clear
Wednesday August 15th, 2018 10:51AM

US judge leads lawyers, others on trip to homeless camp

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Stepping over syringes and feces, federal judge David O. Carter walked briskly Wednesday with an entourage of government officials and lawyers along a bike trail by the Santa Ana River in Southern California, passing dozens of homeless tent-dwellers who must now look for a new place to live.

Carter, who served in the Marines, stopped to snap cellphone photos of garbage heaps and a sign in the sprawling encampment reading, "you have somewhere to put the trash but nowhere to put us."

Carter spoke with people living at the encampment about a plan he is overseeing to move them Tuesday into county-provided motel rooms and other short-term housing.

"It's going to be done as humanely as possible," he told a pair of homeless women who approached him. "But you've got to be prepared to move."

The visit came a day after Carter told Orange County officials in his courtroom that they need to give the homeless a place to go before forcing them to leave the two-mile (3.2 kilometer) long riverbed encampment that has swelled in recent years to include hundreds of people.

Authorities announced plans to close the encampment last month and were pursuing the effort until they were sued by advocates who said the tent-dwellers had no place to go after police in nearby cities forced them from streets and sidewalks to the riverbed.

After Tuesday's court hearing, county officials agreed to provide 400 motel rooms and other short-term housing to those evicted from their trailside digs.

The case is being watched by advocates in many West Coast cities grappling with a rise in homelessness and encampments amid soaring housing costs.

It isn't the first visit that Carter, who is in his 70s, has made to the county-owned trail that runs past the stadium where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play.

He walked through the encampment during an earlier lawsuit and has told attorneys he didn't want to waste time looking at their photos when he could see the area for himself.

Known for an unconventional style that includes hauling officials into his courtroom and putting them on the spot, Carter is nudging both sides toward a resolution. He asked them to draft an agreement on Wednesday, and said he'd be available for questions until midnight.

Carter walked quickly during the four-hour tour, forcing lawyers to rush to keep pace. The judge peppered county workers with questions about bathroom access after pointing out a urine-filled water bottle, and about accommodations for disabled people after speaking with a 36-year-old man in a wheelchair who said he was veteran and is battling cancer.

"There's going to be people to help you," Carter told Shane Allen. Arrangement were made later in the day for Allen to be moved to a motel room.

A short time later, Carter walked into the largely dried-out riverbed, retrieved a discarded plastic water jug and ordered county officials to clean up the area or he would call in environmental groups to do the work.

Homeless advocates and officials are still sorting out details involving longer-term housing, and other arrangements have yet to be discussed. However, people on both sides of the case said Carter had moved things along.

"It's a definite fulcrum to force all parties to compromise a little bit," said Kris Murray, a councilwoman in Anaheim, another defendant in the lawsuit.

Still, some people living along the riverbed said they don't know what the future will hold.

Lori Werner, 41, said she would gladly move to a motel room next week. But with her husband in jail and her children taken from her over drug use, she doesn't know where she would go next.

"It's good thing, but what happens when 30 days are up?" she said.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
NSA: Several hospitalized after vehicle tried to enter
Three people, including a police officer, were injured after authorities say a vehicle tried to enter the secure campus of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade on Wednesday morning
1:48PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Pot-users want judge to declare marijuana safe under US law
Federal judge in New York to hear arguments in lawsuit that targets federal marijuana laws
1:47PM ( 4 minutes ago )
The Latest: Moderate senators near compromise on immigration
A Republican lawmaker says moderate senators from both parties are near a compromise that would offer young "Dreamer" immigrants a route to citizenship and provide $25 billion over a decade for President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico
1:41PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Talks to restore Northern Ireland government break down
The leader of Northern Ireland's biggest political party says talks to restore the collapsed government in Belfast have failed
1:12PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Longest-serving Dutch premier, Ruud Lubbers, dies at 78
Ruud Lubbers, the Netherlands' longest-serving prime minister who guided his country through economic turmoil to prosperity, and helped shape the foundations of the European Union, has died at 78
12:59PM ( 52 minutes ago )
FAA takes more responsive tack in Phoenix after noise ruling
Last year's court win by Phoenix and neighborhood groups over the Federal Aviation Administration has prompted the agency to be more responsive to residents as it continues to beat back noise complaints over its "NextGen" air traffic modernization plan.
12:57PM ( 54 minutes ago )
AP National News
NSA: Several hospitalized after vehicle tried to enter
Three people, including a police officer, were injured after authorities say a vehicle tried to enter the secure campus of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade on Wednesday morning
1:48PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Pot-users want judge to declare marijuana safe under US law
Federal judge in New York to hear arguments in lawsuit that targets federal marijuana laws
1:47PM ( 4 minutes ago )
The Latest: Moderate senators near compromise on immigration
A Republican lawmaker says moderate senators from both parties are near a compromise that would offer young "Dreamer" immigrants a route to citizenship and provide $25 billion over a decade for President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico
1:41PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Ex-pitcher Esteban Loaiza to face charges of cocaine dealing
Ex-All Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza heads to court after police say 44 pounds of suspected cocaine found in his rental home
1:31PM ( 20 minutes ago )
The Latest: Daytona 500 goes dry, lacks beer sponsorships
The Daytona 500 will be the first once since 1982 without a beer-sponsored car in the race
1:27PM ( 24 minutes ago )