Editorial Board


Last week members of the Honolulu City Council approved measures that would keep homeless people out of tourist destinations, under pressure from the tourism industry. Hotel representatives have received complaints about safety and human waste.

Members of The Spectator Editorial Board agree that those in power in Hawaii should not be able to enact a ban on sitting and lying down on sidewalks, effectively displacing the homeless people in Waikiki, Hawaii.

One member said they can see why having homeless people on the streets in popular tourist destinations could be a problem but questioned where the homeless people would go if kicked out.

City officials have plans to set up a temporary encampment on a remote island, allowing some of Oahu, Hawaii’s homeless people to camp with a wastewater treatment plant and former dump.

Another member said extra money from the tourism industry should be used to provide resources to relocate the homeless people. They suggested building a center that would trade a roof for manual labor. Helping homeless people get back on their feet would in turn clean up the streets.

One member said the ban of sitting on sidewalks reinforces the stereotype of what a homeless person is and does.

According to ABC News, Breene Harimoto, a Honolulu Councilman, said, “We’re helping the public to view the homeless as faceless people – not even people, but objects to sweep away.”

Another member said while the area is a tourist destination, some homeless people might still consider it home.

One member said when you travel, you go to experience a place and the social issues come with that experience. Another member questioned if homeless people, sitting and playing a guitar would face charges since they are providing a service.

“Sitting on the sidewalk is a way that they are able to stay alive,” member said.