LOS ANGELES - Assemblyman Chuck DeVore abandoned his legislation Monday that would have halted the eviction of Crystal Cove trailer park residents.
But he plans to ask today for a legislative audit of renovations of cottages at the Orange County beachfront park.
Brian O'Neel, DeVore's spokesman, said the assemblyman decided to "focus his efforts elsewhere - on fronts where we could be more effective."
DeVore, R-Irvine, had two bills set for hearing today in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. But both faced staunch opposition from environmental and taxpayer groups who claim the trailer park tenants are restricting access to public land.
The state Parks and Recreation Department plans to build a campground, lifeguard station and public access to the beach for the disabled where the El Morro Mobilehome Park is located.
DeVore scheduled a Capitol press conference today to ask for a Joint Legislative Audit Committee investigation of delays and potential cost overruns in the $13.1 million historical renovation.
Roy Stearns, a parks department spokesman, said the agency would welcome an audit because it can justify its expenditures.
"What they would see is we are working with an historic program ... where the damage turned out to be more than anticipated," he said. "You are talking about structures that are 70 to 80 years old."
He said this winter's record rainfall caused further delays and helped drive up costs.
DeVore complained that only 13 of the 44 cottages would be available to the public for overnight stays. Stearns pointed out that four more would also be open to the public for a restaurant, educational displays and other public functions.
Opponents of DeVore's legislation said they were pleased he was abandoning it. But they were upset about his plans to seek a legislative audit.
"This man is doing nothing but attempting to place one ... roadblock after another against the historic district," said Susan Jordan, California Coastal Protection Network director. "The costs they should be investigating are those the residents have imposed on the state" by fighting their evictions.
The approximately 300 families with trailers in Crystal Cove State Park were supposed to leave Dec. 31. They filed lawsuits fighting their evictions and sought DeVore's help.
DeVore, who received $66,000 in campaign donations and loans from those with ties to the mobile home park, introduced two bills prohibiting the evictions.
[Clips from original newspaper articles appear here for educational purposes and purposes of comment, rather than commercial purposes. They are reprinted under the fair use doctrine of international copyright law. Copyright Sacramento Bee]
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