Contrary to popular myths and stereotypes, Hawaii, and especially Honolulu, has a serious problem with poverty and homelessness. It's not hard to spot tent cities in parks and near industrial areas, where hula dancers, surf boards and mai tais are nowhere in sight. In fact, Hawaii has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation, with a population of around 17,000.
So along comes State Rep. Tom Brower -- and his sledgehammer. Brower, wearing an Armani hat, has taken it upon himself to destroy and confiscate shopping carts used by homeless people.
Brower, a Democrat, was quoted by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser as saying, "If I see shopping carts that I can’t identify, I will destroy them so they can’t be pushed on the streets." Later, on a local news station, Brower told a reporter, "I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets."
Yeah. He's quite a hero, isn't he? Destroying one of the only means by which homeless people can carry their few possessions -- or, in some cases, earn some extra money by collecting recyclable cans and bottles. Specifically, Brower smashes the wheels off the carts, making them impossible to use. So instead of homeless people pushing shopping carts, Hawaii will have a homeless population dragging bashed up, wobble-wheeled carts now. Nice guy.
But it gets worse.
In addition to the sledgehammering shopping carts, Brower also rousts sleeping homeless people and boots them out of their space, "If someone is sleeping at night on the bus stop, I don’t do anything, but if they are sleeping during the day, I’ll walk up and say, 'Get your ass moving.'"
ThinkProgress underscored Hawaii's pathetic treatment of its homeless population, noting that a bill was passed recently authorizing $100,000 to essentially air-lift homeless people off the islands.
So much for the spirit of aloha.
Feel free to drop Rep. Brower a note here. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 808-586-8520.