Ed Driscoll

Hawaii Five-O Meets Pruitt-Igoe

The Honolulu Advertiser notes that a local franchise offering Time-Warner Cable is threatening to cut service to a high-rise public housing project in that island city due to frequent assaults on their repairmen:

Kuhio_Park_TerraceOceanic Time Warner Cable is threatening to cut service to Kuhio Park Terrace, saying its employees have faced continuous harassment at the public housing project and in several cases have been spit on or urinated on and had objects thrown at them from upper floors.

The situation has worsened in recent months, Oceanic officials said, because workers are going onto the property with more frequency for disconnections or to fix vandalized equipment.

“All we’re trying to do is make sure that people can work safely,” said Norman Santos, Oceanic vice president of operations. “Our guys told us something needed to be done for their own protection. If the situation continues, we may be forced to remove our services.”

Oceanic and public housing officials met earlier this week to discuss the situation, which Santos said has been festering for years. Chad Taniguchi, executive director of Hawai’i Public Housing Authority, said he had never heard concerns about assault or harassment from Oceanic before.

But he had added that he is taking the issue seriously.

“Obviously, assault is not tolerated,” he said.

Taniguchi said Oceanic workers will be escorted to apartments at KPT by staff at the housing project from now on. He also said that any residents witnessed assaulting an Oceanic worker would be evicted. KPT residents will meet with public housing officials on the issue.

The Oceanic concerns represent another black eye to the housing authority over its management of Kuhio Park Terrace, the largest public housing project in the Islands with 614 units in two 16-story high-rises. Residents of the project, along with their neighbors have long raised concerns about security, vandalism and backlogged repairs.

Theodore Dalrymple, Tom Wolfe, and Jane Jacobs, the late pioneering critic of mid-20th century urban planning wouldn’t be the least surprised by this story, for reasons I outlined in a lengthy post from 2005. Le Corbusier’s blighted legacy will apparently live on, deep into the 21st century.

(H/T: Glenn Reynolds, who dryly notes, “But don’t worry. Public health care won’t be anything like public housing.” Well, that’s a relief!)