City council passes bills restricting tents/carts in city parks - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City council passes bills restricting tents/carts in city parks

Charles Djou Charles Djou
Rod Tam Rod Tam

By Holly Juscen – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - No more tents or shopping carts in city parks, that's what the Honolulu city council decided Tuesday afternoon. Council members passed two bills by a 7 - 2 vote, which will directly affect the homeless who want to dwell in city parks.

The first requires park-goers to get a permit before putting up a tent and the other bans shopping carts altogether, "we need to address this problem of private parties squatting and occupying our public parks. We need to recognize that Waikiki is the heart of tourism and tourism in the heart of our economy, " said council member Charles Djou.

Council member Rod Tam says the measures are about public safety and keeping the parks clean, "This is not a homeless bill --- I look upon it as what is permitted in the parks, it's a matter of health and safety which is what legislation is all about."

Council members in favor of the bills say the homeless problem shouldn't fall on the shoulders of the Department of Parks and Recreation, but those oppose say homelessness in Hawaii is a complex issue and these measures may be hard to enforce, "what is the short term plan for those who will not move away from the park or will not part from there shopping cart. There needs to be a plan," says council member Nester Garcia who voted against the bills.

The Honolulu Police Department will work with city park officials to enforce these bills. All officers have been trained and educated on dealing with the homeless. The city council members for the measures say the don't want to come across as heartless when it comes to the needs of the homeless.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann does have to sign off on the bills, once that happens, enforcement in the city parks will begin in 30 to 60 days.

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