Sunday, November 13, 2011


Smokers and Drivers Beware

By Henry Curtis

On the 94th anniversary of the death of Queen Lili’uokalani, the last monarch of Hawai`i, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD)  evicted Native Hawaiians camping on the sidewalk adjacent to the Zoo.

Police personnel noted that Kapiolani Park includes many areas not traditionally thought of as being part of the park.

The State Tax Map Key shows that the Park also includes the bike path, the public sidewalk, Kalakaua Avenue and some other side streets, the beach, and the public trust area makai of the limu line, the high water wark.

The Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, Section 10-1.2 “Park rules and regulations. (a) Within the limits of any public park, it is unlawful for any person to: ... (4) Kindle, build, maintain or use any fire, other than in a grill or brazier ...(12) Enter or remain in any public park during the night hours that the park is closed, provided that signs are posted indicating the hours that the park is closed.”

The law clearly states that at no point may a cigarette by lit in a car being driven  on Kalakaua Avenue while the car is passing  Kapiolani Park and/or the Honolulu Zoo.

Since there are signs posted that the park is closed from midnight to 5 a.m., it is illegal to drive there during that time, since any entry is illegal.

Because the police specifically cited this law in the eviction and because they said it would apply anywhere in the park including the road and the beach, I asked several police officers about its applications to vehicles and whether they could make extra money for government by citing people for illegally driving after midnight

Most declined to give an answer, however, one sergeant said: “The police have  a lot of discretion.”

So much for rules and regulations. 

* The use of the word eviction is not a legal one. Lawyers have pointed out that eviction means a government action including the physical removal of property. Rather in the case the occupiers and police reached an understanding of at what specific time the eviction would occur, and then the police started counting down ... 5 minutes ... 2 minutes ... 40 seconds ... and the occupiers left with their possessions. So legally it wasn't an eviction, but it was the only APEC-related forced de-occupation of a site on O`ahu.

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