Diverse Viewpoints from Sacramento
Walk On Wild Side
Do you ever wonder why our local authorities allow homeless camps on city sidewalks underneath freeways? Why tents can block pedestrians, including elderly and disabled people, parents with strollers and children trying to walk to school?
With these questions in mind, I contacted City Council member Katie Valenzuela, whose district includes Midtown and Downtown. She said sidewalks under freeways are state property controlled by CalTrans, and there’s nothing the city can do about homeless camps blocking those sidewalks.
‘Chaos In Our City’
In 2015, the Sacramento City Council created the Sacramento Community Police Commission to make recommendations on policing.
The original commission consisted of 11 members. Community groups and advocates held the majority of seats, along with a retired police captain. I was there to represent the interests of police officers and other SPD employees.
While most commission members lacked law enforcement backgrounds, the presence of two trained and experienced police professionals gave the commission credibility. We helped the group root its recommendations in reality.
The fusillade of bullets around 10th and K streets in April that left six people dead and a dozen wounded generated demands for new gun controls in a state that already has the nation’s most restrictive firearms laws.
However, what happened Downtown underscores the folly of believing that “gun violence” can be meaningfully reduced by trying to choke off the supply of firearms, with as much success as the prohibition of liquor or the war on drugs.
From The Heart
Take a walk down 41st Street in East Sacramento and become transformed by an act of kindness.
This city street is committed to spreading a message of love and safe harbor. House after house shine with an illuminated heart in the window. They are gifts from a new resident to her neighbors, and the movement is growing.
This kind-hearted woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, moved into the neighborhood amid the pandemic.
With stay-at-home orders, getting to know her neighbors was difficult. As the dreary months progressed, with masks in place and few personal interactions, she discovered a way to connect with her community. She decided to purchase and give away lighted hearts.
Ready For Progress
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.