Saturday, April 23, 2005

Woodlake Resident's Response

Marie Wilson, ARPPS Board member, Woodlake Resident and author of a recent article about the area of the Parkway where the crime of 4/23/05 occured (see our post about it) , responded to our email about this crime with this comment:


As I wrote in my article about the Parkway: [copied below]

Why do we have to wait for additional crimes to occur before such enforcement takes place?

And I should add, How many additional crimes have to occur before enforcement takes place?


Sacramento News & Review: 11/11/04

Guest Comment
Can't see the river for the trash By
Marie Wilson

Marie Wilson is active in the North Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and the American River Parkway Preservation Society

My companion [Bob Slobe and his big dog] opened the door of the car to let his dog out. Immediately, someone began shouting expletives at us, and two dogs began snarling and growling in our direction. Several homeless people appeared to be permanently camped in the shade of the trees with nearby trash strewn everywhere.

That was my introduction to the “pristine” entry to the American River Parkway in North Sacramento. The definition of pristine is: “uncorrupted by civilization; free from soil or decay, fresh and clean.”

Although the American River itself was clear, clean and quiet, the rest of the area, from the trail to the banks of the river, was anything but pristine. We walked on the trails for about two miles, during which time I saw one campsite after another. There were campfires, broken tree branches, piles of trash, shopping carts, human excrement, abandoned bicycles, a weed-cutter and a broken bike lock, plus three separate locations where fires had burned the brush and trees--in one instance, right down to the riverbank.

Conversely, I recently sat at the bank of the American River in Fair Oaks near the Capitola Bridge, where I felt safe and saw no signs of homeless campers, trash, etc.

Why is one area of the river so well cared for and truly deserving of the description “pristine,” while another area near the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, and at the beginning of the bike trail, is a disgrace? I would never return to an area overrun with trash and illegal campers and fraught with crime.

In the past two years, a number of crimes have occurred in that general area, including numerous robberies and rapes, and there was a homicide about two years ago. The offenders are rarely caught.

In the early 1980s, I lived in the Santa Cruz area, where a “no-tolerance zone” was established in the popular downtown Pacific Street Mall. In a recent conversation with Len LaBarth, city editor for the Santa Cruz paper, he said that the success of such a zone depends on enforcement. In Sacramento County, we have a law that says camping along the American River Parkway is illegal. Why do we have to wait for additional crimes to occur before such enforcement takes place?

Parkway Crime Report April 23, 2005

This was sent out today to our membership.

Hello Everyone:

This crime report (scroll down) just came in from Steve Flannery, Park Ranger Supervisor with Sacramento County Parks, and the first paragraph is fine, reporting the facts, but the second is, well, kind of strange, "a single isolated incident", where has Ranger Flannery been the past ten years

But he does close with good advice "use extra caution in this area", but our expert, Bob Slobe, who lives and walks there daily (with a large dog), would take it a step farther and warns people to not even venture into the area at all.

Take care.

David H. Lukenbill

Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2005 11:17 AM
Subject: Robbery/Assault-suspect in custody.

On Friday April 22, 2005 at approximately 4:15 pm a robbery/assault occurred within the American River Parkway near Northgate Blvd/Highway 160. The victim was assaulted with a steel pipe and suffered critical injuries. A suspect was arrested a short distance away by rangers and city police officers.

With the limited information available it appears that the victim was not a recreational trail user. The physical evidence found with the suspect strongly link him to the crime and we believe this will be a single isolated incident. But as always use extra caution in this area.

Steve Flannery
Park Ranger Supervisor

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Illegal Camping on Parkway

Hello Everyone:

Here is a copy of a letter to the editor that went out today.

Take care.

David Lukenbill, President
American River Parkway Preservation Society

April 1, 2005

Letter to the Editor

Re: City, county look for ways to stop trashing of parkway: Attempts to stop camping by the homeless haven’t worked. March 31, 2005

The framing of the issue, by your writer and the people interviewed, reveal in stunning clarity why North Sacramento has almost given up on public leadership ever responding to this issue.

Comments like, “enforcement is not solving the problem”, “Where do we put them?” “People are going to be displaced from the Parkway” “They need housing”; all lead to the obvious conclusion that it is merely a housing problem and there is nothing that can be done.

Stopping illegally camping on the Parkway and restoring the community of North Sacramento’s right to enjoy their Parkway in safety can be done in a compassionate way. Helping restore the homeless to a productive way of life and modeling community respect for law-abiding behavior need not be mutually exclusive.

Other communities have found ways to deal with this problem in a compassionate way and we look forward to the day our public leaders arise from their long-slumbering denial on this issue by following their example.

Our Parkway is certainly no ‘crown jewel’ as long as this situation is allowed to continue.


David H. Lukenbill, President
American River Parkway Preservation Society