Friday, February 6, 2009

Important Feb 10 City Council Mtg

Logo/emblem of the city of Sacramento.
A Sacramento City Council meeting on February 10 is going to be an important one for the city and for that important subset of folks, us homeless living in it. Here is the agenda for the meeting which covers many important topics, including Item 11, a proposed anti-scavenging ordinance; Item 16, a midyear city-budget review; and Item 18, a staff report on inclusionary housing

Firstly, there is a scavenging ordinance [Item 11 on the agenda], that has been forwarded by the Law and Legislature committee, that would make scavenging in dumpsters and general-waste bins unlawful due to a supposed threat of ID theft. Stealing others' ID is already illegal, as is scavenging in recycling bins. SacHo supports Muriel Strand's objections to this legislation because (1) the community at-large should support scavenging that promotes 'green' recycling of usable items and (2) the Les Misérables argument [Sacramento should support Jean Valjean over Inspector Javert!]: Productive scavenging aids the most desperate of homeless people. We must not criminalize homeless people's well-intended efforts to stay alive. Here is the city manager's argument in favor of passage of the ordinance.

Also, as Loaves and Fishes discusses at their webspace, there are (one or) two ordinances under consideration that would require more "mixed housing" in the city, thus creating more housing opportunities for poor and homeless people. Here is the Agenda Packet relating to the council's housing workshop/report on this matter.

And, finally, because of the nosediving, tailspinning, arrrrrrrgh economy, the city will be looking for ways to reduce expenses. Often, the poor [who are the least politically connected] ironically take the brunt of the hit in a situation like this. We believe the city council should seek, generally, the least painful ways of adjusting budgets. All Sacramentans should shoulder some of the discomfort of Hard Times. The city is closing the funding gap in its 2008-2009 budget mostly by a neat trick: correcting its risk-management computations, thus, reducing its risk fund and using those ghost-proceeds to alay deficits elsewhere. This is a one-time trick, putting off dealing with real pain until later. SacHo finds no proposed cuts in the staff report that unfairly impact the poor, but does find interesting data, of concern, that we will report on soon.

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