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Map of homeless people’s locations OK’d

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    The state Attorney General’s office said this week that the map that Rep. Gene Ward published in his online newsletter does not violate the Constitution.

The state Attorney General’s office told state Rep. Gene Ward that a map he published in November of suspected homeless encampments and homeless activity in his East Honolulu district passes legal muster and is constitutional.

“The stated purpose of the map is for the protection of the public, so that families with children will know to avoid such areas,” Deputy Attorney General Diane K. Taira wrote in a letter to Ward on Monday. “We have researched the potential issues involved and have found nothing to indicate that the map you published runs afoul of either the Constitution or present law or Hawai’i case law.”

THE map that Ward published in his monthly newsletter identifies 11 suspected homeless hot spots from Sandy Beach to Hahaione.

It describes a man near the China Wall surf spot off Koko Kai Beach Park 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 Ward’s map could be unconstitutional. The National Law Center on Homeless &Poverty also said it was concerned that Ward had violated federal laws that bar the release of medical information.

But Taira wrote in her letter to Ward that “the descriptions used on the map do not contain names, photographs, or specific descriptions of homeless individuals; (2) the map only appears to report factual incidents and events; and (3) the map refrains from publishing any confidential personal information, such as medical records.”

WARD, (R, Kalama Valley-­Queen’s Gate-Hawaii Kai), on Wednesday called the Attorney General’s opinion “a win-win. I’m happy with it.”

He plans to reproduce the map if the information changes. In the meantime, Ward said, it will help social service outreach workers continue their efforts in East Honolulu to encourage homeless people to enter shelters or get help with their personal problems.

Ward said the initial stories in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about his map “made it sound as if we have no compassion in East Honolulu.”

Ward reiterated his previous overseas work as a Peace Corps volunteer, and said, “I know what poverty is and I know what sickness is.”

He plans to visit homeless encampments in his district for the annual, national Point in Time Count of homeless people and is encouraging his 15,000 constituents to join him the week of Jan. 23 to interact with homeless people along with social service outreach workers.

“We’ve got to put our money where our mouth is and walk the talk,” Ward said.

With the Attorney General’s opinion, Ward now plans to reproduce the map if locations of homeless activity change and require an update.

Future maps, Ward said, will indicate whether “we have or have not made progress.”

“Ideally,” he added, future maps will show progress reducing the estimated 20 homeless people in East Honolulu and “will have zeroes” where homeless people currently live.

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  • as predicted the aclu and the nlchp’ s use of the weasel word “could” were fake-law tactics against rep. ward. no federal or state laws were violated in mapping areas in east oahu populated with illegal campers.

    in fact, rep. ward’s map of illegal campsites can aid homeless advocates by pinpointing illegal campers who obviously need social and health services.

    in other words: homeless lives matter.

  • Gene Ward is taking a proactive position on this matter. He is not a mean spirited person. I have watched him run his campaigns with dignity and honor. I have personally helped Gene and know that he would do anything possible to assist another person in distress. That is Gene’s nature. Gene Ward is my representative, my friend and a man that truly cares about his constituents and the people of our State. This recent AG’s opinion will invigorate members of the community to get involved. Gene will be the first to tell you that community involvement is the best way to handle the houseless situation. Government cannot do it all. It will take religious base organizations, civic groups, associations, land owners and other NGO’s to move to action. I would like to express my personal appreciation to the AG and Gene Ward. Now lets get moving.

  • “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 Ward’s map could be unconstitutional. The National Law Center on Homeless &Poverty also said it was concerned that Ward had violated federal laws that bar the release of medical information.”

    Both organizations were created with honorable goals and good intentions. However, along the way they have become corrupted. Too bad! They need to re-evaluate their missions and revise their mission statements if they continue to proceed in this manner.

    • These organizations attract the dumbest lawyers that were at the bottom of their classes and couldn’t get jobs at any law firms. That’s why they always make incorrect statements and why they generally lose cases that go to court.

      • LOL – I always wondered where the son of the former Hawaii Democratic Chair ended up. If you recall from the 80s, he failed to get into the UH law school until his dad stepped in and influences the process. Not sure if those articles are in-line yet…

  • I’m glad Ward didn’t just take it down because of veiled threats from the ACLU and other advocate. Usually people back off when threatened by these groups. Also, was it really necessary to get the state AG ‘s opinion? Its pretty obvious there was no violation.

    • With the Point In Time count coming up, perhaps, a statewide map will be created and published for everyone to see. Then on the next years count, they can update the map and hopefully see a progress and/or migration patterns.

  • Now that there’s a map, this sounds like a potential tourist activity. Convince the Japanese to take a tour of “Hawaii Kai Homeless”, give the tourists some cool badge or trinket or bag for making the trip, pretty soon it becomes a Japan fad, tours start lining up to make the turn onto Hawaii Kai Drive, and everybody makes money!

  • Round them up, drop them all off on Kahoolawe and air-drop cases of cheap knives, meth and LSD from HPD’s confiscation/evidence locker (the stuff that HPD’s finest haven’t stolen yet, that is) and let nature take its course. If the old bombs don’t solve the problem, time and patience will.

    Perhaps set up surveillance cams and have Oceanic sell special cable packages to watch the all the fun, and dedicate a portion of the profits to the public school system. No more crack-heads lining the streets, smarter kids, everyone wins!

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