Murray’s Great (I Presume) Response to Kring’s “Dog Parks Keep the Homeless Out” Comment

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Lucille Kring, if she were a dog in an Anaheim dog park, and this were her "recent" campaign photo.

Lucille Kring, if she were a dog in an Anaheim dog park, and this were what she presented to the voters as her “recent” campaign photo: “Who let the (truth about dog parks) out?  Who?  Who?”  (Note: the homeless were omitted from this graphic — appropriately enough.)

I wasn’t at this past week’s Anaheim City Council meeting due to work, so I missed Lucille Kring’s over-the-top attack on Anaheim’s homeless while celebrating the creation of the City’s dog parks. First credit for this story goes to Voice of OC’s Adam Elmahrek, who captured the political quote of the year (which I’m re-punctuating for use in the motivational poster I’m considering marketing) from La Kring:

“It’s wonderful for the dogs, it’s wonderful for the owners — and it really keeps the homeless out!”

Kring was responding to several frustrated residents who attended the council meeting and complained about homeless people at Twila Reid Park in west Anaheim. They demanded the city do something to rid the park of homeless people and said adjacent neighborhoods had become havens of crime and drug use.

Kring’s response was rooted in past practices by city officials. The homeless population in the city’s La Palma Park went down significantly after they turned it largely into a dog park, Kring said. OC Weekly reported on the tactic earlier this year.

Adam also conveyed a lengthier, but no less spicy, quote from Kring — criticizing churches:

“I would like them immediately to stop feeding the homeless. … You’ve got the trash. You’ve got everything incorporated with feeding people who should not be fed there.”

For the record, Kring was an Anaheim Mayoral candidate in 2014, running on the “City of Kindlessness” platform.

Meanwhile, OC Weekly’s Gabriel San Roman added some useful context:

The city council approved a $1.1 million contract Tuesday to construct another dog park in Anaheim Hills (where few, if any, homeless roam). But Kring emphasized the need for one in west Anaheim at either Twila Reid or Maxwell Park to the thunderous applause of NIMBYs in the audience. The latter has been the site of constant filming of police and code enforcement interactions with the homeless by advocate (albeit anti-gay) R. Joshua Collins.

Cruel Kring also rambled on about how the city [having] curtailed church groups from feeding the homeless at La Palma Park [was] a good thing! The council-pendeja‘s comments come at a time when NIMBYs went on the attack against the county proposed homeless shelter site near the park.

“We have received numerous resident requests for dog parks and continually look for opportunities to add them throughout the city, including in west and south Anaheim,” writes Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster in an email to the Weekly. “As we have seen at La Palma Park, dog parks are an amenity that our residents love and that can broaden and enhance the use of an existing park.”

I’ll admit right here that I haven’t yet watched the video of this week’s — but I can only imagine how big of a fight there was on the dais between Kring and her customary ally Kris Murray!  You see, I was there on April 7, when Murray spoke on this issue.  (She begins at 2:45:25 on this video and the applause for her ends at 2:50:XX.  Excerpts of it were even featured prominently on Southern California Public Radio’s report on the meeting!)   That speech, which future pro-Murray crossover Democrats will tout as “Murray’s Finest Moment,” passionately called for treating the homeless with kindness and respect and not like trash!  Here — I even transcribed it for you:

Councilwoman Murray: I’d like to begin by thanking County staff, as well as Chairman Spitzer and Supervisor Nelson, who’ve worked with the city for years now, several years, to look at a number of options to look forward with a full-service community center, homeless shelter, that had a full range of services to our homeless population.  I understand a number of sites we looked at previously were just not considered “ideal” for a number of factors, but that this one proposed could meet all of the requirements — and there are myriad requirements, and these types of parcels are not available, readily available, just anywhere — so finding an idea site that has transit, that has the size and space and scope to really provide a very beneficial and full service shelter is difficult to come by, as we’ve undertaken the effort of looking across the county.

I want to thank our Staff, Kristine Ridge, as well as my colleague Councilmember Jordan Brandman, who served as Council Liaison with the County to develop this option that is before us tonight.  I think it’s an extraordinary opportunity to really have a full service shelter become truly viable in Orange County, and particularly in North Orange County, where we have a significant homeless population — not just here in Anaheim, but in Orange and Placentia, in Yorba Linda, and even in Fullerton.  So this site better serves all of those cities.

City officials in the city of Fullerton spoke in support of it at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting.  We’ve had talks with City officials about splitting the cost, potentially, of any gap between what the County can afford and what we can afford, and I am wholly in support of that — not just this resolution tonight, but making sure financial resources are there to truly see this come to fruition in a very dynamic and important way to have all of those services in one facility.

[2:47:52]  I think it’s important for anyone who objects to understand that we haven’t come to this point in time easily.  In fact, Karen Roper and I, through my work previously, professional work, I’ve actually worked with you on the Task Force to End Homelessness more than ten years ago — [laughing] it’s hard to believe that much time.  This has taken quite some some to get to this point of time, and we can’t continue to just push the issue in hopes that some “perfect” scenario is going to materialize.

It is absolutely critical that individuals who are homeless — many of whom are veterans, many who are children, many who are families and individuals with mental health issues — that they have a full-service shelter in the County of Orange.  And I’m proud that Anaheim has put so much effort into numerous programs through CityNet, and working with our faith-based organizations — Mercy House, Illumination Foundation, so many worthwhile organizations as well as partnering with the county — to do as much as we could in reconnecting people with families and providing them services in absence of a shelter but as we know the Armory is not a permanent solution.  We need a permanent solution and we need a quality facility.  So I would just ask everyone to please have patience.  Please come to this with compassion.  And really think about the importance a permanent solution that really makes sense for our county and for our community and for the homeless population.

So with that I couldn’t be more pleased tonight to support this item.  Again [nodding towards Brandman] I thank you for your leadership, and I thank the County, the Chairman, Spitzer — I think that it’s awful that anyone would disparage him when he is coming forward with a very viable solution — as well as Supervisor Nelson, who’s worked so closely with the city over the years.

So, it shouldn’t matter as much where as finding an ideal location and making sure that it is a full-service and quality facility, and this really seems to do that.  So thank you; look forward to supporting this option tonight.

Chair Pro-Tem Kring: Anyone else have any …

Councilwoman Murray: I’ll move the item, OK?  [2:50:01]

Admittedly, she made this speech in support of approving the purchase of the “Kraemer Place” property in Anaheim Canyon as the proposed site of a 200-or-so-bed homeless facility — which is now being attacked by a group organized by Murray’s ally Matt Cunningham.  This move tacitly allowed the diversion of the much more central and appropriate “Karcher” lot (purchased last year for this purpose at a price-tag of $3.1 million)  from use for the homeless to … well, we don’t know yet, but judging from past practice it will surely involve enrichment of a crony or two.  (Or many.)

If Cunningham’s people successfully change the Council’s mind, then the combination of no homeless services at Karcher, and no homeless services at Kraemer, and no place to exist at La Palma Park or Twila Reid Park (because dogs need a place too, and they are cuter than the homeless), will leave Anaheim in the position of having reduced the ability of homeless to survive in the city.  They will have really “got the homeless out.”  (This, reflecting as it does the European reaction to the Syrian refugee crisis, will help to cement Anaheim’s status as a city ahead of its time.  Figuring out ways to let the poor and weak die both out of sight and out of mind seems to be the emerging public policy program of the 21st century.)

Using “dog parks” as a rationale for excluding the poor from public space is brilliant in its way — especially by giving dogs the right to defecate and urinate in a public space while denying it to humans who lack facilities to do so.  (That’s truly Louis XVI-caliber thinking!  Of course, as Kring implicitly recognizes, the homeless might stop defecating and uriniating so much if people would just stop giving them food and water!)

But still — having made such a “Finest Moment” speech, leading moments later to the wild applause of the many homeless advocates in the audience, Murray has to keep up appearances.  So I presume that she took the opportunity to absolutely lambaste Kring’s suggestion that part of the reason for the municipal dog parks is to come up with a reason to clear out the homeless and make them live elsewhere — ideally across city or county lines — the better for those Anaheimers unafflicted by poverty to frolic.

I’ll check out the video when I can.  In the meantime, those of you who were there can let us know how forcefully and eloquently Murray replied when the Council meeting audience was not filled with homeless advocates (apparently ones unfamiliar with the recent history of La Palma Park) demanding a shelter, but instead with people who don’t like the homeless being around.  I hope that this was a second Finest Moment for her!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)