San Francisco officials have alleged secretive “homeless dumping” by surrounding Bay Area communities. The mayor of east-of-the-East Bay town Tracy, Robert Rickman, openly embraces the idea, saying it’s "something that we can do tomorrow."
You might remember Supervisor Aaron Peskin alleging a few weeks back that the San Mateo County bus service SamTrans was straight up dumping the homeless in San Francisco under the cover of darkness at 2:30 a.m. While it created a minor ripple of controversy, it perhaps should not have, as the SFPD essentially sanctions the process by handing out free bus tokens at SFO closing time in order to clear the airport. We could see a little more controversy stem from the latest iteration of this idea, though, as KPIX reports that the mayor of Tracy has openly called for busing its homeless population to Stockton.
Stockton is less than 17 miles away from Tracy, so we’re not particularly confident this is an ironclad solution.
This was not a “hot mic” moment for the Tracy mayor — he said it at Tuesday night’s city council meeting in video from KPIX’s sister station KOVR in Sacramento. “I know they just built a nice big shelter in Stockton,” Mayor Rickman said. “If it’s going to be 35 degrees, why don’t we have a designated spot? They can come, get a ticket, and go to that shelter?”
Rickman doubled down when KOVR asked him about it after the meeting. “All this money from our city, on our property tax, is getting shipped over to the county and put into the city of Stockton, it’s not returning to our cities.” (Stockton and Tracy are both located in San Joaquin County.)
Needless to say, the mayor of Stockton had words.
Mayor, you are way out of your league. In terms of solutions, you might want to listen to homeless experts or members of your own https://t.co/90M9Yr1HAO can also work more closely with the county board you are running for. Instead of sending to Tracy, here’s what we are doing https://t.co/griHVZJxyx pic.twitter.com/R948P3b9gu— Michael Tubbs (@MichaelDTubbs) February 5, 2020
“I thought it was pathetic,” Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs told KVOR, noting that Rickman had voted against an emergency measure in 2018 that would have funded a shelter in that city.
Maybe this is just San Joaquin County drama that should not interest us in the Bay Area proper. But maybe it should; for concern of the normalization of so-called homeless dumping, particularly to cities like San Francisco and Oakland who are at least trying to add thousands of shelter beds. Though the wisdom of the ‘bus ticket solution’ may itself be flawed, after all, San francisco tries this too in a Gavin Newsom-initiated effort called Homeward Bound, which the Chronicle found has decidedly mixed results.
Image: City of Tracy