Some criticize Brower's sledgehammer crusade

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Nov 19 2013 12:36:54 PM HST
Updated On: Nov 19 2013 02:38:37 PM HST

The state homeless coordinator says the actions Rep. Tom Brower is taking on shopping carts used by the homeless is misguided.

HONOLULU -

Erick Jepsen lives on the street.  He's got three shopping carts and says he's seen many more in the area until Rep. Tom Brower showed up.

"I've seen him at Ala Moana, Hard Rock.  I've seen him over here," said Jepsen.  "I don't know what his range is or where he plans on taking it."

Jepsen says Brower's crusade is making it more difficult for some homeless to go about their daily routines.

"He's walking around like he's Paul Bunyan. His jeans are tucked in.  His boots.  He's got that sledgehammer and bangs the wheels in at a 45-degree angle and renders them irreparable pretty much," said Jepsen.

Colin Kippen calls it vigilante justice.  The state's homeless coordinator says the lawmaker's methods are misguided.

"The cart does not belong to the people using it, but it does not belong to the person who wants to smash it," said Kippen.  "It's almost as if we're replacing one wrong with another wrong.  Two wrongs don't make a right."

Kippen worries that Brower's example is one other might follow.

"Will they say, "Hey, I don't like that homeless guy other there.  I'm going to take my baseball bat to them?'" asked Kippen. "Is that the way we intend to operate here in Hawaii?  I don't think it is."

"It worries me because he has a weapon of mass destruction and if you can beat up on a cart for no significant reason, then I think he might just take it to another level and beat up on people," said Jepsen.

Rather than destroying property, Kippen says Brower should use his energy to build solutions to help those on the streets.

"In this moment of a rapid response, instead maybe we can be thoughtful, be reasonable.  We'll step back and we'll try to find how it is that we can build a community to fix this issue," said Kippen.

KITV spoke with Rep. Brower on Monday and he said he's about to go on a vacation, but when he returns he will be back out on the street looking for those misused shopping carts.

Meanwhile, Jepsen says he doesn't believe Brower's actions are going to change the homeless situation.

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