MOORLACH UPDATE — Model Legislator — August 4, 2018

After having written several commentaries recently that have been published around the state, the question that has been coming to my mind is, “Where are the Letters to the Editor?” Why doesn’t someone pipe in and take me on. After all, the funnest part of writing editorials is enjoying the published reactions.

Well, no sooner after this thought crossed my mind and the San Francisco Chronicle publishes one! And, it was an affirming one, to boot. I’m not sure my “ulterior motive” was to eliminate a “fire prevention fee,” but I’ll take the kind words all the same. It’s the first piece below (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Reducing Wildfires — July 31, 2018).

MyNewsLA provides the latest news on Judge David O. Carter’s efforts to address the homelessness crisis in Orange County (for a sampling on this topic, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Homelessness JPA Solution — July 11, 2018).

Judge Carter held a long hearing yesterday and the results are provided in the second piece below. Judge Carter really wants to use Fairview Developmental Center as a temporary solution. He asked if the host city would approve 3 or 4 beds. Costa Mesa has certainly carried its share of the load. But, it also needs to vision for the future for this closing facility.

In the meantime, I’m working to support a collaborative plan to house 2,700 in temporary housing units with supportive services countywide. In visioning for this effort, there is a way to help individuals help themselves. By providing temporary housing, and requiring an achievable plan to assist those who wish to obtain occupational skills, work at a job, and save money, thus allowing them to reenter the fulfilling life of self-sufficiency.

Letters to the Editor:

Model legislator

Regarding “3 practical steps to reduce wildfires here” (Open Forum, July 31): Thank you for publishing Republican state Sen. John Moorlach’s piece on how to address wildfires in California and about their impacts on climate change. We should put some Republican ideas on the table when they’re good ones. Instead of promoting President Trump, why can’t you publish more Moorlach?

He is a model legislator who has worked across the aisle with San Francisco’s own state Sen. Scott Wiener on SB384 (reforming the sex offender registry). That said, Moorlach has an ulterior motive — stopping the statewide fire prevention fee. He is right to do so: It just backfills the spiraling pension debt without increasing services. Too much Trump ignores this problem.

Thomas Busse, San Francisco

OC Officials Move Closer to Homeless Solutions



Santa Ana and Anaheim officials moved closer Friday to settling with homeless advocates who filed a federal class-action lawsuit to block law enforcement from enforcing anti-camping ordinances.

Santa Ana and Orange County officials have a tentative agreement to open a jointly operated 700-bed facility and Anaheim officials are working on a 200-bed site.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who is presiding over the lawsuit, praised Anaheim and Santa Ana officials, but he prodded Santa Ana and Orange County leaders who had a memorandum of understanding that came a bit unglued Thursday to settle their differences.

Carter also pressed Costa Mesa City Manager Tom Hatch to consider using the Fairview Developmental Center in his city as a temporary shelter for transients.

Officials estimate there are 2,584 unsheltered transients in the county, so the goal is to provide shelter for 60 percent, or 1,550 people. Officials are hoping to set aside 425 beds for transients in northern cities, 200 to 300 for those in the central part of the county and 300 beds for transients in south county.

Carter said the county will receive at least $15.5 million in emergency shelter funds from the state in the coming year with $9.9 million for cities, including $5.1 million for Anaheim and $4.8 million for Santa Ana.

“So when I hear we don’t have any money, yeah we do,” Carter said.

Carter ordered all of the attorneys back to court Sept. 7 for a hearing in which he will consider issuing a temporary restraining order if more progress isn’t made to provide shelter beds.

Carter has the authority to issue a restraining order preventing cities from enforcing anti-camping ordinances until officials can provide proof they have enough beds for transients in their city.

The judge has been using the threat of the restraining order to prod local officials to work out a settlement or face “10 years of litigation” and the specter of scrambling to build shelter beds while being unable to arrest transients for camping.

Those cities could see a mass migration of transients from other cities where anti-camping ordinances could be enforced, Carter said.

Carter said he toured the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa and said it was “ideal” as a temporary shelter because it has dormitories and other facilities that are largely unused on a sprawling campus.

Earlier this year state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, and Supervisor Shawn Nelson asked state officials who own the property previously used to treat severely developmentally disabled about using it as a temporary shelter for the homeless. The proposal didn’t set well with Costa Mesa City Council members and angry residents, prompting the council to pass a resolution opposing any such plan.

Hatch told the judge residents several years ago approved a general plan for the property which would set aside 50 percent of it for single-family homes, 25 percent for open space and 25 percent for “institutional activities.”

Carter pressed Hatch to have city officials call Gov. Jerry Brown, who the judge spoke with last night, to see if a deal could be worked out to let the county use the center as a temporary shelter.

“It’s magnificent. It’s perfect,” Carter said of the center.

The judge said any such move would be temporary to help officials work on more long-term plans for more permanent housing for the homeless.

Carter, however, said he understood any such move would be unpopular in the city.

“Costa Mesa is always wiling to do its fair share,” Hatch said.

Still up in the air is what leaders in south Orange County cities will do to address homelessness. Laguna Niguel City Manager Kristine Ridge said she heard Carter’s admonitions “loud and clear” and would alert her colleagues.

Attorney Carol Sobel, who represents the homeless in the lawsuit, said she was optimistic all sides could come to a settlement. She referenced her 18 years of involvement in similar litigation in Los Angeles County.

“So this is like a speedway,” she told reporters after the hearing.


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