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Supervisor Goldemberg Hears Earful From Sonora Council About Homeless Proposals

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Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County Board of Supervisor David Goldemberg gave an update at Monday’s Sonora City Council about various recent county efforts, and most of the discussion turned to criticism from the council about a homelessness proposal that will be voted on at today’s supervisors’ meeting.

Throughout his term, Goldemberg, who represents the greater Sonora area, has provided regular informational reports at council meetings.

We reported last week that the county is considering buying the Miners Hotel on Highway 108 in Jamestown, as well as a six-unit apartment building at 165 South Shepherd Street in Sonora, the Satellite Health commercial building at 136 Columbia Way in Sonora, and a property with two homes at 720 Snell Street in Sonora. The acquisitions would be paid for with state grant money.

Goldemberg stressed to the council that the housing would be “transitional” so that people can “get healthy and receive proper care.”

Vice Mayor Ann Segerstrom responded, “We are worried about where they are going to ‘transition’ to, possibly our streets afterward.”

Segerstrom continued, “I think most of the pressure of all of these services is going to fall on Sonora.”

Councilmember Suzanne Cruz weighed in second, stating, “It is really not specifically a city problem (homelessness), it is a countywide concern, it just doesn’t seem like you have considered that, and I think I can speak for everyone here, we are really disappointed.”

Goldemberg acknowledged that it is a countywide issue, and said, “Unfortunately, for many years, nobody stepped up to deal with it.”

Councilmember Matt Hawkins urged Goldemberg to listen to his constituents. Hawkins said he has heard from a member of the community who would be forced to leave her residence as part of this proposal so that the county can use the property she is renting for homeless housing. Hawkins says, “That’s the kind of stuff that scares the living crap out of me, someone doing everything right, and now they might go homeless.”

Mayor Mark Plummer put Goldemberg on the spot, “We need you to stand up for us. Are you going to do that?”

Goldemberg responded, “First of all, you shouldn’t ask me to make a comment, or decision, ahead of our board meeting. That is improper, so we’ll just leave it at that.”

Plummer replied, “Fair Point. Ok, well, I will tell you then, for your constituents in the city, that we expect that, even though I understand I was out of line asking for a decision prior to the meeting.”

Councilmember Andy Merrill did not weigh in as he was absent Monday evening.

The Board of Supervisors meeting starts at 9 am today (November 7) on the fourth floor at 2 South Green Street in Sonora. The discussions about the properties for homeless efforts are items 19, 20, 21 and 22 on the agenda, so it will be toward the end of the meeting when they will be discussed.