Kona has been my home for over 40 years. I have always loved it and watched it grow with interest. Of course, changes are always occurring, most for the good, but some not at all positive.
Perhaps the most dramatic and traumatic change in all the years I have lived here is the onslaught of the homeless and their elitist attitudes. As a long time working registered nurse, I am particularly concerned about the lack of proper hygiene displayed by these hostile and often aggressive individuals.
Yes. I know that mental illness plays a part in the behavior of the homeless, but there is also rampant alcohol and drug addiction. Help is often proffered from the public and private sectors, but often refused. Many homeless want all the advantages of living in our beautiful tropical paradise, but refuse to take any responsibility for their own support. Rather, they aggressively insist that we taxpaying and productive members of this society support them and often confront us in public areas, demanding food, money, and whatever else they think they deserve for free.
The criminal behavior of the homeless is rampant. Robbing, beating, stabbing, and rape are evidently focused on many of us who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Where is the wrong place and wrong time for us to be susceptible to the homeless confrontations?
• Our presence in the daytime on public streets, either walking or driving.
• In the evening while shopping, attending public functions, or going to a restaurant.
• Putting gas in our vehicles.
• Coming out of a grocery or drug store, where the homeless confront us and demand their choice of what we have purchased.
• Loitering around or near our homes or finding the homeless inside our garages, selecting what they wish to have as their own.
• Confronting us at public beaches and swimming pools, as they urinate, defecate, self-pleasure, or even fornicate in front of us and our children or simply scatter their trash about as they wander where they please.
• Dominating and destroying our public parks and bathrooms.
• Panhandling on busy street corners that is disrupting and creating a traffic hazard.
• Crossing public streets and highways wherever and whenever they wish with no consideration for traffic or the laws. There have been some reported instances where the homeless have actually purposely walked in front of slow moving vehicles and feigning minor injuries in order to gain sympathy and money.
How can hard-working business people continue to deal with the homeless and their confrontation of perspective customers? Kona is not a good place to have a business.
What must the tourists think and take home as a memory of a dangerous and dirty Kona, whose government does little to maintain peace and dignity for residents and visitors alike? Kona is not a safe place to visit.
How can productive citizens and their children function safely in Kona with what seems to be the “walking dead” confronting and exposing us to their disgusting, unhygienic, and criminal behavior on nearly every street and in many neighborhoods? Kona is not a safe place to raise children.
Providing clean shelter, food, and health care on demand for these homeless will in a short time only create a concentrated slum for those who do not want to conform on any level.
Years ago Chicago and New York created new and free public housing for the homeless and indigent. In a short time, those areas became the ghettos of ruling criminals and are now just frightening slums, where even law enforcement are fearful of entering. One cannot give a handout to those with a closed fist. Kona cannot afford the homeless.
Why would productive individuals stay in Kona, pay the high taxes, have to work numerous jobs, deal with substandard education, and questionable health care, and then be brutalized by the homeless?
Wake up Kona and demand meaningful laws and effective compliance by local and state authorities!
Jane Dierenfield is a resident of Kona.