Has "1984" belatedly come to Orange County? Are we witnessing social Darwinism run amok? The issue at hand is the ongoing debate regarding the best placement of the next long-term jail facility in Orange County.
After considerable discussion and decision-making, the Board of Supervisors determined to build the new jail in Gypsum Canyon. This certainly seemed to be a rational decision, given that it would place the new jail in a lightly populated area and provide some assurance that our densely populated neighborhoods would not be violated by the presence of a jail facility teeming with some 6,700 lawbreakers. But somewhere along the line, things got turned upside down.
More than 100,000 citizens of Orange County got behind a proposed ballot initiative that would mandate all new jails to be built in Santa Ana. One of the most endearing arguments made for the placement of all new jails in Santa Ana was that this would protect the neighborhoods--those not in Santa Ana! All of the noble sentiments voiced for not placing the new jail in Gypsum Canyon were apparently not applicable to the people and children of Santa Ana. And, the impudence, the impudence of it all!
Are these people really saying that it is better to place a huge jail facility--and all future jail facilities--in densely populated Santa Ana rather than in lightly populated areas? Are the people and children and neighborhoods of Santa Ana any less precious than those of the petitioners? Was it assumed that the inhabitants of Santa Ana would not take notice, stand up and rise with righteous indignation and say, "Don't tread on us!"?