City Council Meeting Gets Heated as Homeless Advocates Continue Camp Out

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SACRAMENTO --

Another shouting session at Sacramento City Hall in the middle of the ongoing debate over how to handle the homeless.

This latest face-off was in part over a new key access policy for City Hall bathrooms -- presumably in response to day 36 of an encampment protesting the city's anti-camping ordinance and use of the closest facilities.

"I have to tell them what time I go into the bathroom and what time I leave. Come on, what are we, kindergartners?" shouted a woman, who only identified herself as Wanda.

"I want to thank you guys... your ham-handed and amateurish response to us has been perfect.  We have grown immensely because of you," said one man, as he lambasted city tactics that have brought on raids of the city hall camp and even raised the ire of the hacker group "Anonymous."

The cool down council members hoped would happen by going into recess worked, and more than 30 people were able to more calmly share why they all feel a city safe ground should be created for those without shelter.

Earlier, while activists served yet another meal on the front porch of Sacramento's City Hall to highlight the homeless plight, one among them was not eating for the same reason.

"So far I've had a couple cups of water, one cup of tea, one cup of apple juice all day," said homeless advocate James "Faygo" Clark.

Though two others have dropped out, Clark is pressing forward with a hunger strike to pressure the city to repeal the ordinance that makes sleeping outdoors illegal.

In his opinion, it's criminalizing homelessness itself.

"We're not gonna give up.  We are here for the right to rest," he said.

"I only make $973 a month, and to get a studio apartment at $1,000 a month and then have to make three times the rent, I can't afford that," said Cynthia Badders.

Badders has been homeless since she was laid off from her job as a drug and alcohol counselor in 2010.

A botched surgery has kept her out of work ever since.

According to her, shelters aren't the easy answer many may think.

"I got violated out here. WEAVE couldn't even take me in.  Salvation Army, you can only stay a month, unless you're a vet," she said.

With enough money for one hotel stay, she has hope for tonight, but she and others say the city has to starting giving the homeless more than just hope.

City council members declined to comment on anything they heard from the public and adjourned their Tuesday meeting.

It remains to be seen if they will add any homeless people to the city task force being organized to study the issue.