Okay, it’s easy to mock wealthy neighborhoods that express alarm about ne’er-do-wells being sighted in comfortable and privileged enclaves.
The newspaper reported that a few down-and-outers have been spotted in Hawaii Kai, along with some busted up furniture and other indications that there may be a few more lurking in the underbrush.
Elected officials are on guard. Meetings have been called. Discussions will be held. Action will be demanded.
And really, that’s what everyone should expect. There’s no sense in allowing things to deteriorate to the ridiculous conditions we’ve seen in Ala Moana, Waikiki, Kakaako, Iwilei, Chinatown, Pearl City, Waianae and other neighborhoods before trying to get a handle on the situation. All those neighborhoods should be demanding, and receiving, swift attention too.
The city’s neglect of some neighborhoods is simply outrageous and disgraceful.
But the news about Hawaii Kai reminded me that the City Council, in its infinite wisdom, inserted into Honolulu’s annual budget $2 million for each of the nine City Council districts to address “community revitalization,” such as affordable housing and homeless service centers.
That struck me as a ridiculous excuse to load a bunch of pork into the budget so council members could steer it to their friends and supporters. Some districts obviously have much more serious problems than others, so providing an equal amount to each may sound egalitarian but in reality is just a foolish way to tie up and waste money.
So what’s happened to that money so far? Anything at all?
And what about the $2 million earmarked for District 4, which includes Hawaii Kai? Has it been spent? Will it be spent to address the latest concerns?
Or will neighborhood leaders just demand that the homeless be chased out of Hawaii Kai so they can be somebody else’s problem?