Sacramento County tenting ban: Advocates protest proposal

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“Now we feel betrayed, and we don’t know why,” said Dan Alderholt, who founded the nonprofit American River Homeless Crews.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — People living along the American River spoke out Wednesday against a proposed ordinance banning camping in some areas of Sacramento County.

Word quickly spread among the homeless community, along with fears that the ordinance would be used to remove their camps soon.

The Board is considering a ban on camping in areas near critical infrastructure and in areas at risk of wildfires or flooding. In an hour-long workshop Tuesday, supervisors heard public comments from concerned citizens and debated the regulation.

“Now we feel betrayed, and we don’t know why,” said Dan Alderholt, who founded the nonprofit American River Homeless Crews 10 years ago. “And there’s no reason for that.”

With a permit from the County Parks and Recreation Department, Alderholt’s organization can be seen regularly cleaning up trash and debris from Sacramento’s waterways.

“Why don’t they go after those who make the mess instead of those who keep it clean and safe? Make a law where you must keep your stores clean and safe. We will support that 100%,” said Alderholt.

While many of those who left their camps to make remarks on the agenda at Wednesday’s meeting arrived angry, the mood changed as they shared their experiences and concerns with the board.

“We don’t want to lose our animals. We love her; They are like our children,” said one woman.

As people on both sides of the room shared their concerns and listened, many of those present without shelter left the meeting feeling more reassured.

The proposed regulation includes an initial warning, then a charge of a repeat offense within 30 days. Regulators have dismissed the idea that the camping ban would criminalize homelessness, stressing law enforcement involvement would be a last resort.

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