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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, September 9, 2002

Waimanalo folks show the true spirit of aloha

Ever since the city announced plans to close down the campground at Waimanalo Beach Park for renovation, a debate has been brewing over where the homeless who live there should go and how they can continue to receive charitable and social services.

Such concerns are a testament to the aloha spirit.

But while many of us feel for the homeless, we might not want them in our backyards.

Not the Waimanalo Hawaiian Homes Association. In a move that should be a lesson to us all, it has offered homeless campers a temporary haven at their center across the street from the park. The campers can stay for two weeks as long as they each pay a $10 fee for water and electricity and adhere to their rules.

If they break the rules against drinking, drug use, fighting and visitors after 9 p.m., they will be evicted from the center. Those terms are reasonable enough. Why can't such rules be enforced at the campground?

You can bet that once the renovations are completed, the homeless will return. Some will have drug or alcohol problems. Others might suffer from mental health problems. And plenty will be poor, law-abiding people who get their permits and don't trouble a soul. The rules should be enforced to protect them and other legitimate campers. As for the few bad apples, they'll need to shape up or ship out.