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

7.21.2014

The problem is homelessness, not the homeless. Oppose Bills 42, 45, 45, 46, and 48

HEARING DATE/TIME
WHEN: Thursday, July 24th 2014 at 9am
WHERE: Honolulu Hale, 2nd floor hearing room, 530 S. King Street

SUBMIT TESTIMONY ONLINE by Wednesday, July 23rd:
http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html

>> Meeting Date: 2014-07-24
>> Council/PH Committee: Zoning and Planning
>> Agenda Item: Bills 42, 43, 45, 46, and 48
>> Your position on the matter: Oppose
>> If you plan to testify in person, select "Yes" next to "Do you wish to speak at the hearing?"

REGISTER TO SPEAK AT HEARING:
http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html

In the face of a relentless slew of bills enacted by the City of Honolulu and the State, let's remember that the problem is homelessness, not the homeless.

The hearing on July 9 brought out a bunch of different people, each with their own way of thinking about the problem.

Susan Schultz, the English professor from the UH deconstructs Mayor Caldwell's "compassionate disruption":


Activist Kathryn Xian asks Council to "find their hearts": 

Surprising comments from Madori Rumpungworn who spent 30 days in OCCC (Oahu Community Correctional Center) for protesting the City's Bill 54 (ordinance 11-029):

Peace activist Laulani Teale cites the UN Human Rights report and Kamehameha's Kanawai Mamalahoe:


Councilmember Breene Harimoto has been against the criminalization of the homeless from the beginning:


Mayor Caldwell promised one thing and delivers the opposite. And yes, I did hold his picture up and ask, "When did Satan grab ahold of this guy's heart?":


All the bill are variants of the two drafts sent to the Council by Mayor CaldwellLinks to the bills. One is a prohibits sitting and lying on the sidewalk, and the other peeing and pooping in public (even inadvertently in the absence of public facilities):

Bill 42 "sit/lie" CD1 (Criminal unless waiting for the new iPhone):
http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-151346/b42cd1.PDF

Bill 43 "pee & poo" CD1 (No public restroom? Tough):
http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-150455/dspage02291732910336576078.pdf

Bill 45 "sit/lie" with geographic zones and specified times CD1:
http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-151316/45cd1.PDF

Bill 46 CD "pee & poo" variant acknowledging possible redundancy of this law:
http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-151351/46.PDF

Bill 48 CD1 "site/lie" with other geographic zones and specified times:
http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-151315/48cd1.PDF

Here's a Facebook Event page for the hearing:
https://www.facebook.com/events/640609352701253

Again, hearing is on Thursday, July 24, 9am at Honolulu Hale Committee Room. See the top of post for details.

I've got more to say on the matter, but that's it for now. Check out the videos!

H. Doug Matsuoka
21 July 2014

7.06.2014

Troubling questions plague Honolulu's rush to criminalize homelessness

[The criminalization bills in this post are up for second hearing on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, on the 2pm agenda. The hearings will be on the campus of Windward Community College at Hale Akoakoa.]

The Mayor's Message:
On June 12, 2014, Honolulu's Mayor Caldwell sent a message (MM58) to the Honolulu City Council along with drafts of two proposed ordinances. These drafts were immediately introduced by Council Chair Ernie Martin and scheduled for the first of three required public hearings only 14 days later, on June 26.

"With the Council's support, I anticipate that together we can make significant improvements for our Waikiki businesses, workers, and visitors." Honolulu's residents, the general public, and the homeless — all constituents of the City & County of Honolulu — are notably missing from the list of beneficiaries.

The Bills:
Bill 42 is the "sit/lie" bill making it a crime to sit or lie down on the sidewalk in Waikiki. Bill 45 extends this island-wide. Violators will face up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are camping out in line for the new iPhone, you are exempt. I'm not kidding.

Bill 43 makes it illegal to pee or poo in public in Waikiki, and its counterpart Bill 46 extends that island-wide. To help force the issue, the Mayor has been closing public restrooms early. The criminalization of those literally "without a pot to pee in" strikes many people as unfair, unconstitutional, mean, and idiotic. Indeed the testimony submitted in writing and at hearing was overwhelmingly in opposition to these bills.

The Problems and Unanswered Questions:
Here are a few highlight testimonies that bring up major problems with these bills:

Councilmember Breene Harimoto is on record opposing this sort of criminalization of homelessness and his testimony on June 26 articulates his objections. (Harimoto will be leaving the Council for the State Senate this coming January as he is running unopposed for the seat vacated by David Ige who is candidate for Governor.)


Harimoto: "The fact of the matter is that the homeless issue didn’t happen overnight. This situation has been brewing for years — I would say even decades. And it’s reached a crisis situation. And here we are today trying to find a quick fix. I think we’re fooling ourselves to think that we can solve this by making this law."




Activist Kathryn Xian found major flaws in the Mayor's ad hoc effort:

Xian: "If you want to help the homeless, this is not part of a comprehensive plan. You have models for comprehensive plans that have been proven to work. Criminalizing the homeless is not part of a comprehensive plan. It is unconstitutional. It divides our community between rich and poor."

The sit/lie bills are practically clones of last year's Bill 59, which was the first proposed ordinance to so directly and blatantly violate King Kamehameha's Kanawai Mamalahoe (Law of the Splintered Paddle). What makes this notable is that Kamehameha's law is enshrined in the Hawaii State Constitution and is well known to the public as a principle means of protection from the abuse of power. It literally grants safety to those who "lie by the roadside." (See my post discussing this in relation to last year's Bill 59).

The City's Corporation Council has signed off on the legality of these proposed ordinances, yet last two year's sidewalk ordinances are still subject to Federal Court proceedings. 



Activist and Hawaiian cultural practitioner Laulani Teale quoted Hawaii attorney Derek Kauanoe's research on the subject.
Teale quoting Kauanoe: "Honolulu's several anti-homeless ordinances helped rank our city among the 'meanest to the homeless' by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. This is precisely the type of government conduct the Law of the Splintered Paddle was intended to protect people against."

Councilmember Kymberly Pine couldn't vote for previous bills that so literally violated Kamehameha's law. Here's her testimony against last year's Bill 59:

Pine: "I have a strong objection to the term 'lying down.' It's just something my district would not support as my district does interpret Hawaiian law very seriously. We do have the largest Hawaiian Homes population and the terminology 'lying down' does violate their belief of what the constitution is."


How will Councilmember Pine and the rest of the Council resolve the issues that plague these criminalization bills? Bill 59 was deferred by public outcry. Yet that bill was resurrected by the Mayor in Bills 42 and 45. 

I plan to be at the hearing on July 9 to lend my presence against these bills. On the next page are links to the bills and othe relevant info. Hope to see you there.

H. Doug Matsuoka
6 July 2014

Makiki, Honolulu

Links and info on next page:

Honolulu City Council disappears video of hearings

If you want to catch the Honolulu City Council hearings you could always count on the hearing videos being mounted within minutes at the Council's citizen page (http://honolulucountyhi.iqm2.com/Citizens/calendar.aspx). No longer. The last video mounted is of the May 28, 2014, Budget Committee meeting.

This made it difficult for me to find out what happened at the June 26, 2014, Planning and Zoning Committee hearing where the newest slew of bills criminalizing homelessness were to be heard after being rushed through first hearing that very morning. The video wasn't mounted, and I noticed nothing mounted since May 28.

The DVD I requested was delivered a couple of days later, but this sort of disappearing act doesn't speak to the transparency in government issue very well, does it?

Since the Council didn't post a video, I guess I'll do it here as a public service if you want to watch the whole 3.5 hearing. Else I'll have excerpts and something to say in a few hours.



In the meantime, why not email your Councilmember and demand that hearing videos be posted immediately after the hearing.

Stay tuned for some excerpts regarding criminalization of the homeless...




6 July 2014