Weekend Open Thread: The Happiest Bus Kiosks on Earth Greet Upstanding Visitors

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Residents: “Whatcha gonna do with all that junk?”  Anaheim spokesperson Mike Lyster: “My hump my hump my hump — my lovely Disney lumps!”

Because bus travel on OC’s boulevards is not already uninviting enough, Anaheim has come up with a new way to spend its public money (and civic reputation) on behalf of Disneyland: the benches in the bus kiosks along the western side of Harbor Boulevard have been removed.  If the recent precedent for this removal is followed, they will be replaced with humps … with lovely Disney humps!  (Try sleeping on those, you  transient homeless monsters!)  Or maybe we should say that they’re being replaced with “lovely Disney lumps” and the humps will be on the backs of the poor working commuters who perch their tailbones on them.

The video news report from KCAL9’s Orange County reporter made it sound as if the benches at the four bus stops adjacent to Disneyland on Harbor were literally taken up by horizontal homeless every moment of every day, so that the loss of the benches are no loss.  Orange Juice Blog has some doubts over the extent of the problem and of whether there was an alternative to total benchectomies, such as taking homeless nappers elsewhere during peak commuting hours but our research budget hasn’t allowed full-time surveillance of the area so we will have to take them at their word.  There was urine, there was vomit, and there was feces, we are told — none of this having anything to do with not making public restrooms available to the homeless, you understand! — and so the only alternative was the stand-up one.

We here at Orange Juice Blog DO understand that OC’s preferred way of dealing with the homeless is the “termite treatment” — which we admit is far preferable to the “roach motel” treatment applied to Latino youth unfortunate enough to have both hands and waistbands — of making things sufficiently unpleasant for the critters that they decide to move away.  Ensuring that they don’t spoil our quality of life with their poorishness and sleepingness and bathroom-deprived excretingness is just how things are done here — heaven forfend that we actually provide them a place to live al fresco, or even al modular pod — and Anaheim does get a certain amount of props for sending the roaches homeless! only as far as to Anaheim Canyon rather than to Santa Ana or Victorville, or Arizona, or Sudan.

But, Anaheim would get a lot more credit if what it’s spokesperson, Mike Lyster, had to say about the city’s efforts to serve the homeless were — what’s the word we’re looking for here? — “true.”  Here’s what he’s quoted as saying:

Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said the city has resources for the homeless.

CBS2/KCAL9’s Michelle Gile reports twice a week a taskforce comes through the Anaheim resort neighborhood looking for homeless individuals and supplying those in need with toiletries and other essentials.

“For the folks that may have been at these bus shelters — our hearts go out to them too,” Lyster said. “We realize that they may not have other places to go right away. But we actually have options for them.”

The taskforce offers the individuals a place to sleep for the night as well as healthcare and a permanent home, although it can take weeks to find, Gile reports.

This raises some interesting question: what good are toiletries if (1) you don’t have access to toilets, (2) your belongings get taken away from you by the police, and (3) you have to wait 3-4 days for them anyway?

Lyster’s phrasing of his directly quoted sentences here is delicious:

  • “folks that may have been at these bus shelters” — if they weren’t there, why’d you take out the benches?
  • “they may not have other places to go right away” — yes: “homeless” suggests that
  • “we have options for them” including:
    • “a place to sleep for the night” — do they?  Do they really?  Why are they being turned down?  Reasonable reasons?  Maybe interview some homeless or homeless advocates about this!
    • “healthcare” — trips to & from also?  AT NIGHT?  Let’s hear the details of how many are offered and how many served!  And also, what do they actually mean by “healthcare”?
    • “and a permanent home, although it can take weeks to find” — omigosh, permanent shelter?  Is it free —  like a public outdoor bench is free — for those  who don’t have incomes?  Is it in Anaheim?  Santa Ana?  Victorville?  Etc.?  And, seriously, we can solve the problem for an unlimited about of homeless, with permanent housing, in a matter of only weeks?  Lucille Kring was peddling this sort of malarkey from the Council dais not long ago, almost verbatim if memory serves, and it didn’t make any more sense then.

OJB suggests that readers use their innate skepticism about these claims.  In the meantime, homeless activists have announced there they will be having another “Sleep Out for the Homeless” from 9 p.m. July 14 to 3 a.m. July 15 at Harbor Blvd and Disney Way.  OJB suspects that participants may themselves get a chance to learn what “a place to sleep for this night” means in practice.

If only there were some place near Disneyland with which the City could contract where people could sleep between midnight and 7 a.m.  — one that offered restrooms, security, and maybe even something like water fountains — into which homeless people in need could go every night.  Like cruise boats on which they could sack out, or an island where they could hang out, or — who knows? — maybe even a small world of their own seven hours every day?

“Lots of places for a peaceful sleep! Any they could be sprayed with ultraviolet ink so they’d be easier to find in the dark if they found their way into a cave!”

Any ideas?  It might even be worth trading parking spaces to some enterprise that could provide a good solution to its own “company town.”

In any event, this is your Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that, or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of decorum and discretion.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)