Ward asks attorney general for opinion on homeless map
July 17, 2018 | 80° | Check Traffic

Hawaii News

Ward asks attorney general for opinion on homeless map

  • COURTESY GENE WARD

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State Rep. Gene Ward insists there is nothing unconstitutional about a map he published identifying locations of suspected homeless people in his East Honolulu district, but Ward nevertheless has asked the state attorney general for a legal opinion.

However, the Attorney General’s Office, citing client confidentiality, said it will not disclose its pending opinion on whether the map passes constitutional muster.

Josh Wisch, spokesman for state Attorney General Doug Chin, said Tuesday his office received a written request from Ward (R, Kalama Valley-­Queen’s Gate-Hawaii Kai) on the issue and “will review and provide a confidential response.”

Wisch said the attorney general receives “client” requests “all the time, and that includes legislators.”

The map that Ward published in November identifies 11 suspected homeless hot spots from Sandy Beach to Hahaione.

It describes a man at China Walls as a meth addict “Whose Mother Has Restraining Order Against Him,” and describes a “Mentally Ill Homeless Man (who) Frequently Screams at People” at Hawaii Kai Towne Center.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and the Washington, D.C.-based National Law Center on Homeless &Poverty told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the map could be unconstitutional.

In his December newsletter Ward remained defiant.

Let “me assure you that there is nothing unconstitutional about the homeless map published in my November Newsletter, particularly because no specific names were given of homeless people,” Ward wrote. “Also, the map identified illegal encampments and illegal activity. There is nothing unconstitutional about a map identifying the location of illegal activity. If that were so, the HPD crime map would be unconstitutional. So, the constitutional concerns raised are rather spurious, nonetheless, I have written a letter to the Attorney General asking for a legal opinion regarding the map of the homeless encampments on the front page of my November 2016 Newsletter which was sent to my 15,000 Hawaii Kai constituents.”

In his letter to Chin, Ward wrote:

“My purpose in writing you is to get a legal opinion on what the newspaper and some quoted legal experts and federal housing authorities are suggesting that by publishing a map where homeless camps are known to exist, may in affect be unconstitutional or a type of invasion of privacy. Our newsletter never listed a person’s name or photo, only the locations where they were encamped. …

“In particular, I request that you state what laws suggest that I cannot publish the aforementioned map of my community, and by what law, this can be considered unconstitutional or profiling when it is done to protect the public. No names or faces have ever been collected in our efforts in Hawaii Kai, and our Homeless Task Force has attempted to assist with social services to over 2 dozen persons so far, but all to no avail since all have refused our services, even transportation of their goods to a shelter in town.”

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  • KHijacked by the homeless and their lawyers.

    When did the homeless, become so powerful, that their constitutional rights, have far exceeded the constitutional rights of average citizens?

    When the homeless are loud & violent, they seem to get greater protections, from the Washington DC – ACLU.

    • Rep. Ward is a great legislator. He isn’t afraid to tackle the homelessness issue. How is anyone in the community allowed to tackle homelessness in their community if you can’t even publicly identify where the homeless are? If we keep turning a blind eye, then nothing will ever be done.

    • Hawaii Kai should have chinese maps,japanese map and then ha0le map. That way when selling mochi go japanese house. Plus no go chinese house because they pake. Oh and avoid ha0le house because they going call 911.

      • Emmm, I think you’re a bit confused. The people he identified were Caucasian (white people for you NanakuliRacist in case you don’t know what Caucasian means and refer to them as derogatory ha0le) bums. But then again, you as a devout “D” would never use the racial card would you now? Regardless of their race, they should all be sent to Nanakuli but NanakuliRacist objects because the additional competition for scraps of food and places to lay a tent will be difficult for NanakuliRacist to deal with.

  • The ACLU has become the attack dog for the liberals/progressives. Attack first using the U.S. Constitution as the basis and if it sticks with the public right or wrong, you’ve done your job.

    Trespassing on public and private property is trespassing. It doesn’t matter if you have a home or don’t have a home.

    • The ACLU often takes on unpopular causes. Its the reason they exist, and the reason that they were one of the few groups who took the US government to court over the internment of Japanese Americans in 1942. I don’t think the “regular taxpaying citizens” need help. They control the government ( for better or worse ).

  • “The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and the Washington, D.C.-based National Law Center on Homeless & Poverty told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the map could be unconstitutional.”

    that the aclu and nlchp issues a statement that includes the weasel word “could” rather than filing a knee-jerk lawsuit suggests that ward’s map of areas where illegal campers and harassment of the public occurs “could” be constitutional.

    • Agree! Complete ploy by the ACLU to cease-and-desist. Ward should fire back and COULD charge every bum for trespassing, loitering, indecent exposure in public and littering. I’m sure those shanty campsites COULD easily fall under “littering in public” penal codes.

  • If someone camped out in front of Ward and Goodman’s swanky houses and offices, publicly tracked their movements and invasively offered them humane psychiatric intervention for their toxic narcissistic sociopathic obsession with rich people stalking the homeless, look how fast the fur would fly. Of course there is nothing illegal about making such a map, the First Amendment protects all types of bonkers behavior.

  • How can there by any more “regulation” of Mr. Ward’s map of the homeless than there is of my postings on Facebook and in MidWeek of homeless encampments on public and private property?
    It’s still the First Amendment.
    And in his case it seems to be a very legitimate public service.