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Rep. Brower says he is putting down his sledgehammer

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 6:19 a.m. HST, Nov 20, 2013

State Rep. Tom Brower is retiring the sledgehammer that he has used over the past few weeks to demolish stolen and abandoned shopping carts that homeless people use to carry their belongings. 

"It's time to put down the sledgehammer. The point that I was trying to make has been made," Brower (D-Ala Moana, Waikiki) told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Tuesday. "Now that the issue of shopping carts is on our minds, the question is are we going to move forward and try to solve it or just let it become status quo." 

Brower's unusual cart-cleanup tactics made national news and sparked a firestorm of controversy after the Star-Advertiser on Monday first reported about his actions.

If the carts were clearly marked with a store's logo, Brower said he returned them. If they were not, he would pound them with his sledgehammer and either drop them at a recycling center or leave them for the city's bulky pickup service.

While many residents supported Brower's unorthodox clean-up, homeless advocates earlier today were calling for legislative leaders to take disciplinary action against him. 

"I'm not trying to attack the homeless," Brower said. "I'm trying to attack the issue of cleanliness, but some people interpreted as an attack on the homeless.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has commented by email or telephone. I've listened to all of those comments. Some supported what I did and some did not, but I really appreciate their thoughts."

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