What was sadly revealed in the searing August 19, 2015 column in the Sacramento Bee by Marcos Breton is that the North Sacramento area of the Parkway has become, in fact, the homeless community’s long hoped for Safe Ground; which is, unfortunately, historically congruent as Safe Ground was founded by the leaders of the Tent City in the Parkway in 2008-2009, as noted on their website at http://www.safegroundsac.org/ .
Here is the relevant section of Breton’s column:
“In 2009, the county entered into an agreement with homeless advocates that changed how officers police illegal campers on the parkway. It prevents officers from seizing any property in a homeless encampment on the American River – or anywhere else – without first posting written notice on the encampment that gives the owner of the property 48 hours notice to move his or her stuff.
“Because of this settlement – part of a lawsuit filed against the county and several other entities by lawyer Mark Merin – county officials say keeping the parkway safe has become particularly vexing. Once county officials post their 48-hour notices, many camps are simply moved to another part of the parkway and the process begins again.”
I attended a meeting August 18, 2015 about this issue involving local public leadership and while many good ideas were offered, it was clear that the dual responsibilities of public leadership—solving illegal camping in the Parkway and the larger homeless problem—created a disincentive to become too vigorous in protecting the Parkway.
This is why we have called for nonprofit management of the Parkway, where a Joint Powers Authority of Sacramento County, the City of Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, & Folsom is the governing body but contracts with an existing nonprofit or creates a new one, to provide daily management and fundraising.
This type of public/private partnership is not a new idea and is being done by several parks around the nation.
Nonprofits running parks:
New York City, Central Park Conservancy, http://www.centralparknyc.org
Boston’s Emerald Necklace, http://www.emeraldnecklace.org
Forest Park in Portland, http://www.forestparkconservancy.org/,
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, https://www.pittsburghparks.org/theconservancy ,
San Joaquin River Parkway, http://www.riverparkway.org
Cosumnes River Preserve, http://www.cosumnes.org
Sacramento Valley Conservancy, http://www.sacramentovalleyconservancy.org/index1.asp
This one in San Diego is managed by a Joint Powers Authority, http://www.sdrp.org
Local example of a nonprofit contracting with the city to run the Sacramento Zoo, http://www.saczoo.org