In the abalone light of dawn at Ala Moana Beach Park this morning, blue and green mounds lay scattered under a leafy canopy. Plastic tarps and collapsed nylon tents covered sleeping campers. These are the homeless that new city rules that went into effect this week were supposed to push out of the park.

A week ago, at the same time, I would have seen tents, with perhaps the occasional sleepy resident emerging into the fresh morning air. This morning, the number of encampments seemed about the same. It just looked less comfortable, even more forlorn. Bodies under plastic wraps. As for the shopping carts, the other target of the new law, well, as I ran into the park the man right behind me was pushing his grocery store shopping cart across the boulevard. And I found him later at his usual spot along the beach, along with his shopping cart. Across from Neiman Marcus, three more shopping carts were parked confidently near the scattered sleepers. One of the new shelters was ingenious, with open sides but a stable roof, perhaps a model for his neighbors. The scene made me wonder when we’ll find a way to help people find a better place to live instead of trying to drive them out of the parks. Isn’t there another way than the game between the city administration and the homeless in our parks? So far, it hasn’t seemed to lead either to fewer campers or to more dignity in the lives of those who live in our parks.

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