What happens when you allow dozens of squatters to seize control of public property and erect shacks and tents, chop up stolen bikes, indulge in illegal drugs, turn the place into a third world shithole, and keep packs of vicious unleashed dogs?
They dig in and start breeding the dogs while authorities sit on their thumbs and mumble.
Following a couple of publicized dog attacks along the jogging and bike path near the Nimitz Viaduct and its massive squatter camp, authorities have apparently been roused from their torpor and were shocked (shocked!) to find that there are now about 80 dogs there and the squatters are breeding the mutts and selling the puppies for profit.
The city is planning to “sweep” the site today.
So now the question is whether authorities will simply allow all the squatters to return tomorrow and turn a blind eye until the problems get totally out of control yet again and they are shamed enough by publicity about a preventable tragedy to once again conduct a “sweep” and begin the stupid cycle all over again.
That strategy doesn’t seem to be very effective.
How about reasonable and consistent enforcement and outreach to prevent problems from becoming crises?
“You can’t build a shack here. We told you that yesterday. The same is true today. Pack your crap and leave or you will be cited for trespassing and your crap will be impounded. A shelter and counselors are available to assist you. By the way, do you have any outstanding warrants?”
And by the way, it has now been a solid year since Mayor Caldwell announced that the city was spending $6.3 million to purchase a former factory nearby in Iwilei and convert it into a state-of-the-art facility for the homeless.
He hasn’t mentioned the project since, and nobody seems interested in following up on it since they swallowed the initial splash a year ago during the heat of a tense election campaign.
And so the cycle continues….