UPDATED: 8-Year Old Boy Stuck By Used Syringe At Manzanita Park

Last week at Manzanita Park, an 8-year old boy was stuck by a used syringe while playing at Manzanita Park according to multiple sources. The individual received medical treatment and is apparently alright, but will need to undergo blood testing in several months.

Community Services Department Director Larry Pasco informed the city council about the incident via e-mail:

Subject: Incident at Manzanita Park

Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and City Council Members,

This afternoon a participant of the Boys and Girls Club at their facility located at Manzanita Park, was stuck by a needle from a syringe.  The incident occurred in a planter just outside of the Boys and Girls Club building where an 8 year old male was looking for bugs in foliage within the planter, and a syringe was found concealed in the inside of a bush.  Apparently the actual prick from the needle did not occur when it was discovered by the child, it happened as it was being transported by the child inside of the facility to alert B & G staff.   Paramedics responded and recommended that the child be taken to a local hospital for monitoring.  I just spoke to a Supervisor at the facility who conveyed that they would not have any further details until tomorrow morning.

Contracted park maintenance personnel perform daily litter and trash pick-up at all park facilitates; however in response to this incident both Park staff and contracted personnel will conduct a thorough search of the park to insure that any additional needles or drug paraphernalia are not hidden in any foliage.  The shrubbery where this needle was found is not in a location where any illegal camping activity is taking place.  Park Rangers and Lyons Security will also closely monitor the entire park to look for any drug use activity and report their observations to maintenance personnel so that we may focus our clean-up efforts accordingly to prevent future duplicate incidents.  We take this issue very seriously and will work with staff from the Boys and Girls Club to devote all available resources to insure that we do not have a repeat incident.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Manzanita Park is located in District 3, represented by Councilman Jose F. Moreno.

City spokesperson Lauren Gold provided this comment to Anaheim Blog:

“No child should ever encounter a needle in a park. Sadly, that can be the case across California with easier access to needles statewide and minimal consequences for public drug use.

As a city, we are doing everything we can at our level to combat the proliferation of needles and public drug use.

Our City Council has unanimously, adamantly and repeatedly opposed allowing a needle exchange program to come to Anaheim. We have joined the county of Orange in a lawsuit to fight it.

Every day, we work hard to ensure Anaheim’s parks are safe for everyone. As unfortunate as it is, we have trained our parks employees how to properly dispose of needles when they’re found during regular cleaning and maintenance. After the Manzanita incident, we went through and scrubbed the park again and will continue to be vigilant.

Our heart goes out to the boy and his family. While the problem of needles is real, thankfully, this is a rare occurrence in our parks and we encourage everyone to continue enjoying them.”

A few days before this incident, half a mile away at GOALS Academy charter school, a student found a used syringe at the school’s fence line. This prompted the reinforcement of the GOALS Academy fence with plywood:

GOALS Academy is located by La Palma Park, which is (again) becoming less public park than a outdoor haven for the homeless.

La Palma Park is adjacent to the area where the OC Needle Exchange Program plans to operate a mobile program to provide free syringes to drug addicts in the area bounded by the 91 Freeway, N. Anaheim Blvd., La Palma Avenue and Olive Street:

The OC Needle Exchange Program – which the council has opposed by joining the County’s lawsuit against it and imposing a moratorium of its own – would distribute a million free hypodermic syringes a year in Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana and Costa Mesa. The program’s leaders admit they would recover, at most, 75% of those needles – meaning 250,000 syringes would be at large.

The OC Needle Exchange Program was booted from Santa Ana last year due to public health concerns stemming from used, discarded syringes. Mayoral candidate Ashleigh Aitken signed an online petition supporting its continued operation in Santa Ana.

It’s not hard to understand why ordinary working people – given their reliance on common sense and life experience – are reluctant to support the distribution of hundreds of thousands of syringes to drug addicts living in their neighborhoods and parks.


  1. District 3 do we think this is acceptable? Without strong leaders this is only the beginning. Why are we sitting back allowing this to happen to our city? How many reasons do we need to say we have had enough of you Jose Moreno because we are worse off than before you, much worse.

    This council majority has put Anaheim’s tax paying residents in danger.
    We need ALL laws enforced and we need it NOW.

    Thank you Anaheim Blog for bringing this very sad story to light. Please keep shining the light until people cannot deny who this group is here to serve, themselves.

    This is a very sad, bleak time in Anaheim’s history.

    We can change it though, with our voices and our votes.

  2. Councilman Moreno spent the first 18 months of his term asking for a “study” of the city’s anti camping ordinance. It’s a simple, straightforward ordinance that can be read, studied, and understood in under 5 minutes. The only reason to “study” it would be to try and weaken or repeal it. During the recent public meeting regarding the proposed OCNEP needle exchange program that was to be set up near La Palma Park there was a continuous line of dozens of people speaking out against it including Mitch Caldwell and Harry Sidhu. Who sat silent in the audience? Jose Moreno. When Sidhu asked everyone who was against the program to stand to show their opposition all but a few individuals in the packed room stood up. Who remained seated? Jose Moreno. District 3 and the city of Anaheim as a whole need elected representatives who will stand up for residents, neighborhoods, and our city. We need leaders of character and integrity who will put the needs of residents first and not their personal political agendas. District 3 needs Mitch Caldwell.

  3. Are you happy NOW Moreno?

  4. Just make sure you and everyone you know votes for Mitch he will represent everyone in district 3 not just a select group who agree and support the current councils majority. District 3 deserves better than it’s had since 2016.

  5. Would be interesting to see Aitken’s stance if this was a girl scout pricked by the needle. #Aitken4Needles I guess it would just need to be an “authentic” girl scout; if it were one who wanted to be a boy scout she would care less…..

  6. If people and our officials were so concern they should be opening structure campgrounds as a fast alternative to the problem, then they would have lesser people in the streets self-medicating

  7. We have a strong leader in council member
    Dr. Jose Moreno
    That came in not to the same status quo that has cost tax payers millions of dollars and still not resolving the homeless problem that many police officers and even the prior chief of police said that we couldn’t get out of the homeless problem through law enforcement, the cost will rise to over $300,000,000 a year for the County and cities to keep doing what they been doing for years without implementation of designated areas for people to go like SB2 Zones that are away from residential areas that could contain people in a safe and clean environment to be able to transition to getting back on their feet for many.

  8. The problem is theres too many god damn junkies running the streets disease ridden with no care for human life I encountered this working a 9 to 5 job in Buena Park the homeless drug addicts would leave large amounts of syringes littered in the ally in the morning when I would have to take the trash out it was like navigating my way through an ied field anyone can step on these and it can ruin there life these people need to be charged to the highest extent of the law they dont care about anyones well being and its getting worse all through out the county what is the world coming to.

    • I went to the beach and nearly stepped on a open, exposed needle slightly covered in the sand. How many got to the beach and take off our shoes to walk in the sand. Ever think about this? Now we have to.
      The lifeguard disposed of it and said unfortunately it happens all the time.

      What is California coming to? Our cities each must stand up against crime.

  9. Lou Noble: JOSE MORENO IS NOT A STRONG LEADER IN ANY WAY. He is a terrible council member and fought for the homeless to stay on the river bed or be put into our parks. This riverbed camp then was released out to the public to create a dirty city rife with increased crime. I have myself seen them yelling at passersby for no reason. Jose Moreno wanted that in our parks. Look at the needle that just pricked a child. Really? Strong leader? I don’t know why you just can’t get real. You wouldn’t want to be pricked nor I anticipate would you want your child pricked while just playing at a park/

    As a tax paying resident of Anaheim I want my family safe.
    I want our city clean.
    I want our parks clean.
    I want to be able to take my kids, my dogs to the park and not step on a needle.
    I want to not feel concerned for my safety when approached for money.
    I want to feel safe going into my yard at night and not feel I do not know who will be there.

    I also want my city’s laws to be enforced.
    I want someone who breaks the law to expect the laws to be enforced.
    I want our laws enforced, all of them.

    Jose Moreno is not a strong leader.
    Jose Moreno has fought against most of the aforementioned “wants” that i have named.
    Jose Moreno has fought against the residents that he was voted in to serve.
    Jose Moreno and his group have an agenda that they want to spread throughout our city to control it.
    Jose Moreno and his group have ruined our schools and they have scores worse that before he came.
    Jose Moreno has been the center of all of the bad issues Anaheim is faced with today.


    Disney, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, PAC, SOAR: you can see many people feel the same way. Want this group stopped. We want your help getting Jose Moreno out of Anaheim politics. We want his associates out of leadership roles as well. Please back any candidate then them. Personally I do not want their representation because they do not have the good of the people of Anaheim and the city of Anaheim at heart.



    • I completely agree. Moreno and advocates like Lou noble helped ruin this city. They perpetuate the probems, the lawsuits, and bullying.

  10. My name is Debbie Schroeder, and I am the founding director of GOALS Academy. The Anaheim Blog “harvested” a picture from our school’s Facebook Page and posted it as part of this blog without our permission. Most likely this is legal, but I’m uncertain if it is ethical. Regardless, it has prompted me to tell you the rest of the story.

    Our school is just north of La Palma Park, and we are often in the midst of homeless encampments. We care deeply about our scholars, and we took immediate action when a kindergartener picked up a used needle on the south side of our school by adding plywood to our chain linked fence. Parents and staff members worked together to make this happen quickly. And, Jose Moreno, Cynthia Ward, and Jorge Cisneros came by and provided support. Jose Moreno sent e-mails out to various city officials, and the level of support our school received to make the area safer was enormous. I believe people’s actions represent who they are. I am immensely grateful that this team of three — Jose, Cynthia, and Jorge — chose to listen closely and take action on behalf or our scholars, staff, and parents. They went the extra mile!

    • Good job, Jose and Cynthia! That’s the kind of leadership we need.

    • Debbie Schroeder is Facebook friends with Jose Moreno, Cynthia Ward and the rest of their associates, including Mike Matsuda and Lorena Moreno. Of course she would defend these two, she is in their friend. She even has a big picture with Jose in her most recent post. We all know that they each defend and elect, or appoint one another. They have the same ideals and agenda.

      They put your school in peril in the first place. They champion the homeless issues and have been part of the problem. Jose allowed the river bed encampment to grow while he studied it, one option he discussed was allowing them in our parks.I am sure both Moreno and Ward knew they had better act on this issue as it has long been a hotly debated one. This is Jose Moreno’s district that it happened in yes? It is an election year and Jose Moreno is on the ropes.

      If your Facebook is public then it is not “harvested” if you do not want someone re-posting your article then either make your account private or better yet don’t post it. It sounds like you are defending

      Most can see through your defense of both Jose Moreno and Ward.If not all they have to do is check your Facebook. It appears this is much the same thinking as Jose’s that we are not smart enough to see through you. I assure you we are.

      • I feel no need to defend anyone, and I have many friends on Facebook with various political leanings. I enjoy hearing different perspectives and being well informed. Unfortunately, the Anaheim Blog appears to be an angry place where people belittle each other. This isn’t my approach to life. I would rather remain positive and productive. I’m “signing off” from this dialogue unless there is misinformation in the future that needs to be corrected. I wish everyone well.

        • Debbie Schroeder: Tell the truth, not lies. You are just as disturbing as the awful group you have aligned yourself with. But of course you would you owe your position to them. What a fraud.

          Anaheim Blog please do a story on this awful group and how each relationship is related.

          Also it is not Anaheim Blog is is the voting residents that are angry. Angry at what your ilk has done to Anaheim.

    • No to Moreno, Aitken and Gaby

      Were other elected officials or candidates invited to help out in this event? Or just the ones you’re supporting, Debbie?
      Interesting that you specifically name the candidates but don’t list the names of the people who likely did the heavy lifting.
      If Vern “5 time DUI” Nelson supports them, that tells me what I need to know.

      • No one was invited. The people I mentioned just showed up. There were also a number of City of Anaheim staff members who made contact and showed up once they became aware of the situation. Again, we are authentically appreciative of everyone’s support.

        While some people see all things as political, not all things are. My world involves working with others to provide a quality education to our young scholars. I live close by in Fullerton, so I don’t have the ability to even vote for Anaheim elected officials. Mine was a nonpolitical response to seeing our school’s picture posted on the Anaheim Blog, which I became aware of when a parent forwarded it to me.

        You all live in an interesting world, and our school plans to steer clear of it in the future.

        • Sorry Debbie Schroeder you are an associate of Moreno and his group. You make it seem like you are not political yet all of your political friends are from one political base. You may not have the ability to vote in our election but you sure can try to influence it with commentary, as you did on this blog.

          It is interesting that you say no one was invited yet surprise, Jose Moreno just happens to be driving by? Even more coincidental is the fact that Cynthia Ward happened by as well? Really? Then you publish commentary on how responsive and caring Jose Moreno and Cynthia Ward were and how appreciative you are to them. Two individuals you are friends with and who are current candidates in an upcoming election. One candidate, Moreno is the candidate for District 3. The school you reference in District 3.

          Now you say “you all live in an interesting world, and our school plans to steer clear of it in the future.”

          Too late to walk it back now. Your school is not yours rather it is our city’s, it is public school yes?

          Too late to say your school and you are not part of this “interesting world” when you HOST a District 3 Candidate Forum at the school you work at- Goals Academy.

          This makes you very involved and very political.
          Your actions, your commentary and your Facebook friends listings betray you and shows just who you are and who you associate with- the Mike Matsuda, Moreno, Moreno, Magcalas, Jabbar, Ruelas, Alvarez, Randle-Trejo far, far, leftist group.

          Definition of hypocrite. 1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. 2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

          Do not be fooled we need this whole group out before so we can begin fixing the damage they have done to Anaheim.

          Damage? Failing schools, failing test scores, run down neighborhoods, abandoned buildings, serious homeless issues, needles, higher crime rate, rundown parks, low morale in city jobs, and high turnover in city jobs at city hall and the alienation of our city’s largest employer to the point of them deeming us a hostile environment…………….

      • Is that true, “5” DUI’s? Is so, WOW.

        • It has been said that the “5th” DUI took place at the Disneyland resort on a day where 10,000 tickets were in attendance, he was behind the wheel of a 3,000 pound vehicle and reportedly tested at more than 2.5 times the legal limit.

          All of this while his wife was running for City Council herself, on an anti Disney, anti police platform.

          It makes one wonder if Vern’s FACEBOOK group “STOP DISNEY” should have been named “STOP DISNEY (unless it’s Happy Hour)”. Vern Nelson is a hypocrite at the least and a danger to society at a fair glance.

          What is Cynthia Ward, Lorena Moreno and Al Jabbar’s position on Drunk Driving. Something tells me MADD, will not be supporting these folks given the company they keep.

          • I agree, yet there’s a lot of people out there who dont know the facts on these people like vern.
            He really shouldn’t be allowed on here.

    • West side resident

      If you are really that concerned, go back and study Mr. Morenos voting record regarding the homeless in all his time on council. Do it.

  11. Vern OMG raise your bar it is set way too low. Great Leadership really? Coming from you not sure how that is a compliment

  12. Socialist Jose Moreno and most other Democrats are NOT remotely close to being leaders. Socialists and Democrats are talkers, obstructionist, like taxing citizens and spending state and city money on pet causes like needle exchange program, which does NOT benefit the responsible majority. We need to rid our good city of lunatic liberal people on the city council, in Sacramento, and all other states.

  13. Debbie Schroeder, the least I would’ve expected from you was an honest narrative about the close relationship that exists between you, Jose Moreno, and his cronies. They aren’t just your Facebook friends. Jose hand-picked you for his friend’s charter school much the same way he lined up his wife with a principalship in AUHSD as a thank you gift from buddy Matsuda for lining him up with a superintendency he didn’t deserve and certainly wasn’t qualified for.

    How many times did we watch Dr. Moreno enter the Gauer campus for the frequent meetings you’d have behind closed doors? I’m disappointed that you would now interject yourself into an election campaign without fully disclosing that you are a close family friend, and that you have been complicit in much that this man has done.

    Your support of this ruthless man is troublesome to say the least. But to weigh in with this type commentary in support of your associate/ally is not only biased it is also unethical. How do you with a straight face point your finger at the Anaheim Blog questioning its ethics without disclosing that you and Jose Moreno have been close friends for years. Pot or kettle?

    You continue to support him in spite of his actions. And you have reasons to. You have benefitted from that friendship. Upon retirement, you were handed the directorship of Goals Academy. Prior to that you received a prestigious recognition from the State Assembly after Jose lobbied his friends in that legislative body.

    You claim to love your “scholars.”. How do you balance that with your support of one OC’s scariest people, as denoted by the OC Weekly a few years back? They were on to something. Isn’t he the reason why the Anaheim Elementary School District now is comprised of only 23 schools rather than 24? So while you have the right to support whomever you choose, we, the people of Anaheim, have the right to know that your support of Jose Moreno is based on a relationship and close friendship that developed over many years and started while you were an employee for the district that he has single-handedly run into the ground. My assertion is based on data. Seen the test scores lately?

  14. Julie H: Well said! Anaheim Blog can you do a story on all of the ties to appointments/jobs given from these alliances please. EXPOSE DEBBIE AND THE ENTIRE MATSUDA/MORENO GROUP.

    Enough this seriously needs a full investigation into their illicit activities.

    Debbie you have been exposed as a fraud, just another puppet, and a ridiculous one at that. Just another Jose Moreno megalomaniac that thinks they can do or say anything and the Anaheim residents will take/buy it.

    We are smart enough Debbie and we are not buying it. I can’t believe how uneducated you are for an educator, embarrassing.

    Add another to to the list.




    • Word on the street is the new AESD superintendent who just led his district in its annual “faux kindness and love” fest is already doing this group’s bidding. Perhaps, Mr. Chris Downing, needs to be reminded that he was hired to be a steward for Anaheim’s children and to ensure they are all equally considered in every decision made and how they are educated by this district.

  15. Key votes to focus on it this election
    1. Vote for Harold Martin I’ve AnneMarie Randle Trejo. – this is about all it will take to drive Matsuda back to the paper pushing level one director before Jose Moreno pulled off the coup and got him in. 90 percent of the teachers union is rooting for this. Believe me – Matsuda is a fool and it’s only a Matter of time before he is exposed. This our best chance because Annemarie is a carpetbagger with no ties to the community, she is a horrible campaigner and she is starting to melt down under the pressure
    2. Vote for Norma Campos Kurtz for Anaheim elementary board over Ryan’s roommate and so called teacher. Let’s be honest, Lopez is a substitute with no credential but Matsuda gave him a job so he could use that title on the ballot.
    3. Jeff Cole for re-election on elementary board. He had the courage to think for himself and Matsuda is trying to punish him at his teaching job and by putting a different employee (Alvarez) up against him.
    4. Mitch over Jose – obvious reasons
    5. Harry for Mayor

    • Is this the same Annemarie Randle-Trejo who lost her home to foreclosure?

      Why would we trust her to manage our children’s money when she can’t manage her personal finances?

      Moreno has no more use for her. He used the gullible woman like he tends to do until he secured Jabbar’s seat on the Board thus securing Matsuda’s and his wife’s futures. What a neat package.

    • Good advice Mel town. Harold Martin? I wish you could tell me more about him and why I should vote for him. i have heard some distressing things about him?

  16. Harold Martin is a retired Anaheim police officer who has lived in the same house near Katella High for over 30 years. Harold is a compassionate conservative that believes in hard work and standing up to bullies. He is not a politician, he will tell you exactly what he believes and he will respectfully listen to your opinion if it differs from his. He will take zero money from anyone – including the unions which concerns union leaders. But he was a Union member and has many relatives that are members of teacher unions so this just shows he is independent. When he was on the board before, he voted to sue Mexico to try and help pay for the cost of educating Mexican citizens. That move was not politically correct and I think it was poor judgment on his part, however it doesn’t make him a bad human. He really wants to make our schools places where all students are safe and have resources to thrive. If Harold wins he will slim down the wasteful spending at the district office and put the money at our campuses.

  17. Mel Town: If he wins will he try to right the wrongs done by Jose Moreno/Mike Matsuda’s movement and its firings/hirings that are politically based.

    I want someone who will stand up to bullies and enforce the laws put in place to protect us.

    Our schools should be thriving. Stop the wasteful spending and spend it on our kids and invest in their futures.

    Stop the corruption in both City Hall and our schools.

    Will he be at a candidate debate ?

    One that is NOT hosted by a school that appears to have given one candidate knowledge of this questions prior to? A school (Goals Academy) that doesn’t advertise the forum with a large smiling picture of their candidate {Jose Morneo} with no other candidate featured? Oh forgot, the featured candidate, Jose Moreno, was a BIG help in getting the director of the school hosting her job, (Debbie Schroeder.)

    We need clean Town Halls that can be moderated but come from the people not those promoting.

    Thank you again for your information about Mr. Martin if you have more please let the public know. It seems many of us want change and really are frustrated as we want Anaheim to be a City of Kindness to ALL.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Skip to toolbar