How would you like to be given one minute to leave your home before it was going to be bulldozed away?
How would you feel to see your shelter and your possessions in a heap?
Homes are our comfort, our health, our sanity, the very essence of normalcy.
The downtown Hilo shelter destroyed recently (Tribune-Herald, Nov. 22) was an act of disrespect toward people with feelings.
Just because “the unhoused” were different, just because they might have minimal financial buoyancy, and just because it might have been a health and safety issue, the city demolished their home.
Downtown Hilo has nearly no public spaces to sit, relax, have a snack and/or simply talk story because the Downtown Improvement Association and the city government are fearful of the homeless occupying that space. We fear people who do not look nice, perhaps don’t smell nice; we judge them negatively rather than look them in the eye and try to understand them.
Homeless people, like body odor, flies and mosquitoes and xenophobic people, will always be with us. We better learn to live comfortably with them.
Cultivating patience, tolerance and learning about ourselves from those unwelcoming issues is what I am talking about.
Danger and distress
Currently around the Big Island, we see dozens of Hawaii state flags displayed upside down, especially along the roads there are many pickup trucks with 3-foot-by-5-foot state flags attached upside down to the truck beds. According to the United States Flag Code, an American flag upside down means a sign of distress or great danger.
And indeed, there is plenty evidence of our state suffering in distress, and even great danger. Just consider the following:
• Public roads are blocked by a handful of people protesting the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (a project legally permitted to proceed), and our sate and local government officials refuse to enforce existing laws.
• Unfriendly attitude to business and other economic generators.
• Taxing and spending by the county is out of control.
• Surface conditions of streets and roadways are allowed to deteriorate to the point where vehicle occupants risk losing their tooth fillings.
• Reduction in state/county recycling programs. (That will result in illegal dumping elsewhere in the community!)
• Building Department takes six months or more to approve simple construction projects.
• Construction waste now is having to be shipped to the west side (watch for illegal dumping and increase in construction costs).
So, yes, folks, you can lengthen the above list yourselves and conclude that our island is showing significant signs of distress and is in danger of sliding downhill toward a state of anarchy, which is defined as: “a state of society without government or law, political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control, lack of obedience to an authority; insubordination, confusion and disorder.”