The OC Register reports that the city is purchasing a 3.073 acre parcel (between Harbor Blvd. and Anaheim Blvd. near the 91 freeway) from Karcher Partners LLC for $3 million, in order to build a regional, year-round emergency homeless shelter.
City officials confirmed Tuesday that they are working toward building a regional, year-round emergency homeless shelter on a vacant portion of property that once served as the home base of the Carl’s Jr. fast-food chain.
While not a done deal, Anaheim city officials are working with their counterparts in neighboring Fullerton to bring a shelter to a 3-acre parcel bounded by Harbor and Anaheim boulevards, the 91 freeway and Carl Karcher Way. Until Tuesday afternoon, the City Council had kept quiet on why the property was purchased this month for $3 million. The shelter would be operated by Orange County.
A decision by the council could come by summer, said Kristine Ridge, an interim assistant city manager.
“I think the time is now,” Anaheim Mayor Tait said shortly after Tuesday’s City Council workshop on homelessness issues.
If that is the case, why was there no mention of building a year-round, regional homeless shelter when the mayor and city council voted on March 25 to purchase the property? Here it is – Item 21 on the consent calendar for the March 25, 2014 council meeting.
If the city bought the property with the intention of building a year-round homeless shelter, it’s interesting that no mention was made of that fact in the staff report or any other accompanying document. And given the repeated lectures on “more transparency is always better” when it comes to police oversight or Angels negotiations or most everything else, why was this matter so opaque?
There’s nothing improper with the city purchasing an available parcel for which it can see one or more potential uses. But it seems clear that the city had a very particular use in mind for these three acres, located very close to La Palma Park – the epicenter of complaints from residents about a homeless get city crowding them out of the intended and proper use of the park. It stands to reason those residents would like some advance notice that the reason the city is purchasing the property is to build a year-round homeless shelter.
And where is CATER on this? Fighting for transparency – especially with the use of taxpayer money — is supposedly their raison d’etre; shining the sunlight of transparency and letting the chips fall where they may? There’s no need here for them to rummage through the legal haystack for a needle upon which to base a lawsuit. At the every least, it’s three known members could engage in well-practiced thundering from the podium during public comments, or filing a blizzard of PRA requests. That is, if CATER is a bona fidepublic interest organization and not just another political interest group pursuing a distinct political agenda.