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Sacramento DA sends Camp Resolution "warning letter" to city following water board investigation

Sacramento County DA ramps up legal fight over growing homeless crisis
Sacramento County DA ramps up legal fight over growing homeless crisis 02:25

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento County District Attorney is taking aim at the city over the homeless problem.

In a letter sent to the City of Sacramento and camp advocates, the DA claims the property known as Camp Resolution sits on a lot contaminated with toxic chemicals.

In a new push to clear out Camp Resolution, the district attorney's office is issuing a warning that could lead to criminal charges.

Mark Merin, an attorney and board member of Safe Ground Sacramento, is one of the names labeled in the letter.

"I think if you take them off of a lot, where at least they're safe, and you move them onto the street, there are more problems," Merin said.

Safe Ground Sacramento is a non-profit organization acting as a liaison between camp resolution and the city.

In April, Safe Ground leased the property from the city where it currently operates as a self-governing encampment. The city brought in trailers to alleviate tents, but they're restricted to paved areas on one side of the lot, leaving the toxic soil on the other half exposed.

"So, it's a question of what the alternatives are and what is the commitment of the city and the county to provide services," Merin said.

For decades, the lot was used as a vehicle maintenance yard. After an evaluation from the water board, they say petroleum from underground gas tanks seeped into the soil, polluting the air around it.

"That's probably something to be avoided, but I also know that living by a freeway, if that's your alternative, creates other dangers and hazards," Merin said.

In a statement from the District Attorney's office it reads in part, "Before filing criminal charges for nuisance, the law requires us to provide notice and allow the offending parties to abate this dangerous condition. We have served the offending parties with notice."

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