California Department of Parks and Recreation officials have plans
to demolish the mobile homes at El Morro to make way for a public
campground. Residents have fought a series of losing court battles
with the parks department, which since Monday has had the right to
evict El Morro tenants, Crystal Cove Supt. Ken Kramer said.
With the exception of a handful of tenants who signed extensions,
no one has vacated the mobile home park. Parks department staffers
have started filing motions in Orange County Superior Court, which
would clear the way for residents' evictions.
Residents plan to fight one more time at eviction hearings.
"We have the right to appeal to the court, so that's what we're
going to do," Miller said.
The most recent legal decision, which made it possible for the
parks department to begin the eviction process, came Friday. Federal
District Judge David O. Carter ruled against residents' claims that
demolition of mobile homes would violate the Endangered Species Act,
said Mike Tope, superintendent of the Parks Department's Orange Coast
Tenants paid between $400 and $1,100 per month to maintain mobile
homes at El Morro, Kramer said. Residents made an offer to stay at
the land, but parks officials were not interested.
The offer amounted to a 30-year-lease that would bring $30 to $40
million to the parks department, Tope said. Miller said the dollar
figure was higher, at about $50 million.
Though Miller said she has not received a formal rejection, Tope
said the parks department has no intention other than converting the
mobile home park into a public facility.
"It's never been money ... it's access," Tope said.
The state makes about $1 million per year from residents, Tope
said. Officials expect revenues from park fees will garner the same
amount. Residents' leases expired Dec. 31.
* ANDREW EDWARDS is a reporter for the Coastline's sister paper,
the Daily Pilot. He can be reached at (714) 966-4624 or by e-mail at