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City steps up sidewalk, park cleanup efforts

By Gregg K. Kakesako

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 12:18 p.m. HST, Aug 06, 2013



City maintenance crews returned to Aala Park, Moiliili, Chinatown and Pawaa early this morning to clean up sidewalks and parks used by the homeless.

This morning cleanup operations began at 2:30 a.m. and centered around parks and sidewalks at In-Ha Park, Aala Park, the River-Pauahi-Smith-Beretania-Kukui-Aala streets areas, Sun Yat Sen Mall, College Walk Mall, Vineyard Boulevard, Kamamalu Park and Kauluwela Mall.

Armed with three city laws designed to enforce park closure hours, sidewalk nuisance and private property left on public property, city officials stepped their enforcement efforts on July 1.

The sidewalk ordinance allows the city to remove items deemed "nuisances" from city sidewalks with only a 15-minute notice. The law allows for people to retrieve any items seized if they pay a $200 fee. 

The Stored Property Ordinance allows the city to remove personal items left on city property with 24-hour advance notice.

All city parks close at 10 p.m.

Only three tents remain on the sidewalk on Beretania Street fronting Thomas Square this morning after city officials on Friday cleared the area used as an encampment by (de)Occupy Honolulu protestors. Friday’s operation was the third time crews removed tents, furniture and signs at Thomas Square belonging to the protestors. Two tents were removed. Crews said only one person was present when they arrived, along with two dogs. 

The protest group has been at Thomas Square since November 2011.

The city began enforcing the sidewalk nuisance law July 1 with sweeps on the Ala Wai promenade, Moiliili baseball park, Aala Park, River Street, Pawaa In-Ha Park and Kakaako.

Authorities said these are all locations where the city has received complaints. 

Some of the cleanup operations occur at night near parks in conjunction with the enforcement of park closure hours, the city said.

A sidewalk nuisance is defined in the bill as "any object or collection of objects constructed, erected, installed, maintained, kept or operated on or over any sidewalk, including but not limited to stalls, stands, tents, furniture, and containers, and of their contents or attachments."

The sidewalk and stored property laws are opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and (de)Occupy Honolulu. They argue that the bill criminalizes homelessness and free speech.






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