Sidewalk Bill Advances Despite Occupy Honolulu

Michael Levine/Civil Beat

Honolulu's ban on keeping personal possessions on sidewalks is one step closer to becoming law, but in many ways the fight has just begun.

With about 20 angry sign-holding Occupy Honolulu protesters in attendance and three police officers in a side room in case things got out of hand, the Honolulu City Council's Committee on Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs on Thursday advanced Bill 54.

If it passes, the bill would allow the city to confiscate all personal belongings left or kept on public property such as sidewalks and parks for more than 24 hours. A final vote will be held Dec. 7, according to the committee's chair and the bill's sponsor, Tulsi Gabbard.

"This is not an easy subject," Gabbard said. "I think its genesis is to apply a fair standard and try to serve the many competing interests."

No public testimony was heard, as the measure had already been discussed Tuesday morning before a different committee needed the room. Thursday's discussion included just the Council members, a city attorney and a representative of the Carlisle administration. Gabbard said the public will get another bite of the apple at the Dec. 7 meeting.

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