A charter amendment was not the way to move our city forward on homelessness – it would have punted a comprehensive approach into sometime next year, let local officials off the hook for months and, as the judge in the case here states with force, violated state law. It also, in its vagueness of language, could have made the amendment’s ultimate goals — to free sidewalks and public parks of encampments while giving the homeless effective alternatives – actually more difficult to realize.
So the ball is back where it should be – on those holding office now and those we elect in November, to create a workable strategy to reach those goals. No charter change is needed or appropriate for that work, just the vision and will of those in council and mayoral positions to find effective answers.
The court ruling does cloud the mayoral election in particular — Bruce Harrell had made Charter Amendment 29 a fundamental part of his campaign and now needs to offer his own specifics ASAP. As to Lorena Gonzalez, who opposed the amendment – she’s been president of the city council through all the dissatisfactions of the last 2-3 years, hardly a ringing call for her election. It’s not the choice many of us wanted.
But it puts the right question in front of all local candidates re homelessness – what is your plan, now, if elected/re-elected? Now, not in some charter future.