Also: A tent city like no other
Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts, including murder. And while there are a lot of reasons to feel relief, it would be overstating it to call it justice. Justice would be “George Floyd not dead.” But the verdict and fallout from same will provide a good measure of accountability and I was pleased to see President Joe Biden using that word as well.
President Biden praised a guilty verdict in the murder trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin, but called it a “too rare” step to deliver “basic accountability” for Black Americans who have been killed during interactions with the police.
“It was a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see,” Mr. Biden said of the death of George Floyd, who died after Mr. Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes, and whose death ignited nationwide protests. “For so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver just basic accountability.”
Mr. Biden delivered his remarks to the nation hours after taking the unusual step of weighing in on the trial’s outcome before the jury had come back with a decision, and telling reporters that he had been “praying” for the “right verdict.”
“This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America,” Mr. Biden said during his address.
Interesting to see what happens when politicians face down neighbours’ opposition to having homeless people live nearby. May that be a lesson other people learn.
Santa Rosa’s tent city opened May 18. And, not too long after, something remarkable happened. Finley Park residents stopped protesting and started dropping off donations of goods – food, clothing, hand sanitizer. The tennis and pickleball courts, an afternoon favorite for retirees, were bustling again. Parents and kids once more crowded the nearby playground.
And inside that towering green perimeter, people started getting their lives together.
From May to late November, Santa Rosa would spend $680,000 to supply and manage the site, a six-month experiment that would chart a new course for the city’s approach to homeless services. As cities across California wrestle with a crisis of homelessness that has drawn international condemnation, the Santa Rosa experience suggests a way forward. Rather than engage in months of paralyzing discussion with neighborhood opponents before committing to a housing or shelter project, city officials decided their role was to lead and inform. They would identify project sites and drive forward, using neighborhood feedback to tailor improvements to a plan – but not to kill it.
It was a watershed moment of action that would echo across Sonoma County.
“We know we’re pissing off a lot of people – they’re rising up and saying, ‘Hell, no!’” said county Supervisor James Gore, president of the California State Association of Counties. “But we can’t just keep saying no. That’s been the failed housing policy of the last 30 to 40 years. Everybody wants a solution, but they don’t want to see that solution in their neighborhoods.”