The Orange City Council is holding a special meeting on Tuesday, September 26 that will be devoted to a single topic: homelessness.
Most of the sprawling homeless encampment occupying the Santa Ana River Trail is technically within Orange city boundaries, even if it optically is in Anaheim. Dozens of angry and concerned Orange residents have flocked to recent council meetings to complain about the crime and other negative impacts from the encampment, demanding action and more information on what the city is doing to meet the challenge.
Rather than wait until the next regularly-scheduled council meeting on October 10, Councilman Mark Murphy suggested adding the special council session to a closed session that was already calendared for September 26.
According to the council agenda, the city will report:
1) a review of the impacts of homelessness on City operations; 2) how has the Orange Police Department and the City as a whole addressed issues concerning homelessness in Orange; 3) what will be the role of the Orange Police Department in relation to future law enforcement efforts in the Santa Ana River area; 4) a review by the City Attorney of current codes and any recommended changes; and 5) a review of additional services and programs that could further enhance the City’s homelessness response efforts.
According to a recent Orange Police Department memo, approximately 90% of the homeless population in Orange is concentrated in the SART encampments.
Earlier this month, both the Anaheim and Santa Ana city councils proclaimed a public health state of emergency regarding their huge homeless populations. Santa Ana has threatened to sue the County of Orange in order to force it to open a sanctioned homeless camp on a 100-acre county-owned parcel in Irvine, and wants other cities to join the lawsuit if it goes down that road. Our sources confirm a Santa Ana councilmember reached out to at least one member of the Orange City Council.
If the past few public hearings in Orange are any guide, the council chambers will be packed with long-time homeowners and business owners, along with a few progressive Left advocates from Chapman University and Anaheim who will admonish Orange homeowners that enforcement is futile and the answer is for the County to write a gigantic check and materialize more “housing now!”