The city of Sacramento towed 18 vehicles and trailers earlier this month belonging to homeless people.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The city of Sacramento debated an idea Tuesday, that would prevent the city from towing vehicles belonging to unhoused people living in Sacramento unless shelter, housing, or a designated location where they can park is offered.
The proposal, from Mayor Darrell Steinberg, was denied in a 6 to 2 vote after nearly four hours of public and council comments. Instead, council members passed a revised version of the proposal which will require weekly, written updates to the council and mayor on efforts to open homeless housing sites and permanent supportive housing until Mar. 15, 2022 when the council will revisit potentially changing enforcement rules.
Those weekly reports are also required to include any enforcement action taken regarding homelessness.
“If we do not link cleaning up the city to adding more capacity to shelter those who are unhoused in various forms, we will be haunted by that decision for a long time,” said Mayor Steinberg.
On Dec. 7, the city of Sacramento towed 18 vehicles and trailers parked along Commerce Circle near Lathrop Way. The city posted notices on 160 cars and trailers found in violation of state and local vehicle codes, informing owners that they would have to move their vehicles or risk being towed within 72-hours.
When code enforcement officers returned, 40 vehicles were still in the Commerce Circle area and only 18 were towed.
“The businesses and neighborhoods matter and they are suffering and we have an obligation to provide them relief but so do the people being moved,“ Steinberg said. “They are human beings, many are impoverished and in need and they need to be accounted for.”
Those opposed to the plan prohibiting the towing of vehicles belonging to homeless people said the issue is too big for the city to handle alone and criticize the plan’s potential.
“We’re inviting the unsheltered to the city of Sacramento,” said Sean Loloee, District 2 councilmember. “This is a much bigger topic than this council can handle.”
A group of Sacramento business owners held a rally Tuesday morning opposing the mayor’s proposal to not tow cars citing safety concerns.
“Enforcement should not be an either or situation. We shouldn’t be able to have to choose between safety and enforcement and the lives of our most vulnerable communities” said Pat Fong Kushida, President and CEO of the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce, at Tuesday morning’s rally.
All shelter beds in the city of Sacramento were full prompting city officials to open up city hall as a temporary, overnight warming center during Monday’s storm.
“We shouldn’t be moving people until we do our part to increase capacity and improve our systems,“ said Steinberg. “I think we’re beyond discussion.”
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