As Governor Gavin Newsom celebrates the clearing of more than 1,250 homeless encampments over a 12-month period, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ruled on August 25th that Sacramento City’s Measure O could be placed before voters in November. The measure, which is backed by business heavyweights, is the latest to be placed before voters in response to California’s growing homeless population. As reported by Capradio, Measure O is considered an “anti-camping” ballot measure that would ban homeless camps on public property and require the city to create emergency shelter spaces. Additionally, the measure would give the city authority to clear encampments without offering shelter. Homeless advocates attempted to stop the measure by filing a lawsuit that stated the measure violated the federal ruling of Martin v. Boise.
Although Judge Chang ruled in favor of the ballot, she did state that the measure could be legally challenged if it were to pass. If passed, Measure O would require the city to create enough shelter spaces for at least 60% of the city’s 9,300 unhoused population (currently it has approximately 1,100 such spaces).
Judge Chang’s ruling came just two days after Sacramento city and county passed ordinances that ban encampments on sidewalks along the American River Parkway or other places deemed “critical infrastructure”.