• OCResident

    While we advocates certainly appreciate the support of our local press outlets, I think it’s a little presumptuous to assume that only your intervention has moved the needle on these issues. The advocacy community, especially in Anaheim and Fullerton, have been quite active for over five years to get that year round shelter proposal moving. We’ve been out in force since 2009, and especially after Kelly Thomas’ death, meeting with local elected officials, their staff members, local law enforcement and service providers, strategizing and pushing to get the main components of the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness implemented. In Anaheim, the Anaheim Poverty Task Force crafted it’s own Plan to End Homelessness to focus the best practices and ideas on one of the county’s largest cities, with one of the largest homeless populations. The APTF even conducted its own citywide homeless census for two years running (independent from the countywide efforts). They’ve been asked by advocates from around the county to help with similar efforts in their communities as well.

    No one set of efforts can advance progress on an issue as difficult and complicated as homelessness. But we advocates have been at this for a really long time, fighting a very politically conservative environment that would prefer to send our homeless residents to Riverside rather than help them not be homeless. I’m sure it’s a combination of factors that has finally moved our electeds toward the implementation efforts you outline.

    Again, thank you for help in keeping the pressure on. But it would be nice to see you acknowledge that your efforts may have fallen on deaf ears if not for those of us who have been greasing the skids for you for 5+ years already.

    • David Zenger

      “especially after Kelly Thomas’ death”

      Which had absolutely nothing to do with homelessness and everything to do with police brutality.

      • OCResident

        However, if the homeless were housed and not outdoors being homeless, there wouldn’t be a vulnerable population available to be beaten.

        • David Zenger

          If Kelly had wanted to live under a roof he had both Mom and Dad to stay with.

          Kelly is not dead because there was no homeless shelter. He is dead because 6 cops bludgeoned him to death.

          And not one of your crew said or did anything to condemn the cops that killed him or the system that protected them.

          Please get a new poster child for your cause.

          • Jacki Livingston


          • OCResident

            Actually, hundreds of members of “our crew” did condemn what was done. But we also turned that sadness and and anger into action. Although our initial efforts for a year round shelter in Fullerton failed, we continued to fight for permanent supportive housing and another year round shelter in Anaheim.

            Oh, and with respect to Kelly Thomas’ Mom and Dad, he had stayed with them many times over the years, but the voices in his head from his diagnosed schizophrenia would often force him to leave. If our mental health services system – for everyone, not just the chronically homeless – was actually functional (see the other VoC article on this topic) I strongly believe he would still be alive.

            By no means am I defending the officers involved here. I think they’re guilty and every one of them should be in prison. Unfortunately, the jury didn’t agree.

            And I don’t really see that Kelly Thomas is a “poster child” for our cause, he is simply the most recent and sad example of what happens when both the homeless services and mental health services systems fail. That’s why we advocates do what we do – so there doesn’t have to be another Kelly Thomas.

            I might ask, why are you focusing so much animosity on the police here? The justice system didn’t work in this case. But why don’t you use Kelly Thomas as YOUR “poster child” for reforming police tactics? Put that anger into action, rather than spending time complaining in online comment sections.

          • David Zenger

            “Actually, hundreds of members of “our crew” did condemn what was done.”

            Please cite one example. Just one. With real manes, of course.

    • Hey great points! Strong and sustained community engagement is absolutely key to effective public policy. And you’re right, many homeless activists, non profits and agencies have been carrying most of that weight – without much engagement from elected leaders in OC – for too many years. So Big Thanks! News outlets also don’t operate in a vacuum so without the public and activists engaging, news stories or columns don’t go anywhere. I thought I pointed that out but maybe not enough. Great news for OC is together, we’re all changing the narrative for our local government! Thanks again for engaging!

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    Pressure = Progress. It’s a start in the right direction. Let’s hope it is sustainable.

  • David Zenger


    So the message is that it’s not enough to elect them and give them $1,000,000 office budgets. We have to constantly put pressure on them to do their jobs.

    Got it.