Supervisors to Santa Ana: ‘Put Up or Shut Up’ on Civic Center Homeless Crisis

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors during a special meeting Tuesday challenged Santa Ana city leaders to decide before Election Day whether they will join with the county in an effort to address the homelessness crisis at the downtown Civic Center.

Supervisors also directed county staff to get an empty bus terminal on the edge of the Civic Center up and running as a transitional homeless services center within the next 30 to 45 days and begin planning for a permanent solution to the crisis.

In recent years, as the Civic Center homeless population has ballooned to more than 450, county and Santa Ana officials have repeatedly clashed over possible solutions and who bears the lion’s share of the responsibility.

The feud reached a new level last week when conservative KFI radio hosts John and Ken castigated both Supervisor Andrew Do and Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez, who are in a pitched battle for Do’s First District supervisorial seat in the November election.

Following her appearance on the John and Ken Show, Martinez added a resolution to tonight’s Santa Ana City Council agenda to declare a “public health and safety crisis” and urging the county to take immediate action to provide services at the abandoned bus terminal. Not to be outdone, Do scheduled a special session among supervisors at 8:45 a.m. to act on the homeless issue.

During the supervisors’ morning meeting, Supervisor Todd Spitzer openly recognized the politics being played and urged his four Republican colleagues to challenge Santa Ana to commit to working on a solution to the problem.

“Finally, the city of Santa Ana has stepped up,” he said. The city is “trying to exploit the situation for political gain. Take it! Take it!”

“We should make Santa Ana put up or shut up now,” he said.

Supervisors instructed County Executive Officer Frank Kim to meet with Santa Ana City Manager David Cavazos “immediately” to determine how serious city officials are about addressing the problems and whether they would agree to a site for a permanent homeless center.

Regarding the bus terminal, which the county purchased in May for $3.2 million, Do said he expects the county staff will recommend portable toilets, showers and other equipment, along with medical and social services, and nonprofit food services, to be operating at the terminal within the next 30 to 45 days.

Also in May, supervisors hired Susan Price as the county’s homeless “czar,” to handle the terminal and other homeless issues.

During Tuesday’s meeting, supervisors acknowledged the logistical issues and construction challenges involved in converting the concrete structure with no electrical outlets into a full-time homeless center.

The county spent roughly $250,000 about two years ago on a different proposed homeless center, but the project died when it was opposed by Santa Ana.

Do said area residents are “tired of meaningless resolutions” from government agencies. County workers, jurors and others who have to walk through the civic center also have said they are afraid for their safety.

“We need to accept Santa Ana doesn’t want to be our partner,” said Supervisor Shawn Nelson, citing the city’s past opposition to projects to improve the homeless situation. “We’ve been at this for two years. They won’t engage. We need to find a permanent solution…. This board needs to commit right now, we’re going to fix it.”

Board Chairwoman Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, with no public explanation, tried to get the supervisors’ discussion moved behind closed doors but County Counsel Leon Page advised the supervisors they could not legally hold a secret discussion at that moment.

The county also is preparing a 200-bed year round homeless shelter in Anaheim, just north of the 91 Freeway, but will close its winter armory shelter in Fullerton.

You can contact Tracy Wood at and follow her on Twitter: @TracyVOC.

  • Ed Romero

    Why didn’t the Board of Supervisor’s make the same demands on those Drug Dealing, Marijuana Smoking, Cocaine Snorting GOP Racist Lesbians that ran the County of Orange for years. There was nothing that they could do, including Shoplifting, Hiring and Promoting their Lesbian friends to positions that should of gone to more qualified applicants, Snorting Cocaine while on duty and get caught and nothing done about it, that Asst. Chief Probation Officer that use to Smoke Marijuana all day long and well into the night and no one did a thing about it. What a bunch of fools.

  • Jacki Livingston

    Kudos to Santa Ana for refusing to do business with these corrupt do nothings! I applaud their good sense! Nelson, Spitzer and the Gangofive are not just useless, but they have a long history of shady dealings, wasteful spending and corruption in their handling of the public trust. Their history of neglect and abuse of patients in nursing homes is testament to that. Why would anyone believe that they could or would do better with the homeless? Until these sleazy criminals are kicked out of their plush offices, there is no hope of anything good getting done.

  • OCservant_Leader

    This corrupt GOP BOS refuse to “work” with or cooperate with any entity. Ever. This is their trademark – their swagger.

    Especially the Democratic Santa Ana. That’s all this is about. The County is a bigger dog and can piss longer. That’s all.

    Another show of their abuse of power.

    The County holds all the cards and all the funds. They are running the medi-cal scam at the civic center and are getting richer. That’s all.

    The County has been lying about the Bus Terminal for the 2 decades I worked there. They said the homeless will go away once OCTA closes the bus terminal. That happened about 10 years ago. It’s just more corruption. That’s all.

    • Jacki Livingston

      Finally! It is good to see someone else talking about the MediCal scam that they have been running. It has been going on for nearly a decade, and no one has done a thing about it.

      Every word you said is right on the dirty money.

      • OCservant_Leader

        Of course. Someone is clearly profiting off this system.

        The new OC CEO placed his sister to run the $400M Contracts (MHSA & Medi-Cal) AT the bus terminal AKA Healthcare Agency before his contract was even inked.


        He could of placed her ANYWHERE. She is not a health-care professional – so what is the purpose?

        • Jacki Livingston

          It is no different than the “fantabulous” computer system that they spent a fortune on, not even a decade ago, where they had a well related sleazeoid manager who helped ‘design’ and ‘implement’ the system, only to find that he was rigging it for corrupted nursing home providers who were double and triple billing the state. The providers were even sued in federal courts for the horrific way they were abusing and even killing patients, but the BoS and county did nothing about it, but wait…the crooked nursing home operators were making huge ‘donations’ to the campaigns of Nguyen, Moorlach, Spitzer and Nelson. What a coinky-dink, eh?

          When employees found the thefts, they were forced out, and the dirty employees were promoted. Not one of the senior managers at SSA has any decency or morals left, not Ryan, not any of them. They all sold their black souls for a few bucks and a pension. You have to go way down the food chain at SSA to find a single decent human being who actually cares about public service or their legal duty to our clients and the taxpayers who pay us. Take a look at their fastest rising star, a man so sleazy, he has been caught in compromising positions in his office and the parking lot with subordinates. He is related to a number of high level county bigwigs. He is well known for assaulting anyone who challenges him, has been found by investigators to have lied in depositions, and who has falsely accused employees of misconduct, to cover for his own incompetence and sexual misconduct. He makes Bustamante look like a Sunday School teacher, and not one member of the BoS or upper management will do anything about it.

          Thank God you are speaking out. No one has had the guts to shine a light on these cockroaches. It is disgusting.

  • Paul Lucas

    Just the other day Papi Pulido was advocating a hard and heavy hand using the Police to deal with the homeless in the civic center. That might have something to do with them dragging their feet. Just a thought.

    • LFOldTimer

      Just a matter of time before we have another Kelly Thomas incident and a Kabuki trial to follow.

      Uncanny how the live and let live compassionate democrats like Pulido want to suddenly resort to force and rule with an iron fist.

      Jackboots are coming back into style.

      • Paul Lucas

        Pulido isnt really a Democrat es a DINO

        • LFOldTimer

          As long as he has a “D” after his name he’s pure Democrat in my book.

          Has the Democrat Party of OC demanded him to turn in his credentials?

          Then he’s a Democrat in good standing.

          The differences between Democrats and Republicans are greatly exaggerated anyway to divide and conquer the peasants. And they’ve done it with incredible success over the years. 90% of the masses haven’t caught on yet.

          • Paul Lucas

            weve asked for them more than once.

          • LFOldTimer

            But I actually agree with you, Paul. I was quite shocked when I learned that Pulido was a dem. He walks, talks and carries himself like a GOP’er. Many of his friends seem to be GOP’ers. T-Rack protects him. And for T-Rack to protect you, you have to at least be an honorary Republican. Pulido has all the markings of a USDA approved GOP’er. Yet he still wears a “D” after his name.

            I suspect the reason is Pulido must play to the Hispanic crowd in his daily masquerade since many or most Hispanics are dems. So Pulido must pinch his nose to further his own political career and stay in the money. I’m surprised the Hispanic voters haven’t figured him out yet. All 2 of them. Oh well. Keep saluting the flag and paying your taxes. It’s all good.

      • Valkyrie Joos

        Wow! At least one other person can see through the us/them manipulation game! ….it’s awful. We keep utilizing methods that have research based data for failure and refuse to implement those that succeed. I am not talking about if other programs, therapeutic modalities, etc work, they do. We have problems because we maintain a draconian mentality in one of the wealthiest places on the planet. Period!

        • LFOldTimer

          Ms. Joos dear, if they actually solved the problems it would eliminate hundreds of useless government jobs compensating well in excess of $100,000. Can’t have that. Useless automaton bureaucrats are entitled to quality lives! Otherwise they would join the homeless. But the money saved on one useless automaton bureaucrat would feed and shelter 10 homeless people for a year. But lets not dare think outside the box.

  • David Zenger

    Comic. Opera.

    • LFOldTimer

      Not opera. I like opera.

      More like Kabuki Theater where colorful fiction has more meaning than day in the life reality on the 5th floor of the Hall of Administration.