Good Intentions Often Make Things Worse

The good-heartedness of people in dealing with the homeless often makes things much worse—for the homeless and those contending with their community impact as the free feedings for the homeless in the Parkway have demonstrated in the past—as this article from the Sacramento Bee reports.

An excerpt.

“Sacramento officials are objecting to the placement of two port-a-potties on city property for use by a camp of about 30 homeless residents, saying that allowing the toilets to remain without a permit could “create chaos” and allow anyone to place personal property on city land.

“The city’s position, spelled out in newly filed federal court documents, asks U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to reject a request from civil rights attorney Mark Merin that she issue a temporary restraining order to stop the city from removing the portable toilets.

“The dispute is the latest legal fight for the city as it deals with a crisis over how to handle a growing homeless population in the region, and comes as private citizens have begun taking it upon themselves to provide food and services such as portable toilets to the homeless.

“The court fight stems from two Sacramento women, Janice Nakashima and Robin Kristufek, placing a porta-potty against a fence on city land on the 500 block of North B Street in the River District on Jan. 16.

“Nakashima, an artist who lives in Pocket, said she and her husband regularly brought water, socks and other supplies to homeless residents and that she came upon the B Street site a some time ago and discovered it includes disabled residents and families with small children.

“I got so tired of hearing myself complain about, ‘Why isn’t anyone doing anything about potties …,’” she said. “So I just decided I’m going to get them one.”

“Kristufek, a longtime friend and retired public health nurse who also regularly helped the homeless, agreed to help and kick in part of the $360-a-month cost of renting the toilets, a figure that friends are also assisting in paying with donations.

“To me, it’s a public health issue,” Kristufek said.

“The first toilet lasted nine days before police called the company that owned it and ordered it removed.

“The toilets were observed by Sacramento police not long after their placement,” the city’s legal filings say, and police called the company that owned them and asked for them to be removed because there was no permit for them to be there.”

Retrieved February 7, 2020 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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