By Jay Schenirer City Council Member District 5
I have lived in Curtis Park more than 30 years. It’s a wonderful neighborhood. I would consider it one of the most politically active communities in the city of Sacramento. In my time, I have witnessed and lived through the park street closures, the relocation of the “tot lot” and, of course, Crocker Village, among other disputes.
Each of these issues caused Curtis Park residents to loudly voice their concerns, organize their friends and neighbors and work toward a result that may have not been universally desired. In the end, however, disputes were settled peacefully and life moved on.
A few weeks ago, demonstrators went to the home of our mayor to voice their displeasure with his actions on the homelessness issue. This despite his leadership on the issue since his election. It was not the first time a protest was targeted at his home. Past protests were peaceful and raised important issues that must be addressed if we are going to solve the problems we face.
However, as was widely reported, the protest became violent with significant property damage to his home. Artwork was destroyed, landscaping was torn out, lights and security cameras were smashed, and rocks were thrown at the garage and house. The protesters also called out to the mayor’s children to “come out and play.” The mayor was home with his wife; his children are grown and no longer live at home.
On the issue of homelessness, Sacramentans have a right to be frustrated. Despite the multitude of city efforts, including the construction of the W/X Broadway Navigation Center, the number of unhoused individuals in our community has continued to increase. Layered upon the pandemic, this is certainly one of the most challenging times we have faced.
If we are to be successful as a community and a city, elected, community and business leaders must come together to denounce violence as a means to an end. It is simply unacceptable. Sacramento can and should be a beacon for a nation that is struggling to find itself, moving forward to take care of those most in need, and meeting the challenges before us.
What happened to the mayor and his family is intolerable, but this is not just about him or the protest. This is about who we are as a community and a city. We must find ways to disagree and stand up for what’s right, and work out our differences with civility and respect. It is only then that we can become a great city.