NYT Editorial 11-21-11 pg A-28
Wall Street and Oakland get all the attention, but there’s an Occupy Honolulu, too. Its tents and lawn chairs have taken over Thomas Square, a green expanse downtown all set about with banyan trees.
You can tell it’s an occupation from the signs and T-shirts. Otherwise the protesters would blend right in. In Hawaii, where street homelessness is an urgent, unsolved problem, occupying the outdoors is a way of life. The tents in Ala Moana Beach Park were swept out of sight for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum last week. Some of them were back by Wednesday.
People are living on beach parks, in the shadow of high-rise hotels, in cars and boxes in the business districts. In forests and under highways and bridges. Six people were sleeping one recent morning in the doorway of Kailua Public Library, next to the police station.
Hawaii has one of the worst homeless rates in the nation, behind Nevada and Oregon. The causes are many, including an absurdly tight housing market and a rampaging methamphetamine problem.
Hawaii doesn’t lack for ineffective plans. The last governor put one out after seeing a man living in a tree across the street from her mansion. The new governor’s plan has been criticized for directives — don’t feed them! — that seem harsh and don’t do enough to fix root causes.
The divide in Hawaii between haves and have-nots is grotesque. So is the reluctance to challenge it. A Hawaiian musician, Makana, recently got a chance and blew it. He was invited to play at an APEC dinner, where he quietly sang a protest song, “We Are the Many,” for 45 minutes. Too quietly: world leaders, including President Obama, kept chatting and chewing, undisturbed.
read … NYT
Wealth gap is Grotesque? What? After all those decades of Big Government doo-gooder Programs and nearly unfettered political control by Democrats? How could this be so? The result is directly inverse to the rhetoric just as it is in other doo-gooder areas: