LIVE! Behind The Iron Curtain
by Gary Boatwright, Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 02:59:00 PM EDT
Welcome to Orange County, California, birthplace of American fascism. In polite circles the correct terminology is Behind The Orange Curtain, but I see no reason to mince words. This is the latest entry in my continuing series about homeless Americans in Orange County California. I started the series with a formal declaration of war on homelessness in The Revolution Starts . . . Now and added an update with My Santa Ana Urban Camping Trip.
Recent developments include getting my car impounded for driving on an expired license while I was on the way to my bank with the title to my car so I could park it in their lot and give them the keys. I have clear title to a 2003 Hyundai with a Blue Book value of $5,500. The impound fee is currently about $1,500 and climbing at the rate of $245 per week.
I also got a ticket for "Intent to Camp", which applies to anyone in a Santa Ana or Orange park who sits on a blanket. The blanket is considered evidence of "intent to camp." A Santa Ana police officer ordered me to move on at about 1:30 in the afternoon or get a citation. I had just eaten and didn't feel like moving so I told him he could go ahead an cite me. I was immediately handcuffed and informed I would be taken to the city jail and be given a citation from jail.
The first words out of my mouth were, "Do you think you might be making a mistake?" The officers were convinced they were following correct procedure so they continued with their arrest and took me to jail. It took eight hours to book and release me. I was released at 9:15 p.m. on a Saturday night with just a T-shirt and shorts and a check for $1.55. The rest of my belongings, including warm clothing and about $15 were put into the evidence room and could not be released until Monday morning.
I also got a ticket for busting an 8:00 p.m. curfew in Birch park. It was about 8:05 p.m. and about a half dozen of us were in the process of leaving the park when Park Rangers rode up on us from two directions and ordered us to sit on the ground. A third park ranger and a Santa Ana squad car with two officers followed in a few minutes. That's a pretty impressive response for something as serious as being in the park five minutes after curfew. Everybody was I.D.'d and given a ticket. No drugs or any other offenses.
I have talked to a couple of Santa Ana City Attorney staffers and asked them why they didn't think the Ninth Circuit Appealate decision about homeless Americans having a right to occupy the face of the earth applied in Orange County. They are convinced that it does not. I look forward to proving them wrong.
If anyone is interested in dropping by, I am staying at the shuffleboard court in Birch Park, across from the Senior Citizens Center. I told a Watch Commander with the Santa Ana P.D. that it was my spot and I would appreciate it if the Animal Control vans would stop hasseling me and my friends about the 8:00 p.m. curfew, because it sent a bad message to the community that it was OK to treat homeless Americans like animals. The Watch Commander assured me I was reading too much into it. The Animal Control officers were simply finishing their paperwork and the park was a convenient location.
I informed the Watch Commander that if I was representing the P.D. that is exactly what I would say and recommended that he tell it to the judge, but I would have a slightly different explanation. I haven't been bothered by the Animal Control vans since and I haven't been bothered by the night shift of the Santa Ana P.D. while I am sleeping. I also told the Santa Ana City Council that the shuffleboard court at Birch Park was my adresss and it was my spot.
The City Attorney, Mayor and City Council did seem overly pleased with my lecture on proper treatment for homeless Americans in Santa Ana. I will be giving the Santa Ana City Council and Mayor another tutorial in the legal rights of homeless American citizens tomorrow night. I'm going to keep showing up until they get it right. Like I said in my first diary in this series:
I'm Calling Bullshit On Homelessness. I have never lost a flame war yet, and I'm not about to start with this one.