Due Diligence and Lack Thereof on Proposed Homeless Shelter

Angie Armenta is a resident of Orange who opposes the building of a homeless shelter at 1000 Kraemer Ave., in Anaheim.

I attended the public meeting about the a proposed 200-bed homeless shelter in Anaheim, held at Eastside Christian Church on Wednesday, September 30th.

It was to be a presentation, to be followed by a Q&A session, sponsored by the county on the plans of the proposed homeless shelter at the 1000 Kraemer site.  I was a member of a small group of citizens that are completely for helping the homeless but against using this site because it would heavily impact families and businesses.

What Supervisor Todd Spitzer did not see was that this county-sponsored meeting venue, although comfortable, was toxic to anyone opposing their opinions.

The church had volunteered to host the presentation but in reality it was a plan to stack the deck against the opposition.

When we arrived the church people were passing out flyers, pinning orange pro-shelter propaganda on people. We set up a table to place our flyers and the police were called. We were harassed by the police as well as the church security, and told to place our table off church property and on to the sidewalk. Mind you, the public sidewalk was far from the entrance and would make it impossible to hand out flyers.  After speaking to the officials, they relented but the police presence was directly threatening our group of peaceful citizens trying to exercise or right to free speech. Inside the venue, the county had two tables with their information espousing the benefits and plans of the shelter and passing out flyers. We were not allowed to do the same.

This is due diligence?

As a retired and respected educator, mother and grandmother I find it horrendous and un-American to harass a group of law-abiding citizens trying to exercise their rights to express peaceful opposition to an issue.

I felt like I was in a third-world country unable to do what I have a right to do as an American citizen. I encourage the county not use church venues to hold county-sponsored activities as they impede our rights.

Furthermore, I feel that this was a calculated strategy used to squash our efforts going contrary to efforts of due diligence as well as pivotal points of the Orange County Board of Supervisor’s mission statement: Respect, Integrity, Caring, and Trust.

Mind you, this was the county’s fourth attempt at informing the public of these plans. The first meeting was a well-orchestrated attempt to gerrymander the process by making the presentation in small groups and not allowing anyone to voice concerns.

The second and third attempts to inform the public and listen to our concerns were cancelled. A fourth attempt, this time sponsored by the community was well attended by residents but no county supervisors were there to listen.

At last week’s church-controlled meeting we were given 30 seconds to speak! This is due diligence?

The law abiding residents, taxpayers, and business owners also matter and we request that the Kraemer site not be used for the Shelter because it is so close to schools, families, homes, and businesses. There are other venues that are more appropriate.


Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC Engagement Editor Julie Gallego at jgallego@voiceofoc.org.

  • Jacki Livingston

    Oh, honey…you found the atmosphere of dissent against the County and Spitzer to be toxic? ^hysterical laughter* Oh, my…welcome to the world of county employees who dare to report their criminal conduct. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, babe..

  • LFOldTimer

    To be completely fair to the Supervisors I have no workable solution to this homeless shelter problem. But it’s wrong to place a 200 bed (or more) shelter at any one place in the County that is in proximity of businesses or homes. My preference would be for every OC city build it’s own shelter in accordance with the proportion of OC’s homeless who live within their city limits. Some city shelters might need only 10 beds. Others might need 100 beds (or have multiple smaller shelters). But I realize that wouldn’t be workable politically even though ALL cities should pull their fair share of the homeless load. It’s wrong that mentally ill people live under freeway bridges in a developed nation. The problem is that you can’t even get all the OC cities to agree on the time of day. A few cities would undoubtedly throw a monkey wrench into the machinery. My other non-workable solution would be to build a homeless encampment in the canyons away from homes and businesses. Provide food and shelter and occupational education and mental health care in return for work in the forests (clean -up, road repair, brush removal, etc..) or other productive work. But I know that would never fly. Lawsuits would get filed and the courts would declare it unconsitutional and a deprivation of freedom. So, quite honestly, I have no solutions. Modern society and all it’s progressive complications have made all the good solutions impossible.

    • David Zenger

      The big, grand gesture is the one favored by politicians and houseacrats. They can’t say why a “regional” center is better than smaller, localized, more flexible, less intrusive solutions, but rely on “economies to scale” and “centralized services” that sound like they make sense, but really are mostly convenient for them, not the homeless.

      A big shelter serves the purpose of supporting that heavy bronze plaque with all their names on it. A plaque would look ridiculous anywhere in a complex of small, prefab modular buildings.

  • LFOldTimer

    After having their plans disrupted for the Fullerton and Santa Ana shelter sites by citizen revolts did you have any doubt that the County would play dirty to get what they want in Anaheim? You need to organize about 200 people to attend the BoS meeting and raise heck at the speaker’s podium. The cops can’t chase you away from there!

    • David Zenger

      Agree. Shake ’em up. None of the Supervisors gives a tinker’s damn about the homeless, but the grand and expensive gesture they see as priceless PR. Show resistance and watch them wilt like old lettuce.

      P.S. Don’t you find it very interesting that a “public” meeting was held on private property?


      • LFOldTimer

        It’s the typical M.O. of government that we always see whenever there is public outcry about a social issue and the screaming intensifies: Phase I: Act concerned but do nothing; Phase II: Appoint generously paid lackies to a commission or a committee to investigate the problem; Phase III: Implement a 5 or 10 year plan to eliminate the problem, thereby keeping the lackies on the payroll while little actually gets accomplished; Phase IV: Toss a few crumbs to the peasants (ie. assign field social workers, give more handouts, etc..) to quell the noize; Phase V: When the superficialities fail to dampen the outcry target the least politically influential class of citizen and trample on their rights to make the problem go away; Phase VI: When that doesn’t work rig the system so that only one side of the story gets disseminated to 90% of the public and the ones who rigged it end up looking like heroes. Wash, rinse, repeat, if necessary. End of story.

  • David Zenger

    Oh, Angie. You are not supposed to have an opinion. You are supposed to sit there and shut up. It’s all about education, see, and at this point the County cares much more about their ill-conceived gesture than they do about you. Your problem is that you don’t have the City of Anaheim representing you. They are happily representing other monetary interests.

    It’s really too bad you opponents to Kraemer site won’t shout it from your roof tops: the City of Anaheim ALREADY owns a three acre site off Karl Karcher Way that was purchased for the purpose of a homeless facility in early 2014. There it sits, waiting for a homeless shelter – really close to where the homeless actually are.

    • Jacki Livingston

      But…but….but…they can’t put it there! Don’t cha know that they just spent a ridiculous amount of money putting in a Social Services office in Anaheim, at the corner of Kramer and State College, across from The Grove, that they don’t want any clients to be able to go to, because it is all shiny and new, and they don’t want it dirtied up by those inconvenient poor people! Oh, and down the street, they spent a fortune putting the big wigs of SSA into some grand new offices, all shiny and no clients are wanted there, either. I mean, come ON, David! Putting a homeless shelter in close proximity to the number one agency offices that should serve them is far too logical and intelligent for this county. Oh…I’m sorry…did I let the wittle cat out of the sack on that one? Was the county not wanting the taxpayers to know that they spent a bucket of their money on pretty, shiny things that are really not serving the real people, but just there to be pretty and shiny? Oops…my bad! ^skips off whistling^