|(Click pic to enlarge, click here for complete flickr set, or click here for pdf download)|
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]|
H. Doug Matsuoka
14 August 2013
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