Council member Kshama Sawant has started an online petition on two current issues related to homelessness.
The first is a pet issue for Sawant: stopping the cleanups (aka “sweeps”) of unauthorized homeless encampments.
The second is a revival of a proposal that Sawant put forward last November as the 2016 budget was developed: re-allocating $10 million from the city’s “rainy day” fund (which is supposed to be held in reserve as a buffer to balance the budget in case of economic hardship) to spend on 1,000 additional shelter beds.
Her proposal failed last fall for three reasons: first, a majority of the Council felt that it was an inappropriate use of the rainy day fund; second; it would be a one-time spend for what would become an ongoing expense (it’s more than just buying beds; it’s running the shelter they sit in and maintaining the facilities); and third, Sawant’s usual tactic of trying to publicly badger and shame her fellow Council members isn’t working as well as it used to.
It will be interesting to see what the response is to the petition, and whether anyone complains about bundling the two issues together. Her loyal supporters will undoubtedly sign it; what is less clear is how broad the support will be beyond that.