Jose F. Moreno Praises Advocates Who Sued County, Anaheim To Stop Clearing of Riverbed Homeless Camp

An Anaheim resident recently e-mailed District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno regarding the number of vouchers for West Anaheim-based motels that have been given to the homeless cleared from the Santa Ana River Trail. Moreno replied by praising the radical homeless advocates and criticizing Councilwoman Kris Murray for her efforts – Operation Home SAFE – to spur the clearing of the SART encampment.

“Reminder clearing the riverbed asap was county’s decision and fully pushed by Councilmembers Murray, Faessel and Kring. I asked specifically for due consideration and preparation for our city yet the push was labelled urgent and Councilmember Murray gave testimony to Board of Supervisors urging immediate action. I am grateful that advocates stepped and Judge Carter intervened to at least assure a temporary housing effort by made. If he had not so, where else would folks have slept? Certainly on our sidewalks and in parks.”

This echoes Moreno’s public shout-out to the advocates – who unsuccessfully sued the County of Orange and Anaheim to stop the Riverbed clearing – at the February 27, 2018 council meeting:

Some observations:

His blame-shifting notwithstanding, its worth noting that Councilwoman Murray made it crystal clear from the get-go that Operation Home SAFE was about primarily focused on getting the homeless off the SART as quickly as possible. Moreno knew that, voted for Operation Home SAFE  and publicly complimented Murray on the initiative.

Secondly, it is incredible that Moreno awards such accolades to the advocates like Brooke Weitzman, the ACLU’s Eve Garrow. Mohammed Aly and those practitioners of smashmouth activism, Mike and Jeannine Robbins. Those folks were doing their level best to preserve and protect the SART homeless encampment. The reason the County’s active enforcement efforts basically ground to a halt in early February is because these advocates were telling the homeless campers not to comply with the County’s slow roll eviction, assuring them Judge Carter would grant them a temporary injunction to stop the evictions.

It didn’t work out that way, as Judge Carter took that weapon away from the advocates and allowed the eviction to move forward. Judge Carter understands the SART is a public park built and maintained for public recreation; it is not intended to be a transient village. Advocates like Weitzman, Garrow and the Robbins would have preserved the SART encampment until the problems of every homeless person there was solved, i.e. never. They follow a radical view of “rights” that is far outside the mainstream of the American Founding, fight efforts to enforce laws against trespassing and camping in parks and have little regard for how their actions negatively impact residents and businesses.

Even after Judge Carter gave the green light for the County to clear the encampment, the advocates were abusing the process by encouraging homeless who weren’t living in the encampment to pretend they did in order to get 30-day motel vouchers.

Advocates like the Robbins heap scorn and abuse on other Anaheim residents to don’t tow their rigid ideological line. Mike Robbins has publicly compared Moreno’s constituents to Nazi death camp guards, David Duke and Klansman. Jeannine disparages them as “haters.”Not only has Moreno never acknowledged or condemned those attacks on his constituents, but he praised the Robbins by implication last week and by name in front of the Democratic Party of Orange County last fall.

And these are the people upon to whom Moreno is “grateful”, while sniping at Murray, Faessel and Kring pushing for the clearing of the SART. If it were up to the advocates, there would still be a a 2-mile squatters camp along the SART.

Moreno’s blame-shifting is understandable: he stands before District 3 voters in eight months, and his views on homelessness are out-of-step with the voters. Moreno supported repealing the anti-camping ordinance when he ran for city council in 2016, while his constituents support it. Last year, he publicly stated that enforcement only makes the problem worse, while his constituents want stepped up enforcement. The patience of District 3 residents with the “service resistant” homeless is exhausted, while Moreno agrees the homeless need to “be touched” 8 or 9 times before they’ll accept help and make the necessary changes in their lives.

The removal of the Santa Ana River Trail encampment was a remarkable accomplishment. It was study in human nature and a testament to the power of deadlines. The reason it was accomplished so quickly was the advocates weren’t allowed to sabotage it through litigation.

The County stood by while the SART encampment swelled to huge proportions during 2017. There was no way it could be cleared without some spill-over into Anaheim and Orange – contrary to rose-colored “folks in the condition of homelessness” perspective, there’s a not-insignificant number of homeless who do not want to go to a shelter, can’t make it through even 30-days at a motel due to an inability or refusal to abide by rules, or consider themselves “home free.” It is incumbent on local governments to continue enforcing laws against trespassing and camping on public property – while simultaneously offering a hand up.

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