Photo by Richard Ambo, Honolulu Advertiser
Workers from the city Department of Enterprise Services cut a chain used by longtime beachgoers to hang their belongings. Regulars at Kuhio Beach
say they're upset by the city's action. For decades, dozens of old-timers
have passed the time sitting in chairs along Kuhio Beach, watching the
waves, talking story or surfing, sometimes playing music.
been there so long that they have become part of the atmosphere that
defines the historic stretch of beach along Kalakaua Avenue. But yesterday
the city began enforcing a rule that prevents them from storing their
chairs or any belongings at the beach, which traditionally have been
stored overnight chained to the surfboard lockers or alongside the concession
stand. They also can't hang their bags and backpacks on chains draping
from the wall of the concession stand, as they have for as long as they
so stupid," said Judy Bell, 55, who was born and raised in Waikiki
and has surfed there for more than 40 years. "If they're going
to clean up the chairs, they should clean up everything ... Where are
we supposed to go after this? There's no place to go.
city workers had taken away the plastic lawn chairs some with
names written on them while dozens of old-timers and fellow surfers
protested. Holding signs that read, "Unfair to locals," "Leave
us alone" and "You take our view, our chairs, our backpacks
but not our souls," they protested the city's taking away what
they say is their way of life.
upset because a lot of us come to surf here. There's no parking nearby,
no place to store our bags, no place to sit down in the shade,"
said Suzanne Walker, 51, from St. Louis Heights, who has been surfing
every day for the past four years at the spot known as Queen's. "They're
disbanding this ohana."
Police at the Waikiki substation said there haven't been any complaints about
the people who hang out near the concession stand.
Not everyone was unhappy at the city's action. Some beach vendors, who pay to rent
space on the beach, said some of the regulars were conducting surfing
lessons and taking away business.
The regulars say they will take up the issue with the City Council, mayor and governor.
Cowboy Rosa has surfed Waikiki for 40 years. Now retired, he has spent nearly
every morning at the beach, sitting in his plastic chair out of the
heat. "I relax, talk to people, just take it easy," said Rosa, 67.
"Looks like (the city officials) don't care about us. There's so
much other things to worry about. It's a shame."
Watching city workers cut the chains and walk off with stacks of chairs, Dino
Miranda shook his head. "It's so weird," said the professional
longboarder from the North Shore, who was once a regular at Queen's.
"This is a public place. These are public people. Why all of this?"
Source: "City crackdown upsets old-timers" by Catherine E. Toth, Honolulu
Advertiser: Wednesday, July 30, 2003