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Sacramento homeless camp. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Sacramento’s ‘Unhoused’ Population Get Warming Centers AFTER Huge Storm

Homeless vagrants living on the streets of California’s cities are political leverage to state and local politicians

By Katy Grimes, January 28, 2021 7:33 am

The Sacramento City Council Wednesday voted unanimously in an emergency meeting to immediately open a warming center, a local pool house as needed, and two downtown city garages with bathrooms as safe places for homeless people, the Mayor’s office reported.   But they did this after Tuesday’s massive storm with temperatures in the 30’s.

Tuesday’s storm brought unusually high winds and rain, which destroyed some homeless camps and blew away tents. Two people were found dead, though it’s not known whether their deaths were related to the storm.

This brought about a barrage of indignant Tweets from Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who is supposed to be leading the city, and anticipating problems like this.

Without sharing all of the responses to Steinberg’s Tweet, this one summed up most responses: “A great example of governmental crisis management. With Mayor Steinbergs stands on homelessness, did he really need to wait till winter to have his hissy fit?”

Only the day before, Steinberg announced he would push to use $40 million of higher than expected sales tax revenue for affordable housing, and $6 million on youth… nothing about the thousands of homeless vagrants living on the streets who would not be able to pay the rent of affordable housing anyway.

The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing in Sacramento, and neither really cares. Steinberg instead focuses on expensive hotel renovations and building tiny homes for the drug-addicted homeless, who destroy these, and strip them of anything of value before being evicted.

Freshman Sacramento City Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela Tweeted her grief and displeasure, and announced the emergency council meeting… AFTER the storm ravaged the homeless encampments and people died.

We knew for days the massive storm was coming.

These reactions are just that – reactions – by bureaucrats who use the homeless as leverage for more funding, and it appears this is working. Valenzuela Tweeted her wonderment that President Joe Biden’s executive order will reimburse local governments for the costs of sheltering homeless population.

This is what local governments in California have been angling for — federal funds – which appear to be an endless supply. This is also more proof that the homeless vagrants living on the streets of California’s cities are political leverage, and not seen as damaged people who need help.

If the state’s homeless were a priority to politicians, they would be housed in unused arenas, empty public schools, on fairgrounds and warehouses, they would be triaged, and treatment started, with the ultimate goal of getting them off the streets and back into society as healthy, contributing members.

But the federal funds would dry up if the problem was solved. And that is the rub – state and local politicians can’t let any funding dry up, even if it is supposed to be used to help human beings.

Instead, local politicians post Tweets expressing their sadness at the deaths, and pretend to point fingers at other unnamed bureaucrats, blaming them for the failure.

Local reporters go to the homeless camps and stick microphones and news cameras in the faces of the vagrants, asking how they feel at that moment, also using them as props for the nightly news.

Sacramento homeless. (Photo: Facebook)

In “Unhoused Residents Died As A Storm Ravaged Sacramento And Officials Debated Homelessness Solutions,” Capitol Public Radio reported that Mayor Steinberg and Councilwoman Valenzuela knew the storm was coming:

“We knew this storm was going to be bad. We knew it for days, and we’ve seen the forecast that it was going to be an urgent and severe weather alert. We could have pivoted,” Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela said before breaking down into tears, upset that the city and county did not act in time to help the woman who died in her district.

She continued: “I’m finding myself a little overwhelmed, because it just… We knew people were going to die. We knew people were going to die. There’s just no way around it. I keep thinking about this woman who died … and I’m pissed. I’m pissed, she should not be dead.”

As the storm arrived in Sacramento during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Darrell Steinber expressed outrage over the slow-moving bureaucracy to move people out of the elements. “We can’t get a Goddamn warming center open for more than one night because the county has rules? I’m sick of it,” Steinberg said.

How about Golden One Arena which has been sitting empty for 10 months? How about the unused Sleep Train Arena? Or all of the empty city public schools? There are plenty of empty places to house the city’s homeless, and it could have been arranged through council districts.

This is an epic failure of leadership and compassion, but at least Sacramento residents now know how their elected politicians really feel about the homeless – they are pawns and leverage for funding, and that’s all they are.

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6 thoughts on “Sacramento’s ‘Unhoused’ Population Get Warming Centers AFTER Huge Storm

  1. Government by crisis.
    Look at California – covid is a crisis they will not let expire – so Newsom rules by executive order.
    Look at Washington – now Biden declares a climate crisis and rules by executive order.
    Steinberg gets pushback on his homeless plans so he waits for a crisis so he can rule by executive order.
    This is becoming the modus operandi – the people won’t do what the government wants so they use a crisis to go over their heads.
    We must pass legislation to establish firm limits on executive power in an “emergency.” Define the nature and extent of what constitutes an emergency and how long it lasts. Define the role of executive orders and their weight and enforceability, Require executive orders to expire within a reasonable time unless they are adopted by the legislature.
    This is the crisis that faces us – government by a few motivated demagogues usurping our democratic rights. Homelessness climate covid and racism are merely convenient vehicles – the new four horsemen as it were.
    Vote people.
    Like your life depends on it.

  2. Steinberg is a grandstanding, duplicitous clown, and anyone who believes a single syllable of what comes out of his mouth is a hopeless moron…in other words, a Democrat. He knew what was coming, just like the rest of us. He did nothing, as usual. After-the-fact, Monday-morning quarterbacking is as useless as the Democrats who do this and only this as an excuse to grab a fat paycheck. DS, next time, if you wanna be compassionate, go sleep with the dregs as a show of solidarity, or invite a few into your own home!

  3. I could not agree more! The “rules” need to be changed to eliminate the abusive use of “emergency” and ruling by “executive order”
    Why submit a bill to this effect that would be lost in the Sacramento swamp. When a well financed proposition on the ballot would be a better alternative.

  4. Thank you Katy for consistently and relentlessly writing about this debacle. The politicians and bureaucrats have blood on their hands as they continue to benefit off of the backs of those on the street who desperately need help and are not getting it. It’s unbelievable but true. THEN, their manipulative crocodile tears and phony indignation only add insult to injury as we sit helpless, having poured millions and millions into this catastrophe, watching as the problem continues to get worse and worse.

    For years these politicians and bureaucrats, as well as many of the non-profit “helpers” (with a few very notable exceptions; e.g., L.A. Union Rescue Mission and others) have been conning the public, and the public’s trust in them is GONE. There are actions they can take that have been shown to be effective; models they can follow that have been shown to work; but no, they are not interested. They have the power of the purse and the power to dramatically change the situation but they REFUSE to act in a reasonable, responsible way. All we get from these people is one fake coordinated theatrical production after another.

    YES, the latest incident is simply more proof of how this awful situation is only exploited for money by our contemptible “ruling class.”
    The Homeless Industrial Complex:

  5. some executive restraint would be nice. why bother with emergency executive limiting legislation. elect the homeless to public office. all homeless people elected would receive full pay and benefits. the candidate would serve one term and have no authority, be a lame duck, with no path to influence the public. just taking up space. the homeless candidate may take residence in the capitol and on capital ground, courthouses too. the life giving needles can be dispensed and collected by capital workers. why make our community’s the cesspool when it can all be contained by our fruitless leaders in their covid free, homeless free, protester free environments.

  6. Hi Katy,
    I’m getting more involved in homeless advocacy to better understand the issue. Attending zoom meetings, volunteering to distribute supplies to homeless and just trying to come up with solutions. I find there aren’t any or appear to be no conservative/republican people in these groups and talks. I wish more who are conservative would stop complaining, get involved and help with solutions. We need more ideas in these spaces! We need more community involvement from all sides. This is absolutely a bipartisan issue so please advocate for conservative voices to get involved.

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