Tag Archives: Sacramento County

Liberal utopia of California: Homeless crisis declared in state’s capital

Many progressive-run west coast liberal cities and counties have a homeless crisis: San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Portland, San Jose, Los Angeles County and King County. See one of the many posts I’ve done about this here:

You can now add the city of Sacramento to that list as well.

From Sacramento Bee: The Sacramento City Council unlocked millions in state homelessness funding Thursday by voting unanimously to declare an emergency shelter crisis for three months.

The declaration was a state mandate necessary for the city to qualify for part of $553 million in one-time funding set aside by the state Legislature in June to address homelessness across California.

The city has joined with Sacramento County and the nonprofit group Sacramento Steps Forward to apply for $20 million from the state to pay for shelters and programs to help the county’s more than 3,000 homeless people. The city will directly administer about $7.7 million of the funding, received over two and a half years, said Emily Halcon, coordinator of the city’s homeless services.

The shelter crisis declaration will be in effect from December to March and the majority of the city money will likely be used to pay for additional homeless shelters to replace the emergency shelter in North Sacramento, now set to close by Dec. 31.

The city plans to use more than $4 million on at least one new 200-bed triage shelter, according to a report prepared by city staff. The city also plans to open other new low-barrier triage shelters, Steinberg said, though locations for new facilities has yet to be decided.

Steinberg said he plans to announce potential locations early next month and expects at least one facility to open by Jan. 1, when the Railroad Drive center will close.

“(This is) not just to replace Railroad Avenue, which we must, or the capacity, which we must, but to dramatically expand it,” Steinberg said.

The Railroad Drive shelter, the first city-operated low-barrier triage facility, was previously scheduled to close at the end of November but private funding is allowing it to operate through the end of December. It is typically at full capacity, like all shelters in the city on any given night, said Halcon.

Read the whole story here.

Great job demorats!

DCG

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Liberal utopia of California: Prohibited possessor & career criminal who killed Sacramento County deputy flaunted his guns on social media

Career criminal Paris: Proof that CA gun laws don’t work if not enforced

Unenforced gun laws combined with bureaucratic mistakes cost a deputy his life. Tragic.

From Sacramento Bee: Anton Lemon Paris, the man accused of killing one Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy and wounding another, has been charged on multiple occasions with serious crimes including assault with a deadly weapon and possession of an illegal assault rifle.

With regular frequency, he has been arrested for lower-level offenses including domestic violence and carrying a loaded firearm, according to court records, and reported to police for alleged bank fraud, car theft and making death threats.

He has been banned by the courts from owning guns at least twice, but for years has openly flaunted them on social media and on city streets.

As recently as July, he was reported to police for firing a gun in public.

Paris, 38, is now charged with murder and attempted murder for the Sept. 17 Rancho Cordova shooting that left Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Stasyuk dead and his partner Julie Robertson wounded. Paris allegedly pulled a gun on the deputies seconds after they entered the Pep Boys store in Rancho Cordova, shooting a clerk before following Stasyuk outside and firing lethal shots into his back and head.

It’s a grim finale to at least 20 years of violence and trouble that thrust Paris into the path of law enforcement and the courts more than a dozen times, but which resulted more in luck and leniency than consequences. His life was punctuated with a series of minor infractions that made him appear more of a menace than a threat. But a critical mistake on his rap sheet, plea deals, favorable jury decisions and apparent inaction by law enforcement allowed Paris to continue unchecked a chaotic and malevolent life that seemingly slid deeper into criminality the more he escaped punishment, official records show.

“He’s gotten away with everything he has done,” said the daughter of a former girlfriend of Paris’ who says he threatened to kill her. She asked not to be identified because she fears retaliation. “He was the guy who was willing to shoot anybody because he felt entitled to, because he felt above the law. He felt better than everybody, like he could do whatever and get away with it because he has.”

Paris’ most serious conviction came in 2010 from possessing a pair of homemade nunchucks – a felony that was erroneously recorded on his state criminal record as a lesser charge.

The incident that led to the conviction started with a nuisance call on April 4, 2008. A neighbor living near Paris’ father, Anthony Paris, in West Sacramento called police to report a person playing a car stereo in the morning, loudly enough to trigger her migraines. An officer arrived and found the younger Paris in his Lincoln Town Car, parked in his father’s driveway.

Paris turned down the stereo, locked the car and turned on the alarm as the officer approached. The officer said in court testimony he thought it was strange behavior and became suspicious. He asked to see identification and Paris turned over his wallet. Inside, the officer found a list of guns with serial numbers, according to court records. Two guns on the list were reported stolen, but were never located in Paris’ possession, according to court documents.

The officer searched the car and found a loaded Glock .45 caliber handgun under the passenger seat, ammunition, marijuana, scales and an illegally modified Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic rifle in the trunk. He also found what Paris claimed was a broken security baton but which a court expert described as homemade nunchucks – two wooden dowels with holes drilled to allow rope to connect them.

Nunchucks are prohibited in California and possessing them can be a felony offense.

Paris was registered as a security guard and held a valid exposed firearm permit from the state Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, allowing him to have the handgun in his car for work purposes, agency records show. The rifle was not required by the state to be registered, but was modified with a flash suppressor, according to court testimony. That made it illegal, but Paris claimed he didn’t know about the suppressor.

Paris also possessed a medical marijuana license, making the cannabis legal – though the 101 gram quantity led to charges of selling it. Paris said he used the cannabis to treat pain for a gunshot wound he had sustained in his leg a year prior related to his work as a security guard, when he claimed someone from an apartment complex he guarded had recognized him off duty and attempted to rob his car. He told the court he was receiving state disability from that injury, along with a payment of $8,597.16 from a state victims’ compensation fund, more than $4,000 of which the arresting officer found in the pocket of his 49ers jacket.

A Yolo County jury believed him and hung on most counts, but convicted him of one felony for having the makeshift martial arts weapon. He was also found guilty of enhancements to the felony that included being armed with a firearm and an assault weapon.

Paris was given 273 days in county jail in February 2011. During the sentencing hearing, Paris snuck out of the courthouse and disappeared. Whether Paris was apprehended or turned himself in is unclear, but records show he began serving his sentence in June 2011.

The conviction was listed on his state criminal record, commonly called a rap sheet, as a misdemeanor. The California Department of Justice, which maintains rap sheets, declined to speak about the mistake, citing state privacy laws.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Detained illegal alien who jumped off a balcony is paralyzed and now suing the government for lifetime medical care

Judge Judy shakes head rolls eyes
From Sacramento Bee: A year ago, Luis Alberto Mendez was an able-bodied immigrant from Mexico who worked as a carpenter. He had suffered from depression, but his lawyer said he had gotten the symptoms under control with medication. He was also undocumented illegal.
Today Mendez is a quadriplegic who is confined to his brother’s home in San Jose. He needs constant care and has no money. He blames Sacramento County and the U.S. government, and he’s suing them both.
Mendez, 37, is a native of Mexico who does not dispute that he was in the United States illegally in 2016. When agents detained him, he willingly signed an order agreeing to immediate deportation, his lawyer says. If the government had just sent him home then, he contends, he would not be paralyzed.
Instead, he was taken to the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove. There, his lawsuit claims, jailers ignored his pleas for access to medical care. He eventually attempted to kill himself by jumping off a second story balcony on the prison grounds, his lawyer said.
The fall didn’t kill him, but it left him a quadriplegic in need of a lifetime of medical care. His lawsuit accuses the U.S. government and Sacramento County of negligence, Fresno attorney Douglas Gordon said Friday.
“He is at a little home in the San Jose area being tended to by his family,” said Gordon, who filed the lawsuit in federal court in Sacramento on Thursday. “He’s quadriplegic; he has no money.”
The circumstances that led to Mendez being detained remain unclear.
Gordon, his lawyer, notes that federal policy at that time would have directed immigration agents to leave him alone because he had no felony convictions or criminal ties that would have led them to deport him.
Nonetheless, ICE agents set up shop outside his San Jose home in August 2016 waiting for him to appear. “They had him on some sort of list, had information on where he lived,” Gordon said. “They waited for him to come out of his house, and when he came out on his bicycle riding to work they detained him.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman James Schwab said the agency would not comment on pending litigation.
But Gordon maintains that federal policy at the time, under the Obama administration, required that ICE agents ignore his presence in the country and focus instead on dangerous criminals or gang members.
“The worst crime that ICE has on him was a 2015 assault that was dismissed as misdemeanor,” Gordon said. “He was not supposed to be targeted.”
When Mendez was apprehended by ICE for removal on Aug. 15, 2016, the agency was working under the Morton Memo, authorized by President Obama in March 2011. That memo states that ICE’s number one priority is “aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety.”
Immigrants convicted of crimes, particularly violent criminals, felons, repeat offenders and members of organized crime, all were singled out as priorities.
Those with mental health issues, like Mendez, were not supposed to be targeted. “Absent extraordinary circumstances or requirements of mandatory detention, field office directors should not expend detention resources on aliens who are known to be suffering from serious physical or mental illness,” the memo states.
Mendez apparently was targeted despite that edict, and appeared before a deportation officer on Aug. 15, 2016. He signed a voluntary deportation order, which typically would have resulted in him being flown home to Mexico.
Instead, for reasons that have yet to be explained, Mendez was given a notice to appear before an immigration judge in the future. He was shipped off to the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center, where federal officials contract with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department to hold ICE detainees.
Once there, the suit states, Mendez began asking for help for his psychiatric needs, which included access to anti-psychotic drugs to deal with a schizophrenia diagnosis, his attorney said.
Mendez had been suffering from depression before he was detained, and tried to cut himself on his neck in February 2016 and again in June 2016, Gordon said. He subsequently was prescribed anti-psychotic medications and he “was well maintained and doing fine,” Gordon said.
“Then, he was detained,” Gordon said, and authorities denied him access to such medications.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Shaun Hampton declined to comment on the suit Friday, saying county officials had not yet seen it.
The lawsuit says that because Mendez was denied “reasonable care,” he attempted to kill himself by jumping off “an elevated structure” and fell, hitting his head and suffering spinal cord injuries, a traumatic brain injury and other damage.
The injuries will require a lifetime of medical care, his attorney said, and his family has had difficulty caring for him.
“They’ve struggled to get him on Medi-Cal,” Gordon said. “He has nobody to care for him except his brother and sister, who work. It’s a real struggle for the family.”
DCG

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Sacramento neighborhood cops may be allowed to arrest undocumented immigrants

illegalHeadline should read “arrest illegal aliens.” Other than that, this works for me.
From Sacramento Bee: If you’re an undocumented immigrant illegal alien in the city of Sacramento, the local police are under orders not to inquire about your citizenship. The same goes in the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County patrolled by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
Venture outside the region’s main urban centers, however, and police may be operating under different guidelines.
At least six law enforcement agencies in the Sacramento area operate under written policies allowing their officers to detain people suspected of entering the United States illegally, according to policy manuals obtained by The Bee.
For people arrested for certain drug offenses who “may not be a citizen of the United States,” the policies read, officers “shall notify” federal immigration agents if the suspect is not booked into county jail. Officers in the six jurisdictions, which include Folsom and unincorporated Yuba and Yolo counties, can also inform federal immigration agents of the immigration and citizenship status of anyone they encounter.
Some local departments with tough immigration policies on their books are now revising their guidelines as the Trump administration ramps up enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws and immigrant communities grow increasingly wary of law enforcement. Others insist they do not engage in any level of immigration enforcement, despite what their written policies permit.
The policy manuals in all six jurisdictions were written by Lexipol, an Irvine-based private firm that comes up with policies for most of California’s small and mid-size law enforcement agencies. In addition to immigration, Lexipol policies cover a wide range of topics, including departments’ use of force guidelines and advice on how officers should conduct themselves when off-duty.
Immigration enforcement is permitted by the Yolo and Yuba county sheriff’s departments, and the police departments in Galt, Citrus Heights, Folsom and Lincoln. Several local law enforcement agencies did not respond to Bee requests to see their policies. By contrast, Sacramento has repeatedly declared itself a so-called sanctuary city that does not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, a stance that has put the city at odds with the Trump administration.
Lexipol program director Kevin Piper said the policies are based on federal and state laws, as well as “best practices nationwide that have proven successful for law enforcement.” The final wording of an agency’s immigration policy is “completely a local jurisdiction decision,” he said. “We give them a policy that is adaptable whether they are a sanctuary city or completely the opposite,” he said. “We constantly tell our clients that one of the reasons they may want to customize is that their community may want something different.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has begun tracking which California law enforcement agencies use Lexipol immigration policies. Julia Harumi Mass, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU, said policies that allow even limited cooperation between local agencies and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency “can still send the wrong message to the local community.”
“The Sacramento Police Department and other California police departments understand the harm that comes when local police and sheriffs engage in immigration enforcement,” she said.
Read the rest of the story here.
DCG

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Sacramento County bond debt highest in state

Take a wild guess as to the culprit…
Timer bomb isolated on white background 3D
Sacramento Bee: The so-called Big Build – the expansion of the Sacramento International Airport – was the biggest public works project in local history at a cost of $1 billion. Yet the debt for the new terminal is not Sacramento County’s biggest.
The county has assumed an estimated $2 billion in debt to try to shore up its underfunded employee pension fund.
Pension and airport financing combined have given Sacramento County the highest bond debt out of California’s 58 counties, The Sacramento Bee found in an analysis of data collected from the counties by the state controller’s office. At the end of June 2014, Sacramento County owed $1.84 billion in bond payments, not including interest, more than half of which came from pension obligation bonds.
In January, the Government Finance Officers Association recommended that state and local governments not issue pension obligation bonds. Bond proceeds are invested in the stock market, and the investment returns might not exceed interest rates for the bonds themselves, the association says in its advisory, which characterizes the bonds as “risky” and “complex.”
California municipal finance expert Michael Coleman agrees with the association’s recommendation. “We’ve got enough problems with pension programs; we don’t need to add to them,” he said. “Pension costs should be paid as benefits are earned, not put off into the future.”
Pension obligation bonds allow local governments to borrow against future tax revenue to make sure they have enough money available to pay present and future pension obligations. The idea is that the borrowed money can be invested and earn a return higher than the interest rate on the bonds – an income stream for the pension fund.
In practice, pension obligation bonds have contributed to deep financial distress in some California cities, Coleman said. San Bernardino and Stockton, both of which filed for bankruptcy, have issued the bonds. According to the state database, 25 counties and 65 cities have outstanding debt for pension obligation bonds.
Sacramento County’s pension bond debt started with a $538 million bond issued in 1995. A staff report recommended that county supervisors approve the bond because the pension plan was underfunded by about the same amount as the bond. In 2004, the county issued another pension bond worth $426 million. A staff report said the money was needed to pay for an increase in pension benefits given to employees the year before.
denial
Don Nottoli, the only current member of the Board of Supervisors to vote on the bonds, defends the decision to issue them. He said they were necessary to fully fund retirement benefits. “We took on a mortgage of sorts to maintain our responsibility to our employees,” he said. “The payback is sizable, and we need to keep a keen eye on the bonds and be financially responsible.”
Each year, local governments are expected to make payments to retirement funds with the goal of covering the expected benefits for current and future retirees. Those payments come on top of the bond payments. In the current fiscal year, Sacramento County expects to pay $195 million to the pension fund, and another $123 million to the pension bond debt.
Pension-change advocate Marcia Fritz said the recent battering of the investment market shows the foolishness of using bonds to pay for retirement funds. “It’s like borrowing on your home to invest in the stock market,” she said. “I’m very apprehensive about the county’s ability to provide any level of service in the future.”
Sacramento County owes $974 million on its pension bonds, not counting interest. In 2011, the county estimated it would pay $1.2 billion in interest on $1 billion in bond principal. The county largely uses its general fund to pay off the pension bonds, while the airport expansion bonds are paid by user fees and other airport revenues. The question is whether the pension bond investments will earn more than the interest rates by 2030, when the county is expected to pay them off.
A 2014 report by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence looked at whether pension bonds met the expectations of governments issuing them. The Government Finance Officers Association based its recommendation against pension bonds in part on the report.
The study concluded that the success of the bonds depended on when they were issued: Those coming out toward the end of the market run-up of the 1990s and around the market crash of 2007 were not successful, while others have generally produced positive returns.
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