The Sacramento City Council’s 4/20 meeting
Updated: May 14
Thank you to SJPC contributor Graham Gardner for the detailed notes!
Related to historic landmarks:
The council unanimously approved an ordinance that lists the Nisei VFW Post 8985 in the former heart of Japantown as an historic landmark, recognizing its importance to the Japanese community and to Japanese-American service members. The building, at 1515 5th St, was originally a restaurant called The Flower Garden, built by a Black entrepreneur Felix Flores as a way to enrich the Black community. In the mid 20th century WWII “community elders” decided to sell the
building to Sacramento's Japanese American Citizens League, and it’s now the Nisei VFW Hall Post 8985. The Nisei Hall represents all that’s left from Japantown, which was disassembled to build the capital mall. The City council unanimously voted to make 1515 5th St a landmark on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources.
On massage parlors:
The Council approved, with amendments, an ordinance that attempts to regulate massage businesses in order to reduce human trafficking. In 2018 there were 47 complaints to the police about massage parlors, which resulted in 37 arrests. Due to wording around current massage business policies, within 2 years, only 3 massage business permits have been taken out.
Many Organizations such as WEAVE, My Sisters House, and the CA Massage Therapy council approve of the policy changes to close loopholes, require permits for all businesses, and expand operational standards.
The changes hold the business owners instead of the massage therapists accountable.
A citation can also prohibit massage-related business from happening at problematic locations for up to 2 years, in order to prevent businesses from changing hands in the pursuit of continuing illegal activities.
The ordinance will also change permitting requirements and apply other sanctions to businesses that are noncompliant, but there was a long discussion about both the timing of this ordinance post-Atlanta shooting and whether it is victim-blaming.
On that last critique, the council did amend the vote to remove language that placed restrictions on what clothes people providing massage services could wear.
Council member Valenzuela presented a District 4 plan to support unhoused citizens that includes expanded case management support, strategies to increase the amount of affordable housing, tiny home villages, prevention efforts, and redevelopment of a former juvenile facility into housing for houseless people.
Most importantly, she asked for other council members to work with her to find more SAFE Ground sites, as she was the first to present a district plan on finding shelter for the houseless.
The work that the city staff and Valenzuela did identified 2,500 beds/shelters that could be provided to people experiencing being without home. She estimated 500 SAFE Ground sites/beds could be opened in the next 3-6 months, and 1,500 tiny home sites within 12 months.
Other items of note:
The remaining council members will be presenting their district homelessness plans in the coming weeks. As many callers noted, Valenzuela has set a "high bar" for other council members to follow.
The council directed that the city divest its investment funds from fossil fuel companies, about $18 million worth of investments.
Stay tuned for more updates!