Sanders to Displace Homeless in Sacramento for Campaign Event

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum on August 20, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. Sanders addressed a number of questions about issues facing the Native American community. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) upcoming campaign event in Sacramento, California, is expected to displace some of the homeless population in the area.

Sanders is slated to hold a campaign event in Sacramento on Thursday in the Cesar Chavez Plaza, an area where the magnitude of the homelessness crisis in the city – and state– is visibly apparent. An op-ed published in the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday notes the effect Sanders’ stop will have on the homeless population in the area and suggests that it makes for a less-than-ideal situation from an optics standpoint.

The author, Marcos Bretón, details the dire situation in the plaza, which serves as a focal point to the greater homelessness crisis festering in the state, saying:

Directly across from City Hall, Chavez Plaza is the home office of homelessness in the urban core of the capital of California. It’s where California prosperity and desperation meet in the shadow of a civic government unable to address this civic contradiction.

Chavez Plaza is where you see the futility of our city’s efforts to get people off of our streets. It’s where you see what happens when residents object to homeless shelters in their neighborhoods.

Chavez Plaza is the price we pay for NIMBYism – people sleeping and panhandling in parks named after civil rights legends.

Chavez Plaza is where you see desperate people trying to stay cool in the summer or dry in the winter. It’s where you see people in emotional and psychological distress and, yes, where you see them use public spaces as toilets.

Chavez Plaza needs more than another politician espousing empty promises, Bretón argues, adding that Sanders’ politically grandiose speeches are not enough.

“It’s ironic that Sanders is speaking there on Thursday. Who is Bernie Sanders but a politician full of platitudes and slogans, with a scant legislative record for all this years in Congress?” he asks. “His heart seems in the right place. But what has he done besides give speeches?”

While he acknowledged that Sanders supported the National Housing Trust Fund, he argues that there are other steps that need to take place, as the homeless individuals in the plaza “need a ton of help before” reaching the point of securing a home.

Still, the Sanders campaign is expected to hold the event Thursday and will, evidently, displace some of the homeless individuals in the area. According to the report:

Sanders got a permit for a capacity of 4,000 people. They will fence off part of the park and clear the people nearest the fence. But part of the park won’t be fenced and that area will be for overflow.

That fence will go up the park on Thursday and city park rangers will clear the area. It will be interesting to see if any homeless people will be around once Sanders takes the stage Thursday.

It remains to be seen if Sanders will address the growing homelessness crisis in the state during his stump speech in Chavez Plaza on Thursday.

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