Our organization agrees with Supervisor Serna, writing in the Sacramento Bee, on the need to revisit the legal settlement that has virtually created a tent city in the Parkway.
We have reports of large scale camping that has overwhelmed the ability of the Parkway Rangers to control; which the settlement mandate that unoccupied camps have to be given 48 hours-notice of removal has created.
The word has long gone out to the professional homeless that camping in the Parkway is easy and virtually legal. The camping ground is along a great river, within walking distance to a veritable shopping mall of homeless services and close to downtown for panhandling.
All you have to do is avoid the rangers when they come by and move your camp after a notice is given.
An excerpt from the Bee article.
Even before the most recent fires, I had suggested we do things differently enforcing the parkway camping ban. It really comes down to a simple question: Does a 2009 settlement trump Sacramento County’s fundamental responsibility to protect the public and the parkway?
Breton alludes to this in his column, but it deserves a little more explanation. The agreement – a result of a lawsuit against the county in part for failing to catalog homeless individuals’ possessions – stipulates that county personnel cannot immediately remove unoccupied homeless encampments, and must instead post a citation explaining to absentee campers that they have 48 hours to remove their belongings.
The problem here should be obvious. Illegal campers just move to another part of the parkway to restart the enforcement clock. The result is that there are hundreds of people camping illegally in the parkway with open flame ignition sources (matches and lighters) and accelerants (lighter fluid and propane) surrounded by tinder-dry fuels such as native grasslands, brush, mature tree canopies and even plants that support protected species.