District Attorney Ho's lawsuit against City of Sacramento will be popular, but will it affect any change to homelessness?

Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho announced that a lawsuit has been filed against the
city of Sacramento. |  

This morning, first-term Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho delivered on a promise made about a month ago and filed a lawsuit against the City of Sacramento. The lawsuit alleges that the city has not enforced ordinances or adequately addressed homelessness.

Ho opened this morning's press conference by saying, "The primary mandate of the district attorney is to ensure public safety and equal administration of justice for all," Ho said in his opening statement today. "Consistent with that mandate, approximately one hour ago, my office filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Sacramento, alleging that it violated California Civil Code section 3480, specifically that it allowed, created, and enabled a public safety crisis regarding our unhoused."

While the 40-minute announcement and press conference covered many aspects of the crisis gripping the city and Sacramento County, Ho emphasized its effects on businesses and residents of Sacramento. Ho featured residents relating how what they say has been the city's lackluster response to various ongoing incidents has affected their neighborhoods and families. 

Aside from grabbing national headlines and increasing tensions between Ho and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and some members of the Sacramento City Council, what is likely to happen?

Filing the lawsuit is the first step in the process that will take months, if not years, to see the daylight of court. Countless motions, pleadings, and other legal maneuvers will precede an actual trial, so don't expect a resolution of homelessness any time soon based on a trial.

And, of course, if there is a verdict against the city, how soon would it be enforced? Whatever that settlement is, it will not metamorphize overnight.  

Then there is the money. 

Ho suggested several solutions to helping people off the streets that, while different from what has been done, will cost large sums of money. That money will come from somewhere other than the DA's office, so does Sacramento have the funding, and will taxpayers support it?

Undoubtedly, Ho's actions will be supported by many. Beleaguered Sacramento residents and business owners now have someone fighting for them.   

Beyond Sacramento, Ho's fight will be popular in the suburbs. Elk Grove, which has already announced a wintertime shelter, is seeing its homeless population growing, and it is a topic the city council is grappling with as the number of people on the street increases daily.

So, while Ho will be a hero to many and seen as heartless by some, don't expect any change from this lawsuit soon, if at all. 

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1 comment

Atticus Finch said...

I'm not impressed with DA Ho. I've heard a few of his speeches and press conferences, and he clearly likes the tv cameras and being in front of the microphone. It's still too early to grade his job performance, but this latest lawsuit against the City of Sacramento appears nothing more than an effort to APPEAR as if he is tackling the problem of homelessness. In reality he is doing what many government officials do and that is point fingers and blame others for a crisis that was long in the making way before he came onto the scene. Instead of collaborating and cooperating with local agencies to help address the problem, because this is an issue that transcends city and county jurisdictions, Ho would rather take the acrimonious route.
Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on a suit that will ultimately go nowhere and achieve little to nothing other than self aggrandizement, Ho should learn to work with his local partners rather than against them. This suit is mere window dressing. It's good for standing in front of tv cameras and campaign re-election ads.

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