Homelessness: City Council To Vote On Re-Affirming Anti-Camping Ban

Behind the Honda Center 2 ABThis Tuesday, June 20, the Anaheim City Council will vote on re-affirming the anti-camping ordinance enacted in 2013 to prevent city parks from being turned into homeless encampments. The ordinance added the ability to prosecute, under appropriate circumstances, camping and storing personal property in parks as misdemeanors rather than mere infractions – giving the city stronger tools for reclaiming the parks for the public.

For months now, homeless “advocates” have mounted a relentless campaign to pressure the city council to repeal the 2013 city ordinance prohibiting camping and storing personal property in city parks.

This is an opportunity to ordinary, working Anaheim residents who believe their parks should be protected for the enjoyment of the public to come to city council and speak in support of the anti-camping ordinance.

The ordinance was adopted because La Palma Park and other city parks were being overrun by homeless encampments. Homeowners in adjoining neighborhoods found themselves faced with issues such as transients defecating on their property, and finding used condoms and needles in their yards. To the extent these encampments established footholds and grew, the public was effectively denied the use of their parks.

To the activists demanding repeal of the anti-camping ordinance, protecting neighborhood safety and quality of life is “criminalizing homelessness.” They subscribe to the radical notion espoused by the ACLU that sleeping in parks is a civil right.

Homeless encampments that are increasingly dominated by criminal elements are spreading through Anaheim along the Santa Ana River and in flood control channels. Yet, these activists demand the city not only allow the homeless to live in Anaheim parks, but that public park restrooms remain open all night long – thus permitting this blight to more easily encroach on Anaheim neighborhoods.

Councilman Jose Moreno publicly endorsed repealing the anti-camping ordinance during his 2016 council campaign, and in 2013 Mayor Tom Tait voted for the ordinance only reluctantly. Moreno has agendized discussion of the homeless issue for every other council meeting, publicly speculated to enforcing the anti-camping ordinance only makes things worse and downplayed any connection between the growth of homeless camps and the mass release of inmates from state prisons during the last few years.

Given all these factors, Councilwoman Kris Murray agendized a vote on re-affirming the anti-camping ordinance. A majority of the current councilmembers – Denise Barnes, James Vanderbilt, Jose Moreno and Steve Faessel – were not on the council when the ordinance was adopted. As the homeless encampments grow – and with that calls by homeless advocates to accommodate these encampments with government-sponsored amenities – now is an opportune time for the new council to recommit itself to the maintaining the anti-campaign ordinance.

This is a huge issue in West Anaheim, and this Tuesday will be an opportunity for District 1 Councilwoman Denise Barnes and Councilman James Vanderbilt – a District 2 resident – to let their constituents know where they stand.

District 3 has seen a real upsurge in homeless encampments, to the frustration and dismay of homeowners and businesses there. It will be interesting to see if Councilman Moreno remains committed to his campaign stance supporting repeal of the anti-campaign ordinance, or if his time on the council has moderated his views.

Anaheim’s parks are intended to provide residents with a clean, sanitary and safe space to relax and recreate, where parents can take their children to play and run around without fear. The City of Anaheim’s primary obligation is to those residents who use the parks for their intended purposes.  They work, pay their mortgages and rent, pay their taxes and obey the law. They have raised or are raising their children by the park. They shouldn’t have to take their children to their neighborhood park and worry about hypodermic needles on the playground, illicit activities in public restrooms, and other dangers. A day in the park is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable, not fretful and anxious.

The Tuesday, June 20 city council meeting will give these residents a platform to show they – and not fringe activists – speak for Anaheim’s neighborhoods.

25 comments

  1. I am posting this reply from Anaheim Anytime request that I made about folks that I observed drinking booze many times in broad daylight and camped out for weeks on Citron and La Palma:

    Your Anytime request # 3253310 has been resolved with the resolution:
    Hi Linda, I am an officer on our Homeless Outreach Team. Our unit is comprised of two full time H.O.T. officers and two officers on the P.E.R.T. team. That stands for psychiatric emergency response team. The two officers on the P.E.R.T. Team deal with the homeless sometimes but their primary duty involves working with a county clinician to work with the mentally ill.

    I am very familiar with the folks who camp on Citron and La Palma. We have tried for several years to get them off the streets but they just don’t want to go. On Sunday night I drove by and didn’t see them though so I have no idea where they are right now. Thanks for the message ma’am. Danny

    • “Danny” who? Could we have the full name of the LEO that sent you this reply? I believe many videos have been taken that can confirm there are many more than 2 Homeless Liaison Officers on duty. Maybe they are considered “part time” which would be an even more egregious misuse of City, County and Grant funds considering the lowest income for an officer “working with the homeless” is 180k/year. To say that a homeless person just doesn’t “want to go” when it comes to getting them “off the street” reflects more on the system being used to get them off the street than the people being forced to reside there. That is obvious.

  2. The community of NIMBs Need to understand that as homeless advocates we want the homeless off the streets too, but in a humane way not by infringing on their constitutional rights of the fourth and eighth amendment rights, once we start saying it’s ok to infringe on this constitutional rights just because their homeless then remember that anyone of us could become homeless at anytime homelessness sees no color or finacial status. The ordinance of camping and storage is unconstitutional because the cops are over reaching the law. Not having at least Porta Porties outside the parks is a health hazart for all, do to the fact that people living in the streets have to go somewhere in the bushes, do to the fact that park restrooms are being closed and some of the resturants won’t allowed homeless people to use their restrooms, now think for a minute where would you go if you had to go to the restroom and there were none anywhere ?

    • Know that since this camping and storage ordinance was in place, things have gotten worse if not, it hasn’t done anything to deter people from sleeping in the trails or the riverbed, homeless people won’t just disappear, that is why we need campgrounds with structure, bathrooms, showers, and storage, Homeless people are now what I call Campers without a home, shelters are just one solution but the cost is high, campgrounds won’t be permanently it would only be a way to that those who are waiting for housing or jobs
      As a community, we should be demanding these temporary campgrounds, we need to start doing things differently. Albert Einstein Quoted Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is ludicrous.

      • And why can’t you and other “advocates” be honest about who it is you’re advocating for? Next time you speak at the Anaheim City Council, admit that the encampments are full of criminals and drug addicts, that more and more of them don’t want help but want the rest of us to provide them free stuff so they can live outside society and its rules. That would be refreshing.

        Unless you can be honest like that, law-abiding people who work for a living are just going to tune you out.

        • I have admitted that drug dealers and thieves have been preying on the homeless woman, teens and disabled, I don’t associate myself with drug dealers or addicts or the thieves, I have interviews with the elderly woman and disabled, and talked to many others, remember we had a recession 2008 and now we’re in a depression, if you didn’t get affected you wouldn’t know how many people lost their homes and pensions who never got back on their feet, do to their disabilities. many were denied their social security disability or are still waiting for.
          it seems that if you stop being afraid and just go out there and start talking to the people in the street, then you would hear so many issues that got them to being homeless and yes many are so distressed that they falling into drug addiction, which are the ones that drug dealers prey on. Many of the drug addicts are not even homeless they just like to trash the homeless encampments. Plus there is no real help for many who don’t qualify for help because there is no affordable housing who work but can’t afford rent due to their low wage salaries.

        • Agreed

    • What you want is for people who work, pay taxes, obey the law and support themselves to re-arrange society to accommodate people who are homeless because they don’t want to not be homeless.

      Sorry, pal. There’s no constitutional right to squat on public property. And we’re not obligated to fund squatter villages full of criminals who use them as bases to use and sell drugs and go out into our neighborhoods to burgle and thieve.

      Sorry Lou. The jig is up. You and your fellow “advocates” have used up everyone else’s patience and compassion. You’re just enabling chaos and crime.

      • You are so oblivious to the problem and laws of our Constitution, you would give up our constitutional rights just to try to get rid of our homeless community, do you know that the county spend 300,000,000 last year just on emergency calls, over 15,000 calls to the police department, arrest, jailing, storage and then court time, public defenders, just to release them back into the streets. all this at the cost of tax payers like you. do you know that it would have cost far less than just by keeping them in shelters so that the cops can get back to work on the real criminals out there?

      • You must know the story of Dennis. An elderly man who worked for a Long Beach Hospital for 30 years. He rode his bicycle to work every day for those 30 years. He was in a hit and run accident where a vehicle hit him so there was no way to secure insurance for his injuries. He suffered injuries to the extent he was confined to a wheelchair. During this time, he could not work. He lost his job. He lost his apartment. Lou is the one who finally responded when a group of people were seeking someone to help this man who was stranded in an Anaheim park in the rain where his Landlord dropped him off, a few possessions from his life in a garbage bag, sitting on a bench. It took him a very long time to get disability. The shelters he qualified for charged $500/mo. Lou is the “advocate” who helped Dennis. I think your comments are because you enjoy seeing people who do not rise to your standard of life suffer. There is no reason to slander any advocate associated with Lou and especially Lou, himself! Lou is out there helping the elderly women who have had even their Depends undergarments confiscated by this “Homeless Liaison Team” and it is Lou who was available when a veteran was found with a serious injury to his foot that resulted in partial amputations. If this veteran had not been discovered, he would have died. Slandering Lou and Lou’s work and anyone associated with Lou who is ADVOCATING for the HOMELESS is MURDER. Murder by association.

    • I agree, has anyone really had to use a restroom, only to be turned down due to a sign that reads “Customers Only”. It’s horrible to be rejected when you need to eliminate. It’s rough on homeless because of being “homeless”, so what resolution do we agree too. The residents are against this yet, see the results in their neighborhoods. As a community someone must stand up in. City council meeting And be diligent to find a solution. This is not the only place where this disease is spreading. I drive from San Bernardino-Orange County to Los Angeles and see tents or simply people curled up on a curb sleeping. This is an epidemic we must face, create a Program to fulfill the rights of the homeless, to treat the dual diagnosis, mental illness, or drug addiction. Where do we Start and what may I do to help?! Is what’s we need to be saying as a people!

  3. Larry Herschler

    Take a bus and move to the desert. Lots of space there. Seriously use Fairview in Costs Mesa. Stop supporting this population and if they are collecting government $, they must be off drugs and show efforts at moving off the streets. Unfortunately too many of them do not want a place because they would have to follow rules of the house. Keep the no camping ordinance

    • Yes there is that huge facility like Fairview in Costa Mesa that use to be for the Mentally ill, 100 acres more like a city on its own, that alone would take care of many of the homeless people in the streets, the county needs to contain the problem which has gotten out of control, by not sheltering these people the problem will continue to grow.

      • The camping ordinance has done nothing but cost millions of tax dollars money, it would more efficient for the city open empty lots with a structure campground with storage, bathrooms, and showers, this wouldn’t cost the city much and it could have its benefits as it would bring some revenue by charging people a small fee to keep the premises running tax free, all it would take is a small fund to start, Nancy West from Alfresco Gardens has all the figures on who low-cost this would be vs shelters or hand-outs, for those with no money they would have to work for their space.This would elevate the majority of homeless people in the parks and trails.

  4. When Kris Murray put her infamous homeless ordinance before the City Council, she fooled even the Mayor stating that it would cost zero dollars to enforce the new “Quality of Life” legislation. This Ordinance has cost a great deal of money by creating a homeless liaison task force of only police officers who are paid $180- $250k/ year. The officers receive special salary. The citizens that are being unconstitutionally harassed by this Ordinance (which started as infraction level offenses and upgraded to misdemeanor after Kris Murray stated “JAIL IS A HOUSING RESOURCE!”) are experiencing LOSS of their own acquired belongings that they use for the sake of mere survival. The Constitution states that citizens have THE RIGHT TO LIFE. By deeming a person’s activities and belongings “BLIGHT” so that they can be criminalized and incarcerated and face paying fees in Court that keep them in a constant state of poverty, denies them this Right. Calling the homeless and at-risk-homeless (because there is no safety net for the at-risk so they end up on the streets also as OCs homeless population grew by 54%) “criminals” means you are giving them a term after the fact. In order to stay ALIVE, a person needs to be able to SLEEP/REST, USE THE RESTROOM/ELIMINATE, EAT, DRINK, SHELTER THEMSELVES FROM THE ELEMENTS. Denying HUMANS those things means you want them to DIE. There are other ways to prosecute actual criminals! Crimes are committed in wealthy neighborhoods also. Chief Raul Quezada stated himself that the drug problem in the wealthy community exceeds the impoverished and homeless communities by 80%!!! If LEOs can enforce laws on actual criminals in wealthy communities without taking away water, food, shelter, restrooms, denying the wealthy the right to sleep, and criminalizing their belongings and activities meant for survival – they can do this in the expanding homeless community that has reached CRISIS status. Enforce laws on CRIME – unless the LEOs are so incapable they cannot do that – without removing the RIGHT TO LIFE from an entire population of vulnerable people. If you disagree, you are a person with a murderous heart feasting on blood lust and celebrating the deaths of the homeless people in your community. Period!!!!

  5. Can Lou point out in the constitution where it states one has the right to trespass and break the law? Anaheim is bending over backward to help and yet for people like you, it’s never enough. Rather than engage in solutions, you go around name calling and harassing police. We don’t want our parks to look like the channel!
    We are doing enough to offer help and give them a path out of homelessness, you seem to want to keep them in it.
    Those of us that live near the camps are living in utter chaos. Most of the members have no respect for others or others property. A good chunk are addicted to drugs with no desire to change.
    City net has been very successful in their efforts which is a plan of outreach AND enforcement. How many homeless have Lou and the other advocates successfully taken and kept off the streets?

    • “How many homeless have Lou and other advocates successfully taken and kept off the streets” is a really laughable comment. I’ll leave the legal comments to the ACLU who has been building several class action lawsuits against the City and County regarding violation of human and civil rights. City Net is notorious for raking in grants intended for homelessness and at-risk homelessness prevention, applying it to their pockets before it reaches any homeless person. There is little to no respect for their organization on a national scale – as this is a national epidemic. Orange County has a unique opportunity to set a precedent. Citizens who harbor hatred against the homeless would rather suffer financial loss while watching the homeless person’s right to LIFE being stripped as some strange Romanesque murdering scheme to satisfy blood lust. There are no adequate “paths.” This s a national crisis with homeless populations growing in some areas (including OC) by 54% in the last year alone. You are not living in “utter chaos” if you have a home, belongings and utilities that allow you to survive and rest. That is a snobbish, pretentious, ridiculously privileged statement! Laughable! NIMBY ^^^^^ The Ordinance is “the law” – it was created to criminalize a person’s belongings and activities so that they could be punished financially when they have no money and therefore incarcerated in a for profit imprisonment scam. There are people in the wealthy communities breaking the law but their activities and belongings that are intended for survival are not made illegal by the likes of Kris Murray – a single anti-homeless human – using power to create unconstitutional laws. Siding with the anti-homeless Ordinance is siding with Murder – straight up.

    • We also can’t look the other way and ignore this issue when it’s all around us, hoping “someone” will fix it. It takes ALL of us working on solutions to resolve it. I believe it’s called TeM Work! Please reach out and research on how YOU can make a difference and not enable or ignore this happening.

  6. I’m an advocate and started H4H Outreach by FB blanket, tarps, hygiene items from donations, during cold weather.
    It’s with great disgust that our Cities cannot reach deep in their pockets and create a Temporary ⛺️ campground for them. I’d like to scratch deeper on this Lou, and Zia with your knowledge and help.

    • An abundance of help IS being offered! It is being refused. Every city that has tried the camp ground route has had disastrous effects. NO!!!

      • SP, you’re just a troll. You say there IS help, then why is this a NATIONAL CRISIS? EVERY city offers the exact same things. People like you, in your mind set of MURDER and HATE, always say the SAME THING and always say your City is doing MORE than anyone else! It’s not working ANYwhere. It’s not the PEOPLE, its the WAY things are being approached. 1.) raking in funds and grants for huge salaries and bonuses for charities and LEOs that do nothing except…. rake in the ca$$$h! 2.) Label belongings and activities of a vulnerable group of citizens “BLIGHT” aka UGLY stating that now those “ugly” things are “crimes” 3.) Ticketing and Incarcerating and Confiscating from people who have NOthing Every city is doing the same thing – making places where the homeless congregate unsuitable to “camp” ie putting large millions of dollars worth of boulders around the riverbed – incorporating and instating “Quality of Life” legislation promoting the “Infractions” become “MIsdemeanors” – all resulting in robbing people who have no bed, no food, no water, no restroom, are often mentally ill, disabled, elderly, or young people aging out of the foster care system. No city has tried a camp ground route! Try looking for an established camping ground intended for the homeless supported by a City – only one exists. Pinellas Hope in Florida. Look it up and continue trolling and slandering good people who work toward good things for the least of us because it really makes you look like a f’in Saint, brah.

        • Perhaps you should look at Portland and Seattle and they success of their campgrounds, brah.
          Taxpayer have a right to a quality of life and to not see their communities blighted.
          We are offering people an opportunity to get off the street and sadly, many refuse. If you can’t see that, then you’re blind to the problem.

  7. SAY NO TO HOMLESS! We need to stop it so that we can get to the root problem here. By accepting homeless we are increasing the problem. We need to keep it illegal so that we can address those that really need help as opposed to those who want to take advantage of a “meal ticket.” We need to discourage homeless so that only the people that really need help don’t get lost in the crowd of free loaders.

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