Pubdate: Fri, 31 Oct 2003
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Section: Island Voices
Copyright: 2003 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Author: Mike Gabbard
Note: The author represents District 1 ('Ewa, Kapolei, Wai'anae Coast) on
the City Council. To read about the "ice epidemic" in Hawaii, go to .


Over the last several months, the community has come together to do
something about the crystal-meth problem in Hawai'i. But we'll lose our
focus and little will be accomplished unless the current momentum continues
against this scourge.

Already, there are signs that the public's interest in ice is melting. A
recent House-Senate Task Force on Ice and Drug Abatement forum at the
Capitol Auditorium drew fewer than a dozen members of the public. But the
citizens of the Wai'anae Coast offer a model that shows how to keep the
community involved and motivated.

On July 24, over 1,000 residents of the Wai'anae Coast joined together for
sign-waving and an "Ice Breaker" town hall meeting to address the
devastating effects of drug abuse with a particular focus on ice. For six
weeks, my office partnered with Ho'omau Ke Ola, the Wai'anae Weed and Seed
program, Ark of Safety Christian Church, Hina Mauka and many others to
coordinate and plan this event, which brought together law enforcement,
elected officials, kupuna, social service providers, churches, unions,
schools and area residents to come up with an action plan to tackle this

As we planned for this event, it was our top priority to make sure that
people who attended the meeting didn't just leave feeling good that they had
"done their part." We wanted them to get involved and stay involved in this
ongoing fight. And they did.

Shortly after the forum, a community organization was formed in Wai'anae
called PA'I (People Against Ice). Pa'i means "to slap," and this grass-roots
organization is taking a stand against the drug problem through community

On Sept. 25, PA'I held a second community meeting, with over 200 people in
attendance. At this meeting, the group focused on signing up people for
Neighborhood Security Watches that patrol their neighborhoods looking for
suspicious activity to be reported to the HPD. Service providers passed out
informational materials on how citizens can get involved. Once again, the
strong voices of Wai'anae came together united in their commitment to take
their community back.
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