Carter-Palooza June 13: Secret black homeless sites coming to YOUR town, ha-ha!


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*sarcasm alert* WHERE IS THAT GALLANT TODD SPITZER, the DA candidate who’s pledged to protect us from all the evil “sex offenders” and “violent felons” who are homeless and unaccounted for in our OC cities?  He sure wasn’t there yesterday, at Judge Carter’s latest hearing.

Instead we find out that the long-awaited locations for temporary emergency shelters each city was ordered to provide will be carefully kept SECRET for now, to avoid the damn NIMBY uprisings we experienced in March (fanned by the demagogue Spitzer.)

I understand why it’s being done that way, but still … I’m unused to not objecting to government secrecy.

Part of the Carter Shtick, which is still a lot of fun and hopefully will produce results, is to lavishly praise the defendants before him for their hard work and good faith, while constantly dangling threats.  The big threat continues to be “TRO’s” or temporary restraining orders, against specific uncooperative cities being able to enforce their own anti-camping ordinances.  

As me and Batiste walked in, close to the beginning, Carter was egging on homeless-advocate attorney Carol Sobel to describe how Los Angeles looks right now – Los Angeles which apparently has recently been given just such a TRO.  “Tents everywhere, your honor.”  (Eyes right.) Later, as each Mayor or city rep took their turn reporting on their new secret locations, Carter expressed faux-concern that that town’s homeless would soon overrun any uncooperative neighboring town – subtly dangling the constant TRO threat.

Carter also did the usual bit about how in charge, and permanently in charge, of this process he is.  Expressing sympathy with defendants in other counties, where they can never predict who the presiding judge will be from hearing to hearing, he told the story of how his fellow OC federal judges had “graciously told me, YOU be in charge of the homelessness issue!”  And also, not to worry, his doctor assures him that he will live to be 110 (36 more years.)

Santa Ana, Anaheim, Huntington Beach

Santa Ana’s Mayor for Life Miguel Pulido was the first one called to the stand.  Still starstruck and energized from a meeting with Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is focused on the mental illness of the homeless and working on getting $100 million in block grants to cities for the problem, Miguel says Santa Ana has been spending $17 million a year on the homeless, and that some of them are “CRAZY, CRAZY, CRAZY!”

Santa Ana has a site lined up that will be MUCH better than the Courtyard, with a 700-bed capacity (an extra 300 as it’ll take the place of the dismal 400-bed Courtyard), all the services that are needed, and zero-to-negligible impact on the neighboring community.  They’ve worked it out with the property owner, and “nothing will stop us.”  And there’s even a Plan B, which Miguel feels will never be necessary – a big local property owner eager to donate a facility (the person unidentified but Carter said he was present.)  I turned to a neighbor and asked “Mike Harrah?” and the guy responded “That’s what I was thinking, but I didn’t notice him here.”

Next, my town of Anaheim was represented by Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Jose Moreno, standing in for Mayor Tait who was at some Mayor Bash at Yale.  Jose explained that Anaheim respectfully disagreed with Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do (who had spoken earlier) about fewer and larger shelters being preferable due to “economies of scale” – the City of Kindness prefers SMALLER and MORE NUMEROUS.  And eventually one in each of our six voting districts, so no one council member has to bear the brunt of NIMBY vengeance more than another.

So at this point, Anaheim is offering an extra 325 beds: a 75-bed shelter, 50-bed shelter, and a 200-bed shelter in a building owned by prodigious and ubiquitous property owner Bill Taormina.  (We currently have “200 shelter beds” – that must be the Kraemer Center.)  At the end of his presentation, and heartened by Carter’s positive response to Pulido, Moreno asked, “So is Anaheim off the hook now, your honor?” to much courtroom laughter. Nobody is off the hook yet.

THIRDLY approached the Mayor of my PREVIOUS home town, Huntington Beach’s Michael Posey, who’s been a FOX News star since leading his town in a Trump-inspired rebellion against California sanctuary, while respectably making it sound like a non-racist, “constitutional” battle.  Forewarned that Carter would have none of “there are no homeless at the beaches” arguments, Posey proudly outlined two shelters in progress, one 55 beds and one 20.  And shortly after the hearing he crowed to his HB Facebook followers that they were not to be “within Huntington Beach boundaries.”

That’s correct, those two shelters, both of which are promised this year, are a collaboration of HB and Westminster, and will be located in unincorporated, 1.3-square mile Midway City.  Poor Midway City with no government, even less powerful than Silverado (where South County mayors tried to dump their homeless.)  FUN FACT!  It’s called Midway City because it pre-dates most surrounding cities, and it’s halfway between Seal Beach and Santa Ana, a place where you can water your horse on the long journey!

South County Faceplants

Me and Batiste had to leave soon after Posey’s presentation (and a strange appearance by railroad representatives which I won’t get into) so, since I didn’t know what I missed, I ripped open my morning copy of the Voice of OC, and lo and behold – the South County Mayors had NOTHING.

FIVE HUNDRED SQUARE MILES.  TEN CITIES OR SO.  And South County has nowhere they could put ANY temporary emergency homeless shelters until “permanent supportive housing” is available.

THAT, your honor, is spoiled, passive-aggressive rich people.

THAT, your honor, is spoiled rich people not taking the issue seriously, not facing the fact that this is their problem too, and NOT TAKING YOU seriously.

Is your constantly threatened TRO a Paper Tiger?  Is this whole proceeding a Paper Tiger?

It’s time to see the Irvine of whiney overgrown man-child Don Wagner converted into a Mecca of the “Service-Resistant.”

It’s time to see LA-style tent encampments in Mission Viejo and Dana Point.

Hell, I know a lotta people that’ll drive folks down that way with their tents, and make a second, third, fourth trip.

We’re awaiting your orders!

ALSO, THIS:

There are two tracks on which the well-meaning and the prodded are attempting to make progress – short-term emergency shelters as discussed above, and the “permanent supportive housing” that most of us agree is really needed.  2700 units county-wide is the agreed-on goal.

And right now the great hope of reaching the estimated $900 million required to provide that housing is via Assemblyman Tom Daly’s AB 448, co-authored by assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D) and Republican state senators Moorlach, Nguyen and Bates… written about enthusiastically by homeless advocate Mohammed Aly on this blog, and requiring the formation of a JPA (Joint Powers Agreement.)

To begin with, NOBODY I know, starting with me, trusts Tom Daly, a kleptocrat’s kleptocrat in the Democratic Party.  And some of us – particularly one of my colleagues – has had really bad experiences with what JPA’s can do, and are permitted to do, insofar as enriching the well-connected, plundering the public, bypassing the electorate, and not even accomplishing their supposed goal.

Mohammed and other homeless advocates, new to these sort of processes, present the choice as “between AB 448 and the status quo,” i.e. continued rampant homelessness and death.  And Dan Young, an Irvine Company  housing development executive, testified yesterday that the passage of the bill would enable the creation of 500 new units within six months, 1000 within a year, and the entire 2700 over 7 years.  Developers like Taormina and HB’s Billy O’Connell have been hovering around Carter’s hearings this whole time, wanting to keep their foot in the door for building affordable housing.  (Protests Taormina, “We just don’t want to see anarchy on the streets!” but come on, he mostly wants to turn a profit, it’s in his DNA.)

Cynthia Ward, friend of the blog, veteran of these same wars, and Anaheim Mayoral candidate, takes a more moderate, cautious, and let’s-not-take-our-eyes-off-of-this view:

So far what I can see is the Daly-Silva-Moorlach bill simply ALLOWS the JPA to be created and offers a wide menu of funding options they CAN use but does not dictate which of them they WILL use. The JPA itself will have to outline its own mechanisms for revenue. This leaves us very little to review for assurance of future responsiblity, but this is how government works.

For comparison, many of us are familiar with the “Mills Act,” the State program that lets local government entities contract with private property owners for historic property preservation agreements that keep heritage structures in preserved condition in exchange for a property tax reduction to offset (minimal amounts) of the enormous cost of preservation. The Mills Act does not outline the program itself, it simply provides permission or ability for local agencies to create their own programs, and each local agency has a separate process. If we tanked the Mills Act for not providing enough detail we would have lost an important tool for preserving our built environment.

Just as it is left to each local community to watch their own local government as they set up their own Mills Act program, it will be up to OC residents to see how the Housing Trust sets up their system and process for funding permanent supportive housing, after this State Law permits them to do so. We won’t get that assurance from this rather broad-reaching bill.

So everyone sit tight and let’s see what comes out in the wash when Sacramento permits the Housing Trust to become “a thing,” and then we will see what its leaders propose to do with the wide reaching authority granted by the State. But I am making calls and trying to determine where they INTEND to get the funding and how they intend to repay the funds. We all know that how we think something will work and what the end product looks like are often not alike, especially in government, but I am sure they have an outline to share, and I am trying to track it down. So far I am not meeting the usual brick wall of resistance that comes with those who don’t want to share, so no alarms are going off yet, but I wanted to report in that someone IS trying to get more info, so let’s keep the speculation to a minimum until we know more. And if anyone has docs they want to share, please send them to me.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance!  And that’s all the news that’s fit to print on THAT right now! Vern out.


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.