Art / Michael Daly, a portrait artist who creates his canvases on the sidewalks of Waikiki, was unable to work on March 22 because of sidewalk project barricades in front of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza. Daly had no choice but to set up his easel on the makai side of the street, which is occupied mostly by private property owners.
After setting up his easel, private security guards contracted by the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center ordered Daly to move because the entire sidewalk fronting the center is owned by Kamehameha Schools. Daly was warned that he could be arrested for “trespassing.”
During the Hannemann administration, the City & County had approved a budget proposal for a partnership between the city and private developers (the “Kalakaua Avenue Sidewalk Streetscape Project”) that would install special tiles leading into the entrances of private shops extending eight to 15 feet from the curb along some sections of the makai sidewalk of Kalakaua Ave. that could cost taxpayers as much as $100 million.
“This is of major concern in the systematic erosion of public property and land in Hawaii to private holdings,” said marketing consultant David Moskowitz in a letter to Councilmember Ann Kobayashi. Members of the “Save Waikiki Sidewalk” group claim the project “directly targets” independent artists and many others who gather on the mauka side of the street. The artist community and the Waikiki Neighborhood Board say it was unaware of the project, which the city claims was designed in consultation with “stakeholder developers.”
“This is a clear attempt to eliminate artists and other street exhibitors–and close down our First Amendment rights to free speech,” says Daly.