H. Doug Matsuoka's notes in the margin of the Big Everything.

3.18.2014

HB2409, a bill criminalizing homelessness makes lying down at bus stop disorderly conduct

Up for hearing at the Big House (aka Hawaii State Capitol) on Wednesday morning at 10am in room 016 downstairs, is HB2409 Relating to Disorderly Conduct. It's yet another bill criminalizing homelessness, but this one really takes the cake. It makes lying down at a bus shelter Disorderly Conduct and subject to a $50 fine. Of course, if you have to lie down at a bus shelter you don't have $50. You just continue to get cited until you get pulled in for outstanding citations and then you are processed by the criminal justice system whch then has no choice but to put you in jail. Introducing this is about as low as you can get and credit where it's due, Representative Karl Rhoads gets the mention here.

My testimony, which I reproduce below, requests criminalizing the introduction of these kinds of bills.

Every legislative session one sees a number of really bizarro bills introduced. Aside from wasting a tremendous amount to time and (public) money to introduce and hear them, it also makes one ask, WTF? A friend has the theory that legislators have constituents who are basically loud and fearsome tita's who badger their legislators into drafting and introducing these absurdities. Is this the case with HB2409?

HB2409 proposes some simple changes to Hawaii Revised Statute on the definition of the crime of Disorderly Conduct. That's the crime of yelling and screaming, threatening and cussing, picking fights, and of course, asking to talk to the Mayor when he's at the park when he wants to ignore you. But that's a whole other story.

One who acts "with intent to cause physical inconvenience or alarm" or "recklessly creating a risk thereof…" and engages in the aforementioned behavior is guilty of disorderly conduct. To that, HB2409 proposes to the add one who "Lies down at a bus stop shelter or other bus stop structure." Perhaps the act of lying down itself exhibits "an intent to cause physical inconvenience or alarm"? Or maybe HB2409 is an ad hoc and ill conceived bill kludged together to appease some loud but unreasonably influential tita like my friend thinks is the case?

Hearing is tomorrow so you can submit "late" testimony or just show up (Wednesday, 3/19 10am room 016 at the Big House)

Anyway, here's my testimony on the next page:

2.25.2014

First Exposure: Hawaii Congressional candidates forum caught on video

When The Kokua Council announced they had managed to gather together six of the seven congressional candidates for District 1's hotly contested "Hanabusa" seat, I decided to livestream the entire forum. Congressional District 1 is basically Honolulu, and the other district is the other islands and cities and everyone else. That's how important Honolulu is.

Maybe that's why of those seven announced candidates there are three Honolulu City Councilmembers: Ikaika Anderson, Stanley Chang, and Joey Manahan. While the City & County of Honolulu encompasses the entire island of Oahu, Congressional District 1 only includes urban Honolulu and some outlying areas. Ikaika Anderson of Waimanalo actually represents and resides outside Congressional District 1. But I guess that's a minor quibble. Representative Gabbard who represents CD2 lives in CD1.

But back to the table: The Kokua Council managed to gather six of the seven for a short forum. Only State Senator Donna Mercado Kim was absent (on a trip).

Being there during the first unrehearsed presentation by the candidates was very interesting. Ideas and contradictions seem to form during the process as the response to questions moves from candidate to candidate. That is to say, there is a flow and development of political concept as it moves down the table. Or at least, that's what it seems like to me. What do you think?

So, live yesterday and now on Youtube, here it is (The video gets low-rez from time to time but that's the nature of cel data livestreaming):


From left to right at the long table: Joey Manahan, Mark Takai, Kathryn Xian, Will Espero, Stanley Chang, and Ikaika Anderson.

My Livestream channel is "H. Doug Matsuoka": http://new.livestream.com/accounts/3132312

My Youtube channel is "H. Doug Matsuoka": https://www.youtube.com/user/TheYTDoug

More later,

H. Doug Matsuoka
25 February 2014
Makiki, Honolulu

2.05.2014

Crash and Burn: GMO Bill SB110 "Sneak Attack"

I wrote about how SB110 went from a completely blank bill to one preempting counties from regulating GMOs and pesticide disclosure in my DougNote post. (This is the bill that was being called "Hawaii's Monsanto Protection Act.") The hearing on this bill was scheduled the very next day, 2/4/2014, at 2:46pm (less than 24 hours) and NO TESTIMONY would be allowed. That didn't stop Walter Ritte or Kauai Councilmember Gary Hooser from flying in. If Senate Ag Committee Chair Clarence Nishihara wanted to pull this sort of stunt on behalf of his GMO industry sponsors, he'd have to endure a stare down with them and with the standing-room-only crowd that packed the small committee room.

With six Agriculture Committee present, Nishihara hemmed and hawed through other business until he could not delay any longer. He also gave a long, detailed, and seemingly endless speech about the bill. He was waiting for Senator Glenn Wakai to join the group whose vote would pass the action needed to create the new text. Wakai didn't show up. I livestreamed the event, but here's an edit -- with Nishihara's rant preserved in toto:



This use of a "short form" bill which makes a lateral pass of contents from a failing bill (SB3058) to a completely blank bill, then scheduling hearing in less than 24 hours with NO TESTIMONY allowed, strikes many of us as completely underhanded and sleazy.

The GMO touchdown they hoped for didn't make it this attempt, but is there anything to prevent them from trying again? Nope.

Welcome to Crazytown, the Hawaii Legislature 2014

H. Doug Matsuoka
5 February 2014
Makiki, Honolulu

2.03.2014

OMG! Blank bill becomes "Hawaii Monsanto Protection Act" before my eyes!

So Iʻm sitting at my computer this afternoon frittering away my life on Facebook as usual when I get some kind of notification of a legislative "sneak attack" at the state capitol on the newly enacted Kauai and Hawaii County ordinances regulating pesticides and GMOs. Aside from two bills already dubbed Hawaiiʻs "Monsanto Protection Act," another has been stealthily introduced and scheduled for hearing tomorrow!

Itʻs SB110 says the alert. So I look, and nah, itʻs this weird bill with nothing in it introduced LAST year in January of 2013:

[SB110 at 3:10pm]
Haha. False alert. You know how crazy and emo these GMO people get. But the alert gets propagated all over the place and I figure, letʻs do everyone a favor and put the rumor to rest. No need wasting time, energy, transportation (bus or gas, and downtown parking!) for nothing, right? So I look at the bill status page again to get a reference URL link.

Holy Shmoly! At around 5pm, the same bill looks like this:

[SB110 a couple of hours later.]
The language is clearly aimed at the recent ordinances from Kauai (Bill 2491) and the Big Island of Hawaii (Bill 113) which regulate GMO and pesticides. The giant GMO chemical corporations have already filed suit on Kauai to protect their right to spray pesticides next to schools and residences. This bill (and SB3058) trades protecting the community for protecting chemical corporations.

No really:

"No law, ordinance, or resolution of any unit of local government shall be enacted that abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production, and ranching practices not prohibited by federal or state law, rules, or regulations."

I want to know: (1) Which legislator slipped this language in and scheduled it for hearing; and (2) who called the lobbyists who are sure to be there. If I can, Iʻll livestream this. Hearing is scheduled for 2:30pm and if it isnʻt livestreamed on Olelo, Iʻll make an attempt from my Livestream channel.

For the full text and to submit testimony against:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=110&year=2014

Stay tuned...

2 February 2014
H. Doug Matsuoka

H. Doug Matsuokaʻs Livestream channel

1.13.2014

Testimony in strong opposition to Bill 6

[Bill 6 criminalizing the homeless by subjecting those erecting a tent on a public sidewalk to 1 year in jail and $1,000 fine will be heard by the Public Safety and Economic Development Committee on Tuesday, January 14, at Honolulu Hale. This is the testimony I submitted.]


12 January 2014

To: Chair Fukunaga and the Honolulu City Council Committee on Public Safety and Economic Development:

It is regrettable that the public must learn that your deferral of Bill 59 (criminalizing homelessness) on moral and legal grounds was more display than substance. Bill 6 is worse in every way.

This bill along with Bill 7, which was already passed into law as ordinance 13-8, targets what Councilmember Stanley Chang famously calls an "epidemic of people who are obstructing our sidewalks." Please remind Councilmember Chang that he is actually talking about the homeless members of our community who have been driven out of housing by high cost and low wages. Laws and HPD have also driven them out parks, beaches, woods and other traditional commons housing areas to the dangerous curbside areas of our urban centers.

At the Bill 59 hearing, Councilmember Ikaika Anderson said he was, "not comfortable with Bill 59," and wanted to take a good look at what other municipalities were doing. Why then, is Bill 6, which was first heard almost a year ago, being brought before the public for hearing obviously without looking at other municipalities are doing?

At the same hearing Councilmember Pine noted that the people in her district do indeed "interpret Hawaiian Law very seriously." Does she imagine that the people in her district will not see Bill 6 as a gross violation of the Kanawai Mamalahoe (Law of the Splintered Paddle) merely because it lacks the words "lying down on the sidewalk"? The people in her district regard ordinances 11-029 (2011's Bill 54) and 13-8 (Bill 7) as violations of the Law of the Splintered paddle as indeed they are. And they will regard Bill 6 as a violation of the Law of the Splintered Paddle as well, because it is without a doubt in direct violation of the Law of the Splintered Paddle as incorporated into the Hawaii Constitution at Article IX Section 10.

These questions apply to Bill 6 as they did to Bill 59:
  • How can Bill 6 not be seen as targeting the homeless?
  • How can Bill 6 not violate the US Constitution (Amendments 1, 4, and 14)?
  • How can Bill 6 not violate the Hawaii Constitution (Article IX Section 10)?
  • How will minors arrested under Bill 6 be cared for?
  • Does the City have resources to care for the children of the arrestees who live elsewhere?
  • What help is available for juveniles who have fled abusive situations and arrested under Bill 6?
  • How will the City pay for legal challenges to Bill 6 such as those now challenging Bill 54 and Bill 7?
  • And of course, since it is being heard by the Committee for Public Safety, how does this ensure the safety of the homeless?
Clearly targeting the poor, expensive to implement, disastrous to the least fortunate members of our community, and completely reliant on selective enforcement, Bill 6 violates the Constitutional protections of the 1st, 4th, and 14 Amendments. Its blatant immorality is indefensible and the Committee's attempt to slip this into law is an offense against the public good.

I urge our public servants on the Council to attack the causes of homelessness -- sky high housing costs and rock bottom wages -- and help extend the protection of the law to all members of our community. Your oaths and your duty call you to kill Bill 6.

Mahalo for your public service,

H. Doug Matsuoka

1.11.2014

Bill 6: Corporate Sponsored Government vs The Poor and Homeless


Alert! New attempt to criminalize the poor and homeless: Honolulu City Council, after deferring Stanley Chang's Bill 59 criminalizing homeless, is pushing Ikaika Anderson's Bill 6 (scheduled for hearing Tues 1/14 at 9am). What's the deal with Bill 6? For merely erecting any "collapsible structure capable of providing human shelter" on the sidewalk or mall you get a year in jail and $1,000.

Who are trying to find human shelter in a collapsible structure on the sidewalk? We should get them off the sidewalk by increasing the minimum wage and reducing the cost of housing, not by providing the prison industrial complex with an influx of cheap/free labor. And at your expense, by the way.

And what of families and children in those collapsible shelters? Do we have the resources available to care for the kids?

Many of those dwelling in collapsible shelters are working -- bread winners for kids under a non-collapsible roof. What happens to those kids?

And what happens to the juveniles who have run away from abusive households to seek shelter in these collapsible shelters? Are they also subject to arrest?

None of these questions find accommodation in the bill or any other ordinance proposed by the City. Bill 6 is sure to cause havoc before being challenged in court where Bill 54 (from 2011) and Bill 7 are.


Why don't politicians attack the root of homelessness and poverty instead of its victims? Why do they act like servants of the rich and corporations? Why are there always accommodations for giants like the multinational GMO corporations and developers, but the poor are criminalized and jailed?

Bill 6 comes up for second reading (three readings will pass it) on Tuesday, January 14, at 9am at Honolulu Hale. Oppose Bill 6 and the criminalization of homelessness. End the corporate ownership of our government!

Here's a link to Bill 6 itself.
http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-134353/7lsk1-0h.pdf

The Agenda (It's a Committee Meeting so it'll be short):
http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-146580/011414%20PSED%20Agenda.htm

Submit testimony by email:
http://www1.honolulu.gov/council/emailpsed.htm

Join Facebook Event opposing Bill 6:
https://www.facebook.com/events/489096974540947/

H. Doug Matsuoka
10 January 2014
Makiki, Honolulu

11.24.2013

Wrap up: Bill 59 criminalizing homelessness, down for the count or just back to corners?

Bill 59 deferred:

Bill 59 would have made it illegal to lie down on the sidewalk. Introducer Councilmember Stanley Chang insisted it did not target the homeless. Councilmember Breene Harimoto asked who else lies down on the sidewalk?

After I made repeated loud and smug predictions that in spite of all morality and good sense the Honolulu City Council would pass Bill 59, the Council deferred the measure. It might come back, but probably not soon.

A lot of people of all stripes came out to oppose the measure. Here's a 5 minute wrap up of the testimony including an edit of Councilmember Breene Harimoto's very much appreciated statement about the bill. It's the very first time I've heard a councilmember oppose a bill on the grounds of morality.

Did the public outcry and testimony do the trick? Is this people power? Three committee councilmembers couldn't support the bill, but only one, Breene Harimoto, was actually opposed to the measure. Kymberly Pine's objection was based on the fact that the Bill used the term "lying down on the sidewalk," which directly violated Kamehameha's Law of the Splintered Paddle, and the Kanaka Maoli in her district take the law seriously. If the bill's wording were changed, she would be okay with it.

Ikaika Anderson couldn't support the bill because he thought it might be vulnerable to law suits. Like Pine he didn't have a big problem with its intent to criminalize the homeless.

I am amazed and surprised at the diversity of people who opposed Bill 59, so I am willing to call its defeat a victory for the people:



I also cut highlight testimony into individual chunks and put each hearing day's into separate YouTube playlists:

Bill 59 hearing of 10/29/13 playlist

Bill 59 hearing of  11/19/13 playlist

If you have to watch just one video, watch Councilmember Breene Harimoto's here.

For some background, here's a link to my original description and testimony against Bill 59.


Help keep the lights on at Hawaii Guerrilla Video:

The "guerrilla" video group I'm in with Laulani Teale and Kamuela Vance had some funding 18 months ago, but it's pretty much out of money at the moment. We have a small kine fund raiser at Indiegogo going for stuff like bandwidth (for mobile streaming), parking for hearings and stuff like that. Our labor is always free. Just a few more days to go...

Learn more about Hawaii Guerrilla Video and how to help here.

When Indian journalist P. Sainath came to Hawaii, I livestreamed his presentation. There's about a one minute section that's practically an advertisement for an alternative media fundraiser:



H. Doug Matsuoka
(@hdoug on Twitter)
24 November 2013
Makiki, Honolulu



11.17.2013

New draft of Bill 59 criminalizing homeless worse than before, sure to pass on 11/19/13

Stanley Chang's wildly unconstitutional and ill-advised Bill 59 (making it illegal to lie down on a sidewalk) was redrafted and heard on October 29, 2013, before Honolulu City Council's Committee on Public Safety and Economic Development (PSED). Actually there was another draft with the same number by Councilmember Carol Fukunaga.

Testimony was heard (including my own) but the bill was deferred for a "harmonized" redraft incorporating the "best" of both current drafts. I've already stated my vehement opposition to this bill which directly challenges King Kamehameha's Law of the Splintered Paddle. That law is incorporated into the Hawaii State Constitution as "a unique and living symbol of the State's concern for public safety."

I had some hopes when it was deferred that the Council would save itself from embarrassment and litigation costs for the city by just forgetting about it and letting it die. That's what deferral often means and that's what Bill 59 deserves.

Instead, it was made worse and will be heard on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, at Honolulu Hale.

When the Council holds hearings, we citizens hope our appearance and testimony mean something. I know, I'm dreaming. Hearings are more and more for show and to comply with law. There is nothing compelling politicians to do anything other than make some time available for testimony.

But since the Council went through the trouble of redrafting Bill 59, one would think they might take into consideration some of what testifiers said. Here are videos of some testimony, and the result it had. I follow each video with a written cheat sheet so you don't have to actually watch the video if you don't want to.

My testimony:

Oppose Bill 59 in all forms. There are some things that I know, that you (the Council) knows but the public may not know: 
1. The State Attorney General's office has informed the Council that some say the bill directly violates Article IX, Section 10 of the State Constitution.
2. HPD has submitted testimony that the bill, "may lead people to conclude that the City is focusing on the homeless," and if that's the case, "the City will have to deal with many suits alleging constitutionality claims…"
3. The public thinks that the Department of Facility Maintenance is supposed to fix potholes, pave roads, and fix sidewalks, but the Council okays budgetary allocations to DFM knowing that they lead the midnight raids on the homeless. 
4. Bill 59 will likely be mired in legal challenges to its constitutionality as are its predecessors, Bill 54 (ordinance 11-029) and Bill 7 (ordinance 13-8).
But in spite of that, I predicted that the Bill would pass without a problem because the Council, based on its history, is more concerned with the profits of its corporate sponsors than the poor and homeless
The current draft keeps the offending language even though Councilmember Pine conceded we had a point:

Councilmember Kymberly Pine:

10.23.2013

Please sign a petition to get the City of Honolulu to stop midnight raids on the houseless and deOccupy Honolulu rights defenders

[I'm circulating a petition to get the City & County of Honolulu to stop its midnight raids on deOccupy Honolulu and the homeless. I'm posting the letter here (with links to some info and background) to make it easier to circulate. I'm hoping those so moved can forward to friends for signature. One of my friends admonished me that the petition "is about 120 years late" referring to the armed overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation on January 17, 1893. Point well taken. But maybe better late than never..? Mahalo, Doug.]

One of my favorite photos showing a homeless tent across from the former residence of Anna Rice Cooke, of the Big Five family of Castle & Cooke, sugar/land barons who profited from the theft of Hawaiian land and the armed overthrow of Hawaii. A full Flickr photo set here.

Information update: 10/23/2013

Aloha supporters,

And mahalo for your support in demanding the City of Honolulu to stop the midnight raids on the houseless and deOccupy Honolulu. Here are some links with background information and a link to the petition you can forward.

I just want to send some links with information and some background, as well as ask you to send the petition out to any friends or organization who might understand what it's like to be houseless, a member of a vulnerable minority, or might be an advocate of civil rights.

Blade Walsh and Cathy Russell are currently in trial for their participation in a protest against Bill 54, an ordinance used to seize property from the homeless. I wrote about the original protest and arrest here at my blog, The DougNote:

Madori Rumpungworn is currently serving a 30 day sentence at OCCC for her protest against City authorities who had repeatedly raided the homeless and seized their property including clothing and food:

There is no end to the City's escalation. Bill 59 proposes to make it illegal to "lie down on the sidewalk." This is the direct criminalization of homelessness. I mounted my testimony opposing Bill 59 at my blog.

Here is a link to the petition. Please forward it to any friends and organizations that might understand what it's like to be houseless or a member of a vulnerable minority, or who is an advocate of civil rights.

Thank you for your support

H. Doug Matsuoka
For the supporters of Honolulu's houseless and deOccupy Honolulu human rights defenders

9.10.2013

NO on City Council Bill 59 criminalizing homelessness

On Wednesday, 9/11, the Honolulu City Council will hear the first reading of councilmember Stanley Chang's Bill 59, another in a series of bills promulgated by the Council against the humblest in our community.

My testimony follows. The illustration is from the referenced educational pamphlet published by the HSBA Auxiliary. Links to the pamphlet, as well as to Bill 59 and the agenda are at the end of this post.



10 September 2013
  
"Even in a democracy like Hawaiʻi has today, citizens must always be alert to the abuses of power. Voting does not guarantee good leaders."
                                    -- The Law of the Splintered Paddle, an educational pamphlet                                                 published by the HSBA Auxiliary (attached)


Re: Testimony opposing Bill 59 Relating to Public Sidewalks

Aloha Chair Martin, Councilmember Stanley P. Chang, and the Council,

Although bills introduced in the past couple of years have outdone each other in criminalizing homelessness and outlawing free speech, Bill 59 is the first such bill to directly violate Kamehameha's Kānāwai Māmalahoe (Law of the Splintered Paddle). That law, important enough to be incorporated into Hawaiiʻs Constitution guarantees the right of our humblest citizens to, "A moe i ke ala, ʻaʻohe mea nana e hoʻipilikia," lie down by the road without fear of harm.

Bill 59 criminalizes the homeless by prohibiting them to "lie down on a public sidewalk." Your laws have driven the homeless from the parks to the roadside where you now subject them to criminal penalties.

At last week's Homeless Assistance Workgroup meeting organized by Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, I learned that in addition to the homeless encamped on our sidewalks, there are 100,000 "hidden homeless," those who find ad hoc accommodation but have no place of their own. I also learned that Hawaii is 50,000 new housing units short of adequate housing for its people.

Surely you must realize that Honolulu is the most expensive city for housing. The median price for a used single family home is $665,000. That's nine times the median household income. Financial experts advise families to spend no more than three times annual household income for housing.

The solution to homelessness is obviously making housing more affordable. Yet you seem to advance monied interests and criminalize the homeless. I've heard the homeless dismissed as being mentally ill, but if that's the case, lack of housing affordability causes mental illness because homelessness increases as housing becomes less affordable. You seek to criminalize the poor when the fix to homelessness is affordable housing.

In efforts to reduce homelessness, the public, our politicians, and our social service providers are often at cross-purposes.

For politicians each tent on the sidewalk is a huge political protest sign that says, "Our politicians fail us! They are servants of the rich!" So the politician's main interest isn't in providing the "safe zones" and "housing first" of campaign promises. The politician's main goal is to get tents out of public sight.

9.05.2013

The City Missing In Action at 9/3/13 Homeless Working Group mtg

Livestream video is a great stick to poke at politicians – I mean – livestream video is great at providing public oversight of government operations. And I have to admit Iʻve caught many politicians in embarassing moments. [Hereʻs a classic video of Rep Tokioka blocking a GMO labeling vote]

So it was somewhat understandable when Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland expressed some reservations about my livestreaming Tuesday nightʻs Homeless Working Group meeting. But a big mahalo to her for allowing me to continue. I sat down and was as unobtrusive as possible. 

My 22 minute "filet" of the 1 hour meeting:


I was impressed with the community involvement and creativity. I was also shocked that the count of homeless does not take into account 100,000 "hidden" homeless who find ad hoc accommodation with friends or family but have no home or real place to stay. I also found that Hawaii is officially 50,000 housing units short at moment.

Getting back to the virtues of livestreaming, you know whatʻs really nasty? When you can show the public who was not there. At around 18:30 of the clip, you can see Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland look around for a representative from the City to respond to deOccupy Honoluluʻs Chris "Nova" Smithʻs questions about the midnight Bill 7 raids the City has been conducting. Where was Jun Yang from the Cityʻs Office of Housing? Mayor Caldwellʻs "Housing First" campaign promise seems to have morphed into the doublespeak "Compassionate Disruption" of midnight raids that take tents, bedding, and food.


8.14.2013

City tears down protest signs, gets sued

Back in June I wrote about Honolulu City crews tearing down two large protest signs from private property in Hauula. Hereʻs the follow up: Owner of the signs and property, Choon James, just filed suit against the City of Honolulu in Federal court charging violation of the Constitutional rights guaranteeing free speech and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Among other things.

(Click pic to enlarge, click here for complete flickr set, or click here for pdf download)
The ordinance the City used was the notorious Bill 54, or as it is now known, ordinance 11-029. Many saw the bill, introduced by Tulsi Gabbard in 2011 while she was still on the City Council, as a way of pre-empting the Occupy Wall Street type protests that were sweeping the world at the time. Indeed, the ordinance has been used against the local deOccupy Honolulu group in Thomas Square in more than 70 raids in unsuccessful attempts to dislodge the protesters from their encampment which began 648 days ago on Guy Fawkes Day (November 5,) 2011.

The ordinance has also been routinely used against the homeless (taking their tents, bedding, clothing and food) and until now only deOccupy Honolulu has mounted a legal challenge to the ordinance.

This case (brought by Richard L. Holcomb, the same attorney suing on behalf of deOccupy Honolulu) is particularly interesting because Plaintiff Choon James is neither a sidewalk encamped political radical nor down-and-out homeless. Quite the opposite, she is in fact a Realtor broker with her own firm, cjrealestatehawaii.com. The signs, behind a fence on a nicely mowed lawn, didnʻt demand the Mayorʻs head on a stick, but rather protested what she sees as heavy handed and unjustified use of eminent domain. The City took the signs and hasnʻt returned them.

The property is apparently subject to a pending eminent domain condemnation action by the City which wants to  move the local firestation there. But according to the Cityʻs own records, James is still the owner, still pays the property tax, and as the Complaint points out still has the property mowed and maintained.

The Complaint charges violation of Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure; violation of due process; violation of First Amendment free speech charging the City "interfered with and chilled speech and activities protected by the First Amendment." I liked the term "chilled speech" because itʻs picturesque and also conveys the essence of some of the problem here.

[One of the signs, in its former glory]
I mean, eminent domain isnʻt one of those issues you see signs about every day. But if we see the City able to load up a bunch of big bodies in a bunch of trucks and tear down signs it doesnʻt like, that certainly does have a "chilling" effect on anyone with a political complaint to air. People will turn a blind eye when a politically radical group gets their signs taken, but will the Federal Court allow the City to tear down signs it doesnʻt like on private property?

Stay tuned...

H. Doug Matsuoka
14 August 2013
Makiki, Honolulu

Update of 8/16/13: Choon James has a well watched show on Cable TV called "Country Talk Story." A recent episode was devoted to the seizure of these signs and the plans and schemes surrounding the proposed firehouse in Hauʻula.

Country Talk Story Episode 17: Eminent Domain Abuse



7.30.2013

Justice for Kollin Elderts! Demonstration at First Circuit Court

Livestreamed and took some photos at the Justice for Kollin Elderts demonstration in front of the First Circuit Court in Honolulu. Elderts was shot and killed by Federal Special Agent Christopher Deedy whose trial has been ongoing for the past couple of weeks and is expected to continue for a couple more.

The demonstration was called by the Honolulu chapter of World Canʻt Wait and Ohana Koa to demand justice and to remind the Elderts ohana that people will remember and continue to demand justice.



Link to the Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hdoug/sets/72157634869385876/

My livestream video is being processed and Iʻll mount it here as soon as possible.

H. Doug Matsuoka
30 July 2013
Honolulu


7.26.2013

Day 628 brings raid #74, the first Bill 7 raid on deOccupy Honolulu

Newly passed Bill 7 allows the police to take tents, clothes, food, and anything at all from anyone on the sidewalk. It has been used to raid other homeless encampments, but not deOccupy Honolulu. Until tonight.


Complete flickr set here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hdoug/sets/72157634795993011/

Jun Yang, the Executive Director of the Mayorʻs Office of Housing was at the raid. I got a chance to try to school him but wasnʻt very successful at it:

What does this mean? Is this the end of deOccupy? Who will speak for the homeless?

Stay tuned...

H. Doug Matsuoka
26 July 2013
Makiki, Honolulu

7.03.2013

City won't return homeless Joe's property

The City of Honolulu won't return homeless Joe's property even though it was seized illegally in the first place. This is a follow up to yesterday's unedited video by AlohaRevolution which described how the City illegally seized his and Makalani's property.

"Joe and Makalani's property was illegally confiscated this week during a City raid. According to the City's rules and PR campaign, it should be easy to get them back. It's not."


The City of Honolulu and deOccupy Honolulu are bound by a Stipulated Order approved in Federal District Court that among other things prohibits tents to be entered without a warrant, and that "A person claiming ownership of a tent that has been tagged for impoundment will be provided an opportunity, before the tent is impounded, to remove all untagged contents of the tent."

Also, at paragraph 1(h) "At the time a person produces an impoundment notification with the specified bin number and attests to ownership of the property, all property related to that impoundment notification will be returned immediate. Production of receipts or identification will not be required for the return of the property."

So much for words on paper, courts and laws and all that trivial stuff.

H. Doug Matsuoka
13 July 2013
Makiki, Honolulu

Click here for the DougNote post of Joe describing how items were seized.

Click here for the unedited recorded livestream of the 6/27/2013 seizure raid itself.


7.02.2013

What's it like being homeless?

With Honolulu's Bill 7 (now Ordinance 13-08) allowing immediate seizure and destruction of homeless people's personal property, life on the street is even tougher. The City hopes for an out of sight, out of mind effect on the community. It's worked before. Will it work this time? Hope not.

This interview with a homeless (or "displaced" as some say) couple by Youtuber AlohaRevolution is worth a watch.

"Two residents of Thomas Square tell the story of how they were abused by the City and HPD. Filmed on the eve of the expected Bill 7 raids on the houseless (which were deemed unconstitutional bu the US Supreme Court, but are scheduled anyway)."


Here's a primer on Swastika-ready Bill 7 by Ground Level Media.

More as the Bill 7 story unfolds...

H. Doug Matsuoka
2 July 2013
Makiki, Honolulu

7.01.2013

Rich Rath Reports: Bill 7 and the Refugee Population of Hawai‘i


Special report to the DougNote by Rich Rath



City and County of Honolulu's latest attack on Hawaiʻi's houseless population went into effect today.  At about 9 AM this morning, (July 1) the city came and confiscated/stole the property of about 15 of our most vulnerable citizens, our refugee population from the violence of poverty afflicted on them through low wages, high housing costs, failure of mental health services, and more.   I interviewed two who were there and four more who had heard about it.  About five people remained in the park near the convention center, while others fled to another location.

They are continually harassed by police as well as by thieves and other abusive people.  One had his pockets cut out of his pants while he was wearing them, taking all his cash as he napped.  Many scrape by through recycling bottles and cans, which keeps the city neater and greener.

Under the new law, the city declares a site a public nuisance and clears it with no notice. Supposedly the goods taken are stored and can be reclaimed by going to the city and paying $200, which of course most homeless people do not have to spare.  Besides the reclamation fee, the houseless must be able to prove ownership of their property.  An exception is that any shopping carts will be returned promptly to business owners.  The new law means you only have a right to own things if you have a place to stay.  It also goes against the state constitution’s law of the splintered paddle, which allows all people in Hawaii to lie by the side of the road without harm.

6.15.2013

The Westlake Project



The more years pass the more of a wonder it is that some of your friends never grow old. Unfortunately, they're the ones that died young.

Wayne Kaumualii Westlake was 36 years old in 1984 when a drunk woman crossed the centerline and cranked into his car. That was the end of this crazy, funny, Taoist, blond haired angry Hawaiian poet…the end of parties featuring pyramids of sake bottles and new translations of ancient Chinese poets or poems from being a janitor or just down on the sidewalk in Waikiki. My dad called him a "wandering poet like Basho or Issa," and the Universe I live in accommodates that quite comfortably. Wayne himself insisted that Li Po was of Central Asian descent and had blond hair and blue eyes. What a coincidence! (Which is not to say Li Po was Hawaiian or that Westlake had blue eyes.)

Wayne's companion (and literary executor) Mei-Li M. Siy stashed all his poems and manuscripts and bits of paper he wrote on, but as kind as time is to memory it is cruel to paper. When Wayne's friend Richard Hamasaki decided to gather together and publish Wayne's poems for posterity he had to rescue the manuscripts from the very brink of oblivion:


6.11.2013

City's Bill 54 raid illegally seizes signs on private property

[These signs on private property were seized by City & County crews, were damaged, and have not been returned. Photo by Choon James.]
This is really crazy. I've been writing about how the City has been using Bill 54 (ordinance 11-029) to seize hundreds of signs from deOccupy Honolulu and I know sometimes the reaction is "yeah sure sure whatever" because deOccupy Honolulu is often painted as a fringe group.

But this video made by Choon James shows how City crews swooped into Hauula and tore down protest signs James has had on her own private property. And they used Bill 54 to do it. Which is completely illegal because Bill 54 is about storing property on public property. Well, that doesn't seem to matter to the civil authorities at Thomas Square for deOccupy Honolulu, and it doesn't matter in Hauula either, I guess.

Does she actually own the property the signs were on?

5.13.2013

deOccupy Honolulu as Salon des Refusés

I've written tons of stuff about deOccupy Honolulu in my last year and a half of documenting them and supporting their cause. In preparation for tonight's Open Community Forum on Thomas Square hosted by Mayor Caldwell and Academy of Arts director Stephan Jost, I thought that instead of repeating or summarizing myself, I'd use pix and vidz and take a new approach.

For the longest time (around 500 days) the encampment was directly across the Academy of Arts. Whenever the Academy would host an evening "Art After Dark," deOccupy Honolulu would host an "Off Art After Dark," with it's own art and entertainment. Much of the deOccupy Honolulu artwork found exhibition at "Off Art." Of course, Off Art wasn't as well funded as the Academy's event, but that was kinda the point. Bourgeois on one side of Beretania and Bohemian on the other. Honolulu's own Salon des Refusés.

Sometimes, I think the term "Free Speech" is something of a misnomer. The sign of any vigorous political movement is usually the creation of art. And there was a lot of that from the very beginning.

[Anonymous artist okay with ephemeral chalk art. Week 2 of encampment.]


Not all artist were anonymous (or Anonymous). Renowned California muralist Raul Gonzalez of Mictlan Murals came to Thomas Square to paint a mural of Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the Law of the Splintered Paddle that Kamehameha I declared as the first law of Hawaii. Enshrined in the State Constitution it protects the humble lying by the roadside from abuse by the powerful.



Ironically, the mural – slated to be the centerpiece for the scheduled May 1 celebration was targeted for seizure by the City the very next day. The creation and recovery of the mural is a story in itself and if anyone is interested there is a 30 minute documentary about this (compiled mostly from my livestream video) here.