Think About It: Sit-Lie… Oh My - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

September 25, 2014

Think About It: Sit-Lie… Oh My

It is probably going to be a misdemeanor to sit or lie down soon in a bunch of commercial - and business-zoned areas outside of Waikiki soon. While the pending law will surely be challenged, the idea that people can't sit on public sidewalks in commercial areas doesn't make much sense. People on a break, people forced to smoke outside, people waiting to get picked up- there are all kinds of reasons people sit on sidewalks.

The new law's intent is to keep the homeless from interfering with a business's right and the public's right to use our walkways. But the consequences of this law mean that, unless we have some real quick solutions on where to move sidewalk inhabitants, many of these people will simply relocate, in other places we are not happy about, as they always have done before when displaced. Only this time, necessity being the mother of invention, they might park themselves in the residential areas, which will again cause more problems. These do-not-sit-or-lie-here rules are very precise in telling people what they can't do and where they can't do it, but the solution to the big picture problem of homelessness is going to involve a concerted public-private effort to deal with economic hardship, mental illness, physical disabilities, and the many other reasons people are lying on sidewalks to begin with.

Yes, something must be done to clean up our sidewalks, but again the call goes out to answer the question of where do they go now, beyond the clearly stated- "here's where you can't go and what you can't do." An effort to protect businesses, patrons, and visitors is now about to include many more places on Oahu far beyond Waikiki, but we still haven't heard the necessary and immediate answers to help the downtrodden. Maybe a few new locations for shelter need to be set up before this all-encompassing no squatting law takes effect. For moving people from beach to park to sidewalk to your cul de sac is surely not an answer. Think about it…


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