Commentary: Mayor Foley’s foresight bodes well for her constituents

Nearly 400 people attended a town hall meeting about sober-living homes in Orange County.
(File photo)

Mayor Katrina Foley scored another victory for the residents of Costa Mesa and this victory could favorably impact many other cities, including those in California Senate District 37 for which Foley is a candidate.

On July 19 federal Judge James Selna ruled in favor of Costa Mesa and its sober-living home ordinance by deciding that it is not discriminatory and does not violate the Fair Housing Act.

Costa Mesa implemented the ordinance in 2014 to protect the community from operators of unlicensed sober-home facilities that exposed residents to unsafe conditions and created a public nuisance. Costa Mesa was sued over this ordinance by Yellowstone Recovery, another sober living home, and an industry trade group.


Mayor Foley and the majority of the City Council agreed to hire the highly successful lead trial attorney Jennifer Keller of Keller/Anderle to represent the city in this court case. Some were concerned about the cost of hiring this law firm, but this decision has had a big payoff.

“It confirms once again that investing in the litigation and fighting to keep our ordinance was the right thing to do not only for our Costa Mesa community, but others as well,” Foley said at the time.

Selna’s ruling allows enforceability of Costa Mesa’s ordinance to protect patients and the public from sober living home operators who place profits above patient care.

Specifically, the ordinance regulates sober living home operators in single family neighborhoods, including limiting the number of residents to six or fewer and maintaining a 650-foot buffer between non-licensed sober living homes.

Additionally, Foley has another statewide victory in her sights regarding sober living homes. She is collaborating with Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) on Assembly Bill 919. This bill will prohibit patient brokering, which has led to homelessness in our Newport Beach and Costa Mesa communities.

Foley’s foresight, decision-making, collaborating skills and focus on supporting the needs of the residents makes her the best candidate for state Senate.

Attorney Glenn Johnson practices in Santa Ana.