Monday, July 27, 2015

 

Civil Beat editors nail Brower



It’s harder still to discern what could be going through the mind of Brower, who as an elected state official could have used his position and status to show empathy and compassion to the young man rather than further contributing to his misery.—Civil Beat editorial, 7/27/2015



by Larry Geller

Civil Beat continues to give journalism in Hawaii a good name.

A well-written editorial posted this morning (see: Brower’s Sad Choice, Resurgent Research at UH, Havana’s Big Thaw, Civil Beat, 7/27/2015) skewers state representative Tom Brower both for milking the unfortunate reaction to his photography expedition to Kakaako and for his failure to demonstrate compassionate leadership and model aloha.

You can read it on-line at the link, please do that. I found it a refreshing change from the stenographic reports in the newspaper and most of the television coverage.

Without any discernable aloha spirit for the family who appealed to him for forgiveness, Brower called a press conference to announce he would be pressing charges. The Star-Advertiser editors loved the entire incident as it played out over time, picking up on crime reports around the encampment and of course, calling for its dispersal. Brower and the newspaper editors seem to have formed a synergistic bond. They feed his publicity appetite, he feeds their ideology.

Civil Beat wrote:

It’s harder still to discern what could be going through the mind of Brower, who as an elected state official could have used his position and status to show empathy and compassion to the young man rather than further contributing to his misery. He might have connected the boy and his family to support services or even offered to mentor him — possibilities that in addition to their basic decency might have modeled for the teen an unforgettable lesson in forgiveness.

I’d like to respond (not for Brower, for myself!). I can’t read his mind, but aside from choice of weapons, how is his approach much different from that of the City Council, for example?

Brower’s weapon of choice was the sledgehammer, theirs is the gavel, as they expand sit-lie ordinances that criminalize the homeless. Both accomplish little except to further contribute to the misery of those living on the streets (thank you, CB editors, for your direct words).

How much compassion has been shown by either the state legislature, the city councils, or Honolulu’s mayors over the years as they have cozied up to developers while the housing crisis has been allowed to fester unchecked?

Why are there people living on the sidewalks for Brower to photograph?

We need action to counter the growing poverty in Hawaii that results in homelessness. People living on sidewalks is a symptom of systemic neglect, not a problem that can be “eradicated” so business owners or condo developers aren’t inconvenienced.

Nor can we blame it entirely on our elected leaders if (1) we keep electing them, and (2) we fail to tell them what we expect them to do.

Neither the state nor the city will provide affordable housing, for example, as a gift. It will have to be demanded of them.



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