Street vendor claims sit-lie law being used against him

Published: Oct. 12, 2014 at 8:47 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 12, 2014 at 8:49 PM HST
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WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city's new Sit-Lie ordinance was aimed at reducing the number of homeless in Waikiki, but now some street vendors contend its also being used against them.

The new law prohibits people from sitting or lying down on sidewalks in Waikiki.

McCay Morefield has a display of necklaces and bracelets that he sets up nearly every day on the sidewalk on Kalakaua Avenue near Seaside Avenue. He describes himself as a street artist.

He said it was Thursday night when he was at his spot, weaving a bracelet. Under the city's peddling law, he can't name a price. But Morefield said police weren't concerned about that.

"Within about 15 minutes, three undercover cops came up and said, you know about the sit and lie law? And I said oh, yeah, I know it to a certain extent," said Morefield. "And so basically they gave me a citation for it."

According to the Honolulu Police Department, officers issued 227 warnings and 15 citations since the law took effect last month through Oct. 8.

Morefield claims he and other vendors have been kept on their feet because of the new law.

"Even if you sit down for like to to three minutes, they can easily catch you on that and give you a citation. They can even arrest you for that," he said. "So it's making it difficult for all of us."

The ordinance excludes people who are sitting or lying on a sidewalk because of a medical emergency, or if they're attending a festival, performance or parade. It also protects those sitting in a chair or bench that has been placed by a public agency on a public sidewalk.

It doesn't say anything about street artists or vendors.

"They would consider us a nuisance, I guess," said Morefield.

City Councilman Stanley Chang, who represents the Waikiki area, was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Morefield said he'll fight his citation, and will continue setting up his bracelets and other jewelry on Kalakaua.

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