"Safe Ground" advocates at a City Hall rally this month
A standoff between the city of Sacramento and a civil rights lawyer who allowed a couple dozen homeless people to illegally camp on his property is over – at least for now.
The city sued the lawyer, Mark Merin, earlier this month. Officials said the camp site was a nuisance to the neighborhood. On Monday, the two sides reached a settlement after the homeless people moved off the property over the weekend.
Merin says the campers agreed to leave after meeting with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson over the weekend. He says the mayor promised he would bring a proposal for a “safe ground” – or legal homeless camp site – before the City Council. And Merin says supporters already have a piece of property in mind … on Bannon Street in Sacramento’s Alkali Flats neighborhood.
Merin: “We have an architect’s plans, we have the property, it’s very suitable, we have the financing. There’s space for cooking facilities and shared bathrooms. There’s water hookups already on the property.”
The mayor’s office did not return a request for comment. But in a blog post on his campaign website over the weekend, Johnson wrote that he promised the campers he would “continue to fight to resolve homelessness in our community.”