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Some thoughts on the ongoing debate over Anaheim’s recently adopted anti-camping ordinance.

For starters, it was good to see the City Council unanimity on the matter. This really isn’t a complicated issue: there is a homeless encampment in La Palma Park which has a deleterious effect on the life of neighboring residents and is effectively denying the use of a public park to the public.

Opponents of the ordinance criticize it by asking where the city proposes that the homeless campers go? The underlying assumption is that by squatting in a city park, homeless individuals thereby obligate the city to provide them with someplace else to live. That is a poor precedent to set.

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Victor LaFontaineUPDATED: I’ve added a video clip of Mr. LaFontaine’s remarks at the end of the post.

I’m glad the Anaheim City Council acted with unanimity to enact the anti-camping ordinance. I was impressed by the testimony from the many residents who live near the park, who addressed the council last night. They spoke with plain and direct eloquence about their plight and without invective, and their comments cut through the fog of misplaced complaints about “criminalizing homelessness.”

One speaker, a Mr. Victor LaFontaine, was particularly effective, and I’d like to share what he had to say:

Dear Mayor and councilmembers:

My name is Victor LaFontaine. I’m an Anaheim resident and a property owner since August of 2008. I also work here in the city of Anaheim. I’m here to endorse the ordinance to ban camping at all hours in city parks. I live on Clementine Street directly across from La Palma Park.

As you already know, the camping of homeless people at La Palma Park has become quite the eyesore. I see it every morning at 6:00 a.m. when I go to work, and I see them camping till past 10:30 every night.

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