(FOX40.COM) — As the city and county of Sacramento struggle to address homelessness in the region, elected leaders from both jurisdictions continue to bicker about their responsibilities over the issue.
Tuesday morning, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg slammed the county District Attorney Thien Ho after the DA sent a new letter threatening to prosecute city officials for their alleged inaction on certain code enforcement rules that should limit encampments in public areas.
In the letter, Ho asked the city to clear more encampments, establish sanctioned campsites and conduct more counts of the unhoused population.
Steinberg called for Ho to quit the email antics and work with the city, something that he says he proposed in early August.
“Mr. Ho, you seem to want to abdicate your job to me, the city attorney and to the city… Please, sir, do your job,” Steinberg said at a Tuesday news conference.
Ho’s letter to the city includes the following: “Over the last six years, Sacramento’s unsheltered population has increased by over 250%. We have a public safety crisis that is endangering both the unhoused and the housed. Our community is caught between compassion and chaos as we reach a breaking point that requires action.”
The letter comes a month after the DA sent a first letter asking the city to remove encampments around the county courthouse, which the city later did.
The second letter also arrives just seven days after the Sacramento City Council passed a more aggressive homeless response plan and handed over to the city manager’s office the authority to select and establish new Safe Ground sites, places that offer temporary shelter to the unhoused.
But Mayor Steinberg says his recent efforts to get the DA to sit down and hash out a plan to work together have gone unanswered.
“I wanted to see if we might work together… that was July 26. Today is August 8. I reminded him once last week that I still would like to talk… heard nothing. Yesterday at 10 minutes to 5 p.m. get a copy of his second missive,” Steinberg said.
“I’m not going to continue to have my city being threatened by someone who’s not doing his part,” Steinberg added.
“I’m asking him to fund community prosecutors to commit to more broad diversion, to fight for more resources for the courts and to partner with me and with the county to make sure that the services are provided, that’s what I’m saying,” Steinberg continued.
Mayor Pro Tem Mai Vang and District 5 Councilmember Caity Maple also joined the mayor in his news conference, backing him for his willingness to collaborate and calling on the DA to do the same.
“Let’s come to the table, let’s work together, we can only create good change in the city by working together and so we need you at the table along with everyone else,” Maple said.
In a statement provided after the news conference, the DA said in a statement, “This local crisis has been made worse by local decisions and indecisions. Therefore, we have taken the first formal step towards litigation against the City of Sacramento. However, we are providing the city an opportunity to adequately address this public safety crisis.”
When it comes to enforcement, both sides say they are for it. The DA wants the city to prosecute city codes and ordinances while the mayor wants the DA to prosecute misdemeanor charges and send those who need help to the mental health resources available.
This comes amidst a judge’s order preventing the city from removing encampments for at least the next two weeks because of the extreme heat.