Promises, promises

21 Dec



Pictured above is the area known as “Devil’s Triangle”. Not  really a “park,” the DT is really just a median created where Mulberry Street splits into Pine and Cypress Streets at Little Chico Creek. The conflagration of tarps and garbage is an illegal camp site, so far tolerated by city officials, even after promises made with a new ordinance enacted a couple of weeks ago. In fact, the four conservatives who swept into office in this most recent election made some pretty fat-mouth promises about “cleaning up” our town. 

Since that ordinance was voted in, this illegal site has actually attracted more campers. When I drove by today I noticed a tent had turned into a huge trash pile. Same for the illegal campsite in Bidwell Park at the Mangrove bridge. Neither site has a dedicated bathroom or trash container. Someone has placed a blue room on the side of the street on Humboldt, where the DT campers are spilling over from the original site, into the adjacent greenway. 

Recently I asked my district representative when we could expect to see these illegal dumpsites cleared away. I was surprised to hear this answer – “we can’t clear the camps until we find someplace for them to go...” She also informed me that while the city had identified two locations that would be suitable for emergency shelters, they could not find anyone to run them. 

The city actually has no responsibility for providing social services. That’s what the conservatives reminded us prior to the election. Now they’re singing a different tune. Why? Because they never meant it. Ask Andrew Coolidge, who, prior to losing his bid for council in 2018, voted to declare a “Shelter Crisis”. At that time, Coolidge made note of the $4 million a year in grants that came with that designation, transferred into the General Fund, to spend at council’s discretion. 

Frankly, I don’t think the conservatives were ever genuine in their promises to do anything about “homelessness,” illegal camping, the increase in crime, or the degradation of our parks. I believe they see these transients as just another revenue source. If that’s not true, why did they allow the city manager to create a NEW position, “Homeless Coordinator”?  

We’ll wait and watch.


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