Huge response to Pono’s ordeal

After a couple of recent articles on the sports page of The Garden Island, a huge response followed the Pono Tokioka situation, in which his interpreter wasn’t allowed in the dugout during a PONY mustang state tournament game, earlier this year.

A slew of emails and phone messages showed support for Pono, who is awaiting another regional meeting, which will take place on O’ahu.

Princeville resident Jon K. Evans phoned in to say that he’d like to help out the Tokioka family, financially, if they pursue legal action.

“This is a travesty. I can’t believe anyone would rule against this,” Evans said.

Jimmy, the father of Pono, who is also his interpreter, stands by he and his ex-wife Beth’s stance of taking legal action if the rule isn’t ammended to accommodate not only Pono, but other youths, who might end up in the same situation in the future.

Don Clawson, director of baseball operations for PONY Baseball hasn’t returned numerous calls about the ruling.

However, in emails to Beth, Clawson wrote that the five person panel of directors for PONY Baseball, voted down the ammendment, 4-1, with Clawson being the only one in favor of the change.

Both Jimmy and Beth have received countless phone calls and emails about the matter, showing support for Pono.

“It’s not only the calls and emails, but even just walking around, there’s people patting us on the back and asking us how they could help out,” Jimmy said.

Kathy Martinez, executive director for World Institute on Disabablities is also extremely interested in the matter, after hearing about articles published in The Garden Island.

Blind since birth, Martinez is an internationally recognized disability rights leader.

Her brother, Carlos, a Kaua’i resident read the article and mentioned it to her.

She said that she wants to eventually come up with a formal letter to PONY Baseball in support of Pono’s situation.

“The support that we’ve been receiving makes me almost speechless,” Jimmy said.


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