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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?

According to the City's own records she does:
[Click to enlarge. Click here for link to City data.]
Here's a better view from Google Maps Streetview:
[Click here for link to Google Map Streetview]
I have heard that this sort of sign-disappearing happens during election campaign season. Anonymous hoodlums tear down the signs of their political opponents in the middle of the night. But this was done by the City under Bill 54. We know that because the City left Bill 54 tags, and the City has the (damaged) signs and hasn't returned them! Hey, this is theft and suppression of free speech! This is crazy! Or is it just me?

The City is under a Federal Court order regarding the seizure and return of items from the deOccupy Honolulu encampment at Thomas Square, but those provisions do not extend anywhere else on the island. I don't think one should have to go to court to require the City to follow its own laws and the national and state Constitutions. But I guess Choon James will have to.

Will keep you updated so stay tuned.

11 June 2013
H. Doug Matsuoka
Makiki, Honolulu


  1. The Federal Court decision that was upheld in Los Angeles concerning the confiscation of private property of the homeless seems to have affected the street performers in Waikiki also. As soon as the decision in LA was upheld, those of us who had property being held by HPD, received letters in the mail to come pick up our stuff. And now when HPD arrests the street performers in Waikiki for peddling, HPD doesn't take their stuff, it up to the performer to find someone to take care of it for them while they go to jail for what would normally be a $100 citation.


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