Think About It: Street Cleaning - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

September 18, 2014

Think About It: Street Cleaning

We're still playing whack-a-mole with the homeless situation on Oahu. The homeless were removed from leeward beaches and some moved into town. They took up residence along Beretania and A'ala Park downtown or encamped near the medical center in Kakaako. Ah, but then they started to sit and lie down in the heart of Waikiki. So the Honolulu City Council has now passed a sit-lie ban for anyone, not just the homeless, on the streets between the Ala Wai Canal and Kapahulu. Does that mean that current Waikiki homeless will simply move to Kapiolani Boulevard, McCully, Pensacola, or some other nearby thoroughfare? Street sweeping to prevent street sleeping may lead to street leaping as it removes an eyesore from our tourism hub, but it surely does not solve the growing, complex situation; it simply pushes the problem elsewhere.

Visitors and Waikiki workers seeing unfortunate people lying in tents or out in the open in Waikiki is bad for business, and it's scary, but let's get moving on where these people can stay, now that we've mandated where they can't stay. The city and state are still looking for sites for more temporary facilities to be erected to help the homeless. Let's hope that this is an urgent priority, not a side project. Let's get definitive plans and construction dates in place, making sure that all sides are heard from.

The City Council also voted to ban urinating and defecating in public throughout Oahu, which means our pets now have more outdoor elimination rights that we do, so be careful you golfers. But this is no laughing or trivial matter- did you know that 13 states require that those convicted of urinating in public be listed as sex offenders? Let's make sure that these new laws about what people can't do and where they can't camp out on Oahu lead to measurable, positive results and that we're not just moving existing problems around… again. Think about it…

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