Letter to the Editor - Tracie Rice-Bailey

I live in Affordable Housing and my grown son and his dog came to visit me. Mind you, I am not bad mouthing my wonderful housing! I love my home. I LOVE living indoors! Everyone should be able to live indoors if they choose. EVERYONE!

My story goes like this. My youngest son, whom I have not seen in years, and his dog, found their way to Sacramento from Oregon to visit with me for a few weeks. I was out of the State when they got here, so they stayed about a week at my house. This is far longer than my lease allows, so, when I got home, they stayed a night or two and I took them to the woods on the American River Parkway. I have been going to the Parkway to visit my son and his dog.

Jason would have been gone back to Oregon by now, but he got rousted by the Rangers early in the morning on 7-24-12, he got a ticket and was told to move on within 48 hours. He actually asked the Rangers about helping clean the parkway - he was flat told “NO! Just take what you want and leave the rest!”

What kind of statement is that from a County Ranger? How does that in any way help to clean the woods? It does explain why there is so much mess on the Parkway and it does show that our homeless are not as dirty as we are led to believe. When homeless people are told by authorities ‘take what you want and leave the rest’, what do you think they will do??? Sounds like a mess waiting to happen on the Parkway to me.

Thank God my son was raised better than that and it stuck. I have pictures of what was left behind from several homeless spots as well as the follow up shots where Jason, against the Rangers wishes, cleaned up some real messes.

My son now has an “illegal camping” ticket to deal with before he can go back home. This is so wrong! People need a place to be that is safe and legal when they are homeless. I am not talking about a shelter bed because they will not take dogs. I am referring to a spot where homeless men and women can legally go when they have no place to go. Our City and County would best serve everybody if they designate a spot for homeless people to be. In the words of John Kraintz, “If you do not designate a legal place for homeless people to go, then by default, you have designated everywhere for homeless people to be.”

We need to revisit the anti-camping ordinance and we should make allowances for poor people living in affordable housing so their family can come visit for two or three weeks without breaking any rules.