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Homeless ban proposed for park


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POSTED: Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The City Council is proposing Honolulu's first 24-hour, 7-days-a-week prohibition of homeless people from public property - Kapiolani Park.

               

     

 

Council meeting

        The City Council, serving as the Kapiolani Park trustees, will discuss a measure today that would ban homeless from sleeping in Kapiolani Park at all hours.
       

» Time: 1 p.m.

       

» Place: City Council Committee Room, Honolulu Hale, second floor.

       

Honolulu already has an ordinance that prohibits homeless from sleeping in city parks from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. But a new proposal would make Kapiolani Park the exception to institute a ban at all hours.

“;It has been a huge issue,”; said Alethea Rebman, president of the Kapiolani Park Preservation Society, a watchdog group that oversees the park. “;We have gotten more comments from the public about homeless than any other issue.”;

The City Council, which serves as the Kapiolani Park trustees, will hold a meeting at 1 p.m. today to discuss kicking homeless out of the park - an issue that has been controversial in the past.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann faced heavy criticism several years ago when he began cleaning island parks, including Ala Moana Beach Park, which forced homeless people out.

Bob Finney, chairman of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, said homeless people are able to come back every day despite the ban by staying up at night and sleeping during the day.

“;Kids should not be afraid to play in the park,”; Finney said. “;And we want our visitors to leave here with a great impression to come back. I feel bad for the people that are truly homeless.”;

Rebman said there are some reports that homeless persons even charge tourists to use the bathroom.

“;Kapiolani Park is unlike any other park,”; Rebman said. “;If the Council passes this law for Kapiolani Park, I think it's very much a step in the right direction.”;

Kapiolani Park is owned by a public charitable trust that is dedicated to keeping the area open for public recreation.