COUNCILMEMBER DJOU: KAPIOLANI PARK VAGRANTS OUT OF CONTROL
Honolulu City Councilmember Charles K. Djou (Waikiki, East Honolulu) reacts to the growing vagrant problem at Kapiolani Park.
“The growing vagrant population at Kapiolani Park is out of control and demands immediate action. My constituents and I are concerned that Kapiolani Park is becoming a magnet for criminal activity and is no longer welcoming to families. The vagrants in the area are using a loophole in the camping law and treating public property has their own,” stated Djou.
“I want the City to view these tents as illegal structures and get these individuals real help. Doing nothing is the only bad resolution, but unfortunately, nothing is the only thing currently being done by the City about this problem.”
Djou sent a letter on Nov. 24 to City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle asking that his office treat the tents in the Kapiolani Park right of way and sidewalk as illegal structures. If such an interpretation can not be made, Djou intends to introduce legislation clearly making tents in City parks and sidewalks illegal.
The vagrants in Kapiolani Park are taking advantage of a loophole in the law. Earlier this year the City Council passed a law banning camping in City parks. This law, however, does not include City sidewalks and right-of-ways. Consequently, the vagrants have set up their tents around the Kapiolani Park right-of-way and sidewalk areas.
Councilmember Djou introduced legislation to extend the ban on sleeping to City sidewalks, but a majority of council members blocked advancement of Djou’s measure. Djou is now seeking to apply an existing ordinance that bans structures on municipal sidewalks to the tents surrounding Kapiolani Park.
Djou fully supports giving free taxpayer financed mental health, drug counseling and shelter to those in need, but does not support converting City parks into private property.
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