Saturday, November 15, 2014
Hey! My stuff is gone! (really!)
by Larry Geller
I attended the FACE Housing Summit today—it was a great session. The State Capitol auditorium was completely packed, so hundreds of people must have attended.
FACE is Faith Action for Community Equity. They have been one of the most effective advocacy organizations on housing, long-term care and a number of other issues.
During one of the breakout sessions in a meeting room upstairs I needed to visit the restroom, so I left my folder on my seat to hold my place. I’ve always done that, and nothing odd has ever happened. But today—when I came back, my stuff was gone!
I had my notes inside, including a handful of emails I had people write down for me. I had promised to contact them with information on becoming topic speakers at the Kokua Council Community forum on November 24. That important info and my other notes were in that folder.
People in the room said they saw a woman pick it up and go off with it.
What an awful feeling! I rushed outside the room hoping to ask people if they might have picked up my folder, but there were only a bunch of men in a group outside.
Now, imagine how it must have felt on Thursday when kids came back from school or adults from work to their spot in Kakaako only to find that the city had raided the street while they were away and dumped all their stuff into a garbage truck.
On Thursday city crews removed 4.3 tons of rubbish and 10 shopping carts, stored one bin of items that may be recovered later, and issued one sidewalk nuisance ordinance ticket in that area.
[Star Advertiser p. B1, Homeless blame 'Five-0' for street sweep, 11/15/2014]
If my little loss made me mad and upset, imagine how the 100+ people felt on Thursday! Imagine you’re a kid and lost all your school work. Or those who lost ID or medicines.
Note that only one bin of items were taken for storage. This means that the city violated its own ordinance and trashed everything else. What goes into the trash compactors at the back of those garbage trucks cannot be returned.
Where is the ACLU? Where is an attorney willing to defend these people? Seizure and destruction of possessions without a warrant or due process seems unconstitutional enough to me.
Kionina Kaneso, 59, who camped on Olomehani, said she lost her wok, stove, food, some clothes, a shopping cart and her granddaughter's plastic toy cart during the sweep Thursday.
"I can't cook because I don't have stove now," she said. "I'm angry. I don't have food because they take my rice away."
These are items that the city should have stored, but they destroyed them. It’s an open and shut case, isn’t it?
Shame on Mayor Caldwell and shame on those who did his dirty work on Thursday. I suppose they were “only following orders.”
The S-A story was bylined Leila Fujimori. If only she had asked the questions that go along with her observations. It’s in part because the media don’t do their job and report the whole story that these atrocities continue.