Local Connection: Governor's emergency proclamation addressing h - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Governor's emergency proclamation addressing homeless issue

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Governor Ige proclaimed an emergency to deal with the homeless crisis last week.

It didn't get much coverage. Even though the crisis is far from over, the sweep of the Kakaako camp seemed to take a little of the urgency out of the issue for most news outlets. 

It was also not a new idea. In fact, we called for a homeless emergency in May 2014 - nearly a year and a half ago - and others in and out of government have been asking for the same thing.  

And finally, we suspect the governor doesn't really think this is an emergency - he hasn't treated it that way before now. In fact it seems to us the proclamation has less to do with the  emergency - and a lot to do with bureaucracy.  

After focusing on homelessness under heavy public pressure, the governor's team realized that the state government bureaucracy makes it impossible to move quickly and decisively on any issue, even one that involves people's health and safety.  

The bureaucracy was a major impediment to removing the Kakaako camp, and now the governor says the bureaucracy is a barrier to building shelters and moving money to social service providers. Pretty basic ideas that should be easy.

Bureaucracy has two elements: red tape and bureaucrats. Both resist removal and change.

Let's hope the lessons our leaders are learning from struggling with this crisis will translate into government reform, which can improve our ability to respond to all the needs of Hawaii's people.

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