Orange County officials have a federal judge's green light to clear out the county’s largest homeless encampment starting next Tuesday, but only if they provide an alternative bed for each of the estimated 400-plus people at the Santa Ana River encampment.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter Tuesday told county and city officials to hurry up and find short-term shelter for the hundreds of homeless people facing eviction from the Santa Ana riverbed. They did.
"This was a campaign mailer, plain and simple," said Supervisor Todd Spitzer. He and supervisors Shawn Nelson and Lisa Bartlett criticized Supervisor Michelle Steel’s handling of the invitations, which featured herself and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and were sent to 16,000 voters at county taxpayer expense, even though the event only could handle 50 people.
U.S. District Judge David Carter ordered a federal court hearing Feb. 13 that could temporarily stop the county’s eviction of the homeless from the Santa Ana Riverbed after attorney Brooke Weitzman filed a lawsuit against the county and requested a temporary restraining order.
Orange County’s top watchdog of public dollars, Eric Woolery, is accused by a former employee of having government employees drive his young children to school and other activities during work hours and babysit them at the office.
Attorney Brooke Weitzman Monday filed a federal court lawsuit in an effort to halt the county’s eviction of hundreds of homeless people from the Santa Ana riverbed, but the county immediately said it will continue telling people to leave unless a judge orders it to stop.
The now-removed plan had emphasized expanding the affordable housing supply for homeless people as a “top priority.” The supervisors also consolidated their power over the commission, removing all current members and changing the selection rules so supervisors now will pick all of the commissioners who have voting power.
County Supervisors, who are responsible for defining who responds to which type of search and rescue incident, said it wasn’t their job to fix the dispute – which reportedly has led to near-collisions between rescue helicopters. Supervisors instead pointed to other agencies to resolve the issue.