The Sunday column by Marcos Breton is the single best article I’ve ever read on the illegal camping issue in the North Sacramento area of the Parkway.
“If you dare take issue with homeless advocates in Sacramento, the first rock hurled in your direction is a question meant as an accusation:
“What’s your solution to the homeless problem?”
“I never understood how preposterous the question was until a few years ago while getting an earful from a homeless woman in the dining room of Loaves & Fishes – Sacramento’s largest homeless charity.
“Annoyed by my questions, the woman said something akin to: “There have been homeless people since Jesus.”
“Taking that idea a step further, how about this question:
“If Jesus Christ hasn’t “solved” homelessness, how are the city and county of Sacramento supposed to do it?
“How would I do it? How would you do it?
“For years, the city of Sacramento has engaged in endless initiatives to “end” homelessness.
“This while we can’t get senior cops to pay into their own pensions to save the jobs of junior cops. We can’t build an arena or a massive skyscraper or develop the riverfront. We haven’t fixed the levees the way they should be fixed, our politics are broken and let’s not even mention the abandoned downtown railyard. All of those doable things are out of reach and yet we’re going to solve homelessness in Sacramento?
“No one is suggesting that we shouldn’t be compassionate or that people seeking shelter shouldn’t get it or that homeless people with mental health and substance abuse issues shouldn’t get help.
“They should, but it’s unbelievably unfair how this issue plays out in Sacramento.
“Most people in this region get to pontificate about homelessness without ever truly feeling its effects.
“That burden is most intensely felt in North Sacramento, the American River Parkway and the River District.
“These are folks who have the misfortune of being so close to Loaves & Fishes and an overly saturated area of social services.
“These are solid residents who feel compassion for others but who also live with a reality too long ignored.
“I’ve experienced a lot of things in a few years of riding that stretch (of the American River Parkway),” said Michael Heenan, a North Sacramento resident. “Each morning includes an episode of navigating between the ubiquitous pit bulls that accompany the river residents, and each afternoon requires riding through the massive pot party that takes place under Highway 160 where Northgate and Del Paso meet.
“The one thing I have not experienced is a tranquil, relaxed moment to enjoy the parkway and the river.”
“The American River Parkway is a jewel being decimated because it is – by virtue of politics and political correctness – the hub of homelessness in Sacramento.
“Loaves & Fishes is the magnet that draws the people destroying the parkway. Allies of Loaves and Fishes have cowed local officials into inaction. While illegal camping laws are enforced in front of Sacramento City Hall, they are not enforced on the American River Parkway.”