can be talking about  first-, second- or third-degree burns, along with the accompanying pain and scarring, especially from 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Being burned can even lead to psychological problems for the victim, especially if the injuries sustained are particularly bad.

Next, you have the smoke which can be very heavy if there had been a lot of fireworks going-off in the area. I remember one year, I was in Kalihi and I was on my way home at around 3am. It was New Year's Day and as I looked down the road, I realized that I could not see the end of the street due to the heavy low-hanging smoke. I had a motorscooter back then and I had to ride at less than 15mph to avoid accidentally hitting some one in the darkness and smoke. Fortunately, I could still see the traffic lights and would have an idea of where to stop.  Riding was especially difficult due to visibility problems, which were compounded by the acridity of the smoke which irritated my eyes, nose and throat. My eyes were tearing-up and I was fortunate to make it home, as other drivers were doubtless similarly affected. 

Also, you have to include the risks to people with breathing problems such as asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer. With many children today afflicted with asthma, it is difficult for all but the most devoted of fireworks fans to justify using them in the face of the suffering inflicted upon these people who must endure hours or even days of breathing problem above what they do on a normal day. A civilized society must always consider the needs of its weakest members.

Let's not forget the fact that in areas where a lot of fireworks are going to be set-off, animals in zoos have to be tranquilized so that they won't panic and suffer from the stresses caused by hearing thousands of explosions and the smell of smoke in the air. Animals have a natural fear of flame and smoke and their first instinct is to run away from it.

Of course, there are always going to be those who use fireworks as a convenient way to hurt people and damage property. Petty arsonists can use them as a way to burn down a building and subsequently chalk it up as an accident, even though they had done it purposely. When I was a young man, an entire building at my school, Kalakaua Intermediate, was burned to the ground by vandals using fireworks. Furthermore, some can use the particularly powerful ones to blowout windows on cars and homes or even cause injury to others. I remember going through Waikiki one year and a gang of kids was enjoying themselves while throwing strings of fireworks onto passing vehicles. In these cases, fireworks are not seen as a means of enjoyment, but as an easy way to damage the property or injure the persons of others.

We certainly can't leave out the danger of improperly-stored fireworks which can go off accidentally, due to a house fire or similar occurrence. Some years ago, there was talk of limiting the number of fireworks people could buy at a time. So, before this went into effect, people stocked-up on fireworks with the intention of using some of them for the upcoming holiday and store the rest for later. After the limits were put in-place, there was a house fire where a large number of improperly-stored fireworks went-off in some one's home storage shed. What people in that case failed to realize is that fireworks, at their most basic level, are miniature explosives and should be handled  and stored that way. A small fire or even a spark could result in catastrophic consequences.

Finally, you have the mess that fireworks leave behind. This mess can be considerable and is often left for others to do, while the people who had set them off ignore the problem entirely I have seen entire streets covered with the leftover red paper debris of firecrackers, which were simply left for the wind and the rain to remove, while the people who had set them off simply walked past the debris piles as if they weren't there.

By themselves, fireworks are neither good nor bad. They simply are what they are. The problems arise when people who are not trained in handling them properly do stupid, careless or malicious things that result in property being damaged and people getting hurt.

I'm all in favor of having fireworks displays for events like Chinese New Year, New Year's Day and the Fourth of July. But, I think these displays should be entrusted to professionals, rather than to any schmoe with a few dollars and the urge to blow-up something.

Duane D. Browning

Monday, July 5, 2010

Quit Whining and Start Doing Something!

A recent news report on KITV showed this report which mentions that Hawaii drivers spend over $700 a year to repair their vehicles due to damages caused by the poor conditions of our roads. The video showed cars driving over potholes and other damaged portions of the streets, as well as complaints from drivers over road conditions.

When the story broke in newspapers, I read the numerous reader comments complaining about how the government has allowed the roads to deteriorate to the condition they are in. It seemed that everyone had a complaint and everyone felt that the government was doing nothing to alleviate the problem. Even those people who admitted that City workers did fix potholes complained that the City workers used substandard equipment to fill-in the potholes and were otherwise sitting-around, talking story and getting fat.

However, I know differently. The reason I know differently is that I am one of those people who actually calls the City and the State to report potholes and other bad road conditions. It's really very simple how it all worksout: you call one of the hotlines (the City and the State each have their own) to report a pothole or other hazardous road condition, an inspector goes to the site to see how bad it is, a work order is filled-out and a repair crew is dispatched. A report I filed on a State road, in this case it was Ala Moana Blvd, took about two weeks; while a report I filed with the City took less than a week.

What people don't seem to understand is that we have hundreds of miles of paved roads in Hawaii and County workers from all islands, as well as State workers, simply don't have the ability to see every stretch of road, everywhere, all the time. It is impossible for them to see it all. They have to rely on reports from the Public (that's you and me) to call-in and let them know.

Sadly, I have to admit the Press' own negligence on this issue. I've sent Letters to the Editor mentioning the City and State pothole report numbers and none of my letters got published. Even the news reports that mentioned the bad road conditions failed to mention these numbers, as if they didn't exist. But, they do exist and the people who answer the phones are very eager to take those reports, pass them on to the repair cres and get those problems fixed, despite what the government-bashers want you to think.

What really surprises me about all this is that people who should be reporting potholes, aren't. At least the ones I've encountered. A few examples:
  • On Kapiolani Blvd, near Pi'ikoi, there's a Bus stop. One day, I rode my bike up Pi'ikoi and stopped at the light, which is right next to the Bus stop. I saw several buses riding over the same pothole, which was so large that each bus shook from the impact of driving over it. The problem was that the pothole was in such a location that every bus that pulled away from the stop had to hit it. There was absolutely no way for them to avoid it, so the pothole counted each bus as a victim. I figured that Bus drivers would be reporting it and it would get fixed. I was wrong. The next week, I rode past the same spot and the pothole was still there. I hadn't reported it myself because I didn't have the hotline number saved to my cellphone. But, on my second trip, I did. I reported the pothole and it was fixed within a week. So, every bus that had hit that pothole could have been saved from its effects if just one driver had called it in. But none of them did. It took some guy on a bicycle to do it for them. But, it's not like these guys have to pay for the repairs that have to be done on the buses, since that's done by the Bus company and the City.
  • I spoke to a police officer in Waikiki one day and asked them if police on patrol were supposed to report bad road conditions, like potholes. He told me that they are not and he didn't even know if there was a number to call.
  • There is a pothole on Reed Lane, which is a little side street off of South Street, in the Downtown area. This not unusual, by itself, except for the fact that this pothole is located behind the First Circuit Courthouse! So, despite the fact that the pothole is in a location where it could be seen on a daily basis by State workers, no one seems to have called it in. I even found the pothole on Google maps where it allows you to see the view at street level.
  • Aside from potholes near the courthouse on a street most people might not even realize exists, the sidewalks on Punchbowl between Halekauwila and Pohukaina are in such a sorry condition that it seems that elderly people and the disabled would have a hard time traversing them. This went on for a long time, but I finally call the City to complain and the City administration - Mr Lester Hirano, specifically - has had the sidewalk examined by a City crew and it should be resurfaced some time in July. With all the City and State workers walking over this sidewalk, including the Mayor himself, you have to wonder why it took some guy like me to call it in. This is going to be a big job on a well-traveled piece of sidewalk, so I understand the time-frame between reporting it and the work being done.
I can see how cops might not have the time to call-in potholes, due to their workload. But, when you consider how bus drivers and State workers who see the same pothole every day, but don't call it in and you can see my frustration with this whole thing.

So, if you want to report potholes that you find out on the roads, you can call one of these numbers:

State roads: If the pothole is on a state road or highway — including Likelike, most of Kamehameha, Kahekili, Nimitz, Pali, most of Farrington, Kalaniana'ole, H-1, H-2 or H-3 (including on- and off-ramps), Ala Moana or Vineyard Boulevard — call the state pothole report line at 808-536-7852.

City roads: report potholes at 808-768-7777 or you can file a report online here. For other problems, like Traffic Signals, Curbs or Gutters, Abandoned Vehicles, Street Lights, Sewers or Storm Drains, Public Restrooms, Road or Street Conditions, Sidewalks, Parks or Beaches, Street Trees, Refuse / Bulky Item Pickup, Playground / Equipment, Street Signs, Fire Hydrants, and other City property (paid for with your tax dollars) you can call the City's complaint line at 808-768-4381 or file a report online at this link.

I can just hear some of the responses that the whiners will have about this blog: that it will take forever, if ever for the City or State to get-around to fixing it. Maybe, but how long will it take them to fix it if nobody reports it?

Save these numbers on your cellphone and bookmark the web links provided, so you can stop being one of the whiners who doesn't do anything but complain and become one of the people who actually is doing something to improve the quality of life for all of us and save drivers the cost of repairing their vehicles.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Duane Browning

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kapiolani Blvd Turning Into a Dump

As a follow-up to my discovery of the hole in the ground on Kapiolani Blvd last week, I decided to go back and see if the City had, in fact, filled the hole as they had promised. Sure enough, it has been filled.

I'm wondering how many people had walked past the hole and never considered reporting it because they thought the City would never get around to it or would take forever to do the job. But, here we are about five days after my first phone call and it's covered-up and safe to walk over.

Really, I cannot fathom how people can believe that their government is too busy to take care of things that pose an immediate danger to passersby or simply doesn't care. Sure, government is big and can often seem to be unfeeling. But, there are those times when the government can act quickly and get the job done.

So, thanks to Mr Lester Hirano and his staff.

While riding down Kapiolani on my way to the McCully intersection, I passed what can only be described as a garbage dump. I remember seeing a few bags of trash in the same location, but now the pile has grown by leaps and bounds, along with a swarm of flies to feast on the free food.

There were other places along Kapiolani I had passed where things had simply been left out for whatever fate awaited them. A beach chair, old bicycle tires, a rusty air conditioning unit, etc were all along the boulevard, along with unmowed grass and weeds. As I got closer to the McCully intersection and passed the self-storage business there, there was suddenly a total lack of garbage on the street and the grass was trimmed very nicely. So, in front of the business, it was clean. But, the areas fronting the residential buildings had garbage and weeds.

A sad state of affairs, I must admit.

On Kapiolani, between Kalakaua and McCully, several residences were marked with graffiti, which only added to the rundown look of the area.

I do wonder how long the trash has been piling-up before I reported it to the City. I can only guess that no one who lives in these buildings has called the City about the trash or to request that the grass be trimmed-down. Would it have killed anyone to take a weedeater and trim the grass themselves? I mean, you can borrow one from a friend, if you don't have one.

Maybe this is one of those cases where people think that it's some one else's job to take care of these things and they don't even have to take the initiative and call the City to make it happen.

There is also the very real possibility that the trash has been dumped there by people who do not live in the area and would rather it be left for others to dispose of. It happens all the time, especially if there had initially been just a small number of trash bags and some one driving by had decided that they could simply leave their garbage there for other people to have to dispose. There are numerous places around O'ahu where people simply dump assorted trash of various types and quantities and then drive back home, leaving it to the people who actually live around there to deal with it. Over time, the makeshift dump becomes rather famous and before you know it, everyone and anyone feels perfectly free to dump their shit on some one else's front doorstep. Never mind the health concerns about food waste or the fact that children walk around it every single fucking day.

Fucking inconsiderate bastards.

Still, you'd wonder if area residents are calling HPD about this sort of thing. I would and I'd be camped-out closeby to catch the motherfuckers doing it.

I am seriously thinking that I may be one of the few people who really cares what the City looks like.

Duane D. Browning