Protesters Stand Up For Behavioral Health Patients and Ask City of San Clemente to Repeal Ordinances
San Clemente, Calif. — On April 18, 2017, protesters met outside of a San Clemente City Council meeting to make their voices heard about a discriminatory 2016 ordinance that targets people with mental illnesses and addiction. The group was led by Richard Noble, case manager at Sovereign Health, a leading national provider of behavioral health treatment services based in San Clemente. Noble spoke outside the city council meeting while others displayed signs. The protest also included chants, a chalk outline of a body, and ended with a prayer.
“Throughout history we have seen the destructive force of selfishness gain momentum, and if unchallenged and not reversed, it can have devastating results,” Mr. Noble said. “Ultimately, learning to live in love and harmony with other members of the society is the goal. San Clemente and other cities in California and around the country have a great opportunity before them. It’s not a matter of if they will abide by federal law but the grace and expediency in which they do so,” he added.
The ordinance in question provides zoning regulations restricting short-term lodgings and longer-term transitory housing, prohibiting them in practically every area of the city. The ordinance also includes supplemental operational development standards that supposedly maintain the compatibility of these uses with other uses in the zone in which they are allowed.
“The City of San Clemente must reverse its discrimination ordinances against the disabled,” Mr. Noble stated. “We all have to rise up and make the phone calls, write letters and speak up against discrimination and segregation of the disabled, whether it is addiction or mental illness, we cannot tolerate selfish discrimination.”
Mental health patients are a protected class under federal law. Their rights are guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Despite these constitutional protections, San Clemente public officials are succumbing to localized bigotry and NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard).
About Sovereign Health
Sovereign Health’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of high-quality behavioral health treatment services for adults and adolescents, including support services for family members. One factor that differentiates Sovereign from other treatment providers has been the company’s ability to offer separate mental health and addiction or dual diagnosis treatment programs at its facilities. Sovereign’s facilities are licensed and have been awarded Gold Seal accreditation by The Joint Commission, the highest level of accreditation available in the behavioral health field. For more information, visit www.sovhealth.com.