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.