Homeless Advocates File Another Lawsuit, Claiming Clearing of Riverbed Encampment Discriminates Against The Disabled

Mike Robbins of the People's Homeless Task House

Mike Robbins of the People’s Homeless Task House

The progressive Left’s litigation counter-attack on the effort to clear the sprawling Santa Ana River Trail homeless encampment continues: today a small-but-vocal group of homeless advocates filed a federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit claiming the multi-jurisdictional enforcement-and-relocation program discriminates against SART homeless camp denizens who have disabilities – which the lawsuit claims is most of them.

The People’s Homeless Task Force and several homeless residents of the SART encampment are listed as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed today by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County. The lawsuit seeks to stop the enforcement and relocation program until it is modified to accommodate the disabilities of the SART homeless.

Each individual plaintiff – Derek MacArthur, Erik Teasley, Kim Gray, Raya Ives, Sharon Sweat, Stephanie Saint Vincent and David Ramirez – is described as “disabled as defined by the ADA and meets the definition of “chronically homeless” as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”).”

While most Americans think of disability in physical terms, the definition under the ADA is very expansive: “Disability” means “(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment.” [emphasis added]

The disabilities claimed in the lawsuit are primarily mental health issues.

The lawsuit claims:

“The County’s Program discriminates against homeless individuals with disabilities living at the Riverbed, including Plaintiffs, in at least three ways. First, individuals with disabilities are denied the benefits of the Program, including disability appropriate housing, as a result of their disability. Second, individuals with disabilities are required to participate in the Program assessments without any accommodation for their disability, which has a disparate negative impact on the participants’ health. Third, some individuals with disabilities are excluded from participating in the Program altogether.”

Among multitudinous claims, the lawsuit asserts the County’s relocation efforts are discriminatory because Health Care Agency staff are in uniforms, and uniforms are scary. Furthermore, HCA staff are frequently accompanied by law enforcement officers, who also wear uniforms, which boosts the scary factor.

The sanitation workers who pick up trash, human waste and used hypodermic needles along the SART encampment three times a week also wear uniforms. However, they aren’t mentioned in the lawsuit, so their uniforms must not be scary.

Some truths about the People’s Homeless Task Force are worth noting for the benefit of the public. It is led by Mike and Jeannine Robbins, who are fixtures at Anaheim City Council meetings and any public hearing touching on the subject of homelessness. They are known for verbally assail as “haters” other residents who disagree with their rigid and extreme views regarding homelessness. Mike Robbins, for example, has compared to Nazis and David Duke those Anaheim residents who favor enforcement of anti-camping and trespassing laws in public parks.

The People’s Homeless Task Force was invited by District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno to participate in his Homeless Policy Working Group. The PHTF responded by making Mr. Robbins’ their emissary.

The most amusing part of the lawsuit is the description of supposed damages the PHTF has suffered due to the County’s enforcement and relocation program:

As a result of the County’s planned eviction of Riverbed residents, PHTF has been required to divert enormous resources away from its mission in order to provide assistance to residents living along the Riverbed. PHTF has shifted resources to (1) addressing the County Board of Supervisors to oppose the eviction; (2) raising public awareness of the plight of the homeless and the negative impacts of the eviction; (3) contacting County personnel to gather information about the eviction and sharing that information with homeless Riverbed residents; (4) attempting to identify safe alternative locations for people living at the Riverbed to live; (5) mobilizing transportation and other equipment to assist people being evicted; (6) monitoring and recording the activity of County personnel along the Riverbed to identify potential civil rights violations; and (7) working to reassure homeless residents experiencing mental health symptoms caused by the eviction.

The lawsuit does not quantify the “enormous resources” supposedly possessed by this motley group of half a dozen or so progressive political activists – because those enormous resources are mythical.

Progressive reflexively resort to the court room when they fail to prevail in the political arena, and their fight to preserve the SART homeless encampment in the face of the massive opposition from negatively-impacted homeowners and businesses is no exception.

 

19 comments

  1. There is a VERY simple solution:
    Provide those living on the SART, Mike and Jeanettes address and DIRECT THEM THERE.

    Also Mirivette Judah has voiced concern.

    Print 1,000 flyers. Cut them in half and begin distributing them to the denizens on the crack trail.

  2. These guys are interesting to me. As best I can tell the Robbins family appeared about 3 years ago or less on the Anaheim politics scene. They spoke at a Anaheim City Council meeting for some reason and got the bug like so many appear to do. At first they were incredibly humble, respectful and seemed to appreciate just the opportunity to speak. But then they seemed to enjoy the limelight more than the cause itself. They clearly started spending what must have been hours upon hours preparing and rehearsing for something to say in the 3 minutes available at the City Council meeting including sometimes even the use of charts and graphs and handouts.

    They obviously got some compliments along the way and it must have become a rewarding experience for them because low and behold we have the making of genuine gadflies.

    In this case however, they don’t advocate for any original causes like a true advocate (See for example Vern Nelson, Lou Noble or dare I say Cynthia Ward?) but instead jump behind whatever cause is trending at the time.

    If it’s not the homeless issue as it is now then it is the STR’s as it was before. Or in their down time when there is no cause they use their 3 minutes to attack Lucille Kring who I don’t think deserves that level of attack hurled at her especially by junior.

    But I get it. It is a democracy and they show just how much of a true democracy we are in Anaheim. Here they prove anyone can get up and say anything about whatever they want and be heard and considered. They are an example of the purest form of democracy and for that I appreciate them.

  3. His jaw is going to be disabled if he continues to smoke!

  4. OK, the HCA “Uniform” is a polo shirt with the Agency Logo and Khaki Pants.

    So when I go to the Doctor for my health issues, I am supposed to be scared??? And of course, we now know why nobody wants to go to the Dentist….

    I truly appreciate the ADA laws, especially removing or offering alternative to stairs, etc.

    But this lawsuit is frivolous, and is abusing the true reason for ADA laws.

    Let me also state, I also VERY upset with the law firms who file frivolous lawsuits dealing with ADA access to small businesses. They need to place a additional step, where before the lawsuit can move forward, the business is given reasonable notice and time to fix the issue before having to pay the so called “victim”.

  5. Anaheim homeowner

    You can thank Jose Moreno for this. GET HIM OUT OF COUNCIL!

  6. Send them to Fairview. Has space for the disabled Stop blaming liberals and progressives. The folks to blame are the folks on the SART. Their choices led them there. I understand mental illness etc. Give them the support they need.at Fairview.

    • The plan is to close Fairview but it’s yet to be approved. Send thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown and his radical liberal buddies. It’s part of a larger move to transition people out of institutional-style centers. I may be wrong but seems we currently have a substantial number of these people living in homeless encampments as it is, from the last time the State dumped mentally ill people on the street, and these people don’t want help. Currently, there are not nearly enough small centers and mentally ill folks apparently don’t want help and advocates are obstructing to keep them on the streets and SART. Sounds like one big cluster f***.

      • The way you describe it, sounds like the Reagan 80s.

        • Obviously Vern you did not listen to Nancy Reagan, “Just say No!”

        • Yes, Gov. Reagan was instrumental in closing down CA mental health institutions. But you need to get your facts. He signed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act act in “67”; long before his Presidency. During his Presidency, he signed a different Omni… “Act”, which sent mental health responsibility back to states, where it belongs. I worked on his first Presidential campaign.

          Since you brought his name up without speaking of “who” lead the actual charge to influence then Gov. Reagan to sign the resulting “act” shows prejudice, naivety, or both. As always, Democrats, aligned with moderates from my party, had an abundance of compassion behind their magnanimous visions. Only their ideas didn’t then and seldom today, look further than an idealist outcome.

          During that era liberal Psychiatrists referred to mental institutions as “snake pits,” joined with good ole Libertarian lawyers chasing idealisms, moderates from my side, all armed with inaccurate data, and mounting mental health institution and maintenance costs, “moderate” Gov. Reagan moved to sign the Act.

          Anyhow, reasonable people on both sides of the aisle have generally accepted releasing patients onto the streets was a failure. But mixed with Gov. Brown’s early criminal release element, add his massive spending on a crazy bullet train, etc., (another topic) we now face THREE colossal social and fiscal failures. At some juncture, people must learn from mistakes.

  7. Some Dude in Anaheim

    Isn’t there a community meeting for Jose Moreno’s district? Those residents should show up at that meeting and demand answers from Jose as to why he’s so supportive of the Robbins family and their lawsuit.

  8. It’s easy to seat back on your couch and blame anyone for fighting for what they believe regardless of what side of the fence you are on. But me myself I’m going to stay on the Godly side because that a part of my foundation as a person. Actions speak louder than words and I have found out personally of knowing the Robbins family that its a lot more than talking at the city council meeting. When I first met Mike I was given food away at the SART and he was out trying to stay on top of problem.Helping those PEOPLE making sure they were being treated right. From what i know is that most Monday Nights they are ours meeting Housing is a human right and that even through Monday Night Football. Protesting out in that hot sun on Tuesday 2/6/18 at the mayor of Anaheim Benefit at the Grove, asking people to support the homeless. LISTEN: No one is saying that moving the people out of the river bed is wrong , we all agree but moving them out with no planned. With criminalizing the homeless for being POOR is something we all should struggle with. Keep up the fight

    • Why do people repeatedly say we’re criminalizing the homeless? No, we’re not. Laws were put on the books for reasons and must be enforced. Man chooses to rob a store; we didn’t criminalize him by having laws that say you can’t steal from stores. He made terrible decisions that lead to him robbing a store and must face the consequences.

      I’d like my family to feel safe and be able to use SART bike path and parks. As it is, they are not safe for anyone, least of all women and children. Homeless must abide by laws like the rest of us citizens. I haven’t been camping in years but can’t just head on over to a park of my choosing and pitch a tent till… Why? Because I am a law-abiding citizen.

      Compassion in many forms has been offered to those wanting to get off the street; unfortunately, too many homeless do not want responsibilities that go with assistance. Again, it’s not the city, county or citizens responsibility to control where they should go before they leave. These are two distinct issues. City and county doing their job by enforcing laws, and homeless deciding where to do so they are no longer breaking laws. Till then they are willingly breaking the law, and that can’t be tolerated, regardless.

  9. Kenneth you may want to do a bit more homework on the family you trust so much.

    No one is criminalizing the poor, we want to enforce the law on whoever is doing any criminal act. Let them squat at your house if you prefer. Because people live right next to SART…and they are miserable.

    Passing out a pizza to the transients isn’t helping, transients or advocates suing our city isn’t helping, look at what the SART has become. Be a part of trying to make it better. Not worse.

    • I love when someone makes a comment and don’t have the Balls to put their name on it . Typical tactics that the KU KLUX KLAN HIDING BEHIND THE SHEET. DISTRICT ONE SIGNATURE YOU ARE NOT EVEN NEAR THE RIVERBED BUT DISTRICT 5 IS, HOW CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE RIVERBED. You sound like you are the city council member of District 1. Afraid to sign your name, that’s the problem with social media people will say things to you and about you that they would never say in your face. District 1 is on the furthest west part of Anaheim, District 5 is where the riverbed is and I am near there so you cannot tell me a damn thing about the riverbed. How many times have you been down there Mr. or Mrs. KKK? Because I have been down there 40 to 50 times. First let me say nobody has a problem with moving those people out of the riverbed, the problem there is they failed to provide a place for those people to go. People like you say why don’t they go to the armory, well armory hours are only 7pm to 6 am, what are they going to do in the day? There are not enough beds and to answer your question I have had homeless come sleep on my street, you don’t have to talk to me and tell them to come to my house, but the difference between me and you is that I have a compassionate eye which comes from a compassionate heart.
      What God do you serve? Sounds like you worship the God of $$$$$$$$

  10. All I know is if you sweep the riverbed, they are now scattered throughout our community which includes our homes, businesses, school ect. Right now they are contained. There may be shelters with beds, but your crazy if you think they will go there. If they go there, there are rules. Majority want to do drugs at night and sleep in the day.

    Answer – make a “Hooverville” community in the desert and bus them out there and make them part of the county. I don’t agree with the technical part of the lawsuit- but it’s better than pushing them in the community.

  11. Offer help then enforce the law. Not just on the SART but every where.

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