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Cord Bauer, San Clemente
San Clemente is dealing with a trifecta of problems that we haven’t seen before: Nuclear waste from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) stored at the beach in thin containers, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) trying to push a toll road through our town, and a growing population of transients. Many of those transients are drug addicts or mentally ill or both. What a great way to start the summer!
Just when things can’t get worse, in comes Federal Judge David O. Carter, the judge who is overseeing the lawsuit filed against the Orange County Supervisors for clearing out the Santa Ana riverbed. Now he’s demanding “S.I.T.E.S,” or places throughout the county where shelters can be set up to house the homeless. If not, he’s considering limiting anti-camping ordinances. That means the North Beach transients on the Ole Hanson Beach Club lawn can lie there to their hearts’ content. Their drug dealers deliver, and hard liquor is right up the street.
What’s frustrating about Judge Carter is that he seems to think that shelters will solve our problems. They won’t. AB 109, Prop 47 and 57 are our problems. Data from the OC Housing Outreach Team also found that the people at the Santa Ana riverbed encampment overwhelmingly rejected help or shelter. They prefer the streets, as that allows them free use of drugs.
There’s one more twist to the story; Judge Carter also presides over San Clemente’s MemorialCare Health System lawsuit. It’s safe to say the city is petrified to make a wrong step around the judge, as there’s potentially a $42.5 million judgment on the line.
Perhaps Judge Carter should take something into consideration: San Clemente was once required to have a hospital because of our proximity to SONGS. But with the plant shut down, the requirement ended. I’d say that right now—with nuclear waste being put in thin casks on the beach—we’ve never had a better chance at a toxic spill. And we’ve never had to deal with as many addicts and homeless in town.
Come to think of it, maybe Judge Carter should just give us a break.