Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring toured the illegal homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River Trail on August 31 and posted about her visit on Facebook. Among the camp inhabitants she met was this gentleman – an ex-felon who had been released from Missouri state prison and is now living in the lawless squatters camp that sprawls for six-plus miles along the Santa Ana River. He had been shot in the foot a month earlier:
Kring stated in her post:
“My tour of the riverbed homeless encampment yesterday made my commitment to close this illegal encampment even stronger. This is basically a prison yard with no rules. Drug use and sales of drugs are rampant and being controlled by the local gangs “shot callers” The majority of the people here are early release criminals victimizing the small minority that want help. “
Here is Councilwoman Kring’s post:
Contrary to the narrative being spun by homeless advocates, their enablers and the misguided, those homeless who are simply down on their luck and anxious for a hand up to self-reliance are a minority of those living on the river. According to an memo from the Orange Police Department – the only law enforcement agencies that conducts enforcement on the SART – to City of Orange leaders, “the portion of the homeless population who are not living in the streets by choice and would like to find permanent shelter and/or work to support themselves” is “estimated to be less than two percent of the homeless [the OPD’s H.E.A.R.T. officers] contact.”
As the OPD memo states, the bulk of the encampment residents are the “criminal element…engaged in illegal activity including narcotic usage and sales, theft, assault, public intoxication and indecency and other crimes,” and those who “do not want public assistance or shelter. They choose to live outdoors and their basic needs are met. Most refuse shelters due to rules they are required to abide by. No alcohol or drugs are allowed and most have a curfew without the freedom to come and go as they choose.”
These are not those “experiencing homelessness” or “our folks who are in the condition of homelessness” (the politically-correct euphemism relentlessly employed by Councilman Jose F. Moreno). Such disingenuous phraseology implies being homeless is like catching the flu, rather than – as in many, if not mot, cases – the end result of bad choices or a lifetime of bad habits.
Absolutely help those who want and will accept help. But those who will not, cannot be allowed to illegally live in parks.
Tonight is Anaheim’s opportunity to lead the way by approving Operation Home Safe and bringing to bear what has been the missing component on this issue: enforcement of the law. Thus far, the approach has been lots of carrot and little-to-no-stick. Human nature is unchanging, and the reality is people need deadlines. Informing SART homeless encampment denizens that there is a date certain beyond which they cannot live on the river trail will have the effect of concentrating minds and forcing necessary life decisions.
The homeless advocates will doubtless be Uber-ing encampment residents to tonight’s Anaheim City Council meeting in a last-ditch effort to stave off enforcement of the law on the river trail.
However, a meeting of nearly 200 Anaheim residents last week- primarily from District 5 and 3 – with Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Steve Faessel vividly illustrated, the people of Anaheim are fed up and want the law enforced. They want their parks and neighborhoods back. They are tired of excuses, double-talk, task forces and dialogue. They want action and leadership from their elected leaders.
The will of the people of Anaheim is loud, clear and unambiguous on this issue. If the new council majority wants to walk all the “People’s Council” talk, they’ll unanimously approve Operation Home Safe.