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

6.28.2012

4th Raid in 4 Days: Illegal seizure of property at DeOccupy Honolulu


Day 236, DeOccupy Honolulu encampment. For the fourth time in four days, Honolulu Police Department (HPD) personnel and Department of Facilities Maintenance (DFM) crews raided the DeOccupy Honolulu encampment.

The encampment removed most of tents to private property during yesterdayʻs raid to exempt the property from seizure under Bill 54 (now ordinance 11-029). (Flickr photo narrative here.) Two brand new (and therefore untagged) tents were seized, and for the first time, the untagged contents of tents were seized.

The city seems to be intent on a courtroom showdown to resolve the legality of Bill 54 and its implementation.

DeOccupy Honolulu plans to have an encampment back on the corner this afternoon. They have completely rebuilt the encampment a number of times since the first teardown on 12/29/2011 when the Thomas Square Park boundaries were redrawn so HPD could tear it down.

Nova Smithʻs recorded livestream of the event:

(De)Occupy Honolulu is in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the worldwide Occupy Movement which asserts that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We urge people to exercise the right to peaceably assemble, occupy public space, create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

H. Doug Matsuoka
28 June 2012
Makiki, Honolulu

6.26.2012

How your news gets "disappeared": Raid 23 on DeOccupy Honolulu


DeOccupy Honolulu day 234: Since Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officers and Department of Facilities Maintenance (DFM) crews "tagged" property yesterday, todayʻs "Bill 54" seizure raid was expected. These coupled tagging & seizure raids have become somewhat routine to DeOccupy Honolulu who have endured more than 20 Bill 54 raids since the first ones on February 1 & 2.

But todayʻs raid offered a glimpse into how news is effectively disappeared in the first place. I expect to see a one sided story about todayʻs raid on tonightʻs news (KHON I think, but I donʻt watch TV so I canʻt ID the reporter). I suspect one sidedness because I was at the raid, livestreamed and photographed it, saw how the "news" crew covered only a very carefully selected one half of the story.

But I jump ahead of myself. I mounted a Flickr set (here) to tell the story, but here are some of the highlights:

Per HPD and DFM current practice, they cordoned off the entire area in crime tape after forcing everyone out of the area.


6.13.2012

Eric Seitz: Pro bono is a crock

At yesterday's "Justice in Jeopardy, Expanding Access to Justice in Challenging Economic Times" at the UH Richardson Law School, Dean of Harvard Law School Martha L. Minow pointed out that one in five Americans now qualify for civil legal assistance because they are within 125% of the Poverty Level -- a record high in the history in the county. As the demand for legal services grows, the available resources continue to diminish, leaving most without the "equal protection" of the law.

Senators David Y. Ige and Clayon Hee giving the legislative report

I checked out the breakout session on pro bono because I used to work for Hawaii's pro bono referral service, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii (VLSH).

These days, most pro bono services are not attorneys representing clients, but short informational sessions at legal clinics. Moderator Robert LeClair asked attorney Eric Seitz what he thought of this turn in pro bono services.  This is what Eric said:

"Well, let me start out by saying that I've always thought pro bono was a crock. I think it's basically been a concept where rich people have salved their consciences by doing a little bit of work and thinking that they're really making a dent in the problem of providing needed legal services for people who can't otherwise get them. I'd much rather see the big firms -- if they're going to do that -- give money to legal services programs, give money to the people who do that work well, and who need more bodies, more lawyers, more people who do it on a full time basis. "

Seitz went on to explain that two thirds of the work his firm does is pro bono supported by paying cases.  But he admitted, "That's kind of a unique model.  If you want to do that kind of work you can find a way to do that. But it's not going to make a dent in society and the needs that we've been talking about here to just donate a few hours a week or a few hours a month or 50 hours a year. It's got to be done on a much larger more comprehensive scale and basically what's got to be done is organize and marshal the resources in the most effective places, and those are the organizations that are already doing this well and just don't have the people, the lawyers to be able to expand their capacities. "

Yup. But when Seitz asked Minow (who is also Vice President of Legal Services Corporation) about the prospects of LSC restoring the kind of funding and leadership it had in the '70's that was so effective, the answer was a "not any day soon" kind of reality check.

So the weather report is continued civil inequality and unrest. Until those who can do something about it do something about it. Else it's going to be a runaway truck ride down Pali Highway in a rainstorm.

H. Doug Matsuoka
12 June 2012
Makiki, Honolulu

6.12.2012

Interim report: Everybody knows

Today's "Justice in Jeopardy: Expanding Access to Justice in Challenging Economic Times" at the Richardson Law School was most interesting. Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow revealed that 63 million Americans -- that's 1 out of 5 -- now qualify for legal assistance because they fall within 125% of the poverty level, the highest in the history of this country. OK. Except the means to deliver that assistance is also at an all time low. Result? Those who need legal assistance don't get it. It's kinda something that everybody knows.

I'm waiting for a certain attorney to OK a quote for accuracy before making a blog post here, and I'm also making notes to write a post about what it will really take to make "Bill 54" work. But maybe everything falls into the "everybody knows" category and I don't even need to write it.

In the meantime, "the poor stay poor, and the rich get rich, that's how it goes -- everybody knows."



So for the time being, bella ciao!

H. Doug Matsuoka
12 June 2012
Makiki, Honolulu

6.11.2012

Activist Nani Rogers at (De)Occupy Honolulu 06/10/2012


June 10, 2012, Day 218: A week after last Sundayʻs visit from Senator Will Espero, longtime Kauaʻi activist Nani Rogers dropped by (De)Occupy Honolulu to share song, history, and advice. She was on hand to welcome the return of Michael Daleyʻs painting/banner, "Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono," which was one of three paintings targeted by the City for seizure on 4/30/2012.

But unlike the political Q&A session with Senator Espero, this gathering took the form of the usual Food Not Bombs jam session. Or I guess I should use the term kanikapila in this case.

6.08.2012

Mayor Carlisle: City violating law and civil rights

Mayor Carlisle,

Yesterday, a DVD with two video compilations showing HPD and City personnel breaking the law was delivered to Corp Counsel and the State Attorney General. The compilations were gathered from footage taken at (De)Occupy Honoluluʻs Ward/Beretania encampment and show repeated and routine seizure and destruction of untagged property, violation of the Law of the Splintered Paddle, and violations of the First and Fourth Amendments of the US Constitution.

The public can view the videos either at Youtube or the posts made at my blog the DougNote or at DisappearedNews.com. I am sending this email to you to ensure that you are aware of the serious matters presented by the videos. Since you have not responded to my query of 2/17/2012 regarding the seizure of personal property from private property, or my query of 3/29/2012 requesting a breakdown of Bill 54 costs, I do not expect you to respond to this. I copy this message to the members of the Honolulu City Council who passed Bill 54 (with one dissenting vote from Romy Cachola), the Makiki Neighborhood Board (whose Chris Smith is a resident of the encampment), members of the press, and the public via a blogpost.

6.07.2012

(De)Occupy Honolulu to City and State: Who do you call when the police are stealing your stuff?

[Cross posted from Disappeared News]

It's small compared to some of the historic encampments but at 215 days the handful of (De)Occupy Honolulu tents comprises the longest running Occupy encampment in the Occupy Movement worldwide. Some call it an eyesore, some say it's just plain dangerous to the occupants. Tents are perched precariously near traffic on the sidewalk. But there is a reason for positioning the tents in a line abutting the roadside: The Kanawai Mamalahoe, the Law of the Splintered Paddle. This, the first law declared by Hawaiʻi's first king (Kamehameha) and incorporated into Hawaiʻi's constitution decrees the protection and safety of all those who lie by the road.

During the 20 plus "Bill 54" raids by City crews with trucks, cranes, and other heavy equipment, armed Honolulu Police Department officers -- who have the Splintered Paddle emblem on their badges -- have done nothing to enforce this protective law. In fact, they have helped violate this law as well as the other troublesome Contitutional protections on free speech, peaceable assembly, and security against unreasonable search and seizure.

Unlike other encampments, (De)Occupy Honolulu isn't a homeless camp, and the occupiers have equiped themselves with cameras and live streaming video. This compilation of live stream video that catches the police and City personnel blatantly violating the law was hand delivered today on DVD to Honolulu City & County's Corporation Counsel, and the State of Hawaiʻi's Attorney General.



It might be helpful to know that Bill 54 (now ordinance 11-029) requires that offending items be tagged with a notice stating that the item is subject to being impounded by the City in 24 hours. The notices state that the property will be stored for 30 days allowing the property to be reclaimed.

The dual POV coverage of the 4/30/2012 raid is particularly interesting in that a newly erected tent containing newly created artwork was specifically targeted. The art was to be part of the group's permitted May Day celebration inside the park. The person directing the raid was Westley Chun, Director of the Department of Facilities Maintenance. During phone calls and emails demanding the return of the artwork, Chun claimed ignorance of the location of the works of art. Two were later reclaimed by activist Laulani Teale, but one large piece, artist Michael Daley's "Pacific Sustainability," remains missing. Art supplies were summarily trashed on site.

6.06.2012

Will Espero at the (De)Occupy Honolulu Public Forum


[This was originally posted yesterday at Larry Gellerʻs DisappearedNews.com, which covers news that has either escaped local media or been "disappeared" mysteriously. Doug]

Mahalo to Larry Geller for inviting me to contribute to Disappeared News, Hawaiiʻs major source of the news you wonʻt see covered in the mainstream media. Iʻve been covering much of the continuing story of (De)Occupy Honolulu, particularly the 24 raids on the camp conducted by the police and the Cityʻs Department of Facilities Maintenance. At 212 days, (De)Occupy Honolulu is the longest running encampment in the entire Occupy Movement worldwide.

One of its goals is to establish a 24/7 public forum. A public forum is a traditional use of public space, and is one of the identifying features of a real democracy. When Senator Will Espero dropped by this past Sunday, 6/3/12 (after getting a lot of feedback from his Facebook photo of the encampment), he became the first elected official to participate in the encampmentʻs Public Forum.

He spoke of various things, including food security and future legislation which I post here:



(De)Occupy Honolulu is in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the worldwide Occupy Movement which asserts that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We urge people to exercise the right to peaceably assemble, occupy public space, create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.  

Stay tuned for more reporting from and about (De)Occupy Honolulu.

H. Doug Matsuoka
05 June 2012
Makiki, Honolulu

6.02.2012

Raid Twenty Something on (De)Occupy Honolulu -- Trying to Keep Up

[Something of an interim report, or update for the time being -- Doug]

"Window to Hell" gets trashed
Iʻm trying to keep up with the number of times the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) and the City Department of Facilities Maintenance (DFM) has raided the (De)Occupy Honolulu encampment and either tagged or seized and trashed property. Iʻll have an authoritative list in a few days.

I reported the raid on May 30 as a tagging raid and sure enough, on Thursday, May 31, HPD and DFM showed up, taped off the area to appropriately place themselves in a "crime scene" and proceeded to seize and trash works of art produced for the Off Art After Dark event on May 25.

If you recall, this was the same artwork the day before during the HPD/DFM tagging raid:
"Window to Hell" the day before

In order to get around the provisions of their own ordinance, HPD/DFM have been declaring property as trash (without value) and disposing of it rather than impounding and storing items to allow people to reclaim "stored" items.  The pieces were paintings, glassworks, etc. and bona fide works of art by recognized artists. And what I mean by work of art follows the current definition of an esthetics based commodity with an exchange value in excess of its utility value.