Waikiki street artist challenges City to educate public on sidewalk rights
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A section of sidewalk in front of the International Marketplace in Waikiki is causing quite the stir.
It all stemmed from an August YouTube video recorded by a street artist Michael Daly.
The 12-minute video shows the shopping center's security guards kicking him and his easel off the sidewalk near the entrance.
"They came up to me and said I had to move," Daly said. "I've been there many times before the development began."
The video, recorded two days after the shopping center's opening on August 25th, goes on to show police arriving at the scene.
"They asked me to leave, too," said Daly.
Daly never left and was not arrested, but is worried that the center's guards are abusing their authority based on an easement permit the development applied for. According to the City's Department of Planning and Permitting, as of Friday, the permit was not yet finalized.
"We all have a stake on the sidewalk and free speech is fundamental," said Daly.
Even if the easement permit is granted, Hawaii News New learned the section of the sidewalk that falls under the easement, would still be subject to constitutional protections.
A Honolulu police officer at a recent neighborhood board meeting clarified that it is legal for street performers and artists. "If you're on the public side you can use it anytime you want, and if you are exercising your first amendment rights, we or none of my personnel, will not do any enforcement on you."
The International Marketplace's developer, Taubman Centers, provided Hawaii News Now with this statement:
"We have complied with the City's request to provide an easement across our property. This easement, when combined with adjacent City land along Kalakaua Avenue, creates a continuous 14 foot swath for pedestrian access. It is the City's responsibility to ensure that this access remains clear and unimpeded."
So if someone is blocking access, guards may try to clear the way, or call police to help. Otherwise, the public rules apply.
"I'd like to see a campaign by the City to clarify sidewalk issues and to educate the people about free speech," said Daly.
At the center's entrance, a Code of Conduct sign lists things prohibited on its privately-owned property, including no photos, no truancy and no inconveniencing others.
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