While homelessness surges in Disneyland’s shadow, Anaheim removes bus benches

By Anh Do : latimes – excerpt

Sweat rolled down Ron Jackson’s face as he pondered, as he does every day just steps from “the Happiest Place on Earth,” where he would sleep.

The homeless man’s hangout in Anaheim had until recently been a grimy bus bench across the street from Disneyland.

Then, one day, the benches around the amusement park — including his regular spot outside of a 7-Eleven at Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue — disappeared.

Soon, people were competing for pavement.

No more sleeping spot. Just concrete,” Jackson, 47, said on a sweltering day. “There were already people claiming the space.”

The vanishing benches were Anaheim’s response to complaints about the homeless population around Disneyland. Public work crews removed 20 benches from bus shelters after callers alerted City Hall to reports of vagrants drinking, defecating or smoking pot in the neighborhood near the amusement park’s entrance, officials said.

The situation is part of a larger struggle by Orange County to deal with a rising homeless population. A survey last year placed the number of those without shelter at 15,300 people, compared with 12,700 two years earlier… (more)

Between Disney and homeless there is no contest, even though it’s not likely Disney’s tourists are going to notice the bus stop benches as they will not be taking the bus with their families to attend the “happiest place on earth.” They will be pulling into the parking lot in air-conditioned chartered buses, cars, taxis or limos.

San Francisco combats homeless sleepers by moving bus stops around, removing bus seats and putting spikes on benches and seating areas to prevent a comfortable spot for sleepers.