Mayor Blangiardi’s statement in opposition to ACLU Lawsuit
News Release from Office of the Mayor, Sept 27, 2023
HONOLULU – Mayor Rick Blangiardi released the following statement after the City filed its response on Wednesday to the lawsuit brought by the ACLU challenging enforcement actions that impact the homeless.
“Homelessness is a complex and pressing issue, and it affects many individuals and families in our community. I want to start by emphasizing our commitment to addressing homelessness and finding long-term solutions. This is not just a legal or political issue, it is a humanitarian crisis that affects everyone.
The ACLU lawsuit seeks to stop the City from enforcing our public welfare laws, specifically:
- Camping and Park Closure Laws,
- Sit-Lie Laws (which ban sitting or lying on the public sidewalks in the City’s busiest areas from 5 am to 11 pm and in public malls during designated days and hours),
- Stored Property Ordinance (prohibits storing personal property on public property),
- Various Sidewalk Obstruction Laws (sidewalk nuisance ordinance, sidewalk obstruction ordinance),
- Lodging Ordinance (which prohibits persons from sleeping or resting on a public sidewalk or public place, and refusing to vacate upon request).
The City disagrees with the ACLU on these issues, and we will vigorously oppose their lawsuit. We need to defend the City’s ability to enforce laws that ensure access and use of City property for all residents of the City.
We understand that homelessness is not a crime, and we must treat those experiencing homelessness with respect and empathy. Consequently, we are also exploring alternative solutions to homelessness, such as increasing housing inventory and expanding support services.
But at the same time, we cannot ignore the tremendous and ongoing burden being borne by communities who are dealing with those who refuse the help they are offered by both the City and our partners.
We strongly disagree with the ACLU’s contention that the rights of the public to use and enjoy public spaces is subordinate to the rights of the homeless. The public welfare laws that the ACLU seeks to enjoin the City from enforcing enable the City to protect all interests, and we must continue to serve and protect all residents of Oahu.
Together, we will continue our efforts to build a more inclusive, compassionate and safe O‘ahu for everyone. ”
For the video of the Mayor’s statement please click here.
SA: Mayor Blangiardi responds to lawsuit over homeless sweeps
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