Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Disgraceful arrests of advocates for homeless by Honolulu police

You don't arrest Utu Langi, outreach worker and director of H-5 Project (Hawai'i Helping the Hungry Have Hope). You just don't. It would be like arresting Mother Theresa. But that's just what happened yesterday. And it's a disgraceful approach to solving Honolulu's chronic affordable housing shortage which results in thousands of people left without shelter.

Mufi Hannemann, mayor of Honolulu, and the police department should be ashamed of themselves. The Star-Bulletin was on the spot at City Hall where about 50 people had gathered. The story and photos recorded the arrest of Langi and other advocates for the homeless and noted that the City did nothing whatsoever to assist the people who were displaced.

Honolulu clears park before festival

In a sudden move to clear Ala Moana park before the Honolulu Centennial Festival on Magic Island this weekend, the city declared a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. ostensibly for repairs and cleanup. There was little warning for the 200 or so people who remain in the park overnight, and no plan to accommodate them elsewhere.

It's also clear that there were alternatives, for example repairing the park in sections, that could easily have avoided this crisis, if repairs were indeed the objective of the lockout.

In the past, the City might have gotten away with this, but times have changed. Increased taxes and expenses mean that the ranks of the thousands of citizens already living in the streets, parks and on the beaches will increase. Advocates have stepped in not only to support the homeless but to reverse the conditions that resulted in the current crisis. Several bills are making their way through the legislature and city council that address different aspects of the housing situation. Awareness is high.

Except in one area: tourists have been shielded from the issue. To them, Waikiki is preserved as an idyllic paradise of sun and surf. How would they view their Hawaiian vacation if they knew that 200 people have been kicked out of Ala Moana park so they can enjoy a festival? This action can backfire on the City quite badly if the truth gets out.

Further reading: 'It's a crisis, and this is not helping the crisis'. Next stop for some: Honolulu Hale. Shame on Hawaii .


Thanks for your insightful comment. I hadn't thought that we have created a caste system. That fits in so many ways.

Of course, City officials don't want this problem on their doorstep. I hope that many people, not just the homeless, will protest at City Hall.

The Feds need to take over already. We get funding from HUD but it doesnt go where its suppose to. When Obama was visiting same thing was done with the homeless. after all he just had 8 million go to HUD over here.

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