At the end of this week’s council meeting, Councilman Jose F. Moreno requested the city council consider allowing a vocal homeless activist to install porta-potties on city property to service the sprawling homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River.
Back in May, progressive homeless activist Mohammed Aly illegally installed three porta-potties in The Big A section of the homeless tent city. The county ordered them removed, so he illegally relocated them a short distance onto Anaheim-owned property. City code enforcement gave him 24 hours to remove the portable latrines, or else they would be confiscated (which they were).
Council Moreno has formed a homeless policy working group a few weeks ago to look into the “root causes” of homelessness and evaluate responses like Seattle’s city-sanctioned homeless camps. Earlier during the council meeting, he communicated his belief that the city cannot enforce its way out of the crisis of growing homeless camps. His homeless policy working group includes activists who have called for a repeal of the city’s anti-camping ordinance and opening city park bathrooms 24/7 for use by the homeless. It also includes the ACLU, which maintains that enforcing the anti-camping ordinance is a violation of the 4th and 8th Amendments.
During council comments at the end of the August 15 council meeting, Moreno said Aly would like his porta-potties back and asked him if the council would consider giving the progressive activist an encroachment permit to re-install them on city property. Moreno said he was “very intrigued by the idea of a resourced and funded service to help our homeless folks on the riverbed” and requested it be agendized for August 29 (assuming Aly has submitted a permit and secured funding and insurance):
Moreno has been critical of efforts by Councilmembers Kris Murray and Lucille Kring to have the council re-affirm the anti-camping ordinance, lecturing them that it should wait until the homeless policy working group has completed its work. Given his request for the council to consider allowing porta-potties to be installed for the benefit of the Santa Ana River homeless village – thereby contributing to making it more permanent – the same standard does not apply to him.