As you may recall, there was a big push last year to get Cal Expo to "solve" the City of Sacramento's homeless problem. Mayor Steinberg did most of the pushing, primarily by sweet-talking the Governor's Office into providing a buch of tiny home modules (Steiny Homes), with the assumption that the Governor's appointees on the Cal Expo Board of Directors would do whatever the Mayor wanted. The Mayor's longstanding friendship with the Governor did win him a set of tiny homes, but along the way some sanity prevailed. The lack of an operating plan for the Cal Expo site, along with the County's progress at establishing a tiny home village in the Florin vicinity and the large, publicly-vetted "safe stay" facility off Roseville Road near Watt and the freeways, meant that the Cal Expo site was a non-starter. A big chunk of the region's share of the Governor's tiny homes went directly to the County for its sites, not for the Mayor's pipe dream.
During 2023, the City of Sacramento's City Council threw up its hands and decided to let its City Manager, Howard Chan, create homeless sites without their consent. Soon thereafter, they also decided to give him a pay raise, even though he was already making top dollar among city managers throughout the state. The pay raise has since been rescinded on procedural grounds and will be re-considered next week. Still, it looks like Mr. Chan has gotten the message that he gets to throw his weight around. How do we know this? Well, that's what our Newsroom Elves say they have gleaned from the goings-on at the Air National Guard facility on Roseville Road. The Guard, it seems, isn't really using the facility, which is on the outer edge of Sacramento City Council District 2, far away from any City of Sacramento voters. District 2 is represented by Sean Loloee, whose voice has been effectively silenced by claims that he lives in Placer County and who has been recently indicted on several federal charges. In other words, Mr. Chan has been free to take advantage of the site without any challenges and without anyone really knowing what's going on.
Our intrepid Elves may have figured it out, though. Why, they ask, is the old NG site mostly shrouded from public view now? And why are there a bunch of tiny homes behind the NG site's fence? It doesn’t look like the site is just for storage, because the arrangement looks like a village. Could it be that Steiny Homes II is happening there? If so, it would make sense, because all the homeless site parameter boxes seem to be checked:
- Far from City of Sacramento voters, so they won't feel the impact,
- Strategically across the street from unincorporated territory,
- Nowhere for site residents to go except the unincorporated area,
- Inadequate nearby infrastructure (train tracks, no sidewalks, unsafe for biking, etc.).
To be fair, the site is immediately adjacent to a light rail station, which makes for good optics and theoretically solves some transportation problems for the site's residents. But it also means that light rail riders from the nearby unincorporated area will be prime targets for panhandling and that mischief can befall their parked cars. Has anyone told RT they might need beefed-up security?
Meanwhile, there are these other puzzling questions:
- There are a number of trailers there, too. What's up with that? Where did they come from?
- The people at the County don’t seem to know anything about it even though it is in their front yard, and
- Since several homeless encampments within the City of Sacramento recently got notices they were going to be moving, is this their destination?
You aren't hearing about this from the mainstream media,. You are hearing it from us, a lonely voice seeking fairness for our unincorporated community. Doggone it, folks, we had so hoped we could bring you nothing but happy news in 2024. Alas, it looks like we have no choice but to pass along the info about this new storm a-brewing so you can make your own decisions about the issues.