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On wrongfully seized property and the homeless

[This morning was Day 116 of the (De)Occupy Honolulu encampment. It was also Raid #9. HPD and City crews have escalated the property seizures by seizing tents that were not tagged and which we have documentation of being off public property last night. One was a brand new tent I dropped off last night. I managed to tell Office of Housing Coordinator, Trish Morikawa, we have videos of the stuff being dropped off recently from private storage and she asked me to email them to her.  So I did.]

Trisha Morikawa,

I am sending you this email because at this morning's raid of Occupy Honolulu you asked me to email to you the videos I made showing that the tents seized in this morning's raid were not subject to seizure under the law.

In order to comply with Bill 54 (now 11-029 ROH) the encampment has been taking tents off property, either carrying them with them at school/work, or by storing them at supporters' homes. Here is the documentation from last night of two carloads of stuff being dropped off:

First drop off:

Second drop off:

The original date/time stamped livestream recordings (which have irritating Ustream ads at the beginning) are here:

This voluntary compliance with Bill 54 (ordinance 11-029) allows the protest encampment to continue without running afoul of the ordinance which requires "abandoned property" to be left on public property for 24 hours or more.

I do not live at the encampment, but live nearby and I am a supporter of Occupy Honolulu and the Occupy Movement. I'm in for 7 tents (Target Embark tents) one of which was seized this morning even though it was brand new and dropped off last night around 9pm. It had never been tagged. Many of the other tents are packed up in the morning and taken with the occupants to work and school. The tags on the tents are to notice the property owners that the property is subject to seizure if left on public property for 24 hours. Tagged property that is taken off public property for storage on private property can be returned. An assumption that tagged property is automatically subject to seizure deprives the owner of due process. IMHO, of course. I do have a couple of questions for you that you should be able to answer.


I have asked this question before and I will ask it again. Since Bill 54 (ordinance 11-029) went into effect this year, (a) how many tents have been seized, (b) how many tents have been recovered, and (c) how many people subject to these seizures have been accepted into housing programs? The number of tents (a), less the tents recovered (b) and people accepted into housing (c) will equal the number of people rendered without even the most basic means of survival by the City of Honolulu's Office of Housing of which you are the Coordinator.

The only councilmember who voted against Bill 54, was Romy Cachola, at least partially on the grounds that it would cost the City funds it hadn't allocated to its enforcement. The City reassured Councilmember Cachola that it would not cost anything beyond the existing budget because regular City personnel would be used and that HPD would not be needed in its enforcement. This morning was raid #9 on Occupy and I counted four HPD officers (three armed uniformed officers, and one Aloha Policeman) along with more than a dozen City parks personnel. My question is, then, how much has Bill 54 enforcement cost the City? 

More arithmetic: If you take the answer from the above paragraph, the cost of Bill 54 enforcement, and divide that figure by the answer to the previous question, how many people were rendered houseless by the Office of Housing, you will get the per person cost of delivering houseless people to the community by the Office of Housing.

I'm an old local Japanese guy and something of a "realist." Over the years I've seen the authorities apply the law differently depending on race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and political affiliation, but never to the extent witnessed at Occupy Honolulu. 

H. Doug Matsuoka

[Maybe I ought to get over the fact that "the law" isn't something that's equally applied but something that's wielded -- like a truncheon -- by the authorities whenever and however they like. I think we are already used to treating elected officials like medieval lords, people with armed thugs to be feared and obeyed. Anyway, the City has gone further than this already. I wrote Mayor Carlisle when HPD and City crews seized private possessions from Occupy Honolulu while on private property. Also posted that as a blog post that features a video of them caught in the act. Doug]


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