Illegal Camping is Okay is the Media Norm

In a narrative surprising no one working to protect the Parkway, the Sacramento Bee again reveals the normative nature of the illegal camping by the homeless in the American River Parkway with nary a word that, yes, it’s illegal and a threat to public safety.

An excerpt.

One by one and every day, some of the most desperate people in this city walk through the car tunnel on 12th Street in their search for food and maybe a little charity.

The exodus reaches a peak around lunch, when the homeless leave the Loaves and Fishes campus and make their way downtown. Some, like Johnny Lee Roberson, carry everything they have in battered suitcases. Others, like Michael Winston, ride banged-up bicycles. More than a few drag tired dogs.

Roberson and Winston were sitting on a sidewalk on the downtown side of the tunnel this week, asking for change. By night, they planned to make their way back through the tunnel to their camp on the river.

“Right now that tunnel is old and dirty, and that’s how you feel when you walk through it,” said Winston, rolling a cigarette.

Most people just try to get through the tunnel as quickly as possible. It’s filthy and suffocating. Thousands of cars blast through its darkness every day on the commute into downtown.

Sometimes, an anonymous Samaritan leaves clothes and combs for the homeless.

“Sometimes that place is a trap,” said Roberson, a guy whom others living on the American River Parkway call “Cowboy.”

Retrieved September 22, 2014 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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