Before Occupiers from Santa Ana were getting arrested in Los Angeles, they were getting arrested…in Santa Ana. Yesterday, the Orange County Register reported that four defendants—Timothy Craven, Anthony Velloza, Shay Palmer and Sam Aresheh, all arrested on Oct. 22–went before Orange County Superior Court Commissioner James S. Odriozola to answer the charges that they violated the city's no-camping ordinance.
The arraignment was carried over and the defendants have been ordered to return to court in January. According to the Reg, Santa Ana City Attorney Melissa M. Crosthwaite asked Commissioner Odriozola for more time, saying parties intended to “work it out.”
Anthony Velloza told the Register, “I don't think they want to push the ordinance. It's a First Amendment issue.”
Fellow Occupier Sam Aresheh told the Weekly that although the four were attempting to exercise free speech, this case has implications that go beyond the first amendment. “To me, this is an anti homeless law. There's not enough beds at shelters for all the homeless people in the civic center. The whole law's a contradiction,” said Aresheh.
Occupiers brought attention to the city's hypocrisy when they went before the city council in November in an attempt win the right to use camping gear for a prolonged protest of corporate and banking greed. The council denied Occupiers the right to use such equipment despite the tribes of homeless people using the civic center's Walk of Honor as their primary address. Folks concealed by blankets and tarps are seen sleeping nightly along the Walk's benches, exposed to the elements.
Outside the court, City Attorney Crosthwaite told reporters “The Ordinance is enforced against everyone,” adding that she regularly prosecutes such cases every month.”