Over the last seven years, the city has spent millions of dollars and embarked upon many projects to address homelessness.
After housing hundreds of people, it looked as though we were meeting needs and lowering the homeless census. Then the pandemic hit.
Under county health orders, we were forced to let people “shelter in place.” Jails were emptied for the same reason. Bail schedules were reduced to zero. The homeless population grew and addiction rates skyrocketed.
As I prepare to step aside after nearly eight years as Sacramento County district attorney, I am proud to say our office is on solid ground.
Our teams of prosecutors, investigators, forensic analysis experts and essential support staff are unified and focused. We are unwavering in our commitment to protect the public and ensure justice for crime victims.
Beyond the courtroom, we have built partnerships with community organizations and everyday citizens. With each relationship, our work becomes more effective.
I have run regularly in Land Park since the city constructed trails there more than 20 years ago. Running in Land Park is a source of great joy in my life.
However, I am concerned about dog owners who allow their dogs to run off leash in the park and endanger their animals and runners who frequent our parks.
I am a dog lover who grew up on a 300-acre farm where we always had dogs. I learned dogs are great companions, faithful and loving to their owners. I also learned dogs give chase when something runs in front of them. It’s their instinct.
Few of us know what goes on behind the scenes as our elected officials try to “resolve” the homeless crisis. But this much is clear: Government has managed to exacerbate the problem.
Why? Our officials have tapped into an ever-growing, seemingly endless taxpayer money supply with zero requirements to account for any meaningful, measurable results. What a deal!
Imagine being hired for a job, producing terrible results and receiving massive bonuses year after year. Is it any wonder people are frustrated and believe politicians have failed?
Homelessness has become a mechanism to control huge sums of federal and state dollars. Why would politicians shut off the faucet? They provide lip service to constituents and the media while making backroom deals and raking in campaign donations from labor unions.
Who watches over our local government? Our tax dollars are spent on education, law enforcement, utility districts, parks, libraries, health services and fire districts, just to name a few. If a citizen has information that calls into question the integrity or work of a public agency, who is empowered to investigate as a community watchdog?
In Sacramento County, it’s the grand jury.
I’ve been privileged to be part of California’s legal system for almost 40 years. This past year, I was honored take the role of judicial adviser to the Sacramento County grand jury. Let me explain its importance.
As I retire after 34 years in law enforcement, I step away with many questions. Does the criminal justice system serve our community better than when I was growing up in Oak Park in the 1970s and 1980s? Is there more legitimacy today in the system? Have years of unrest, voter initiatives, legislation, police reform, lost lives, pain and anger created a better police department?
Yes, in some ways. But in other ways, the answers are sadly negative.
As many police agencies face unprecedented resignations, I have seen men and women in SPD uniforms remain determined to serve their city under the toughest circumstances. I have seen community leaders step forward, defuse situations and save lives.