San Clemente: Eager to Enforce Homeless Camping Ordinance, But Slow to Provide Shelter Plan

By: Tim Houchen
April 2, 2019 —

The long-awaited reveal of a San Clemente SB 2 zone, five years in the making, identifies a state mandated zone where an emergency homeless shelter can exist by right. The Rancho San Clemente Business Park area is where any future shelter within the city would be located.

According to the Mayor and City Attorney, San Clemente can begin enforcing its anti-camping ordinances after three conditions have been met.

First, the funds for the shelter must be allocated.

Second, the city must enter into contract with an operator of the proposed shelter.

Last, the city must select a site.

The Mayor seemed adamant about being told that these were the only three things that the city would need to do before they could begin enforcement, but let’s not forget one tiny detail mayor, the shelter needs to be open and beds need to be available for people. So, really there’s four things.

The City Attorney announced that San Clemente had entered into a “joint defense arrangement” with San Juan Capistrano, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita and Laguna Hills.

No one is sure why Rancho Santa Margarita and Laguna Hills entered into a joint defense arrangement when neither city is named in the OC Catholic Worker lawsuit. Perhaps it’s a way for them to admit guilt by association.

The mayor should know that he probably should be a little more careful with the terminology he uses, especially in this very delicate situation that his city is in. Calling homeless people “transients” and saying that homelessness is a regional problem requiring regional solutions, doesn’t really sound like the responsibility of sheltering homeless people living in San Clemente falls squarely on the shoulders of San Clemente. Just a thought.

Also, one resident goes on record during public comments on the closed session matter saying that the City Council needs to be more transparent on this issue.

In San Clemente, things happen over time. It has taken nearly five years to the day for the city to establish an SB 2 zone that was accepted in compliance with the state law.

Transparency might just be a little difficult for this crew. Give them some time though and before you know it, you’ll be able to see right through them!

How’s that for transparency?

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