Save Our Suburb, Friends of Del Paso Park and the Mission North Neighborhood Association were among the community groups that showed up at the Rally for Kids on Monday night to protest Mayor Darrell Steinberg's decision to ship some the City of Sacramento's homeless population to some city-owned land far away from any City of Sacramento voters. The protesters felt that moving the City of Sacramento's political problem to a place where people from another jurisdiction have to live with the impact is peak political sneakiness and arrogant, dishonest and disrespectful behavior on the part of the City of Sacramento. Flexing political muscle against the voiceless, powerless UnCity is also pretty much par for the course; it's how the City of Sacramento rolls. Word has it the Sacramento City Council will seal the deal on Tuesday evening in a zoom meeting, after which Mayor Steinberg will no doubt thump his chest and gloat for his former co-workers in the Legislature about how he has solved homelessness once and for all. You can reaad more about the event at Save Our Suburb's web page.
Still, it was compelling that so many people showed up for a sign-waving protest across from the Children's Receiving Home. Plenty of passing motorists honked in approval, too. There was only one drive-by nay-sayer, a driver who shouted the catch-all, "Get a job", at the protesters. Supervisor Rich Desmond was there, telling the crowd that the proposed decision - one none of the impacted neighborhoods were allowed to weigh in on - was an example of bad government. Sean Loloee, the Sacramento City Council member who represents the remote sliver of land where the shelter is proposed to go, said there was no business plan for the shelter, that the decision was just a way for Mayor Steinberg to make it look like he is doing something about homelessness. Nearby residents pointed out that the site violates a slew of location no-no's the City of Sacramento claims will drive its shelter location decisions: not near a school, not near a park, not near a playground, not near a creek, etc.
“It’s a city project, but it’s surrounded by unincorporated county. We really have no voice or any vote in this,"Juliette Porro, a nearby resident, to Van Tieu, reporter for ABC10
The protest attracted mainstream media attention, something largely unfamiliar to local residents, whose TV, radio, newspaper and social media news outlets are normally oblivious to the fact that hundreds of thousands of Sacramento County residents do not live in the City of Sacramento and do not have Mayors and City Councils to turn to. The snippets of media coverage about the event were relatively lightweight, but it was interesting nonetheless to see the media (aside from our newsroom elves, of course) show up for a change:
- KCRA3 - "As Sacramento officials mull year-round respite center, residents worry it's too close to children's home"
- ABC10 - "County residents protest potential 24/7 homeless respite center near Children's Receiving Home"
- CBS13 - "Protest Occurs Over Plan To Open Homeless Shelter Near Children's Home"
- Fox 40 - (was there but has not posted a news story yet)
- Capital Public Radio - (was there but has not posted a news story yet)
- Sacramento Bee - (wasn't there, duh!)