- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Local lawmakers on the Big Island are postponing a bill that could affect property of homeless people.

West Hawaii Today reported Wednesday (https://bit.ly/1l3rT7H ) that Councilman Dru Kanuha of Kona postponed the bill after hearing that a dozen people expressed concerns about the measure to allow the county to confiscate personal property left in public places.

Kanuha says the bill doesn’t target the homeless. Others who testified disagreed.

Commander David Carlson of American Legion Kona Post 20 says the county shouldn’t be rough on the homeless.

“Taking away their prized possession, as minimal as it is, is not helpful,” Carlson said.

Public works officials say the bill came about because the department found personal property in a driveway leading to a baseyard. Officials discovered there were no procedures to deal with the property.

Public Works Director Warren Lee said the cart with household goods and personal items belonged to a homeless man who usually hangs out across the street.

County officials say it’s a problem for homeless people to leave their belongings unattended, even temporarily.

“We’re trying to tackle the problems in a holistic way, not a heartless way,” Councilwoman Karen Eoff of North Kona said. “We all know we have to do more and have to also protect our parks for the residents who use them and the visitors.”

The bill as written would require people to remove their possessions from public property within 24 hours of written notice. Moving the property to another public place wouldn’t count as removal.

Items that aren’t removed would be impounded, then sold or destroyed in 30 days if unclaimed.


Information from: West Hawaii Today, https://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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