Council Candidates Weekly Question: Homelessness

This is the 10th of the Vanguard’s series of 11 questions.  Every Monday until the week before election, we’ll have a new question and answers.  Answers are limited to 250 words.

Question 10: What do you see as the most effective way to address the growing homeless problem?  Please address in your answer the following: A. Do you support a panhandling ordinance?; B. Would you support a Social Services Parcel Tax?; C. Do you support a Housing First approach?; and D. What other measures would you support as councilmember?

Dan Carson

No council candidate can “solve” the homelessness problem given the huge societal forces involved in this human tragedy. But we should work to address the problem because of our compassion as Davis residents and because of the potential harm to our downtown economic hub.

I favor a balanced approach. I supported adding a Police Department social worker to provide outreach to homeless persons and favor providing storage of their personal belongings and creating new public restrooms downtown. I likewise support reasonable measures to control aggressive and obstructive conduct by persons (not necessarily homeless persons) that has damaged private businesses.

Instead of new parcel taxes, I would focus on getting back some of the money we already pay as federal and state taxpayers to help address our local homeless problem through Medi-Cal treatment services and housing assistance.

For many years, I was lead analyst for the California Legislative Analyst’s Office overseeing mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. It’s clear to me that making these services more easily accessible to homeless persons on the streets in Davis will help some move on to permanent housing and stability.

We must also follow through on creating transitional housing to shelter and stabilize homeless persons. Our cadre of local citizen experts can help the city compete successfully for grants for affordable housing projects that I believe will become available due to a $4 billion statewide housing bond on the November 2018 ballot.

Let’s act to make Davis a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

Linda Deos

  1. I support the panhandling ordinance recently passed by the city council because it is focused on behavior and not on a class of people. I believe it is reasonably tailored to address particular behavior such as to still protect an individual’s First Amendment rights.
  2. I do not support a social services tax at this time because residents are already chafing any new parcel taxes, including the two current tax proposals (parks and infrastructure) on the June ballot. I don’t believe passage of such a tax is possible at this time.
  3. I support a Housing First approach because it has proven to be a successful approach to addressing homelessness in other communities. There is a community group working now to build Paul’s Place at the site of our current homeless shelter. I look forward to working with this group over the coming months to bring it to fruition.
  4. Other measures I would support are the following:

– Provide wrap-around services (counseling and medical attention) with County/State assistance

– Continued support of the Pathways to Employment program (public-private partnership)

– Continued support of the Interfaith Winter Rotating Shelter

– Provide rental/utility assistance/security deposit paid for from our development impact fees and/or micro-lending programs; e.g. the Portland, Oregon startup

– Allow tiny curbside food pantries – similar to the “little free libraries” already in our neighborhoods

– Build entry-level affordable housing

Larry Guenther

The homeless issue is neither simple, nor simply a Davis issue.  It is a regional issue and it is complex.  There are almost as many reasons for homelessness as there are people who are homeless, ranging from mental health, to substance addiction, to simply not having enough money for rent.  And these different causes require different solutions.  But we can’t forget that we’re dealing with people.

I believe the most effective way to address the homelessness issue is to give people options.  One aspect of the issue can be addressed by adding more housing people can afford.  Where municipalities have had the most success dealing with the more complex parts of this problem (e.g. Santa Cruz), they have succeeded with services.  Services require funding.  While an ordinance and a tax could be looked at, passing an ordinance will not address the problem, only the symptom.  And before we add another tax, let’s work to get grant funding and work with our local groups to maximize those resources.  Let’s install ‘giving meters’ and do fundraising outreach for our local dot-orgs.

I believe the current City Council is moving in the right direction on this issue, but we lack sufficient shelter options.  A 24-hour drop-in shelter would be a good addition, as would a men’s shelter.  On a ride-along with the Davis PD, the officer spoke of their frustration that they had no place to take people – other than jail.  We can and should do better.

Mary Jo Bryan

I support the city’s action (1) approving the location and funding of two public restrooms and storage containers for homeless persons, and (2) an ordinance restricting certain behaviors associated with panhandling.  Although helpful, these actions are just providing a bandage and not addressing the reasons for, and realities of homelessness.

I support a city-wide collaboration to fund the building of the multi-functional, residential homeless service facility on the current Davis Community Meals and Housing site.  Called Paul’s Place, it will provide permanent supportive housing with eighteen 300sf furnished micro-dwelling units, ten transitional bedrooms, and four emergency beds.

The Paul’s Place Resource Center (also referred to as DMHRC) will utilize Housing First principles and a low barrier program model that will offer each resident on-site supportive services and intensive case management. Along with the residential component the center will offer showers, restrooms, a large laundry facility, updated kitchen, and community room.

I support a Housing First approach to addressing homelessness in Davis and look forward to participating in a public discussion of how a public/private partnership might partially be funded by a Social Services Parcel Tax.   Listening to the thoughts and opinions of our citizens will be crucial to the success of any program we pursue.

Davis Community Meals and Housing, together with other homeless programs in Yolo County is working to develop an employment program, Pathway to Employment, which encourages and supports efforts to provide work and incentives to our homeless populations throughout Yolo County.

The Sacramento Bee article “The Sacramento’s Downtown Streets Team” describes the success of such programs:

Homelessness is a multifaceted issue and needs to be addressed as such.  If elected, I will strive to support our community’s efforts.

Gloria Partida

I think solutions to all problems must be aimed at the root of the problem. Additionally, we have to be honest about what we want for outcomes. Homelessness is a result of a multitude of factors. Those factors must be addressed to move people into situations that are stable and sustainable.

Housing first programs are crucial. We must have a way to deliver mental health and substance abuse programs effectively.

We must also realize that there are degrees of homelessness, many of which are invisible. These types of homelessness often are ignored until they become the types of homeless we step over on our way to our favorite downtown spot. I have been homeless twice in my life; as a child with my mother and sister sleeping on relatives’ floors and with my children escaping an abusive relationship.

Both of those situations could have produced much worse outcomes had there not been safety nets available. Working with our county is important to find the safety nets that fit for Davis. If panhandling is really what our city finds problematic about our homeless situation, we must address both sides of the cause.

This includes the people in our community that contribute to panhandling by giving alms and encourage panhandlers to congregate in our downtown. I support a panhandling ordinance that includes citations of people that give alms as well as solicit them. I would support a parcel tax that is part of a broader delivery of services. Such as services that prevent homelessness.

As a council member I would support the building of Paul’s place, giving meters, and housing first solutions.

Eric Gudz:

  1. I do not support the panhandling ordinance as it is currently drafted.
  2. Yes, I support a Social Services Parcel tax with pride.
  3. Yes, I support a Housing First approach.
  4. First and foremost, I would treat every person experiencing homelessness with the dignity and respect we all deserve as human beings. I would rapidly expand the homeless outreach efforts by hiring additional social workers, setting up a volunteer program partnership between the university and the city for students who wish to eventually get into social work, and I would reform the activation protocols for police calls in response to homeless individuals. I would also prioritize public locker approval, and would seek to bolster wrap-around services. The truth is that all of this is still less expensive than processing someone through the criminal justice system and criminalizing folks for simply existing in trying times.

Council Candidates Weekly Question: Economic Development

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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    1. Ken A

      I’m sure that Gloria is not the only person in Davis that is in support giving “citations” to anyone who digs in to their pocket after a guy (or gal) says “brother can you spare some change” but I’m guessing that the number is REAL low since I have never actually met anyone in favor of this.  After a recent story about the cops busting nuns feeding the poor (without proper permits) came out it was one of the rare times when my left wing, right wing and libertarian friends all agreed that the cops were wrong and you can’t punish people for trying to help someone out (even if they don’t have the proper permits)…

    2. Gloria Partida

      Citations are used to discourage behaviors that are threats to public safety or quality of life. Our current panhandling ordinance issues citations to individuals soliciting alms close to an ATM or impeding the flow of traffic. There are two individuals involved in those transactions. This ordinance only targets the solicitor. If the purpose of this ordinance is to discourage panhandling that is a public safety concern, it would be much more effective and equitable to cite both parties involved. If the purpose of this ordinance is to discourage homeless people from loitering in the downtown area, the flow of money collected from people giving alms needs to be stopped. An alternate outlet for people to give must be established. This is why I support giving meters. Giving meters would provide a place for people to give alms that would provide purchasing power to the homeless. These donation could be disbursed at a location outside of the downtown area. The 250 word limit to answer these questions makes is difficult to fully explain ideas. I am always happy to meet and exchange ideas.

      1. Eric Gelber

        I respectfully disagree on numerous grounds. The panhandling ordinance was not to discourage homeless people from loitering; there are existing codes related to loitering. In fact, the ordinance was purportedly not about homeless people at all; it was about aggressive or intimidating behavior and blocking of sidewalks.

        The ordinance was not intended to discourage charitable giving. Passersby have no obligation to enforce local ordinances, and an individual who gives a dollar to someone within 15 feet of an ATM, or to someone who is sitting on the sidewalk is not a threat to public safety. Your alternative suggestion of giving meters is commendable. But the proposal to cite people for “giving alms ” is just a bad idea.

      2. Alan Miller

        There are two individuals involved in those transactions.

        There are?  I am not involved unless I respond to the solicitation, which I don’t.

        What’s an “alm”? Or more to the point, why use words many people don’t understand?

    3. John Hobbs

      What Jesus says:

      Luke 3:10-11 – And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

      But I’m sure the lord would want the givers to be punished.

  1. Jim Hoch

    E: How are you going to pay for your ideas.


    The previous SS tax was projected to net $500K which is not enough to do much and not even a tenth of what Eric is talking about.

  2. Todd Edelman

    I like what Eric Gudz says firmly about dignity, and about the panhandling ordinance but even more so his opinion about a parcel tax — this is needed along with many other measures.  I appreciate what Gloria Partida says about the “invisible homeless” (would like her to clarify the “alms” bit, however.)

    Several of the candidates have clearly looked at (best) practice in other cities, but I’d like to know more about what actually gets people into housing the most effectively. Numbers, not just anecdotes.

    But mainly I’d like all the candidates – hey, how come Beeman and Rios didn’t respond? – to treat voters like maturing, intelligent, reasonable, holistically-thinking, non-narcissistic students at a public university and ask them how in the hell we can justify housing cars for nearly free in our public space when people can’t get the same. And the space… all that space, mostly empty at night.

    1. Jim Hoch

      “I’d like to know more about what actually gets people into housing the most effectively”

      What housing were you looking to put them into?

  3. Tia Will


    Agree with your comment about housing cars but not people. As a society, we are very good at providing help and amenities for the “haves”. For the “have nots”, not so much.

      1. Tia Will

        Cars don’t need a toilet, a roof, electricity and wifi hookups”

        And the space reserved for a single person to stay for a prolonged period of time ( taking up space) does not require $50,000 dollars to build at ground level. Cars and people have differing needs, who knew?



        1. Todd Edelman

          Tia wrote: $50,000 dollars

          Surface spaces not in structures are more like $5 to 10,000. (Actually will look up the new lot on West Olive to see what we paid.)

          The 100% un-necessary – un-necessary so recouping costs via rental is irrelevant – parking lot at Nishi which will result in a less protective tree & shrub buffer may cost around $7 million on its own. I’d like it if a candidate asked for this to instead be spent on getting people homed, including students.

  4. Tia Will

    I may have missed this and if so feel free to chide. We have done a poll of what the candidates think are the best approaches. Has the city done a poll of the homeless to see which of the proposals that are being floated they feel would be the most useful to them ?

  5. Jeff M

    Just try to establish a business… any type of business… and you will need a license.  Actually you will probably need several licenses, and permits and fees and taxes.

    Why should panhandling be any different?

    And what about the tax fraud considerations?  Are the panhandlers filing their 1040 and 504 tax forms at the end of the year to claim that income and pay their fair share of income tax?

    I agree with Gloria here that it worth considering to cite people giving money to panhandlers… mostly because these people are contributing to the crime of tax fraud.

    When donations flow through a 501 C 3 corporation they are tracked and recorded.

    1. Tia Will

      What about tax fraud considerations? Yes, what about them. For 2017, if you were under 65 and single, you did not need to file if your income was under $10,400. So Jeff, how many homeless do you estimate meet that criteria?

    2. Alan Miller


      I agree with Gloria here that it worth considering to cite people giving money to panhandlers… mostly because these people are contributing to the crime of tax fraud.

      How dare you insinuate that panhandlers don’t file tax returns for the money they receive.  Who are you to make this claim?   For shame.

  6. John Hobbs

    Musicians regularly busk on the streets of Sacramento without a license. (Magna Carta deal:If it’s on public land, the crown can go whistle. Public busking is a well recognized part of culture in London!)


    1. Alan Miller

      Musicians regularly busk on the streets of Sacramento without a license.

      How dare you insinuate that buskers don’t file tax returns for the money they receive.  Who are you to make this claim?   For shame.

      1. John Hobbs

        I insinuate no such thing. I’m not the tight-bottomed Scrooge who would add more pain to the trials of the poor. The buskers I know are lucky to make $25/day in good weather, putting them well under the minimum filing requirement. I do find it fascinating that anyone in the upper middle class begrudges a few minutes of time  and minor inconvenience, not just to those they deem less worthy, but to those who would try to raise them up, a little. Very weird envy, there……

  7. Gloria Partida

    To clarify what I am suggesting is that it is inequitable to only fine solicitors. If we are asserting that panhandling is a public safety problem near atms and when impeding traffic then all involved are at fault not just the people asking for money.

    1. Alan Miller

      I recently rode my bike on the bike trail between B Street and Rio Linda.  I have ridden through some pretty rough neighborhood in the Bay Area, and never felt threatened, even at night.  The Sacramento Northern bike trail has nearly thousands of homeless people and is filthy and scary.  I nearly rode through a fresh poop and had a pit-bull mix lunge at me from behind a shopping cart.  The plants in the drainage channels are festooned with toilet paper that has washed downstream in high water.  I changed my plans and rode back before the sun went down.  I wouldn’t ride through at night.

      1. John Hobbs

        ” I have ridden through some pretty rough neighborhood in the Bay Area”

        SOMA’s not that tough. ;>)/

        Bernal Heights can be dicey, negotiating the parked cars on Folsom.

    2. Alan Miller

      Read the link.  I rode the Joe Rodota trail a few months ago where this took place.  I saw many tents and it seems scary enough in places as to discourage bicycling.  If our bike trails are not used by some because they are homeless encampments, something is wrong.  There was a guy passed out headfirst down a gully obviously an intoxication issue.  I reported this to a bicycle officer further down the trail.  The officer was removing a spoon and needle he found on the trail.

    3. Alan Miller

      “forfeiting our parks and open spaces to serve as de facto campgrounds for those without housing is unacceptable,” quoting bicycle advocate in link.

      That’s so basic it shouldn’t even need to be said.

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