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Politics // Just Thoughts
Bob Jones

Officials Slow To Do Their Jobs

Maybe (and only maybe) the state and the city will start coming down on all the unpermitted street, sidewalk and parks vendors emboldened by years of authorities doing nothing.

It helps if you complain loudly. Remember what the city said about enforcing the new ordinance against leaving personal belongings on sidewalks and in the parks? “Enforcement will depend on the number of complaints we receive.”

Absolutely nothing was being done about peddlers inside Diamond Head. One outfit had brazenly set up a certificate-selling table in the old fire-control station near the trail summit. When I published a photo, the state Attorney General’s office issued a cease-and-desist order.

A second outfit operating as an alleged nonprofit was using a nonexistent nonprofit as its certificate come-on. It, too, was enjoined but is fighting the ouster.

The Waikiki sidewalk “performers” are an open sore. We get artists setting up Kalakaua Avenue tables and selling portraits; others impede the sidewalk with displays of for-sale goods. Young people congregate on the Kalakaua sidewalk fronting the Pacific Beach Hotel with signs to solicit money for marijuana.

I do see movement toward citizens regaining control of public property. That new law controlling kayak and snorkeling commercialism at Kailua Beach Park is good. Remember the bad old commercial days at Hanauma Bay?

State Parks and Recreation is looking at ways to preempt the Diamond Head Crater peddlers such as the one who dresses like a ranger and sells hikes. They should cite and arrest him.

That’s not free speech by any court’s interpretation.

Yes, arresting street musicians and those “statue men” in Waikiki is problematical. Some Mainland courts have said they have a constitutional right to express themselves in public. But we can designate exactly where they can exercise that right. We can designate a free speech area such as the Waikiki triangle park at the Kalakaua-Kuhio split. It’s not a heavily used space.

We need some targeted laws for Waikiki and a couple of full-time enforcement officers for Diamond Head (plus a kiosk to sell certificates, T-shirt and books) to put the peddlers out of business.

We need a little toughness, too. “Just let people be” is a nice libertarian ideal, but some will always abuse it to make an extra buck.

I hope to hear you squawking.

The city’s response last week to my Ward’s Rafters articles was ridiculous, and I question if the mayor’s people ever read the Circuit Court injunction.

It held that Jackie Ward “could not solicit or accept donations of funds.” She does both. It upheld the citation against her by the city in 1997 and the rejection of her late appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The court said, “Ward’s private social gatherings shall not be open to the public.” Hers are, and she admits to maintaining an email list to promote music events.

That R-5-zoned neighborhood must feel that the city administration has abandoned it.

That D.R. Horton Ho’opili proposal for Ewa is starting to make sense to me despite my reservations about farmland loss. That is the Second City and where the rail will run. And Jefts and Aloun farms having been running on borrowed-lease time. There is alternate farmland.

If we didn’t want housing out there on the plain, we should never have started building Kapolei.

It’s been shocking to watch once-excellent KITV4 News implode. The loss of top-flight reporters Daryl Huff, Keoki Kerr, Denby Fawcett (yes, my wife) and Jodi Leong; then the not-unexpected firing of news director Jeannie Garner.

Reminds me of KGMB when we lost Leslie Wilcox, Doug Woo, Elisa Yadao, Gerald Kato and Tina Shelton.

The bottom falls out and you’re left with newbies without reportorial expertise much less bang, but it saves the owners some bucks.

And then people stop watching your news.

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