Friend of the show <strike>Kimberly Wolfe<strike> Matt Leslie writes in The Fullerton Rag that Fullerton’s Hunt Library branch, which serves an area of the city (near Commonwealth and Brookhurst) that could certainly benefit from library access, is being closed indefinitely by the city’s Library Board, because they were told that “the library staff did not feel safe opening and closing the facility.” (Disclosure: OJB “staffer” Ryan Cantor serves on that board and may have his own comments to add.)
Go read <strike>her</strike> his article for the details — including what the closure may mean for the building, given that its donation to the city is contingent on its remaining a library (unless the Hunt Foundation agrees to a change) — but there’s one detail that I think deserves to be fleshed out a bit. I’ll quote just one paragraph of hers:
Reportedly, the library staff felt unsafe around a growing homeless population and at least one menacing dog (presumably not within the adjacent dog park). Both City Manager Joe Felz and Police Chief Dan Hughes attended the meeting. The Board’s members were told that new homeless people were arriving from Anaheim, and that they were not behaving in a way the population there generally has in the past. Officers were reported to have escorted staff to and from the building. It is not clear why OC Animal Control has not been able to take care of the dog.
(My emphasis added.) This is, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with Fullerton, nowhere near the site of the new homeless shelter that the Supes want to build, so it wouldn’t seem to be related to that. (It is close to the Armory at Brookhurst and Valencia, which is about to close for the “warm season.”) The big news seems to be that (1) “new homeless people are arriving from Anaheim” (Northwest Anaheim being a few blocks south across the 91 — and not the location of the Armory) and (2) these homeless are presumably, for this to be a reason to close down the branch, more menacing and/or violent than those that have been around there previously.
- How do Fullerton city officials know that these homeless are coming in from Anaheim — rather than, say, the Armory?
- What reason do these homeless give for moving from Anaheim?
- (Someone is interviewing them — right?)
- Has there been communication with the Anaheim police or other city government agencies about why this is happening?
- Specifically, is this happening to some extent at the suggestion or instigation of the Anaheim Police Department?
- How are the new homeless more menacing than their predecessors?
- Where are their predecessors now?
- Is there any explanation for why they are more violent?
- What plans does Fullerton have to respond to this influx — beyond closing a library?
Homelessness is a city-wide — and a regional — problem. If Anaheim is shunting its homelessness problem onto Fullerton, appropriate actors — and that may well mean the Supervisors or the legislator — have to step in. Making people move across a city border is no solution. Better provision of services — and, remember, the nearby Armory (at Brookhurst and Valencia) closes to the homeless for the “warm season” after this weekend — spread out over all areas of Orange County is. (And if a particular area within OC doesn’t want to have homeless nearby, they can bloody well foot the bill for whoever takes them.)
Anyone who feels like doing some reporting is welcome to borrow any or all of my questions and report in below.