Welcome To Santa Ana, The No Shit Zone
by Gary Boatwright, Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 03:43:48 PM EDT
Santa Ana is assuredly the cesspool of Southern California. There is not a single laundromat or convenience store in Santa Ana that has a functioning restroom available to the public. There is either an "Out of Order" sign or the handles on the hot and cold running water have been removed. In the rare cases where a toilet is functioning, there is no soap or paper towels.
On my vacation last year I did my laundry in a laundromat in Mobile, Alabama that had free wifi. In Santa Ana hot and cold running water is considered a luxury. Being homeless in Orange County is literally like living in an underdeveloped third world country. There are very few sources of drinking water or hot bathing water for sponge baths.
If anyone is aware of another city in America that has gone to such extravagant lengths to push homeless Americans to another location, please let me know. In my previous diary I mentioned the curious charge of "Intent to Camp." This misdemeanor is so clearly intended to be applied exclusively to homeless Americans, that I am curious how the City Attorney is going to explain why Santa Ana is exempt from the Ninth Circuit Appealate decision about homeless American citizens.
In addition to the "Intent to Camp" crime, a couple of years ago, all infractions for minor transgressions of city ordinances were elevated to misdemeanors so violators could be taken to jail. Jaywalking is a misdemeanor and homeless Americans can and have been taken to jail for walking against the red hand. There is also a charge that is called "bagging." Anyone walking on the streets of Santa Ana or other Orange County cities with a backpack can be stopped by the police that have their backpacks searched. The back pack itself is considered probable cause for a stop and frisk.
There is also a city ordinance against "abandonment" of personal property. I have been infomred and hounded by Officer Flores because I leave my belongings unattended for a few minutes. Flores' interpretation of an ordinance required me to take my rolling hiking pack with me through the food line, instead of leaving it on the ground ten feet away. I went down to the police station to argue Officer Flores' interpretation of the statute and find out what the statute said. The Watch Sargent said he would look into the ordinance, but did not have a problem with Flores' harassment of me.
One person said they were charged with "Intent to Loiter" in the middle of downtown Santa Ana in the middle of the afternoon. I'm checking that one out. It seems extreme, even for Santa Ana, but it would not surprise me in the least.
The Santa Ana police department is absolutely convinced that it is impossible for a police officer to harass a citizen unless they arrest them or seize their property. Quite simply, homeless Americans have no legal rights or legal protection anywhere in Orange County. Illegal immigrants have greater legal protection and more legal rights than homeless Americans. Stray animals, ferral animals and circus animals have greater legal protection than homeless Americans in Orange County California.