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Tally of damaged light poles at Kakaako park doubles

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  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    At Kakaako Waterfront Park, an opened electrical box was connected to a battery, on Oct. 5, which in turn was connected to an orange cord that runs into a tent.

Twice as many electric light poles — 13 — were broken into to tap into the electrical system at Kakaako Waterfront Park than were previously estimated, leading to the ongoing, indefinite closure of the park at 6 p.m., according to the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

On Oct. 6, the discovery of vandalized light poles that run along the Kakaako shoreline and throughout the park prompted HCDA to cut off the power to prevent injuries and immediately close the park at night.

Normally the park closes four hours later, at 10 p.m.

Aedward Los Banos, interim executive director for the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which operates Kakaako Waterfront Park, initially told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that about half-a-dozen light poles were believed to have been damaged and the leading suspects were homeless people trying to charge their cell phones or run electrical appliances.

HCDA spokesman Garett Kamemoto told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today that 13 poles were found damaged and the repairs are expected to cost $6,642.

Most of them are located around the park’s amphitheater immediately adjacent to the University of Hawaii’s Cancer Center where homeless people frequently camp out.

A private contractor will repair the poles but Kamemoto did not know when the work will begin or how long it will last. So it’s unclear when people — especially surfers and body boarders — will be able to legally use the park again after 6 p.m.

Los Banos previously told the Star-Advertiser that, “Theft of utilities is a crime. They are causing property damage.”

In July, the HCDA closed the adjacent Mauka and Makai Gateway parks to repair landscaping and sprinkler damage allegedly caused by homeless trespassers who had taken over the parks.

The initial notices said Mauka and Makai Gateway parks would be closed until Aug. 15 “or until further notice.”

Both Gateway parks remain closed.

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    • We probably need an even tougher leader with clear vision tempered by humanity and innovative thought that translates to concrete action to address the problem of homelessness of which light pole damage is only a symptom.

        • Do you honestly think Djou would do any better? The only thing Djou knows how to do is vote no on everything. The Tea Party motto is to keep government out of people’s lives as much as possible and let them fend for themselves.

        • That is to say do you wish to address the problem or punish someone for your inconvenience?

        • Mandatory shelters are met with cries of internment camp. Genocide is too extreme and met with cries of Hitler. Leave them alone they have rights says the ACLU. It is not a crime to be homeless but they are committing crimes so now what? None of our politicians will rise to the challenge and they can never agree, nor can the public. In the mean time “Hey what’s for lunch David?” “I don’t know Kirk, why don’t we go have steak.”

    • The problem is that it’s difficult to prove who committed these crimes. It may be time to decide if these homeless who refuse to go into shelters should be arrested for camping illegally, if that is an arrestable offense. I know that there is reluctance to do this because of the cost of incarcerating them for any length of time, but with the damages they are causing, it may be worth it. They may then be persuaded that moving into a shelter is a better option. There will always be a few that will continue to resist, but I’m betting the numbers will decrease with continued arrests.

      • It’s not hard to “prove who committed these crimes”. The previous article said that some homeless person tapped into the electrical system in a light pole and a electric line went to a tent. Whoever is in the tent obviously did it or, at least, is guilty of receiving stolen property. They should arrest these people and send a message to the other homeless.

  • As the homeless have proven over and over they have no respect for private or public property, we should not have any respect for them, start cutting back on support.

    They must learn respect or continue to live in poverty on the edge. We are done wasting money on total losers.

  • It’s time the City and State start spending money in arresting and prosecuting these individuals who damage and mess areas! The cost spent may equal or even be less than the ongoing cost to continue repairing these facilities!!!

  • The more homeless shelters you build, the more will come. So, my advice from Texas is to keep building Oahu. Keep on building. Keep on building Section 8 housing such as the upcoming one in Makiki. Keep on expanding low income, homeless shelters like the one where people play paintball. Keep on building and they can now keep on coming to your lovely state.

  • A group I help with to maintain some property has met with “vandalism” of the water hoses and nearby electrical lines. The homeless are people who do have jobs but financially stressed and cannot afford rent. I’ve found that they are skilled and resourceful and do know about plumbing, electrical and carpentry work. A lot of them do have skills but no jobs or homes.
    It did take some skills to tap into the electrical lines. Follow the lines and you’ll probably know who did the deed. Yes, there might not be any evidence but if they are using the electricity, then they would be an accomplice or receiving stolen goods yes? You have something to charge them with.
    Will this help to solve the “vandalism” or homeless issue? No, but they might be willing to do community service as a form of punishment. We then can employ them, at “community service rates” and have them fix the many public buildings we have or repair the damage they did.
    I see state highways being maintained by furloughed inmates. Can’t we have them maintain our buildings and public properties too? The money they get paid can beheld in escrow till the day they are released and now they will have some “seed” money to start life outside.
    This would only be available to those who are willing to work and start rehab.

  • I used to go down to the park many years ago before the homeless took it over. Now I wouldn’t take my grandchildren there and I wouldn’t go either. Yes, the homeless are unfortunate and many need help. But why should I be limited in my choices to take my family for outings because others are mis-using the facilities? This should be addressed just as much as concerns for the homeless are addressed.

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