COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — A fired up crowd in Costa Mesa let city leaders have it Wednesday, the latest town to sound off on plans that could involve their community taking in dozens of homeless people recently displaced from an Orange County riverbed.
Costa Mesa is the latest city in a growing list of municipalities caught up in an ongoing saga of where to put hundreds of transients who had been living along a stretch of river going from Santa Ana to Anaheim.
Earlier this week, Orange County supervisors rescinded a plan that would have housed some homeless in tents in the cities of Irvine, Huntington Beach and Laguna Niguel after complaints from residents.
Another plan that was floated by State Sen. John Moorlach involved turning the soon-to-be shuttered Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa into housing for about 100 homeless people. That did not sit well with residents there.
Wednesday’s meeting came about after O.C. Supervisor Shawn Nelson seemed to go along with Moorlach’s proposed plan. At the meeting, a spokesman for Nelson backpedaled the earlier statement, saying the supervisor was not suggesting Fairview as an option, but that the city council should decide.
At least one woman at the meeting voiced her approval for the plan, but the majority of folks present balked at the idea.
“I am disappointed in what you have done to our city, and my silence stops now,” one woman told the Costa Mesa City Council. “I have trusted you. You have let me down continuously. Vote no on this, get the sober living homes out of my city and turn it back to what it was,” the woman continued to thunderous applause at the emergency meeting inside the Costa Mesa Senior Center.
Some residents tie the seemingly untenable homeless crisis in the area to the explosion of sober living facilities.
“We have to call it what it is. It’s not a homeless problem, it’s an addict problem, and until we treat it as such, it’s not gonna go away,” one man told the council.
“I can tell you in my neighborhood it is commonplace for us to witness all kinds of measures, including the sober living folks among the homeless, exposing themselves to, literally, women and children, used syringes and literally shooting up,” another man echoed.
The city council voted unanimously against the Fairview proposal.