It’s Hammer Time In Waikiki For Brower

Rep. Tom Brower and his hammer. Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo

Rep. Tom Brower and his hammer. Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo

‘Tis the week to be thankful, and I most certainly am.

I’m thankful for state Rep. Tom Brower (D, Ala Moana-Waikiki). Who isn’t? Some of us give homeless people and their shopping carts a wide berth on the sidewalk, mutter, “What a shame,” and move on.

Not Rep. Brower. He stalks homeless people, waits until they’re not looking, seizes their stolen shopping carts and returns them to Safeway or Times or wherever the shopping carts call home. But if the shopping carts are abandoned and disabled and left to desecrate Waikiki, the gem of Rep. Brower’s district, he will unsheathe his mighty sledgehammer and beat the carts to smithereens.

Yes, that’s what I said, beat the disabled carts to smithereens – then take them to a recycling center or leave them for city crews to pick up.

Whattaguy! What a weird guy.

I’m also thankful for the city crews, those good public servants who go forth each day to collect … well, to collect Rep. Brower’s smashed-up shopping carts, among many other things.

While I’m on this theme, allow me to express my appreciation for those at the recycling center who decide which of the items in the Boylan family blue bin go where: paper, plastic, brown glass bottle, green glass bottle or clear glass bottle, aluminum cans, newspaper, colored cardboard or plain brown cardboard or … the list goes on.

“Dear high strung-Filipina, light of my life, do they take this at the recycling center?” I ask.

“I don’t know, I think so,” says she.

So it goes into the Boylan family blue bin. The poor recycling sorter will have to decide – along with what to do with those tiny pieces of smashed shopping carts.

Now don’t misunderstand. I appreciate and indeed am thankful for Rep. Brower’s frustration. Frustration is, after all, the mother’s milk of political activism. Frustration drives people to their windows to yell into the night: “I’m fed up, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Then they lead a petition drive, write their congressperson or file their own candidate’s papers.

Notice I did not say “smash up a disabled shopping cart.”

And who among us who lived through the long mayoral tenure of Frank Fasi isn’t thankful for political theater? Frank was its master. He made us laugh; he made us cry; then made us exclaim in dis-belief, “He did what? You’ve got to be kidding.”

Fasi, the Connecticut-born son of immigrants from Italy, made a giant local shaka sign his own. He donned a Stetson cowboy hat and saved, not the damsel in distress, but a beleaguered, aging and almost-dead bus system. And when a Nixon aide spoke ill of that “Jap” senator from Hawaii on the Senate Watergate committee, Fasi threatened to punch him out.

But while he entertained, he always governed as well, and while he dug up a section of Hotel Street and replaced it with grass and greenery, I don’t remember him ever taking on a shopping cart.

Enough. I’ve abused Rep. Brower enough. Besides, he announced last week that he’s put away his sledgehammer and has no further plans to abuse shopping carts.

Let us all be thankful for that.