A Sacramento resident recently posted a question to Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela on Nextdoor asking about a Safe Ground Camp on W & X Streets in downtown, noting that the location in Valenzuela’s district actually violates the city’s permitting process.
“Katie’s Safe Ground Camp on W/X actually goes against the city permitting,” she says.
Councilwoman Valenzuela’s response is stunning, as she openly admits that the City can violate its own policies, but residents cannot.
Really? “We do not need to get a permit to do things within the City (since we are the permitting authority) we are not subject to the rules of the ordinance we passed that governs permits for emergency shelters.”
This is a map of the area:
Valenzuela missed an opportunity to explain that the Sacramento City Council adopted an emergency ordinance that significantly expands sheltering options for people experiencing homelessness, the city website says:
Authorizing the establishment of privately-run temporary shelter facilities, the new ordinance allows the City to quickly issue permits for “safe-ground” tent encampments, parking lots and tiny home communities.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the ordinance “vital,” adding that “we must act now – and frankly more effectively – to actually build, implement and raise from the ground the shelters, the tiny homes, the safe parking lots – all the options we have been talking about … .”
The size of any such temporary shelter facility will be capped at 80 beds. Council members will be responsible for selecting potential locations in their districts, with some members already launching site discussions in their communities.
New temporary shelter facilities require only an administrative permit to locate on any assembly site (such as a church property) or on sites in commercial or industrial zones at least a half mile away from an existing temporary shelter. All sites must be 500 feet from sensitive uses such as schools, childcare centers or parks.
The City suspended its own rules, which cities do during “emergencies.”
However, Valenzuela’s answer is telling and exposes her governing ideology.
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