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Police work to clear homeless from park


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POSTED: Friday, December 11, 2009

The number of tents occupied by homeless people at Kapiolani Park has decreased as police issue more citations and warnings to illegal campers before Sunday's Honolulu Marathon.

As of Wednesday night about 22,480 runners had signed up for the annual event, and about 7,500 people were to attend a marathon luau and concert tomorrow at the nearby Waikiki Shell.

The marathon activities are taking place on the mauka side of the park, while most of the homeless have congregated on the park's makai side near the pavilion at Queen's Surf beach.

Police Lt. Cary Okimoto said police issued 18 citations and 12 warnings to illegal campers at the park Tuesday and Wednesday night, considerably more than the usual few written daily.

;[Preview]  Honolulu Marathon means more citations for homeless campers
 

With the Honolulu Marathon coming up, homeless campers told KITV police have stepped up efforts to get them out of Kapiolani Park.

Watch ]

 

A strip of land along the makai side of Kalakaua Avenue, where the homeless had tents, has been placed off-limits due to maintenance.

Okimoto said the number of citations slowed because tents were put up along the makai side of Kalakaua Avenue while the city tried to determine whether that strip of land was a part of the park. Once the city made the determination that the strip was park property, police began issuing more citations, he said.

Earlier this month there were about 40 tents in the area. While the homeless people had about 20 tents at the park yesterday, they said they have been forced to move at night or face being cited.

Roark Mallory, a former security guard from Chico, Calif., said he has been camping at Kapiolani Park for a year and received a citation Wednesday night, the first since April.

“;I guess they want to move us out,”; he said.

Lawrence Manasa, a former cook who is looking for work, said he received citations on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

“;I don't know what I'm going to do tonight,”; he said.

Arlene Yamashiro-Nakagawa, a volunteer homeless coordinator, said she has been trying to find places for people at shelters.

She said when they cannot sleep at Kapiolani Park, some have been walking around, drinking coffee at fast-food restaurants and riding the city buses.

“;I would really like to find a solution,”; she said. “;Even homeless shelters are just a Band-Aid.”;

Lee Foster and Sonia Petrack said they are from Queensland, Australia, and unaccustomed to seeing the homeless in tents in plain sight.

“;If they're in plain view (in Queensland), they get moved away,”; Petrack said.

Foster said homelessness is a problem everywhere and is worse in cities like London and Los Angeles where people are panhandling on the streets.

He said Honolulu is attractive.

“;It's so clean,”; he said.