Posted tagged ‘city hall’

City’s spinelessness on bus shelter stinks

July 15, 2011

I can’t stop shaking my head over an excellent story by KITV’s Keoki Kerr about the city’s decision to temporarily move a bus stop on Kapiolani Boulevard across from Nordstrom to avoid dealing with a foul-smelling homeless woman who has been living at the shelter for a year.

You really should see the whole piece, but the gist is that the elderly woman and her belongings smell so bad that those waiting at the stop and catching the waft on the buses can no longer bear it.

Instead of finding a way to remove the woman, the city closed the stop and opened a temporary one down the street, leaving those waiting for buses to stand in the elements while a single person enjoys the comfort of the shelter.

City Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka told KITV that homeless people have the same rights to use the streets and sidewalks as anybody else, and it’s not illegal to squat at bus shelters. He said the city is showing compassion.

How is it possibly legal for one person to monopolize a public facility for other than its intended purpose while denying its use to the taxpaying public for its intended purpose? How is defacing city property with filth and odor any better than defacing it with graffiti?

These shelters cost millions of dollars to construct and are funded from the property taxes of folks who pay thousands of dollars a month for their own housing. And they can’t use the public structures they’ve built?

People have no right to squat wherever they please when it intrudes on the rights of others to make reasonable use of public property, and the city’s weak-kneed response is an open invitation to the homeless to take over every bus shelter in town.

Finally, how is it possibly compassionate to leave this poor woman sitting in her own horrible stink from God-knows-what bacteria instead of getting her cleaned up, properly fed and provided with the other help she obviously needs?

Going to such extremes to look the other way is an abrogation of our most basic responsibilities to our fellow human beings.

Mayor’s race is on

June 2, 2010

Gordon Pang had an excellent story in the Advertiser about the battle for Honolulu Hale that’s shaping up in the wake of Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s announcement that he’ll resign midterm to run for governor.

New tenant sought

At least four credible candidates will face off in a winner-take-all special election in September for the right to finish the final two years of Hannemann’s term — city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell, city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, Councilman Donovan dela Cruz and  anti-rail activist Panos Prevedouros.

(I know that Councilman Rod Tam is also running, but I’ll leave it to greater minds to take him seriously.)

The conventional wisdom is that Carlisle is the man to beat because of his name recognition, general popularity and experience in islandwide races, but I’m not sure that’s true unless invisibility on the campaign trail has suddenly become a political asset.

Caldwell, who has the backing of Team Hannemann, has been busy raising money and lining up institutional support. He’ll have a couple of months to make himself look good as acting mayor after Hannemann steps down.

Dela Cruz and Prevedouros have been traveling all over O’ahu meeting voters and outlining their positions on a wide range of issues.

By contrast, Carlisle has been relatively little seen or heard from and his stands on issues other than crime are vague. The best quote Pang could get out of him was, “The most pressing issue is getting the fiscal house of the city and county in order. We can no longer afford government that we cannot afford.”

If he wants to win, he’s going to have to get out and campaign.

***

I take a look at the biggest news out of the state Democratic convention, Ed Case’s withdrawal from the CD1 race, in my column in the Opinion section of today’s Advertiser, “Case ‘showed he was a Democrat.’ So what’s Inouye?”


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