Occupy Honolulu fights corporate greed, while working for corporate giant

Published: Jun. 27, 2012 at 8:26 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 28, 2012 at 2:44 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city continues to enforce the law banning stored property on public land and in the middle of it continues to be the Occupy Honolulu protestors.

The protestors say this is the 25th time they have been rousted.  Their camp is less elaborate than it's been before but they are still here.

City crews worked quickly in and out in five minutes tagging tents, chairs and belongings while not talking with the Occupy protestors.

"See you tomorrow. Bye. Mahalo," taunted protestors as crews left.

The protestors have various techniques to skirt the law, namely once a tent is tagged they'll rotate it out and put up a new one that wasn't tagged.  They will also hide things at a nearby location and bring it back once city crews have left.

"It's not hard to combat what they've tried to create for laws," said Chris Smith, Occupy Honolulu.

Chris Smith is the leader of the protestors.  He doesn't just speak out on the corner, he is a member of the Makiki Neighborhood Board and also a delegate for the Democratic Party in District 28.

But what is most interesting is his job.  He fights corporate greed but to make money he works the night shift stocking the shelves of corporate giant Wal-Mart.

"I work for Wal-Mart yeah, but they are willing to allow me to do what I need to do to fix the problems that are going on here. They are not going to throw me on the street without a job. They're willing to defend it and I think there is some good within that company. It doesn't mean I don't want a better job it just means I need to survive and those people have enough respect for my stance to allow me to do what I still need to do," said Smith.

So perhaps a corporation has helped Occupy Honolulu become the longest running occupy group in the world going 235 days straight at Thomas Square.

"These tents shouldn't be here. None of this needs to be here. The only thing that should be done is people should wake up and care about humanity," said Smith.

"We're persistent and we're very serious about enforcing the law and we'll continue to do so," said Westley Chun, Department of Facility Maintenance Director.

The city continues to receive complaints about the camps at Thomas Square and other homeless sites around the island.  On days crews impound property it costs the city between $3,000 - $5,000 dollars.  Since starting enforcement in December the Department of Facility Maintenance has spent between $120,000 to $240,000 clearing out camps.

"It sounds like a lot of money but if you look at what our total operating budget is for the Department of Facility Maintenance in fiscal year 2012 it was $63 million," said Chun. "Every person has their right to speak what's on their mind and I guess that's the beauty of living in this country."

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.