POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 20, 2010
Mayor Peter Carlisle said yesterday that he supports a bill to ban tents and other large objects from urban sidewalks during daylight hours.
"It's an obvious problem," Carlisle told City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi and state Rep. Scott Saiki (D, Moiliili) yesterday during a meeting in his office, with reporters present. "The good news is that I think we believe that there is a reasonable likelihood that this will be found legal."
Carlisle said he will either sign the bill or allow it to become law without his signature. The mayor has until end of business Monday to act on the bill, which was prompted by complaints about homeless people occupying sidewalks.
When police will begin enforcing the bill is a separate issue. A Police Department official joined other city officials last week in warning that the law might not be enforceable unless "pedestrian use zones" mentioned in the bill are clearly delineated.
Another city official estimated it would cost at least $250,000 and possibly take years to define all the borders that would fall under the bill.
Lori Nishimura, an executive assistant to Carlisle and a longtime deputy prosecutor assigned to analyze city laws, said yesterday it would be up to the Police Department to decide whether pedestrian zones are clearly delineated.
Nishimura said that in Portland, Ore., where a similar law exists, only two or three tickets have been issued, and none have been challenged in court.
Kobayashi and Saiki presented to Carlisle a petition yesterday from 300 patrons of the McCully-Moiliili Library urging him to sign the bill.
Neighbors say up to several dozen homeless people camp on the sidewalk in front of the library during all hours of the day.
Kobayashi said the bill is not designed to penalize homeless people, but to ensure residents can walk freely on sidewalks.