July 23, 2018
Councilwoman Katrina Foley is taking the right path on sober-living homes
After reading “Costa Mesa council denies permits for 2 sober-living homes” (July 19), I thought about Councilwoman Katrina Foley’s efforts to control sober-living homes in Costa Mesa.
I have known Foley, a longtime local business owner (law practice), Costa Mesa city councilwoman and 2018 mayoral candidate, for several years and appreciate that she has deep roots in the community. As a result, Foley doesn’t take positions or make City Council decisions without considering what is best for local businesses, residents and their families, including her own family.
Foley’s comment cited in the article is a very good example of her current, thoughtful position on sober-living homes and is consistent with her previous efforts. In the past, Foley led the effort to make several revisions to regulations governing sober-living homes in Costa Mesa, including requiring increased transparency and preventing evicted occupants from adding to our homeless population.
However, she recognized that state and federal laws needed to be changed in order to protect the public and patients from rehab home operators that are exploiting the current laws. Foley went to Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., to testify in committee hearings and educate committee members about the abuses of bad rehab home operators.
She has also worked with the county to obtain Costa Mesa’s share of mental health funding and continues to work with other cities and states to correct the laws that allow rehab home operators to exploit and traffic addiction patients.
Based on her actions and position on sober-living homes, and her vested interest in Costa Mesa, I am voting for Foley for mayor in November.
August 2, 2018
Costa Mesa will find a legal way to stop the needle exchange program
Despite unanimous City Council opposition, the city of Costa Mesa received notice this week that the California State Department of Public Health approved a mobile needle exchange program a block away from two elementary schools, surrounded by a residential area, and 1,500 businesses.
While other council members could only make comments, some very deceptive, I did what lawyers do: I took action by working with lawyer and Councilman John Stephens and our city staff to develop a legal solution to stop the program from starting up in our city.
While the Hepatitis C and the opioid epidemic are public health concerns that worry me, it’s shocking and disturbing that there is little to no regard for the families in Costa Mesa by a state agency assigned to protect the public.
This needle exchange program is just one more instance where state agencies are making decisions or enacting policies that are detrimental to our quality of life without consulting us.
In this case, it feels like Costa Mesa is being specifically targeted. First, our city is already impacted with the 92 drug rehab facility licenses in traditional neighborhoods; now it is hit with this needle program that will be detrimental to our quality of life.
The city and our Police Department did our homework when we learned about the program application. I, along with the council, unanimously opposed it.
We made a very strong case that the operators of the Orange County Needle Exchange Program were negligent when they operated their program at the Santa Ana Civic Center. They were good at distributing needles, but not so good at collecting used ones.
And in their application to the state, the Orange County Needle Exchange Program made a startling admission.
They stated that since opening in February 2016, “We have collected over 2.25 million syringes, and distributed over 2.5 million syringes.” Their own statements demonstrate they were responsible for approximately 250,000 unaccounted for syringes left within the Santa Ana community.
Their application seeks to give 20 needles for every one collected. That’s simply irresponsible.
The needle exchange operators conducted no public outreach in Costa Mesa on their poorly devised plan. In fact, we learned about it through social media.
The application failed to disclose the 500 residences in the area and misled the state by claiming there were no homeowner associations. This area contains numerous single-family homes and apartment complexes, as well as several mobile home parks that are largely occupied by seniors.
Whittier Elementary School and Carden Hall private school are also in this area. Not to mention, there are approximately 1,500 business licenses issued within the area.
It’s a travesty for Costa Mesa families to endure these poorly approved plans by a state agency that fails to consider our own police chief’s research and data. We are on a dangerous path.
I promise you we are going to fight hard to protect the health and welfare of Costa Mesa’s families and business owners. Stephens and I bring our legal expertise and our relationships with the elected leaders and city attorneys of the other involved cities to the table.
Together, with our sister city and county partners, we will stop this needle exchange program and force the state agency to protect the public. For now, these important community issues require thoughtful planning and a legal strategy, not a political one.
Costa Mesa Councilwoman Katrina Foley is a candidate for mayor.