Activists install portable toilets for the homeless in Santa Ana river bed

Orange County is a very serious homelessness problem on its hands. The Santa Ana river bed is littered with tents, people, needles, feces, and all kinds of unpleasantness.

The OC Register reports advocates installed three portable toilets along a part of the river bike trail over the weekend, an action that county officials say is unauthorized.

County public information officer Carrie Braun said the process to get an encroachment permit wasn't followed to install the toilets. Getting that permit requires proof of insurance with liability coverage of at least $1 million:

“It’s an unauthorized use. So we will do what we would do in any situation like this – contact the vendor or person who placed them there and request that they comply.”

In recent months the homeless and their supporters have ramped up their calls for the county to give them running water and access to toilets near their tent cities.

By midday yesterday, two of the toilets were splashed with poo, but the third one was a bit cleaner.

Mohammed Aly, who founded the Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition, said there's a company who's willing to pump sewage from the toilets to keep them clean and stocked with toilet paper.

Homeless man Tony Stockham says the toilets are a relief from not having to go in a 5-gallon paint bucket and then dumping the dumps in the river bed, or putting it in bags.

Homelessness is a very serious issue, these people need help. But giving them free stuff does not address the root of the issue. 

And the people who work hard and pay taxes to live in a nice part of Orange County, can't even enjoy the bike trail anymore without feeling unsafe.

What a mess.

Read more at the OC Register.

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