George(Romero) legacy and impact on my part of town: the Moreno Toilets

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At the last district meeting I attended, many neighbors were referring as their source of city information to a website that is not run by the city. Somebody gave me the address, and it was interesting to see how this social media is used, from a neighborhood-watch tool to a platform for causes.

The most active threads are under the Crime & Safety section, and they are related to the impact of the homeless. The discussion goes back to the times when Spitzer became famous, or infamous, in this area in the border of Anaheim and Orange. I recognized the names of some of the people with whom I shared some of the concerns about the nearby shelter, but with whom I strongly disagreed with their approach and solutions.

Once the shelter was settled, the concerns about the potential negative impact of homeless in my neighborhood decreased, until the riverbed tent cities became an issue. The local media covered the problems that the neighborhoods around the stadium were having with the camps, but I didn’t feel that this area was directly being impacted. Our lovely trail walk, the Coves, remained and remains as pleasant as before. The police reported at the district meeting that the crime rate was not out of the ordinary.

The riverbed situation is the major discussion in this social media right now. As far as I can tell, neighbors who run in the riverbed started venting their displeasure of the negative encounters with homeless from the camps. The most outspoken neighbor describes his experiences in terms similar to the ones used by the hard core shelter’s opponents, and by coincidence or by natural tendency, inserts post links from the controversial Anaheim blog operated by an Orange resident.

This neighbor may not know that the blog’s operator ran a fear campaign against the shelter, a campaign that until now is suspected that he was paid to run. He painted the homeless in gruesome terms, describing them practically as zombies , an image that this neighbor repeats on his own description of this population. It is like scenes from the late George Romero, the famous horror-movie director, without the redeeming underlyng values of his films. The legacy of the operator is far from these values.

The impact of George, the outspoken neighbor, can be as bad as bad as the legacy of the operator or could be a compassionate one in the sense of recognizing that the riverbed camps are temporary ones, and that the solution is not to send the homeless to far-away places. He is promoting a petition that has garnered substantial support essentially against the tent cities, and leading the opposition to the initiative to install toilets in the riverbend camps:

“Neighbors, below you’ll find a copy/paste of the message that went out this morning to our neighbors who have signed the petition, asking for enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance for the portion of the homeless, who are help resistant. ———— Over 8,000 people have signed our petition in just a few days, and more are signing every hour. PLEASE keep sharing the petition on social media since doing so helps promote the message we are sending to our city and county leaders!

Not everyone is getting the message though: This Tuesday, August 29th, Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno will seek permission to have porta-potties installed in the Santa Ana River Trail encampment. Good intentions aside, this will increase the permanency of the situation that we are working so hard to undo.”

(J. Antenore, VOC)

The petition is primarily addressed to councilmember Vanderbilt. He was the only councilmember who met with neighbors during the shelter process.(see here). I wonder though why it was not addressed to the councilmember representing our district, Mr Faessel.

The opposition to Dr Moreno, which does not represent all the Rio Vista neigbors, rather than to reflect the genuine concerns of the neighbors, reflects the perpetual political animosity of the Anaheim blog operator. He is a crusader against any change that expands inclusivity and uplifting our communities towards shared goals and benefits.

The riverbed camps are not, and it shouldn’t be, a permanent solution. In the meantime, let’s provide a basic service of any developed country to the people living there,

About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly.