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South Orange County Homeless Plan Sparks Outrage

LAGUNA NIGUEL (CBSLA) — Tuesday night the largest crowd Laguna Niguel City Hall has ever seen demanded to be heard.

As CBSLA's Stacey Butler reports, in an emergency meeting hundreds who live in South Orange County told the City Council they do not want the property adjacent their library, city hall and a daycare in Laguna Niguel to become a homeless tent city.

"I received a thousand contacts from residents today and they were all 'get rid of this,' " said Laguna Niguel Mayor Pro Tem John Mark Jennings.

"I know what has come from that riverbed," said Janie Johnston. "I've seen the results of it. I'm not comfortable with that being a block away from my kids' school."

"You couldn't pick a worse spot. This is near a school. Little kids. The library," said Laguna Niguel resident Carl Gennaro.

In a last minute vote that shocked city leaders and homeowners, the County Board of Supervisors agreed to temporarily house at least 100 homeless in Huntington Beach, at least 200 just south of the Great Park in Irvine and more than 100 in Laguna Niguel.

"When they cleaned up the Santa Ana riverbed they found  over 14,000 needles," said Irvine resident Jennifer Assoud. "These people are not gonna get drug free just because they move to Irvine. Which means that their drug dealers are going to start coming to our neighborhood and I'm not interested."

Even though she voted for it, Supervisor Lisa Bartlett Tuesday night encouraged the cities to file a restraining order against the judge who ordered the temporary housing and against the county to get an injunction against the tent cities. Supervisor Todd Spitzer who voted against it warned city leaders in Irvine and Laguna Niguel Tuesday night.

"You are going to find this community completely destroyed," said Spitzer. "Over my dead body."

The City of Irvine took a vote Tuesday night and plans to sue the Orange County Board of Supervisors in order to stop the tent city from being put up in their area near the Great Park . It's possible other cities could follow suit.

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