For years, I’ve tried to figure out why the local homeless population grew from 2,700 to roughly 10,000 since Darrell Steinberg became mayor.
I’ve finally figured it out. The answer is obvious. I just couldn’t see it.
Steinberg and the City Council promote homelessness. They encourage an unhoused culture. The city has authority to stop or at least slow the problem. Instead, the mayor and friends search for excuses to help homelessness thrive. They bring gasoline to the bonfire.
There are two kinds of cities in California. Some consider themselves full-service. This means city workers pick up trash, make toilets flush, trim trees, patch potholes, douse fires and arrest people.
The others are contract cities. They pay someone else to handle those mundane, necessary chores.
Sacramento fancies itself a full-service city. The mayor and City Council embrace the title with pride. They charge sky-high fees for utilities, parks and safety. They insist residents want the best possible civic amenities.
A dozen years ago, when I worked for the mayor’s office, we needed a slogan to describe the leadership goals of Kevin Johnson. We came up with “Think Big,” two words distilled by Chris Lehane, a political consultant who advised our little group. Chris was always good for snappy taglines.
At first I didn’t like “Think Big.” The slogan was simplistic, childish. But as the mayor’s office worked to fulfill Kevin’s ambitions for a new arena Downtown, I realized Chris was right. To get anything done, we had to think big.
Times were rough. Recession shut hundreds of local businesses. State workers were furloughed. The city budget was in shambles. Cops laid off, fire stations closed, parks neglected. Our NBA team was headed for Seattle.
Off Broadway Boulevard’s downward spiral didn’t start yesterday By R.E. Graswich March 2023 Joe Marty, who hit a home run for the Chicago Cubs in the 1938 World Series, returned to Sacramento and opened a saloon next to The Tower Theatre on Broadway. Marty was a...
I don’t want to shock anyone, but the new year brings the chance that City Hall will stumble into a way to control and even reduce homelessness. This revelation follows the embrace of a tool other cities have deployed for years. It’s called a Homeless Management Information System, or HMIS. The idea is obvious: coordinate services, outcomes and data involving homeless people. That’s about it.
There’s nothing new about coordinating housing and mental health services for people who live on the streets or in shelters. Integrated management systems have been around for years. Semi-annual homeless counts are one example of coordination.
Holiday season makes me think about my friend Randy Paragary. Randy, who died from pancreatic cancer in August 2021, loved the holidays. He decked out his restaurants in classy Christmas motifs and smiled as reservations filled up with parties.
Sometimes holiday celebrations took over every seat, with one exception. Randy always saved a table for our weekly lunch. That lunch is what I miss most.
Our lunch was more than two friends getting together for drinks and food. It was an event that grew into something like a local institution.