I was in attendance on March 17, 2018 at a hearing held by Judge Carter regarding the homeless situation in the county. Also present at that meeting was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Andrew Do. Supervisor Do, it should be noted, was the only member of the Board of Supervisors present at this meeting. In a change of tone, Do admitted that the Board had made some mistakes. He began by talking about what happens when a lawsuit is filed. He spoke about the need for a defense. His next comment blew me away.
“We don’t have a defense. I’m going to be the first to own up that we have failed,” Do said at the start of the hearing, to loud applause. “To lead requires we are proactive and not reactive, and we have failed.” — Supervisor Andrew Do, Chairman, Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Do is absolutely correct. The Board of Supervisors was not proactive in their approach. Judge Carter proved this by displaying the 2005 Grand Jury report on homelessness. That report references several other Grand Jury reports (some as old as 1989) and how the Board of Supervisors had failed to act on any of the recommendations from them. Supervisor Do is correct that leadership requires being proactive. This Board has not been proactive.
The reason for this hearing was that the Board of Supervisors had placed the homeless from the Santa Ana Riverbed into motels and gave them 30 days. That 30 days is coming to an end and there is still no real plan of action. As a result, Judge Carter held this meeting. He made it clear that his role would be as mediator, attempting to get both sides to reach an amicable agreement. He made it quite clear that if no agreement was reached, he would write an opinion and issue an order. He told everyone present that he did not want that to happen.
Judge Carter also discussed the rumors that cities dump their homeless on other cities.
“If hypothetically there is dumping, moving of human beings from one city or another, you’ve created a problem, not only in terms of loading up the riverbed, but you’ve created a problem for cities like Anaheim and Santa Ana,” Carter said.
He pointed out that many would come and claim this was not happening, but he called on them to prove that under oath.
“Be very careful what your accusation is, in terms of not taking some of these folks back into your communities that are pristine and virtuous,” Carter said, pointing to a representative from the U.S. Attorney’s office who he had invited to the meeting. “But if anyone wants to play the [body camera] tapes, I’m asking for a Justice Department investigation.”
Judge Carter paused for just a moment and let his comment sink in. The entire room went silent.
“That silence means we’ve forgiven and forgotten and it never happens again,” said the judge.
Clearly, Judge Carter means business. It is about time someone step up and take on this issue and I am now a huge fan of Judge Carter. His style of leadership is exactly like mine. During the meeting he stated that he had been taught the best way to get answers about what is really going on is to drop in unannounced. I agree with this approach.
When elected to the Board of Supervisors, I will take the time to listen to my constituents and if required, I will drop in on places to find out the truth about what is going on. I will proceed with transparency. I will not stand for the dumping of human beings from one city to another.
This is why I need your vote on June 5, 2018. With your help I can take my seat at the table and begin the difficult process of fixing the things that have been broken in this county for more than a decade.
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