NextDoor is another hyper-local social media platform, which I’m sure many readers use on a regular basis. I was alerted to a post from March 20 — written at the height of the anti-Tent City hysteria in Irvine — suggesting that the Homeless be placed in concentration camps.
Concentration camps. In America.
Has that ever been a good idea for anyone?
Here’s the post and I’ve deleted the name of the writer and her email address, but it is this precise attitude about the homeless and helping them that makes me pray for humanity. The post is italicized and I’ve bolded particularly troublesome comments.
Homeless Tent Village in Irvine!
One Irvine resident said it best “I’m torn on this matter. For one I didn’t move to Irvine to live near a homeless camp. I came here because of a safe community and great schools for my children. I work hard to achieve this. I grew up in poverty and both my parents are addicts. I understand people want to be good citizens but most of these people do not want help and want to continue using drugs and live their lifestyle which can only lead to crime and other major issues in our communities. This really worries me but where to place them?”
Within a few months, the Irvine Tent Village will just look like the Riverbed in Santa Ana filled with human waste, needles, diseases, trash, etc. Please stop this unwise decision to solve this problem!
I know everyone wants to help the homeless! Instead of setting up Homeless Camps in our communities, how about setting up a Homeless Concentration Camp (not the WWII Japanese Concentration Camp) far away from the neighbourhoods and offer them help in that kind of closed and supervised environments? They will get help and not be allowed to do whatever they please at the same time! They have choices to either stay in the Homeless Concentration Camp and get help or freedom to live outside but not living on the street! Otherwise, they will be arrested and put in jail and not the Homeless Concentration Camp!
I hope I don’t sound heartless! Thank you Sir for reading this far! NAME DELETED
One by one, the buses pulled up to the Orange County Hall of Administration last week carrying posters with messages such as “No Tent City” and “No Homeless in Irvine.”
Many of the hundreds on board were immigrants, and this would be their first experience joining a political protest.
A week earlier, county officials announced that they were considering placing emergency homeless shelters in Irvine as well as in Laguna Niguel and in Huntington Beach. All three cities immediately fought the plan, but the opposition was most fierce in Irvine.
Many of the loudest voices in the movement to block the shelter plan were Chinese Americans who came together through social media apps and various community groups. They were joined by immigrants from South Korea, India, Mexico and the Middle East, along with some whites.
They rallied to protect their community from what they see as the ills of homeless camps, which many argued don’t belong in their famously clean, safe, family-oriented planned community. Their protests helped persuade the Orange County Board of Supervisors to overturn the shelter proposal, leaving the county without a homeless plan at a time when the population is growing and officials are shutting down tent cities along the Santa Ana River.
It was a big political victory for the diverse opposition from Irvine. But it also came at a price, with some accusing the residents of intolerance and simply wanting to keep the homeless out of their own cities without offering an alternative solution.
Parrisa Yazdani, an Irvine mother of two of Japanese and Iranian descent, launched a Facebook page called “Irvine Tent City Protest” that ballooned to more than 5,000 members in a few days.
“People who I never knew were calling me night and day and asking to do whatever they could to help. It’s really proof that we are a community dedicated to a mission, like never before,” she said, partnering with Lu and Wu to navigate the flow of information. (Editor’s note: if you had a different opinion other than being opposed to Tent city, Yazdani and other administrators of the Facebook page blocked you and purged you; no one wanted to hear anything other than compliance. And it was Yazdani who suggested those who supported placing homeless at the County land at the Great Park “wanted the homeless to get cancer.” I think dying of exposure, hunger or thirst would be a far more immediate concern).
The residents rejected the idea that they are being elitist, arguing that they were simply trying to protect their city — and their families.
“All of us came here and stayed here for one reason — family. No tent city — that’s our message. Irvine never said, ‘no homeless people,'” Yazdani said.
“I’m not closed-minded,” added Alex Lu, a pharmaceutical scientist from Irvine. “I want to listen to all sides, and when I went to the protest I tried talking to the homeless advocates. We really welcome hearing about what they need.”
Lili Graham, a homeless advocate and litigation director for the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, described the Irvine effort as “amazing” but misguided. The proposed shelter site in the city had already been zoned “and determined to be appropriate for emergency shelters,” she said.
“It was a loud group, but in a county of 3 million, it’s one group. There was a lot of leadership there — and there needs to be a lot of leadership on the county level to solve this issue,” she said.
But some Irvine residents said the solution should not include their city.
“They need to put them somewhere, maybe somewhere else in California,” resident Angela Liu, who owns a legal services company, told the Board of Supervisors. “I really don’t know where they can go. But Irvine is beautiful, and we don’t want it to get destroyed.”