Tuesday, September 24, 2019

 Homeless Shelter Commitments Expand to Three New Cities

Three more cities committed Monday to provide specific amounts of shelter for homeless people and to not enforce anti-camping laws against them unless they’re refusing available beds that are appropriate for their disabilities.

The new federal court settlements by Santa Ana, Laguna Beach and Bellflower expand on a series of settlements reached by 18 cities in Orange County and the county Sheriff’s Department. Bellflower, in Los Angeles County, is the first city outside Orange County to agree to a settlement in the lawsuit, known as Catholic Worker v. County of Orange.

The agreements, which are overseen by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, require that before enforcing camping and loitering laws, specially-trained health outreach staff must speak with homeless people and determine an appropriate shelter bed based on the person’s disabilities, needs for medical treatment, mental health services and other factors. Only if they refuse an appropriate, available bed can they be cited or arrested for camping or loitering.

“This county has really stepped up in terms of leadership,” Carter told officials and members of the public gathered in his courtroom Monday.

“It’s a really important, critical step to ending the criminalization of poverty in Orange County,” said Brooke Weitzman, one of the lead attorneys representing homeless people in the case, after the court meeting.

Santa Ana committed to adding another shelter with 200 to 250 beds, in addition to an existing 200-bed city shelter known as The Link and a roughly 400-bed county shelter called The Courtyard.

Bellflower committed to opening a temporary shelter by the end of this year with 70 beds, equivalent to the number of homeless people counted in January whose last permanent home was in the city.

And Laguna Beach agreed to maintain at least 43 shelter beds – equivalent to 60 percent of the number of unsheltered people counted in the city during the latest official count in January. The city already has a shelter with 45 beds, so it meets its commitment as long as it continues to operate the shelter.

[Click on a city to read their settlement: Santa Ana, Laguna Beach, Bellflower.]

In return for maintaining shelter and following the health outreach procedures, the cities will have the court’s support to enforce anti-camping laws to clear out encampments. The current court precedent in California, known as the Boise decision, prohibits anti-camping enforcement against homeless people if there’s no available shelter bed.

“I’ll stand in the park with you” when cities enforce their anti-camping laws, Carter told city officials in his courtroom, calling for “strict enforcement.”

“We’re going to clean up your libraries” and beaches, he added. “We’re going to clean up the city [and] do it immediately.”

The three cities that settled Monday were not sued in the case and volunteered to the settlement agreements.

“That litigation cost that we’ve saved alone is enough to build a shelter in every one of these cities,” Carter said.

Turning to Bellflower officials, Carter said, “My expectation is other cities are going to quickly follow your lead” in the Los Angeles area to get their parks and libraries back. The idea is to build shelters and get people who “truly want help” off the street, he said, while people who refuse help will be arrested.

“There’s a lot more [settlements] coming, potentially,” Carter added. “This is just [the] beginning.”

“This settlement provides us with a win-win situation,” said Bellflower Mayor Pro Tem Juan Garza, who also is the incoming president of the Los Angeles County chapter of the League of California Cities.

 Carter said Bellflower officials came to the table as a result of relationships built by former Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez, who has been helping Carter with the Catholic Worker case.

Also on Monday, Fullerton Mayor Jesus Silva announced his city was working with the nonprofit Illumination Foundation to create housing for 150 homeless people. The effort includes 60 recuperative care beds for people recovering from medical crises, plus 90 “navigational” beds for people transitioning into housing, officials said.

“I think we have the will of the council to do these things,” Silva told the court.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who is married to the Fullerton mayor, said Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office has agreed to allow the Fairview Developmental Center to house, with health care services, 200 people with severe mental illnesses after it closes at the end of this year.

“We have the properties…We need to go after this,” Quirk-Silva said.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva presenting to the Korean American groups supporting ACR 109

Friday, September 20, 2019

Breakfast Club

Friday, September 13, 2019

Bill to study Irvine veterans cemetery sites and pick one gets Gov. Newsom’s sign-off

The state can now analyze two possible Irvine locations for a Southern California veterans cemetery and choose one, after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill this week authorizing the study.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, wrote the bill that tasks CalVet, the state veterans affairs department, with evaluating two sites: one within the Great Park that had been planned for a golf course, and one on the park’s northern edge that contains the remains of buildings and runways from the former El Toro Marine air base.

While the Irvine City Council has offered to donate the golf course site to the state for a veterans cemetery, former mayor Larry Agran is leading an effort to designate the northern site, known as ARDA, for the project.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Efforts to establish an Orange County veterans cemetery took a significant step forward Thursday when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill authorizing studies of two potential sites in Irvine.

The governor signed a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, that authorizes feasibility studies of a so-called Amended and Restated Development Agreement (ARDA) site and a golf course site, which are both near the Orange County Great Park.

If voters choose the ARDA site then that will be where state and federal officials focus on developing the cemetery, Quirk-Silva said.

Thursday, September 12, 2019


SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Bill (AB) 368 authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), establishing a Veteran’s Cemetery in Southern California, has been signed into law.

“I am proud this legislation was signed into law to provide a new veteran’s cemetery for California’s Veteran’s and their families,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva.  “Throughout my terms in service, many individuals and Veteran’s groups have passionately advocated for a cemetery in our region."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday signed a bill to build a veterans cemetery on one of two sites in Irvine, according to Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), who authored the bill. 

The site could ultimately be determined by Irvine voters after former Mayor Larry Agran filed paperwork for a ballot initiative Aug 12. The bill allows for the state-run cemetery to be built at a site near the heart of the old El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, which still has hangars and portions of taxiways on it, or at a planned golf course inside the Great Park. Both sites were part El Toro. 

“I still feel — very strongly — the golf site makes the best sense financially, as far as getting this moving and actually using it as a veterans cemetery,” Quirk-Silva said. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

California legislation inspired by college admissions scandal goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom

SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers have sent the governor a package of reforms sparked by the recent college admissions scandal, including a bill approved Wednesday that would require special admits at public universities to be approved by three administrators.

A quartet of measures approved by lawmakers were introduced after federal authorities charged 50 people with being part of a fraudulent scheme in which parents allegedly made large payments to buy their children entrance to elite universities on phony athletic admissions or rigged scores on exams.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Veterans' Cemetery Bill Signing

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva’s Work to Resolve Homelessness in Orange County Moves to Governor


SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Bill 143 (AB 143) authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), addressing California’s homelessness crisis, passed on the legislative floor and is headed to the Governor’s Desk.

“California has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation.  In fact, recent statistics show that throughout our state, we have seen an increase in the number of homeless individuals,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva.  “Since 2017, homelessness is up by forty-two percent in Orange County.  To resolve this crisis, we need an array of innovative strategies including both short and long-term solutions.”

If the specified counties or cities find it essential, they may choose to utilize the bill to address short-term homeless needs.  They would be required to develop an ordinance outlining a plan that would include long-term permanent housing strategies for their communities.  The California Department of Housing and Community Development would then be responsible to review and approve the ordinance to ensure the health and safety of California is not compromised.