Friday, September 19, 2014


Astute reader catches financial disclosure glitch

by Larry Geller

It seems that some dedicated good government advocates are paying attention to the nitty-gritty of financial disclosures for the 2014 election. Good thing, because the number of filings, as usual, seems to defy review by the Ethics Commission. If only the Legislature would increase their budget…

An astute reader forwarded the following catch:

Kent Fonoimoana is running for Hawaii State House District 47. His financial disclosure form was filed, according to the date stamp, on July 21, 2014. The deadline to file was July 18.

Fonomoana was in good company:

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui were among the 2014 candidates for office who failed to file their financial disclosure statements on time and will face a $25 fine from the state Ethics Commission, the commission said Tuesday .

The financial disclosure statements include information about a candidate's sources of income, business ownership interests, debts, real property ownership, officer and director positions in various businesses and other financial information.

A total of 130 of 203 candidates filed by last Friday's deadline, the Commission said.

[Star-Advertiser Political Radar, Missed Deadline, 7/23/2014]

I submit that a system in which 64 percent of candidates are disregarding the law isn’t working very well. Check out the complete list of candidates who missed the filing deadline at the link.

We don’t know if any fines were assessed, and heck, who cares about a $25 fine (or so it appears).

So now the forms are filed and posted on the web.

I’m glad that some people are going through this mountain of data. I know the Ethics Commission may not appreciate my criticism, but I would think that crowdsourcing the vetting of the forms is not the best thing to do.

Take Mr. Fonoimoana’s form. I checked the website, and it is still the current form listed, so it appears it has not been amended.

Here’s the problem:


Creditors are listed, but no amounts given. And in this particular case, shouldn’t potential voters know if this candidate has a tax issue?

If you’ve seen similar articles I’ve posted earlier, you’ll remember that each filer signs the bottom of the form. Here’s the signature block for this one:

Signature box

CERTIFICATION: By checking this box or signing your name on this form, you signify and affirm that you are the person whose name appears as the "Filer” above and the information contained in the form is true, correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief. You further certify that you understand that there are statutory penalties for failing to report the information required by Hawaii law.

As to statutory penalties, are they ever levied?

Remember, 64 percent of filers didn’t even bother to file by the deadline. Compliance with the law doesn’t seem like a priority. Maybe because there’s no downside to non-compliance.

Will the Ethics Commission impose the “statutory penalties?”

With the money, they could hire a part-timer to go through the forms and check them out (hint). (they’re probably not allowed to do that)

leakAnyone can submit anonymous comments to this blog, or you can send email to leak [at]


Calvin Say residency case got complicated yesterday

by Larry Geller

Even apparently simple things can get complicated when a question of law is involved.

For example, does Calvin Say live in his district or not? Should be easy to figure out, right? No way.

Yesterday, in Judge Karen Nakasone’s courtroom, it got very complicated. After reading the briefs and hearing all sides argue. Judge Nakasone announced that she will take the matter under advisement and rule no later than September 30.

I have little to add to Chad Blair’s report, Judge to Rule by Sept. 30 on Dismissal Motions in Calvin Say Residency Case (Civil Beat, 9/18/2014).

But if you’d like an idea of how complicated the decision will be, how about this.

The House is arguing that it alone may determine the qualifications of its members. The plaintiffs argue that the court also has jurisdiction, and since the House has declined to review the matter (see the documents attached to the Civil Beat story), the court has jurisdiction (there were plenty of other arguments on both sides).

Among the several issues is one you may try to resolve yourself. You be the judge. Here it is, in my own interpretation, see what you think.

Check out the Hawaii state constitution, Article 3.12, Organization; discipline; rules; procedure

Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members and shall have, for misconduct, disorderly behavior or neglect of duty of any member, power to punish such member by censure or, upon a two-thirds vote of all the members to which such house is entitled, by suspension or expulsion of such member….

Compare this with the language in Article 3.19 Impeachment

The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment of the governor and lieutenant governor and the senate the sole power to try such impeachments, and no such officer shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the senate.

The Hawaii State Constitution uses the word “sole” here. It’s pretty clear that a court would have trouble impeaching the governor or lieutenant governor. That’s the effect of the words “sole power.” Court: forget about it. Only the House has the power to impeach. The word “sole” appears in a couple of other places in the constitution.

Notice in the earlier snip, the word “sole” does not appear. The usage appears to be not much different from much of the rest of the constitution—prescriptive language. For example,

The legislature shall convene annually in regular session at 10:00 o'clock a.m. on the third Wednesday in January.

In other words, the constitution says what should happen.

(This is my interpretation of the plaintiff attorney’s argument, not his).

And when given the chance, the House declined to consider the question brought before them this time. So can’t the court take it up? The constitution did not give the House “sole” power in this, it seems.

Or does it? You can be the judge.

That’s just one example (as I think I understand it) of the debate that ensued yesterday. If you weren’t there, you missed some profound arguments. They must have been profound because I don’t understand them. I don’t know how to weigh the comparative force of territorial laws. I have no clue what the many citations might really mean.

Poor judge. Tough job.

I went into the courtroom in blissful ignorance and emerged profoundly confused.

This is not easy stuff.


Scrutiny of Honolulu police handling of Cachola incident could lead to needed reforms

by Larry Geller

One must seize the moment. The time to scrutinize police violence, including domestic violence, is now. The place for us to start is right here in Honolulu.

Perhaps the national focus on domestic violence triggered by NFL mishandling of the Ray Rice incident, combined with recent memory of police excesses in Ferguson, will lead to greater focus on the deeper implications of the current incident at Kuni’s Japanese Restaurant involving police Sgt. Darren Cachola.

Yes, the actions of this police officer are central to the issue, but police treatment of the incident is now front and center as well.

Publicly available video plays a critical role in each of these domestic violence incidents, and without it, the alleged perpetrators would likely never face the music. If there is an upside to pervasive surveillance, it is that sometimes it can serve a valid social purpose.

When we watch a video appearing to show a woman struck until she falls unconscious in an elevator, or that appears to show an HPD officer repeatedly striking and pursuing a woman in a restaurant, it’s tough to deny that something questionable has taken place. These videos cry out for investigation, and yes, where appropriate, arrests.

Given the video evidence, why has HPD not yet arrested the alleged perpetrator? Why was he not arrested immediately?

Hawaii law allows police to arrest someone if they have cause to believe domestic violence occurred. The law does not require the police witness the violence. The law does not require visible injuries on the victim. The law does not require a statement from the victim. In fact, anyone trained in domestic violence knows that victims will frequently refuse to accuse their abuser out of fear of retaliation.

At least two witnesses were on the scene, shown in the video coming to the woman’s rescue. However, even if the officers disregarded their statements and believed that this was a mutual fight, public fighting is still against the law –it’s a petty misdemeanor crime.

Failure to take any action against this officer was not justified.

[, Public Trust is the Basis for Granting Police Enforcement Powers – What Do You Do When Trust is broken?, 9/11/2014]

Echos of Clyde Arakawa case—special treatment given to fellow HPD officers

In the current Cachola incident there is a question of why responding officers did not file a report. Ian Lind questions police training as part of his article reviewing why victims often stand up for their attackers.

Was Cachola given special treatment because he is an HPD officer? It would not be the first time officers have taken care of their own.

Back in 2000, HPD officers arriving at the scene of a fatal accident afforded fellow officer Clyde Arakawa special treatment.

Police initially insisted that the investigation was handled the same as any other case, but [Honolulu Police Chief Lee] Donohue later acknowledged that Arakawa received special "courtesies" not given to other suspects in fatal crashes. Donohue promised to take disciplinary action if any was warranted.

After the 11:15 p.m. collision, the police union notified a lawyer, who appeared at the crash scene, and Arakawa was allowed to roam freely without being handcuffed or under supervision.

Donohue had said that the courtesies would not jeopardize the criminal investigation.

Arakawa was later charged with manslaughter. He is accused of causing the death by driving drunk and running a red light.

[Honolulu Advertiser, HPD disciplines dozen in Arakawa crash case, 1/26/2002]


Back in 2000, [HPD Lieutenant Colin] Wong received a six-month demotion after he was caught on camera putting his arm around fellow police officer Clyde Arakawa soon after Arakawa had been involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision on the Pali Highway. Arakawa, who was drunk at the time of the crash, was later convicted of manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Dana Ambrose.

[Star-Advertiser, HPD lieutenant arrested for alleged DUI, 3/30/2013]

Although at least a dozen officers were reported disciplined in the Arakawa case, details were withheld from the public. From the first snip above:

Donohue declined to answer questions about the officers, citing a collective-bargaining agreement with SHOPO…

Refusing to meet with legislators further damages public trust

The latest news indicates that the Hawaii State Women’s Legislative Caucus has been denied a meeting with our police chief (see: Civil Beat, Hawaii Women Lawmakers Slam Police Chief for Canceling Domestic Violence Meeting, 9/17/2014).

I wonder if he knows what that denial could lead to.

As Senator Thielen wrote on her blog, public trust is the basis for granting police enforcement powers. Trust has clearly been damaged by declining to meet with state and city legislators.

Likely, that will have consequences. And it should.

Just as the Legislature this past session took away HPD’s immunity from prosecution if they have sex with prostitutes, new laws may be needed to provide transparency, public accountability, and to improve training in handling domestic violence incidents.


Thursday, September 18, 2014


MRAPs for school districts? Colbert shows why they need to defend themselves

by Larry Geller

The San Diego School District needs their MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle) to defend themselves, according to Stephen Colbert. Against what? Watch the video.

(click on the thingy at the lower right for full screen)

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive



The excuse given to the public was that the same vehicle used to patrol the streets of Baghdad will be used to store medical supplies and teddy bears. The reader should notice that this is not an article on The Onion.

“There will be teddy bears in the vehicle. There will be trauma kits in the vehicle in the event any student is injured and our officers are trained to give first aid and CPR.”

The Chief seems to believe that the MRAP will roll out whenever a student in the district is injured. This is, of course, a lie to sell the idea of militarizing a school police department to the public.

[, School District gets MRAP to Store “Teddy Bears”, 9/18/2014]

CA releases 1033 program data<br>Los Angeles School Police Department received three grenade launchers

From the above link, what the LA school district police department received:

Los Angeles School Police Department

    61 assault rifles, all M16 5.56 mm

    3 grenade launchers

    1 mine resistant vehicle (MRAP)

That’s right, 61 assault rifles in a school district, etc. The existence of that arsenal alone presents a threat to public safety. I hope they don’t store the stuff in school lockers…


Today on Town Square: community activists' response to Honolulu's plan for the homeless and comparison to best practices

by Larry Geller

Tune in today to Town Square with Beth-Ann Kozlovich and guests—as they delve into the city’s plan to manage its homelessness crisis. 5-6 p.m. 89.3 FM or on your cable someplace, or stream it from Lots of ways to listen. And you can call in with your own questions or comments.

Guests will be:

Jenny Lee, Staff Attorney, Hawai'i Appleseed Cemter

Kathryn Xian, Executive Director, Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery

Matthew Doherty, Director of National Initiatives, The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

The commercial media have done little more than echo what the Mayor and City Council say they will do.

Tune in to learn more.

Find out how Honolulu’s plan fits with what other municipalities have done starting years ago, and how their experiences have come together to form well-established best practices for assisting those living outside to move into stable housing and to provide for themselves.

It takes time, and it takes a conversation to understand Honolulu’s plans and how our tax money is being spent. Listen, form your own opinion. Call and say it on the air.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Can a violent brain be turned on and off?

by Larry Geller

The Star-Advertiser ran this political cartoon this morning. Wish I had seen it before writing yesterday’s article, Does playing football damage brains and contribute to domestic violence? (9/16/2014). It’s a copyrighted cartoon by John Cole dated 9/10, drawn for the Scranton Times-Tribune.

In words, I’d say it asks the question of whether a violent football player can be switched on for games and off when he is supposed to be a model citizen.

Add that in to my question about brain damage leading to aggression, violence and loss of impulse control. In other words, even if a football player had such a switch installed on his head, would it work? With a damaged brain, can violence be switched on and off?

Even if we knew the answer, football will remain the national religion sport, and so change will be very hard to achieve. Perhaps impossible.

Sadly, this religion sport seems to require a component of human sacrifice to appeal to the masses.


Johan Galtung’s view from Europe: The Long Shadows of History

USA, change! Or else.

The Long Shadows of History

15 September 2014

by Johan Galtung, 15 Sep 2014 - TRANSCEND Media Service

As Carl Gustav Jung said, and the Chinese before him–the shadows are long and dark. Jumping does not help, they follow us. Thus, the USA is wrong in believing that they can get away with the misdeeds of the past, that people will forget; they are not historians. Moreover, when done by the USA, deeds are not evil, at worst “tragic”, and not only for the victims but also for the perpetrators accused.

Take Ferguson, Mo. and the militarization of the US police. The s-word “slavery” is whispered in the shadows (and shouted in books like Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams, Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom). It was forced labor to put it mildly, with chains and whips. And in the world No. 1 in prisoners, the USA, we find a disproportionate number of blacks for petty crimes on forced labor with chains–sold to employers; prisons even on the stock exchange.

Take the indigenous, the g-word “genocide” is whispered, and the e-word is shouted in G. C. Anderson Ethnic Cleansing and the Indian.

Shadows take shape in the collective memory, the conscious part. In the deep culture: “one day they will come and do to us what we did to them”; making the fear of a major revolt self-fulfilling.

The darkest shadows are inside the collective subconscious. The feeling of being on the wrong side of history, not only losing wars and an empire, has come to many, even if not yet to that bipartisan Congress. Despair, apathy, suicide; individually or as mass murder. A feeling of sliding downhill in the country used to always outdo itself. The leadership tries to find somebody outside to blame, revives Russia from the Cold War, ever more Muslims from the war on Islam declared by NATO in 1992 as the successor to the Cold War–all the time against the shadows whispering, watch yourself USA, these calamities are basically of your own making. You may jump at others, execute them–but the shadow follows you faithfully, growing darker.

How does one process dark shadows?

By confronting them. Submitting the USA to International Truth Commissions on the conquest of America from 1607 to1620, and on the slavery; White against Red, and White against Black, could help.

Commissions on above 240 interventions abroad so far, starting with Jefferson, would be tremendous. Denials bring the USA nowhere, but there is room for explanation, for why, in light of the values at the time. Korea, Vietnam, the Muslim world, Iran, Palestine, Somalia, Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and ISIS to mention a few, would be quite something as the present produces shadows for the future. A “strategy” without understanding what produced the violence is empty. And, while “destroying ISIS,” new movements will emerge; how many?

Make no mistake, there is no way in which the world will forget the past; surviving, even if repressed, as deep culture, collective nightmares. And politically as efforts to spy on the whole world.

The 3C, Confession-Contrition-Compensation? Would help, would also help to heal the martyred, tortured US soul; there is such a thing. It would do good to both sides, all sides, and cost little, except psychologically, to climb down from exceptionalism to the moral abyss of confrontation with past and present. But then the shiny side, gaining a moral high ground being capable of distancing itself from the misdeeds of the past, not being forced to do so by being beaten.

Imagine a “shadows around the world, unite!” movement. The Red and the Black of the USA, invoking their ancestors; the millions touched directly by the more recent US wars and coups in Latin America, Africa, the Koreans, Vietnamese, countless Muslims in Asia–imagine a Coalition of the Unwilling to Take It Any Longer; joined by a couple of million spied upon, read, listened to. Stop it or else–or else what? Violence? No–not even from the half of humanity that this year will be members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, SCO.

Worse. “USA, you like issuing pariah certificates to countries; down and out. Our certificate to you says irrelevance–we find it impossible to cooperate with you. Your track record is too dark. We sense your finger-, foot-, body- and soul-print in the bad turn of the financial economy, terrorism state and non-state, the US-Israel take on Palestine and on Muslim states such as Libya, Iraq-Syria, Pakistan–Afghanistan, and in Korea, China, Japan, Africa and Latin America. You always too quickly resort to violence, no good at deeper causes. We cannot force you to change, you have to will that yourself. But we can take the ball out of your court and play it ourselves. Many of us have already started, many more will follow.”

Does the USA really have to submit to all those international commissions to get off the hook, to dozens of Bishop Tutus, who actually goes further in his famous: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor: If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality?”

No, not by submission but by inviting them, pro-actively. A good start would be international commissions on Eastern Ukraine and on the downing of the Malaysian flights MH17 and MH370. Make no mistake, refusal to accept international commissions-tribunals, for instance over the role of Afghanistan in 9/11 2001, is self-incriminating.

Dark shadows from history are not a US monopoly. Colonialism, and not only Western, pervasive and persistent, was slow to die, and there are still some residues. But the USA stands out today, and has done so for a long time. Look at the list of problems mentioned above, starting with the finance economy, and think the USA away, as irrelevant: it helps identifying solutions for all of them. Leadership should be collective, like BRICS; leadership should never be one country, or one person.

USA, change! Or else.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 15 September 2014.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Does playing football damage brains and contribute to domestic violence?

America is a football crazed nation, yet the long term affects of what takes place on the field have been mostly overlooked.--
Dr. Amen: Momma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Football Players

If you began playing football in high school, the doctor says, you have a higher risk of suffering health problems involving the brain later in life. Among the ailments that may be linked to football is chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease associated with repeated brain trauma. Symptoms, which may occur early or years after a brain injury, include dementia, memory loss, aggression and depression. Amen has also found violent behavior, obesity, mental illness, and suicide statistically common in populations of former players.--
Daniel Amen, Newport Beach Brain Doctor, Says NFL Must Get Its Heads Examined

by Larry Geller

[Image credit: By Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator [CC-BY-2.5 (]

This is not something I follow, but I do wonder if people are checking into the possible (likely?) concern that repeated violent head banging in sports can lead to Concussion_mechanics.svgbrain damage that in turn increases violence including domestic violence. And if so, what to do about it?

Football seems to depend on increasing violence. Isn’t that what the fans are cheering for, what drives patrons of sports bars into shouting frenzies across the country? So if the sport itself leads to “conditioning” the brain for violence, why would the NFL ever intervene?

Aside from psychological conditioning, banging a soft brain repeatedly against a hard skull can damage areas responsible, for example, for impulse control.

The two pullquotes above are a bit old. I attended a talk by Dr. Amen long ago in Honolulu. He is interested not only in detecting and preventing brain injury but in remediating the harm caused that otherwise would be long lasting.


Dr. Amen showed us colored SPECT scans that were very scary—not just of brains damaged by physical injury but also by drugs. and of brains eaten out by Alheimer’s.
There were some similarities in the pictures: areas of the brain that were no longer functioning appeared as dark holes where there should have been activity.

Can we say that the player who knocks his domestic partner unconscious has not been aided and abetted by the purveyors of NFL violence-for-profit? (And what about the health of her brain??)

If football is the national religion sport then shouldn’t we all be calling for reform?

Sure, I know, it’s not very likely. But that’s not a satisfactory answer.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Change in time for Calvin Say hearing

by Larry Geller

For those of you following the legal challenge to former Speaker Calvin Say’s place of residence and hence his eligibility to hold his seat in the Legislature, there has been a time change for the Thursday hearing. Change your calendar.

Judge Nakasone has just moved the time of the hearing on Thursday to 2:00 p.m.
for Calvin Say's motions to dismiss or for summary judgment and the House's
motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

The place is the same—the fifth floor of the courthouse on Hotel and Alakea Streets, not the one on Punchbowl. When you get to the fifth floor, just look for Judge Nakasone’s name on the courtroom, turn off your cellphone ringer, and go inside.


Correction / Ethical issues related to homeless tent camp

by Larry Geller

This morning I was a guest on HPR’s The Conversation. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but someone who listened to the program told me that I said that the Sand Island site contemplated by the city for their planned tent camp for the homeless is contaminated. That’s not what I meant to say, and it’s not accurate. The site hasn’t been tested, so we don’t know what might be there. The list of contaminants that I read was from a document describing contaminants and potential contaminants from an adjacent or close by site.

It’s important to be accurate, and if I misstated, I regret the error.

As I understand the state approval granted Friday for use of the site, it is contingent on the site being tested and on Department of Health approval. However that happens, the tests should be public documents, so we will find out what’s on or under the ground when they are completed.

For those of you who might not have heard the program this morning, I think two new concepts were introduced.

1) I suggested there may be ethical issues if the city pushes those people moved from the streets of Waikiki into housing ahead of those already identified as candidates—and I’m told that there is already a list of about 275 people compiled as a result of the agreed intake process. (Note that intake, or “triage” as the city has described it, can be done anywhere, it’s not necessary to move anyone to Sand Island to determine eligibility for Housing First. Intake can be done in most any room in the city.)

2) In answer to Beth-Ann’s question, I replied yes, I think, the scheme could backfire on the city if it should turn out that people sitting on the sidewalk in Waikiki are given priority for a housing program. Anyone interested in getting into a Housing First unit when they become available might flock to Waikiki and sit down, hoping to be bused to Sand Island to begin the process. This is assuming that Mayor Caldwell signs the bill that limits the enforcement area rather than the one that is island-wide. Just thinking out loud on this one. There could be so many complications to this process, and the money spent is not going towards housing.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Board of Land and Natural Resources approves city’s Sand Island homeless camp subject to list of conditions

by Larry Geller

After hearing testimony overwhelmingly opposed to the city’s plan to create a homeless camp in land in isolated Sand Island, the Board of Land and Natural Resources voted to approve the application subject to conditions.

There was some positive testimony, but those who opposed noted that the city had not had the area tested for the long list of chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals and other contaminants discovered in Department of Health reports for the immediate area. Others noted cultural issues, others raised security issues.

The board members did listen and asked relevant questions. In the end, they approved, but with the following conditions:

1) Approval of the Department of Health of suitability for intended use

2) If the city should ask for a longer term than three years, the environmental exemption will no longer apply

3) The City and County are responsible for adequate security

4) The City and County are responsible to follow through with the representations they have made about getting more public input prior to occupancy

5) A quarterly review shall be submitted to the Chair on the progress of the project

6) Subject to the decision on the contested case hearing

In my testimony I pointed out that the application for the lease and immediate right of entry was misrepresented to the Board by the city. The purpose, as given in the application, is:

Temporary Mobile Access to Services and Housing (TMASH). A temporary triage for services and housing to determine the needs of homeless individuals / families based on their circumstances. The City's on-site contract service providers will assess and evaluate the vulnerability of homeless individuals / families to prepare for Housing First placement, while providing them with temporary shelter.

A board member asked about the meaning of the word “triage.” I and others described our understanding that it had military origins, where the wounded were assessed and prioritized for treatment (or for no treatment, alas).

I pointed out that triage could be done in any room in the city. The hearing room, for example. People could come in the side door (leaving dogs and cats outside), over here would be the social workers, over here the RNs, then the housing specialists, and finally the case managers (just as an example). Then they can go out the back door with their housing voucher or other papers.

There’s no need for the Sand Island lot for triage. What the city described with its slide show today was a tent city to be occupied by the houseless. They want to be able to say, in order to get the various punitive ordinances passed into law, that there is someplace to relocate the houseless living in Waikiki.


Homeless camp is in evacuation zone

by Larry Geller

While the Board of Land and Natural Resources were in their executive session this afternoon considering the city’s application to use an unimproved area on Sand Island as the location of their planned homeless camp, I thought I might check the evacuation maps for Sand Island.


In addition to whatever other problems the camp may have, it’s in the Zone.

Evacuation map

(click for larger)

So when the weather is hot and dry, the campsite, with no shelter from the sun and hot asphalt below, will be sweltering. If there is a flood or tsunami, the question will arise how to get people out of there—presumably most will not have any cars.

Even when it’s just ordinary rain, imagine, as one of the Board members did, what it will be like to be in a tent on flat, flooded asphalt. Just for that reason I would think the proposed plan is unsuitable for human habitation. But the BLNR did approve it today.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


No community buy-in on city homeless camp plan

I'm sure local officials will try to counter that locking up poor, homeless people isn't their goal. Oddly, they seem pleased with themselves because they are providing a tent city with some services for the homeless and billing their "plan" as Housing First and even "supportive housing."

The organization I represent has a national reputation creating what is actually supportive housing. Supplying temporary tents on an island — which conjures up offensive scenes of World War II internment camps — fits absolutely no one's professional definitions of Housing First or supportive housing. It, however, does give a whole new meaning to pitching your spin.—op-ed by Deborah De Santis, Star-Advertiser, 9/11/2014

by Larry Geller

The idea of a proposed homeless camp on Sand Island may appeal to residents of Waikiki, but at last night’s informational meeting, it did not sit well with several community members.

City Managing Director Ember Shinn and her staff presented an informational hearing last night at the cafeteria at Puuhale Elementary School at which they presented their plan to those who attended. The auditorium was almost fully packed, largely with community members from the area and other parts of Oahu, but also with advocates, some state legislators and city officials.

At the meeting, attendees were told what the city’s plan is. There were no handouts, only a powerpoint presentation and an easel at the rear of the room with this clearly hastily-prepared Google Earth pasteup (click for larger):



A very good account of the meeting was posted by Civil Beat, here.

The Star-Advertiser also covered the event, but perhaps space was limited and of course the paper was about to go to print, so the Civil Beat account is both more complete and more accurate (for example, in response to questioning about pollutants, CB noted that the city responded that they would cover the site with asphalt, not concrete, as the S-A reported).  [So the kids are supposed to play outside the tents on hot, stinky asphalt?? Whose great idea is that?]

Doug Matsuoka was there recording video, so a record of the meeting should be posted soon. In the meantime, some observations.

So... what to call the camp?

In City Managing director Ember Shinn’s introduction she objected to the characterization of the site as an internment camp, noting that her father (?) was interned there at the start of World War II. My thought: well, I can understand that. But then, she might also think of how the people whom the city wants to remove to this camp site will feel about being put there, and of course, what it says about a city administration that is willing to put them there.

Homeless will experience living in a gated community

Some members of the Sand Island or Kalihi communities expressed concern that residents commuting to the site will defile their neighborhoods, or spoil surfing which is popular off the island. In response, the city noted that there will be security, and offered to clean up anything reported to them. They pointed to the guard house and roving security present in the camp at all hours.

Ok, so we now have an alternative to the term “internment camp” that Ms. Shinn objected to: “gated community” may be more accurate as well. At the right of the photo above is the guardhouse that will challenge anyone entering the property, it was explained.

Site pollution issue skipped in presentation

The question of site pollution was not raised during the city presentation, a notable omission. They responded only when questioned by activist Kathryn Xian.

Considering the press that this issue has achieved, you’d think (well, I think) it should have been covered rather than covered up in the city’s presentation.

Failure to consult with houseless residents can doom city’s plans

Last night’s meeting was to “tell” or perhaps “inform” the community of the city’s plans. We heard toward the end that an RFP for the site has been issued. What we did not hear was that the community was involved in the planning.

Indeed, in her introduction, Ms. Shinn expressed great pride that this is the first time that a city has attempted this kind of a project on its own—and that prior examples of “tent cities” or “safe zones” were planned and organized by communities, not by cities.

To the extent that they might have succeeded, perhaps it is because they were planned by the community itself and not by a municipality that they did so.

It amazes me when the city is forced to withdraw plans because of community objections. One can blame it on “NIMBY”—or alternatively, admit that imposing a solution on a community without adequate involvement or consultation is an intrusion, not a solution.

The city’s exclusion of those community members most affected from its plans to criminalize homelessness and to isolate them on hot asphalt in a camp on a detached island may ultimately frustrate those plans and stick taxpayers with the cost of the experiment.

Unavoidable increase in street violence?

An intrinsic side effect of the city’s plan is that of necessity, as they stated, they will screen and exclude anyone with a record of violence. They would have to do that. No argument.

But wait until the residents of Waikiki learn that as people are “removed” from their streets, they are “left with” the most violent still there.

Involving the community is not rocket science

The Daily Show regularly lampoons misguided plans with a meme in which its “correspondents” assemble community members on a kind of bleacher set—say, three ascending rows of three people each. The correspondent then discusses the issue, and finds that everyone is opposed. Or, perhaps, if it is racially-oriented topic for example, that only the white guys agree. The lampoon is very effective.

There are plenty of ways to involve the community in planning. First and foremost, one might place actual homeless people on the planning groups. But in terms of process, there are plenty of options. One can hold several guided community meetings to listen, form and review plans. One can gather a smaller group first to suggest alternatives. Anything would be better than holding informational briefings to “tell” people what you are planning to do to them or in their neighborhoods.

Consensus building is a well-known art. It doesn’t mean everyone in the community agrees, but it is the pathway to development and acceptance of successful community planning.

This homeless camp isn’t necessary anyway

Supplying temporary tents on an island — which conjures up offensive scenes of World War II internment camps — fits absolutely no one's professional definitions of Housing First or supportive housing.

[Star-Advertiser p. A9, Penalizing homeless won’t work; supportive housing will, 9/11/2014]

There is no place in a Housing First program for anything but housing first. Even if the city succeeds in transferring some people into the camp, they are working against, rather than with, the model. And at what cost?

At the meeting, the city confirmed that the camp will be designed to handle only 100 people, and that they will consider it a success if there are 40 occupants.

At least one questioner confronted the presenters with the costs of putting all this into place for just 40 (or 100) people, given the large number of homeless on Oahu. [Note that expenses for plastering the ground with asphalt aren’t yet in any budgets because the city neglected to consider potential pollution at or near the site.]

Neither the city administration nor the City Council (with the possible exception of councilmember Breen Harimoto) apparently understand the basics of Housing First.

The internment camp gated community was initially dubbed as “temporary Housing First.” Yet there is no such thing.

Housing First is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness.

[quoted in Framing the problem: Honolulu government does not understand Housing First, 9/11/2014]

Basically, the city needs to convince the public that the punitive measures it is moving to enact into law—which criminalize the homeless but do nothing to assist them—are not so bad because it is providing them with an alternative to the streets.

But the “alternative” would accommodate as few as 40 people. The questioner pointed out that 40 is close to negligible.

The city apparently plans to have buses accompanying the police sweeps to take people to the Sand Island camp as an alternative to police action (if they do that, they may likely open the door for legal action).

The city administration revealed its priorities in its RFP for its Housing First plan. Here is the very first objective of the program (p. 15):

To alleviate the impacts of unsheltered homelessness on residents, businesses, and visitors in the City and County of Honolulu through the creation of appropriate housing opportunities that will facilitate the transition of unsheltered homeless persons and families from public and private property not meant for human habitation in targeted neighborhoods, to appropriate housing in the community.

This is not a client-centered approach. But then, the city is trying to take care of businesses and developers first, they have made it clear.

TargetedThis morning’s Star-Advertiser front page headline seems to recognize this: “City Council approves bills targeting homeless.” Yes, targeting. They are being targeted.
Kailua resident suggests a better use for buses

During questioning, a Kailua resident noted that there are homeless people sleeping on the streets of Kailua also, and asked why the city doesn’t put the support services it described for the camp onto a bus and come into the neighborhood to provide support to the homeless right there in Kailua?

See, when the community has an opportunity, new ideas can result.

Is there any chance that the city will do that? Not likely.

Another community suggestion utilizes container housing, central services, and a wall of storage surrounding the facility


Someone went to the trouble of making and bringing a model. Of course, any idea has pros and cons, but this illustrates that the community is very capable of working cooperatively on an issue.

The city should focus on getting Housing First accepted and underway

It’s 2014, and Honolulu is not in the ‘vanguard” of Housing First as Ms. Shinn expressed at a City Council meeting. It has yet to begin, while other states reported positive data as early as 2004. We need to catch up.

The Kailua bus idea (for example) may have merit, but it depends on the city wanting to do something for rather than to its homeless residents. In any case, Housing First should be first because it is proven to work. Of course other worthwhile ideas could be considered as well that don’t get in the way.

The city isn’t at that place yet where it is working hard to alleviate homelessness or poverty, or to keep individuals and families from falling into poverty.


Framing the problem: Honolulu government does not understand Housing First

Housing First is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness. Housing provides a foundation from which a person or family can access the services and supports they need to achieve stability, begin the recovery process, and pursue personal goals.—United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

by Larry Geller

Hawaii Appleseed has gone above and beyond the call in making information about poverty, homelessness and potential solutions available. Here is a tweet from this morning (click for the report).

Appleseed Tweet

The article is not too long, informative, and easu reading. At the end are links and references for further reading.

As you read, note that Honolulu’s RFP for what it refers to as Housing First, includes practically none of the points raised by the article. One reference on interventions suggests that the community-based programs contemplated by Honolulu are often not enough.

Every citycouncilperson and state legislator might brush up on the concepts by reviewing this article or other plentiful literature on the subject. Unless they understand what they are doing, they will likely be more part of the problem than of any solution.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


Mom and Pop no longer own the Shop

by Larry Geller

It’s hard to snip even a small part of this article posted this morning:

Small Business Ownership In America Is At An All-Time Low (Activist Post, 9/9/2014)

But having accurate data is important, even if it’s very depressing. So ok, a couple of snips, but nothing too deep. For the whole story, please click the link and check out the report it refers to.

On the other hand, I’ll bet that you already know much of this.

According to the Federal Reserve, the percentage of American families that own a small business is at the lowest level that has ever been recorded….

If the economy truly was healthy, this would not be happening.  And it isn't as if Americans are flooding the labor market either.  As I detailed yesterday, the labor force participation rate in this country is at a 36 year low

As David Stockman recently so aptly put it, outside of health and education the U.S. economy has not produced a single job since mid-2000 even though our population has grown greatly since that time... that outside of health and education there has not been one net new job created in the American economy since July 2000! Yes, not a single new job—as in none, nein, nichts, nada, zip!

Hmmm… if you want to be depressed by some statistics and charts, do click over to David Stockman’s article as well.


Let’s recognize what works to remediate homelessness, and do more of it

More than 90% of families and 75% of singles remain housed after one year

by Larry Geller

2014-09-09 09.09.52_PerfectlyClear

The third and last part of a Star-Advertiser series, “Special Report: Sheltered Life” appeared in this morning’s paper. It’s headlined:

New life off the streets offers few guarantees

Nearly 1 in 10 of Hawaii’s homeless families that stayed in emergency shelters, and nearly 1 in 4 singles, returned less than a year after getting permanent housing. The scarcity of affordable units and Hawaii’s high cost of living are just two factors working against those trying to keep a roof over their heads. Also, military veterans face intense challenges as they try to overcome homelessness.

[Star-Advertiser, p.1, New life off the streets offers few guarantees, 9/9/2014]

If that’s the sub-head, then, where did I get the pull-quote above, which illustrates the same numbers but from a vastly different point of view?

Over breakfast coffee, Nanette grabbed a pen and paper and re-wrote the Star-Advertiser sub-head. She’s a social worker and one who looks for and celebrates people’s natural strengths.

People can be resilient.

What can we learn or deduce from the fact that so many people are helped by moving from shelters into permanent housing? How do we close that 10% or that 25% gap?

1. We really do need affordable housing in Honolulu. But let’s change this to “affordable housing and affordable rentals.”

2. We should run, not walk, to getting a real Housing First program started.

3. As long as the Mayor and City Council focus on punitive measures, putting their time and effort into criminalizing homelessness, they are not contributing to the solution….

4. … in fact, criminalizing the homeless will only make it harder for them to find and remain in permanent housing and obtain the jobs necessary to stay there.

One might also add, though it’s not implicit in the numbers above, that both the state and city must work to implement policies that work to prevent throwing more people out into the street. These measures might include rent regulation or stabilization, and the restoration of cuts to state mental health services that turn people out onto the streets.

Nor is anyone fooled by Mayor Caldwell’s “compassion.”

As the Civil Beat editorial board posted this morning:

It’s our own failure to provide adequate support to people suffering from financial crises, mental illness, alcoholism or drug addiction that is at fault here. Without adequate treatment programs, counseling and housing alternatives, the sit-lie bills offer the bleak prospect of more homeless people going to jail and accruing fines that they can’t pay.

What’s “compassionate” about that?

[Civil Beat, Criminalizing Homelessness: Reject the Sidewalk Sit-Lie Ban Bills, 9/9/2014]

There’s much more to be said, of course. Please read the Civil Beat editorial in its entirety, and note, at the bottom, who it is that is speaking.

Homelessness is a complex issue, and Honolulu is not alone in facing the numerous problems that need to be solved. It is unique, perhaps, in its sloth in getting started with evidence-based solutions, which has resulted in a problem finally grown too big to be ignored.


9th Circuit hears oral arguments in Hawaii marriage equality suit (audio)

by Larry Geller

The plaintiffs in Natasha Jackson, et al v. Neil Abercrombie, et al have already married. Hawaii has now legalized marriage equality and marriages are taking place.

The parties now agree. So this case should be moot, right?

Yet the Hawaii Family Forum, as intervener, argued, not quite yet. The Supreme Court could still strike down Hawaii’s law.

Of course, it didn’t sound quite that simple. Check out the audio in the player below, or download a copy to your own computer. While listening, it’s good to keep in mind that all sides in this case submitted briefs, so everyone knows what they are talking about, except possibly us.

Listen here:

If the player does not appear, you can also download or listen to the audio file here.

Monday, September 08, 2014


Earlier study of similar camp scheme rejects substitutes for Housing First

by Larry Geller

This proposal is inconsistent with existing federal and State programs to stabilize homeless families by creating safe emergency and transitional shelters to prepare them for moving into and living in permanent supportive housing. Permanent housing is the key to homelessness and that all efforts should be to prepare homeless individuals to assume their residency in permanent housing.

This proposal diverts scarce resources away from creating a path to permanent housing for homeless individuals by condoning, if not encouraging homelessness and the continuance of a nomadic lifestyle.

The pullquote and the document posted below apply to a slightly different idea—nighttime only camping. But the conclusions, with few modifications, would apply to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s plan to re-purpose an area on Sand Island instead of using the public parks that the document refers to.

I think you, the reader, will be able to discern why taxpayer money is being wasted by the Mayor’s plan. It not only “diverts scarce resources” to a scheme that costs taxpayers every day that “real” Housing First is not implemented, complete with the wraparound services needed to make it work, but choosing to place his camp out in the hot sun on isolated Sand Island is not likely to work very well. If only the Mayor would see that.

Of course, since the stated primary objective of the city’s plan is …

To alleviate the impacts of unsheltered homelessness on residents, businesses, and visitors in the City and County of Honolulu through the creation of appropriate housing opportunities that will facilitate the transition of unsheltered homeless persons and families from public and private property not meant for human habitation in targeted neighborhoods, to appropriate housing in the community.

… it’s safe to say that hizzoner may not be thinking of what is best for Honolulu’s houseless citizens first.

See the article below for a video of the proposed Sand Island site.

Download Act 105 Section 4 SLH 2012 Evening Conversion of Public Facilities from Disappeared News


Kathryn Xian’s video of proposed Sand Island internment camp for Waikiki houseless

by Larry Geller

Kathryn Xian visited the proposed campsite proposed by the Caldwell Administraion as the site to move Waikiki houseless to. Her narrative on the video speaks for itself.

Click the little thingy at the lower right for full screen.

Video of Proposed De Facto Internment Camp for Houseless Persons, by Kathryn Xian

Web link

Sunday, September 07, 2014


Proposed Sand Island homeless camp was an ash and municipal solid waste dump for 65 years

by Larry Geller

Kathryn Xian researched the location that Mayor Caldwell plans to use for the city’s former “Temporary Housing First” program now renamed Temporary Mobile Access to Services and Housing—and discovered that for 65 years, until 1999, it was a dump used for ash and municipal solid waste, whatever that means.

Dump tweet

(click image for larger)


From Kathy’s email:

The City's proposed use of this 5-acre arid area provides no water, no public restrooms facilities (only porta-potties), no electricity, no shelter. There are no grocery or convenience stores in the immediate area and it is isolated from the population, which increases danger especially for families with children and single women. City Proposal to BLNR -

According to the application that Kathy points to at the above link, having homeless individuals or families at the site will have no adverse affect on the environment.

Isn’t there a law that the environment must be assessed to see if it has an effect on people?

More from Kathy’s email:

Join us in opposing the bills criminalizing houselessness (Sept 10) AND the proposal to establish the Sand Island Internment Camp (Sept 12). RSVP HERE:

What is “municipal solid waste”?

According to an EPA website, specific definitions of what can be described as municipal solid waste vary across jurisdictions. It also would be very difficult at this time to determine what was considered acceptable to dump onto the Sand Island landfill site when it opened in 1934, or if any rules applied or were faithfully observed at all during the time it was open.

It appears that municipal solid waste may include garbage generated in households, commercial or business establishments or even industrial process wastes, agricultural wastes and sewage sludge.

Saturday, September 06, 2014


Jane Addams, born September 6, 1860, pioneering social worker and reformer whose work lead to Palama Settlement

Born this day: Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a pioneer settlement social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women's suffrage and world peace. In an era when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson identified themselves as reformers and social activists, Addams was one of the most prominent[1] reformers of the Progressive Era.—Wikipedia

by Larry Geller

Jane Addams has pretty much disappeared from history (unless, perhaps, one Jane_Addams_1940_Issue-10cis a social work student poring over historical texts). She was born on this day in 1860, and her work and the example of her life lead to the founding hundreds of settlements including Palama Settlement in Honoulu.

She was founder of the American settlement house movement, disciple of Lincoln, Tolstoy and Gandhi, social and economic reformer, labor unionist, feminist, suffragist, pacifist, internationalist, ethicist, founding board member of the NAACP and the ACLU, advisor to eight U.S. presidents, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and prolific author and public speaker.

[, Rutherford H. Platt: The timeless moral compass of Jane Addams]

I urge you to click on the link and read more about this remarkable person. Another snip, to prepare the ground for the leap to Palama:

America’s cities by the late 19th century were cauldrons of social and economic injustice to factory workers, immigrants, women, children, African-Americans and non-Protestants. In 1889, inspired by a visit to Toynbee House in London, Addams and her friend Ellen Gates Starr rented a pre-Civil War mansion surrounded by tenements on Halsted Street near downtown Chicago which they named Hull House.

Their goal: “To provide a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises; and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago.”

The “business plan” for Hull House was to recruit educated and idealistic young women — like Addams and Gates themselves — who would agree to live at the house for substantial periods of time as volunteers to work with and befriend the immigrants living in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Hull House was quickly replicated: By 1900, there were more than 100 settlement houses in the United States, which doubled by 1905, and doubled again to 400 by 1910. Many leading women reformers of the era were associated with Hull House including Florence Kelley, Julia Lathrop, Dr. Alice Hamilton, Lillian Wald and Frances Perkins, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of labor and first woman cabinet member.

Moving rapidly, now, we arrive in Honolulu just after thousands of Chinatown residents were rendered homeless by the government’s misguided effort to burn out the deadly plague. The Great Chinatown Fire of 1900 burned out of control, forcing many of the now homeless into slum conditions in the Palama community just Ewa of Nuuanu Stream.

The definitive history of the Palama Settlement itself may be The Progressive Era and Hawai'i: The Early History of Palama Settlement, 1896—1929, The Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 34 (2000), pp. 169-184. The pages are downloadable here.

I dove in to learn more about the transformative work of James Arthur Rath and his wife, Ragna Helsher Rath, who were encouraged by Dr. Doremus Scudder of the Hawaiian Board of Missions to relocate to Hawaii from Springfield, Massachusetts, to begin the work of forming a settlement house on Jane Addams’ model.

A key event of the day was a presentation given by Rath at the YMCA on January 18, 1906. Journalism back then appears to have been somewhat like journalism today in that a reporter with bias or blinders on sees and reports through the filter of their biases. An unknowing readership can be easily taken in. In following the trail laid out in the article, I found not one but two identical articles describing Rath’s talk. That is, an article in the Hawaiian Gazette identical word-for-word to one in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser of the same date. It’s not very long:

Rath Says Devils Owns the Town

Hawaiian Gazette 19060106J. A. Rath, Superintendent of Palama Chapel, addressed the Thursday Club last night on the subject, "How the Other Half Lives.

The speaker discoursed on the condition of affairs existing In the tenement quarters Ewa of Nuuanu Stream, and characterized it as terrible and discouraging. He said that drunkenness, the social evil and gambling were playing havoc with the natives and that the law in the district was being openly defied.

The condition of affairs was worse today, he remarked, than be had ever known it to be. Drunkenness was on the Increase, girls were being ruined, lodging houses were used for immoral purposes, liquor was given women in saloons, soda water stands were used a« places of assignation, gambling was rampant, obscene pictures were openly exposed for sale, and drunks came staggering out of saloons that had only bottle license.

At the conclusion of the lecture which was illustrated by charts, many questions were asked by those present and a vote of thanks was tendered the preacher.

Perhaps unhappy with that account, Scudder wrote his own report that appeared as a letter-to-the-editor in the January 20 paper:

910 Prospect Street
Honolulu, T.H., Jan. 19. 1906

Editor: Advertiser: Last night the Thursday Club at the Y.M.C.A. listened to such a remarkable address by Mr. James A. Rath of Palama, that it occurs to me to beg the use of your columns for a word with reference thereto. The title of the lecture was, 'How the Other Half Lives,' and it is no exaggeration to say that the disclosures made were of unusual timeliness and importance to all our citizens. Trained under the able corps of social scientists in the Springfield School, Mr. Rath has taken up the study of Palama on the line made famous by Charles Booth in his epochal volume, Life and Labor of the People of London. This investigation has been pursued at odd times when the stress of work has permitted, and is hardly more than begun. Yet the facts already ascertained form a most valuable contribution to the stock of material available to students of social conditions in this complex community.

The first thing that attracted the attention of the audience was a social map of the entire district showing in colors the abodes of the people of the several nationalities therein. Thus at a glance one could gain a fair notion of the distribution of populations. On this map the various saloons, cold drink shops, restaurants, hotels, barber shops, bathing establishments, schools, missions and the like were all appropriately indicated.

After explaining this charted work, Mr. Rath entered into a discussion of the life of the various peoples, finally taking up the crucial question of how they spend their leisure time. This led to a most discriminating exposition of the influence of the various recreational and lounging centers of the entire district. The influence exerted upon the people by each group was carefully set forth. Of course, Mr. Rath did not use the Advertiser’s headline that “the devil owns the town.” The black spots were not painted any other color nore were the bright places toned down. In fact the address glowed with optimistic hope and paid a warm tribute to the Hawaiians in Palama who are fighting for better things.

The drink evil, gambling and social vice were not glossed over. Perhaps the saddest part of the story was that which dealt with the way in which the portion of the town Waikiki of Nuuanu Stream  preys upon Palama for its own darker pleasure. It was clearly shown what a menace this and the other evils are to our city and especially to the people who dwell in Palama. This recital given with the calm details of facts elicited by many hours of patient investigation was startling. But it was offset by the exposition of forces in the district making for better things. It is to be regretted that a large number of our business men could no have heard this address, one effect of which was to cause all who had the privilege to rejoice that so resourceful and devoted a social worker lives in the very center of this district. In fact the so-called Palama Chapel which occupies the strategic spot in this the storm center of our city's social problem is a good deal of a misnomer. It is in reality a modern social settlement of the highest type and as soon as our financial leaders realize how it holds the key to the situation, in what excellent hands it is and how splendidly it is helping to solve the problem it faces, there will be no trouble in enlarging and equipping it to the wide work demanded. DOREMUS SCUDDER

Rath was applying the principles of Addams’ Hull House right here in Hawaii. Were those of us familiar with Powerpoint presentations thrust back in time to that evening at the YMCA, we might find ourselves in a familiar environment of data and analysis used to form the basis of sound social policy.

Addams clearly defined the model: impeccable research used to define appropriate social action. From the link at the top of this article:

Her cadre of young women mapped housing and sanitary conditions in the Halsted Street area that was published as Hull House Maps and Papers in 1895, a pioneering exercise in sociology and urban geography. Addams used the maps of filth and uncollected garbage to shame the mayor into appointing her as garbage inspector for the 19th Ward.


Even today, when we face a far different set of social problems, it still seems reasonable to ask ourselves, “What would Jane Addams do?


Sand Island Detention Camp: Mayor Caldwell’s “compassionless disruption” repeats history

by Larry Geller

According to this morning’s paper, the city’s “Temporary Housing First” is now described as “Temporary Mobile Access to Services and Housing site.“ Mayor Caldwell intends to use the site as the “compassion” phase of his “compassionate disruption” program to rid Waikiki of the sight of homeless people on sidewalks, but it is hard to discern where the “disruption” actually ends and the “compassion” begins. In effect, his program will create an internment camp, surprisingly similar to a camp that existed on the island at the start of World War II, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here you go :

Sand Island Detention Facility

This is a snip from a video describing the Japanese internment after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The first location in Hawaii was not the better-known Honouliuli camp, it was Sand Island.

Yes, Sand Island is an ideal location. There is a drawbridge that can be used to seal it off from the rest of civilization. But basically, it is remote and separate from the mainland of Honolulu.

Presumably Caldwell will “disrupt” only the citizens living on sidewalks in Waikiki under authority of the ordinances he is pushing the City Council to pass. Those will have the effect of criminalizing homelessness. The idea is that instead, they will relocate, willingly or unwillingly, to the Sand Island internment camp, where there will be some basic facilities (not even including the tents that the Japanese interns were provided with).

From the spot where the camp is proposed via bus back to Waikiki would take about 1 1/4 hours of riding time, plus waiting for the bus. Why go back to Waikiki? First of all, those at the camp will not  be physically locked up, they have a right to come and go. They need some income. Whether it is from collecting cans or from other activities, they will have no opportunities in the camp. Worse, while they are such a great distance away from their belongings, there is always the possibility of looting.

Here’s a Google Map showing the distance between the internment camp and Waikiki:

Location of internment camp

Since the city ordinances will be applied selectively, presumably the camp will be filled with newly-created second-class citizens living in poverty in a conveniently isolated area.

Free tourist camping on Historic Sand Island

E Komo Mai

If this is not to be an internment camp, then there is a simple test. If someone, anyone, let’s say a visiting family from the Mainland or Europe, where camping on vacation is more common than here, – you follow me? – if they just went to Sand Island, would they be allowed to pitch their tents and settle in for a low-cost Hawaiian vacation? Or will there be checkpoints of some kind to limit occupancy to genuine  houseless residents?



Giving people the choice of prison or isolation is what makes this “plan” into an internment camp.

The situation would be socially unacceptable. I have stronger words, but this is a family blog.


Advocate Kathryn Xian: City/State Hearings to Consider Internment of Displaced Families and Houseless Individuals

by Larry Geller

What the City and County of Honolulu referred to officially as “Temporary Housing First” in its RFP (see: Honolulu’s RFP for “Housing First” is misguided and deficient, 9/3/2014) it is now referring to instead as Temporary Mobile Access to Services (Star-Advertiser p.1, Center to shift users to stable housing, 9/6/2014).

Changing the name does not change what the city is trying to do: criminalize those individuals who won’t move from Waikiki to the camp.

Advocate Kathryn Xian says it better than I can, in an email reproduced with her permission below.

Advocacy works best if you, the reader, take Kathy’s advice and send in some testimony.

Subject:    City/State Hearings to Consider Internment of Displaced Families and Houseless Individuals

Aloha, Friends:

This email is sent as an "Educational tool" to help you form a personal opinion on the internment of the houseless on Sand Island, which would take effect even if such a proposal claims to be permissive. Due to this proposals link to current bills seeking to criminalize the houseless by outlawing their existence in all public spaces, the extreme poor, as these laws are enforced, would have no choice but to choose Sand Island internment or prison.

LAST CHANCE TO STOP THE INTERNMENT OF THE POOR: Submit written testimony online and/or show up in person.
Coming up this week are three important Hearings/Meetings to decide the fate of Houseless persons and Displaced 'Ohana. The City and State are looking toward interning the extreme poor at Sand Island, facilitated by new laws that if passed will criminalize all Houseless persons from existing in public spaces. JOIN US in stopping these cruel unconstitutional measures once and for all!
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AND COME TO AS MANY MEETINGS AS YOU CAN. TESTIFY! All of these meetings are EXTREMELY important. If you've never taken a stance for a good cause before, now would be the time for your voice to be heard!
1) Weds, Sept. 10th at 10am at Mission Memorial Auditorium: City Council Final Hearing for Bills Criminalizing Homelessness
2) Weds, Sept. 10th at 6pm at Puuhale Elementary : Community meeting to discuss support for Sand Island Internment Camp for the Poor. 345 Puuhale Road.
3) Friday, Sept. 12th at 9am (Suggested arrival time 8:30am) at KALANIMOKU BUILDING - LAND BOARD CONFERENCE ROOM 132 - 1151 PUNCHBOWL STREET - BLNR approval of Sand Island for use at Homeless Internment Camp
OPPOSE BILLS 42, 43 (Waikiki area), 45, 46 (Island-wide), and 48 (Commercial areas)
WHEN: Wednesday, September 10th 2014 at 10am
WHERE: Mission Memorial Auditorium, Diamond Head of Honolulu Hale (530 S. King)
SUBMIT TESTIMONY ONLINE by Tuesday, September 9th. Go to:
>> Meeting Date: September 10, 2014
>> Council/PH Committee: Select "Council"
>> Agenda Item: Bills 42, 43, 45, 46, and 48
>> Your position on the matter: Oppose
>> If you plan to testify in person, select "Yes" next to "Do you wish to speak at the hearing?"
Download the City Council AGENDA here:
When: Weds, Sept 10th at 6pm
Where: Puuhale Elementary Cafeteria - 345 Puuhale Road - Map:
When: Friday, September 12th 2014 at 9am (Sign up by 8:45am if you wish to speak)
Download the BLNR AGENDA here:
The Martin 'Ohana's Story: ys-citys-efforts-to-end-homelessness-is-hurting-not-helping
Sign the petition to urge the City Council and IHS to stop criminalizing poverty:

Read UC Berkeley Policy Law Clinic Report on Sit-Lie laws:


Kathryn Xian
Executive Director
Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS)
a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization
United we can STOP Human Trafficking
The slave breeders and slave traders are a small odious and detested class among you, and yet in politics they dictate the course of all of you" - Abraham Lincoln

"Slavery still exists, but now it applies only
to women and its name is 'prostitution.'" - Victor Hugo


page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?