Wahiawa ‘Ice Palace’ drug bums FINALLY get booted

After years of doing nothing to stop the surly bums who turned an abandoned house on Ohai Place in Wahiawa into a notorious drug den dubbed the “Ice Palace,” authorities finally got off their duffs and started removing the abandoned cars and piles of crap that were blocking the sidewalk and wrecking the neighborhood.

Why the hell did it take this long?  Why couldn’t they have taken action immediately, especially regarding the illegally parked cars?

It sure seems like authorities put most of their efforts into coming up with excuses for not addressing these types of problems, then only act after the situation becomes a crisis.  And not just a crisis because residents are fed up and complaining, but a public crisis because they told their story to a TV station or newspaper.

We’ve seen this dynamic over and over and over again.

We’re seeing it right now on Beretania Street in Moiliili, where druggies have been illegally living in vehicles for months, monopolizing valuable parking spots, harassing passersby, and blocking the sidewalk with piles of crap.

At first, police said they could do nothing, and a cop was even filmed on TV saying that it was perfectly legal for people to live in their cars as long as they moved them occasionally (which neighbors said they did not even do).  He looked like he was very irritated that he had to get up from a day-long doughnut break.  Seriously.

And he actually said “can’t help you there” when a neighbor complained that police did not respond to his calls for help on the matter.  That’s outrageous.

And yes, that’s on the same Beretania Street where police headquarters is located.

Then, after the story ended up on TV last night, police abruptly reversed course and “discovered” a law that makes it illegal to camp in a vehicle parked on a city street.

Are those vehicles even registered, safety checked and insured?

Finally, enforcement is supposed to start today.

What a load of crap.

The truth is that police and other authorities too often just don’t want to be bothered with enforcing laws, even when residents who pay their salaries are begging for help.

That’s just totally unacceptable.

How many times have you seen tents illegally erected in parks, piles of junk completely blocking sidewalks so that pedestrians and the disabled simply can’t pass, blatant drug sales and use, public urination and defecation, etc., etc., etc.  The list goes on and on.

That’s bad enough.  But it’s absolutely infuriating when you see police and park maintenance people just roll on by and not even try to do anything about it while things get totally out of control.

No, police enforcement is not the solution to homelessness.  Much, much, more needs to be done, especially with regard to affordable housing and drug abuse treatment services.

But it’s ridiculous to give a “free pass” to a law-breaker simply because they are homeless or strung out on drugs, especially when they are wrecking the quality of life for others and being a real asshole about it.

It’s just insane that these problems have been allowed to get this bad for so many years and that authorities are still just occasionally “discovering” laws to address them.

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