Honolulu council approves expansion on sit-lie ban
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Honolulu's controversial sit-lie law is expanding. It wasn't unanimous but the Honolulu City Council approved the plan today 7-2. Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he wants to sign it.
The Mayor says homeless on homeless violence killed seven people in the past year. The streets are dangerous and people shouldn't be living on sidewalks.
People are already banned from sitting and lying on sidewalks in Waikiki from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm. Bill 48 would expand the law to sections of 13 areas including:
"This bill is bad policy. It does not address the root cause. All it is doing, just like the sit lie bill in Waikiki, is moving around people," said Brandon Elefante, Honolulu City Councilmember opposed to Bill 48.
"We're basically moving the homeless from business neighborhoods into residential neighborhoods. So now the problems of the crime and urination and defication that businesses are claiming is going on in their neighborhoods are now going to be right in front of the average citizens front door," said Kymberly Marcos Pine, Honolulu City Councilmember opposed to Bill 48.
Ikaika Anderson said the state needs to spend more money on the State Hospital because a lot of the mentally ill shouldn't be on the streets to begin with.
"The state is not doing its job. So it's up to the City and County of Honolulu to fill those voids. It's our taxpayers that are having to bear these costs," said Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilmember who supports Bill 48. "No one homeless or not has more of a right to access our public places than anyone else."
"The seniors are afraid to walk on the sidewalks and those pushing baby strollers have to go out onto the street and that's not fair. The McCully Library children are reluctant to go there and that's not fair either," said Ann Kobayashi, Honolulu City Councilmember who supports Bill 48.
"I think what this body has done is far more than what the state has done with this particular problem," said Ernie Martin Honolulu City Council Chair who supports Bill 48. "More than any legislative body in recent history we've dedicated a significant amount of resources for this particular issue."
Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he plans to sign the bill as long as the lawyers say its constitutional.
"My hope all along is compassionate disruption. I do want to make it less convenient for people to camp on our sidewalks. I don't want to see a lot of stuff on our sidewalks that we have to remove. Last month in October 22 tons of things were removed from sidewalks where they shouldn't be," said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu Mayor. "As much as I'd like to see it go island wide I think we're constrained by our constitution."
Supporters say the plan is not meant to solve homelessness, but it's one more step in that direction.
The Housing First contract was signed and went into affect on Wednesday. The goal is get 400 chronically homeless people off the streets within the next two years. The City is also not giving up on finding a site for the homeless to allow temporary camping.