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Sacramento city attorney fires back at DA over homelessness crisis

City attorney responds to Sacramento DA's legal threat over homeless issue
City attorney responds to Sacramento DA's legal threat over homeless issue 02:45

SACRAMENTO — In a scathing letter obtained by CBS13, Sacramento City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood said county District Attorney Thien Ho is politically motivated in his threats to file charges over city homelessness.

Wood accused Ho of "baseless allegations" in her five-page letter, writing that every time he speaks on the issues of homelessness – and plans to bring charges against the city – the city is forced to take time away from daily work to respond.

"Consider this my first and only response to your letter dated November 14, 2023, which, frankly, amounts to nothing more than an abuse of your authority as an elected District Attorney. Instead of the compassionate treatment you publicly call for, you once again pivot to criminalize city officials who are leading the effort to meet the needs of the homeless and community at large," Wood wrote.

This started back in September when Ho sued the City of Sacramento. His demands included enforcement of city ordinances, like clearing sidewalks, creating professionally operated safe grounds, and banning daytime camping.

Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio spoke with CBS13 on the city attorney's letter.

"It sounded juvenile. It sounded like somebody who was frustrated because there's actually a politician in the county who wants to get something done," Maviglio said. "She sounds a little defensive, quite frankly, because of the inaction of her own city."

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has responded to this issue before, saying that the city has tried to work with the DA's office.

The latest response from the DA's office came Monday, after Wood's letter, and talked about a safe ground site created by the city, known as Camp Resolution, and said, "it is unfortunate and disappointing that the City of Sacramento has refused to even sit down and discuss a timeline on abating the dangers of exposing the unhoused to cancer causing chemicals at this location."

Political analysts say the back and forth is yet another reminder of how nuanced solutions for homelessness can be.  

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