TimesOC: OC homeless people die in record numbers


Hello and welcome to TimesOC Bulletin.

We are on Friday December 24th. My name is Ben Brazil and I bring you the latest summary of Orange County news and events.

As we enter the holiday weekend, we should all be thinking of the hundreds of people who have died on the streets this year from illnesses, drug overdoses, suicides, homicides and traffic accidents.

For the second year in a row, more homeless people have died in Orange County than any other year in its history. According to the Orange County coroner’s office, 384 homeless people have died this year. Last year there were 330 deaths.

The high death toll shows how the last two years of the pandemic have been the most difficult for homeless people in Orange County. In 2019, just over 200 homeless people died.

Still, the homeless have not largely died from COVID-19. Another type of epidemic is the culprit.

Most of the deaths mentioned in the coroner’s report were caused by drug overdoses, including more than 130 involving the powerful designer drug fentanyl. The number of fentanyl-related deaths in Orange County and the rest of the country has increased in recent years. According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, 234 residents died of opioid overdoses in 2011, up from 499 in 2020. Fentanyl contributes significantly to the number of opioid deaths, accounting for 381 of deaths last year.

According to the district attorney’s office, Orange County has seen a 1,000% increase in the past five years in fentanyl-related deaths. According to the California Department of Health Care Services, homeless populations are affected by the increase in drug use.

A ceremony in honor of the deceased homeless people of Orange County was held at Christ Cathedral.

(Courtesy of Steven Georges, Diocese of Orange)

This week, the sixth annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial Service was held at Christ Cathedral to honor those who have passed away.

Several representatives of local religious organizations spoke during the service, and the names of the deceased homeless were read aloud, my colleague Sarah Mosqueda wrote. A candle was also lit for each name.

“These are our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors. In many ways, this service will be the only commemoration of the lives of some peoples, ”said the Right Reverend Christopher H. Smith, Episcopal Vicar and Rector of Christ Cathedral. “Let us become the voice of those who are neither heard nor seen, our homeless brothers and sisters. With this memorial, we say their lives mattered and we mourn their deaths. “

Huntington Beach suffers a tragedy with City Atty.  Michael Gates.

Huntington Beach suffers a tragedy with City Atty. Michael Gates.

(Scott Smeltzer / daily pilot)


Fountain Valley City Council voted this week against a resolution that would have supported a ban on offshore oil drilling. Several towns in Orange County have considered similar resolutions following a catastrophic spill off the coast of Huntington Beach in October, my colleague Andrew Turner wrote. Mayor Patrick Harper, who voted against, said he wanted to take a “more cooperative approach” with the oil industry.

There is drama in Huntington Beach. City council members discussed this week the possibility of retaining the services of a legal advisor in addition to the city councilor. Michael Gates. Some of the board members have had a controversial relationship with Gates, who is elected to his post. However, Gates hit back with a letter saying he could take legal action if the council struggles to retain external legal aid. In response, the board decided to continue the discussion at a later date.

The Laguna Beach Police Department will add two assistance dogs and a K9 vehicle after receiving more than $ 146,000 in donations. The additions come after the loss of Ranger, the department’s most recent service dog to cancer. “It is extraordinarily generous from the truly generous people in our community, so I want to thank them for that,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf.

Santa Ana plans to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in an effort to protect young residents from harmful health effects. While city council members generally support the ban, a few want to ensure the ordinance does not inadvertently discriminate against communities that use flavored tobacco products as part of their cultural traditions, such as hookah.

A Garden Grove man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly assaulting a 71-year-old employee at a Huntington Beach liquor store. Prosecutors allege that Ralph Stanford Davis III made derogatory statements about the clerk’s nationality before punching him in the face. He also allegedly spat and hit another customer’s vehicle.

Waitress Suzanne Miller holds Domenico's most popular dish, the ground pepperoni pizza on the new lakeside patio.

Waitress Suzanne Miller holds Domenico’s most popular dish, the ground pepperoni pizza on the new lakeside patio.

(Don Leach / daily pilot)


Domenico Spano is said to have opened one of California’s first pizzerias almost six decades ago. Now, a new version of his original restaurant is opening in Mission Viejo. The new location, Domenico’s on the Lake, will feature the restaurant’s signature pizzas, including the favorite ground pepperoni pizza. “People ask if we’re New York-style pizza or Chicago-style pizza,” said Domenico co-owner Mike Rhodes. “We always say we’re Domenico’s style because I don’t know anyone else who makes pizza like we do.”

For those coming out of John Wayne Airport for the holidays this weekend, don’t miss the “Troops + Tribes” exhibit, which features Wednesday Aja’s photographs. Aja’s work stages the life of the circus, a love for which she was ignited by photographing circuses in France. My colleague Gabriel San Román wrote this week about the first exhibition of the photographer’s hometown of Dana Point.

Mater Dei Monarchs head coach Bruce Rollinson is at the center of a school hazing scandal.

Mater Dei Monarchs head coach Bruce Rollinson is at the center of a school hazing scandal.

(Jérôme Miron)


In response to scrutiny surrounding a violent hazing scandal, employees, parents, students and the diocese surrounding Mater Dei have remained largely silent. Reporters Hannah Fry, Connor Sheets and Laura Nelson looked at the scandal and the football powerhouse response, or lack thereof, in a scathing article this week.

Here is a summary of the sports results of the high schools in the coastal towns of Orange County. This week, the women’s basketball from Corona del Mar has won the Nike Tournament of Champions and Ocean View has won the fifth of its last six games.

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