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

3.23.2013

What to do when poverty becomes a crime

This past Wednesday (3/20/2013), the Honolulu City Council met to hear Bill 7 which would empower the police and City crews to declare any tent, bedding, clothing, or food on public property a "nuisance" subject to immediate seizure without notice. And realistically speaking, the property would not be subject to return to the owners. The bill passed the second hearing after much testimony against, but no discussion among councilmembers.

Bill 7 is actually milder than its companion Bill 6 which would seize any structure designed for shelter  as well as subject "illegal campers" to arrest and a year in jail. Both seemingly fly in the face of Constitutional protections and ancient Hawaiian Law. The Kanawai Mamalahoe of Kamehameha protects the humble from the powerful in part by protecting the safety of those lying by the roadside. The law is incorporated into the State Constitution.

What to do? I caught Kanaka Maoli activist Laulani Teale right after the hearing. Convinced that a government that treats people like this is not long for the world, Teale cites both the Kanawai Mamalahoe and the lesser known Niaupio Kolowalu of Kualiʻi (that humanely requires the feeding of the hungry and the housing of the houseless) and suggests:
"What we need to do is we need to start reforming what will be here instead. Follow the ancient laws. Feed people who are hungry, help people who need help, take care of one another, respect those people... People who must lie by the roadside [must be] protected. Stand up for those people. We need to stand up. We need to stand together.."

The proposed bills also conveniently take a pot shots at protest groups like deOccupy Honolulu and anyone else hoping for protection of 1st Amendment free speech provisions. The group encamped on the lawn of Honolulu Hale the night of the hearing and invited councilmembers to the sleep over. None accepted the invitation. Several deOccupiers gave testimony against Bill 7, but to no questions or discussion from Councilmembers. Iʻll have video of some testimony soon.

But for now, can I move you take a closer look at the bills and submit testimony opposing Bill 6, and 7?

Links:

Bill 6: http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-134353/7lsk1-0h.pdf
Bill 7: http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-134717/7mft2b_b.pdf

Submit testimony: http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/View/Collection-1777

H. Doug Matsuoka
23 March 2013
Makiki, Honolulu

3.20.2013

Rath: "I guess I only had a right to own things when I had a place to stay"

[Richard Rath is an Associate Professor of History and the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Rath emailed this to Councilmember Chang regarding proposed ordinances in Bills 2, 6, 7, and 8, which target Oahu's homeless population. Bills 7 and 8 will be heard today, 3/20/13, on the 2pm agenda at Honolulu Hale.

Links to the text of the bills are at the bottom of this post. Doug]

03/14/13

Dear council member Chang,

“I guess I only had a right to own things when I had a place to stay.”

I am writing to ask you to refuse to support bills 2, 6, 7, and 8. Please vote against these bills for the following reasons:

While all these bills proclaim as a common interest the free flow of traffic, they are clearly directed in their consequences against the houseless, including those houseless who have used their right to speak up politically. These bills remove the property rights of anyone without a permanent address. The constitution, forced on the Islands with the illegal overthrow and annexation, has many safeguards against the infringement of property rights. Indeed, the Declaration of Independence of the US is based on the inalienable right to “happiness,” which to anyone who has studied the origins of that idea knows, means property (they changed the word in part to defuse arguments about enslaved Africans as property). Nowhere does it say that such rights will be limited to those fortunate and well off enough to have a roof over their head, yet that is what each of these bills says in its own way.

3.14.2013

Filing a complaint on a berserk cop

I'm working on posting a researched and reasoned response to the bunch of bills criminalizing homelessness (specifically Bills 2, 6, 7, and 8) that the Honolulu City Council is proposing as expedients to clear parks of pesky... I was almost going to write "campers" but camping is a recreational activity and those in tents simply have no private residence. But that will take a day or two to draft.

Meanwhile I got hold of some video by the Thomas Square Park deOccupy Honolulu people, Nova Smith and Sugar Russell. After more than 60 raids on the tent community, most police squad visitations are rather routine. deOccupy Honolulu is a politically organized group focused on pointing out the social and financial inequities inherent in a system that allows corporations to dictate legislation. By now, everyone who has had to endure these raids has formed a meaningful empathy with the houseless community. I sure have.

The City is currently under a Federal 9th Circuit Court agreement about how the raids can be conducted, and in any case the police know that this isn't an encampment where they will find weapons, drugs, or illegal activity. No one's going to bust Shao Lin moves or even hurl anything foul at the police other than strongly worded political commentary.

So when a cop went berserk during a raid yesterday and injured a deOccupier, Chris Nova Smith decided to walk the half block to the main Police Station and make a complaint. This video is from video shot by Smith and Russell.


This kind of threatened violence and berserk behavior is criminal and goes way beyond what should happen when making a complaint on a police officer.  In my humble opinion. In any case, the police successfully prevented Smith from making a complaint that day. I believe he will make another attempt and I completely support that intent. I'm thinking more people and videographers/documenters might be necessary as "human shields" with cameras.

So there you have it. I just wanted to make a separate post with this video to make it easy to find and reference. I'll have a post on the Honolulu City Council's proposed ordinances to criminalize homelessness in another day or two.

H. Doug Matsuoka
14 March 2013
Makiki, Honolulu


3.06.2013

deOccupy Honolulu: Resolution to End Encampment

[deOccupy Honolulu has been continuously encamped at historic Thomas Square Park since November 5, 2013. They recently moved from the Beretania Street side of the park to the King Street side. What will it take to get them to leave the park? They answer in this press release. Doug]

[Picture of sign taken yesterday, 3/5/2013, and tagged for seizure today. From a Flickr set of ephemeral signs of deOccupy Honolulu.]

deOccupy Honolulu Submit Resolution to End Encampment

(de)Occupy Honolulu // www.deOccupyHonolulu.org
Facebook: Facebook.com/OccupyHonolulu
Twitter: @OccupyHonolulu  Hashtag: #OHNL

MEDIA ALERT -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In response to Bills 2, 6, & 7 (de)Occupy Honolulu submits resolution to end encampment

Honolulu 3/6 – As (de)Occupy Honolulu sues the City & County of Honolulu in federal court over deprivation of civil rights during raids; the city fights back by criminalizing the houseless population in an attempt to remove the protesters. The City Council has submitted Bills 2, 6, & 7, targeting the houseless. Bill 2 is much like the current Bill 54, however makes sidewalks no longer public property. Bill 6 criminalizes anyone who has a tent on the sidewalk. The fine is up to $1000 and/or up to a year in jail with the instant confiscation of belongings. Bill 7 would define tents as a “nuisance” with the instant confiscation of belongings that will cost $200 to retrieve.

City Council member Ikaika Anderson has been at the forefront of this bills that will further criminalize the houseless in an effort to remove the movement. “Where do the rights of the Occupiers end,” asks Anderson. The City Council is not the only official supporting the legislation. Mayor Kirk Caldwell had stated that he intends to sign the Bill 7 and has requested city officials to escalate raids to every week.

ACLU Hawaii senior attorney Daniel Gluck reviewed the bills for city officials, and determined that they were not constitutional. “We intend to oppose,” Gluck said, “If implemented, the ACLU will be forced to bring a lawsuit in federal court.”

After sidewalk closures for tree trimming, the world’s longest running Occupy encampment moved from the north side of the park to the south side of the park. The movement has been hard at work discussing real solutions to the houseless problem. A resolution is being submitted to the city proposing to end (de)Occupy’s 24/7 vigil, that highlights the houseless crisis, at Thomas Square.

Resolution:

Let it be known that among the purposes of the ongoing DeOccupy Honolulu protest at Thomas Square are:

To assert that the continued occupation of Hawai‘i is illegitimate, and has been so since January 17th 1893;

To follow in the footsteps of Queen Liliʻuokalani and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in nonviolent resistance to injustice, especially against the poorest of the poor;

To stand in solidarity with the houseless, under the protection of Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the Law of the Splintered Paddle, which is enshrined in the Hawai’i State Constitution and emblazoned on the badge of the Honolulu police, and guarantees the right of the people to lay by the roadside undisturbed and in safety;

To assert that people come first before corporations, profit, and government;
To compel the City & County of Honolulu and State of Hawai‘i to stop treating being poor and houseless as a crime;

To stand in solidarity with those who are otherwise invisible, looked down upon, treated as criminals, chased from the streets and parks, harassed, abused and forgotten.

The changes we seek include, but are not limited to:

That the State of Hawai‘i and the City and County of Honolulu recognize and respect the rights and sovereignty of Kanaka Maoli and all nationals of Hawai‘i, and actively work to end the illegal occupation of Hawai‘i by the United States of America;

That the City and County of Honolulu and the State of Hawai‘i will abide by Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the Law of the Splintered Paddle, and protect the houseless, fishing villages and people living off the land instead of harassing them;

That the $4,100,000 of opt-out in-lieu fees that were assessed for Assistance Housing, but were funneled into the General Fund, be reinstated to help Hawai‘i’s houseless;

That opt-out in-lieu fees be raised on all new housing development to the Hawai‘i County level of $115,000 per unit, and that those funds be provided for Assistance Housing, i.e. shelter and low-income rentals, with a mandatory lock on those fees to prevent them from being diverted away from Assistance Housing programs;

In response to an ineffective shelter system, which provides only 2,000 beds for the 6,000+ houseless population, one-third of whom are children, that the City and County of f Honolulu and the State of Hawaiʻi will provide housing without any compromise of human and civil rights, and accommodate couples, families, pet owners, and people of all gender identities through abundant shelters of quality and Housing First;

That the State of Hawai‘i raise Minimum Wage to a Living Wage in line with Hawai‘i’s cost of living, as at least half of the houseless work, yet cannot afford housing in Hawai‘i;

That the City & County of Honolulu repeal Ordinance 10-26 and 11-029 to protect the rights of the houseless and end expensive, abusive and counterproductive police raids and harassment, and not enact any new ordinances of similar effect or intent;

That shelters allow the houseless to stay in shelters during the day when they are sick, and end curfews and other rules that do not respect basic freedom and human dignity;

That all government programs follow international human rights standards, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We are committed to these goals because they are the fair, just, and right thing to do.

- END -

[Note: deOccupy has invited the public to join in a sign waving today (Wednesday 3/6/13) at 1:30 to coincide with an expected seizure raid (of signs among other things) at 2:30pm. Doug]