District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno’s Homeless Policy Working Group held its first meeting this week. According to the agenda, it elected a chairperson, was briefed on the Brown Act and parliamentary procedure, reviewed the city’s homelessness policies, took public comments, and adjourned.
No word on whether working group member Mike Robbins continued to compare support for the anti-camping ordinance to the Nazi Holocaust, or whether Moreno cares that his appointee even cares that his appointee liked the great majority of his constituent to genocidal totalitarians. They’re probably too busy trying to figure out heretofore undiscovered “root causes.”
And while the working group jawbone, palaver and engage in intersectional dialogue, homeless encampments get bigger, the social pathologies that follow them grow and endanger neighborhoods in their sphere of impact.
Following are two videos of the Santa Ana River homeless towns posted by cyclists – one of whom can no longer safely enjoy it. One gentlemen wrote this heartfelt post about the ballooning Santa Ana River homeless town earlier this week:
“Our favorite place to ride bikes is the Santa Ana River Trail. It is a paved bike/running trail that runs all the way from Green River to Huntington Beach. It is a beautiful trail that gets heavy use from both runners and cyclists.
Because it is an isolated trail, there’s no car traffic to fight with. It’s always been a very safe place to be and I’ve felt comfortable letting Steven ride out ahead of me several miles and then I catch him. He rides alone and feels like a big shot and I don’t have to worry about him.
Steven did his first 25 mile ride here…going from Yorba Linda to the Beach on his little 20″ mountain bike when he was 6. He did his first 30 mile ride there. And his first 50. And his first metric Century (100 kilometers…about 62 miles), and was a big part of his Century ride (100 miles.)
Any time Steven wants to go for a long ride and not have to worry about getting killed by someone who thinks it is fun to crowd cyclists when they pass or people too busy on their phone to notice that they’ve drifted into the bike lane, he asks to go to SART.
SART has always been home to several small homeless camps, but they have never posed a threat to the other trail users.
Last year, the homeless population on the trail grew dramatically. Several local groups have been working hard donating time, money, and goods to try to help the homeless population. It’s been a particular concern during our particularly wet winter caused flooding along the trail.
I’d been hearing horror stories about how bad it has gotten but it had been a few months since we’d been out there and honestly I thought it was just people overreacting. I have a fairly high tolerance for riding in iffy situations, so I figured…no biggie.
Lisa and I rode the trail yesterday and what we witnessed was horrible on every possible level.
There are now literally MILES of post-apocalyptic tent cities lining the trail. The smell of urine and feces is overwhelming.
There are a number of reasons for the explosion in the homeless population in general and here on SART in particular, but among the most infuriating: LA has apparently been loading their homeless into busses and dumping them here on SART. Because nothing says “Liberal Compassion” like dumping the most miserable and vulnerable victims of your policies on someone else.
One curious thing is that much of the trail is still completely devoid of homeless camps. These areas all have signs posted saying no camping. We didn’t see any such signs in the areas with the camps. In fact, the Anaheim camps (it’s possible they’re all in Anaheim, but I’m not 100% clear on where the city limits are in relation to the trail) had areas designated with official looking signage for trash collection with most of the trash in identical official-looking trash bags. The whole thing felt like the city (or cities) where the camps are located are at the minimum being permissive of the camps and at worst they are encouraging them.
The trail is no longer safe. You used to be able to leave your bike leaning against a tree while you went to the bathroom. Now, the few bathrooms that are still open (several have been closed after being severely damaged by homeless people) are swarming with homeless and anything not under direct supervision gets stolen in a heartbeat. Drugs are everywhere and based on all the screaming and cursing we heard as we passed through, violence is probably common as well.
Trying to get our heads around this has been tough. Interviews with the homeless that show up from time to time in news stories are perplexing. Some say they prefer to live here than in a homeless shelter. And supposedly the city of Anaheim is offering “Free” (nothing is “free”…”Free” just means someone else has to pay) rehab…but you have to _want_ to be rehabbed, of course. I don’t know how many thousands of people are “living” here but this looks like something you’d see in a post-apocalyptic doomsday movie.
I’m attaching some picutes and videos to this post. They are horrifying, but they are not the worst that we saw. I wasn’t able to film the worst stuff because it was too sketchy and required both hands on the bars.
Here’s a highlight of what we witnessed:
* Dogs wandering around scrounging for food
* Multiple hypodermic needles on the ground right on the trail
* A man standing in the middle of the trail having a brutal fight…with nobody.
* A naked man standing next to the trail having a complete freak out.
* A couple standing in the trail screaming and cursing at each other.
* And my personal favorite for a trail I take my child to: a woman lying on her back on the embankment at the side of the trail having sex with a guy while two others waited in line.
Please remember these images the next time someone tells you how great the California economy is and how it is such a utopia of Liberal ideas.
The Facebook page Puff Rydaz posted this video a couple of days ago – a GoPro video of Anaheim resident Robel Gindaba another cyclist riding the Santa Ana River Trail from Katella Avenue south to the 22 Freeway:
Moreno and Mayor Tait and the small coterie of progressive homelessness “advocates” incessantly complain that this site is “spreading fear” with its coverage of homelessness.
And they are wrong. This site didn’t invent this crisis, but has been covering the reality of these encampments. This site isn’t responsible for these encampments, their conditions, nor the outrage and frustration they have engendered among taxpaying, law-abiding voters who exasperated at the manifest failure of their elected officials to ensure the law is enforced. They have run out of patience and at wit’s end with the failure of nerve on the part of local elected officials.
When the reaction of Moreno, Tait and their allies to the social media outpouring of testimony, frustration and anger is condescending hand-wringing about “spreading fear,” they reveal how detached they are from the people for whom they presume to be “the voice.” When Councilmembers Kris Murray, Lucille Kring and Steve Faessel act to re-affirm the city’s anti-camping ordinance in the face of calls by homeless activists to repeal it, Moreno and Tait respond with derision and lectures.
Public authorities are allowing illegal encampments to take root and grow on public land – making the public afraid to use public parks. These encampments are being used by criminals to prey upon adjacent neighborhoods and businesses, not to mention other homeless people. The encampments are getting bigger. The problem is getting worse. Reporting on that isn’t “spreading fear.” The fear already exists due to the paralysis of local elected leaders.
Enough is enough. Enforcing laws against living in parks doesn’t require discerning “root causes.” It requires the will the enforce the law in the face of ACLU opposition and media-backlash generated by progressive homeless activists.