Aloha Mayor Carlisle,
I'm writing to you at the suggestion of Kelsey Gaddy, your representative at last night's Makiki Neighborhood Board meeting which I attended along with several others from Occupy Honolulu. First, please extend my apologies to Ms. Gaddy for the longer than usual meeting. It was a packed agenda. Along with a pro-GMO presentation by registered Hawaii lobbyist for DuPont, Cindy Goldstein, a number of issues directly related to Occupy Honolulu came up for discussion.
One of the main concerns discussed was the "Bill 54" raid on Occupy Honolulu of 15 February 2012, in which Honolulu Police Department and City Parks personnel seized personal possessions on private property. These possessions and property were not subject to Bill 54 (ordinance 11-029) since they were not tagged, not on public property, and had never been stored on public property for 24 hours. In short, City personnel took personal possessions from people on private property.
I asked several City personnel what law empowered them to take private possessions from people on private property. I would have expected a straight answer from Director of Housing, attorney Trish Morikawa, who was your Deputy Prosecutor when you were Prosecuting Attorney of Honolulu. (It seems odd to me for a prosecutor to become Director of Housing but it does explain why the homeless are treated like criminals.)
Ms. Gaddy told us that she couldn't name the law off the top of her head, but that it wasn't a City ordinance but at state law, and therefore findable using an internet search of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS). However, the only reference to "found property" I found in the HRS was this note to the statutes:
"A police inventory of lost and found property is a search."
The property was inventoried, so constituted a search. I'm thinking the search of personal property without a warrant violates the 4th Amendment guaranties against unreasonable search and seizure but I'm not an attorney and in any case, HPD and City Parks personnel seem to repeatedly violate the US and Hawaii Constitution without much of a problem.
Although informed that the property would be available to be reclaimed the next day, as of today, two days later, it has still not been released. Since this weekend is a long one because of Presidents' Day, at best at least 6 days will elapse before possessions can be retrieved.
Another question: If this seizure of personal possessions on private property was not under Bill 54's ordinance 11-029, why are the notices posted by the possessions marked with that ordinance.
One final question: What subjects citizens to the seizure of personal possessions on private property?
So, to summarize, I have three questions: (1) Under what statute was the raid conducted? and (2) if the raid was conducted under an ordinance other than 11-029, why do the notices state that they were? (3) What subjects citizens to seizure of personal possessions on private property?
H. Doug Matsuoka
17 February 2012