by Andrew Walden
Videotaped smashing homeless people’s shopping carts while wearing gloves and an Armani Exchange cap last Fall, Rep Tom Brower told the Star-Advertiser November 18, 2013:
"Recently I went into Ala Moana Park where there were shopping carts near people, and I took them from them," Brower said. "No one really questioned me. Some people thought I was the repo man. When you are walking down the sidewalk with a sledgehammer, people get out of your way."
The result was a worldwide media firestorm of negative publicity for Waikiki. Brower was identified as a violent, scary, vigilante who was making the problem worse. Community leaders and local attorneys called for his arrest.
Did Brower learn anything from this?
Apparently not, judging from a February 7, 2014 letter to one of his Waikiki constituents. In it, Brower mentions “carts” ten times, and suggests his attacks were part of an effort to "create a better society." Here are some highlights:
I will do everything I am physically capable of within the law.
Worrying about negative publicity paralyses many elected officials from doing what needs to be done.
Dealing with challenges creates a better society. Sometimes the power for change is not entirely within the Legislature—its out on the streets. Solutions to some of our community issues need to be jump-started by bold, grassroots action.
Since working to clear shopping carts, certain parts of Waikiki and Ala Moana are noticeably cleaner…but without continued monitoring, things can revert back.
Brower then launches into a pitch for homeless safe zones—a discredited ‘tent city’ idea which has failed to gain support in Hawaii in the four years Brower has been pushing it and has proven disastrous in Seattle and other communities where it has been tried. Finally, he warns:
As we head into the 2014 session, please know that I will be exploring both legislative and non-legislative ways to continue addressing the issue of homelessness and abandoned shopping carts….
This is very similar to excuses Brower gave HNN when interviewed last November:
“"I got tired of telling people I'm trying to pass laws. I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets."
Read Rep Brower’s letter >>> HERE. (identifying material redacted)