California Today: California Today: Homeless Camps, With Official Blessing


San Diego’s homeless have been among the hardest hit by a hepatitis A outbreak.


Gregory Bull/Associated Press

Good morning.

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Governmental czars have been appointed, ambitious plans crafted and billions of dollars spent, yet California’s homeless crisis still grows.

Roughly a quarter of the nation’s homeless — about 118,000 people — live in California.

Frustration over the lack of headway has some city leaders now embracing a strategy once considered unthinkable: Sanctioned homeless camps.

“The entire West Coast is in a housing crisis,” said Joe DeVries, an assistant city manager in Oakland. “What we really need is housing. But as we build it, we need something to make people’s lives better.”

Oakland plans to open two camps for roughly 80 people within the next month or so, Mr. DeVries said. The sites will have prefab sheds, round-the-clock security and social services.

Officials in Los Angeles, San Jose and Sacramento have weighed similar proposals. Some American cities, including Portland and Seattle, made the leap years ago.

In Southern California, San Diego is opening its first city-sanctioned homeless camp on Monday.

The proposals have won converts among city leaders who have been unable to marshal the resources or political will to deal with the homeless crisis.

Progress, they say, has been thwarted by skyrocketing housing costs that have pushed more Californians into destitution.

The encampment proposals are divisive. Supporters see them as a humane path to permanent housing in the absence of another good alternative.

Critics worry that they could foster complacency in the battle to create affordable housing.

And residents bring a host of safety and sanitation concerns connected to where the encampments would be placed.

San Diego’s proposal was catapulted onto the city’s agenda this year for public health reasons as a devastating hepatitis A outbreak took aim at the homeless population.

Bob McElroy, president of the Alpha Project, a charity that will operate the camp on a city lot near Balboa Park, said the long-term goal was to get people into permanent housing.

“But what do people do in the meantime? Die in the streets?” he said. “There’s got to be a starting point.”

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California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)


The film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Yana Paskova for The New York Times

• The megaproducer Harvey Weinstein was fired by his company after a history of sexual harassment was reported by The Times. [The New York Times]

• “Ladies of Hollywood,” Rose McGowan, one of the actresses who settled with Mr. Weinstein, wrote on Twitter. “Your silence is deafening.” [The New York Times]

• The Trump administration’s immigration chief warned of more arrests in California neighborhoods and workplaces because of the state’s sanctuary state law. [Sacramento Bee]

• “I’m ready for a good fight. I’ve got things to fight for,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, 84, hinting at a re-election run.[The Associated Press]


Workers boarded up a window at the Mandalay Bay hotel, where Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival on Oct. 1.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

• “I wish I could tell you he was a miserable bastard.” What made a man who was said to be utterly unremarkable kill 58 people in Las Vegas? [The New York Times]

• Life expectancy can vary by up to 15 years depending on where you live in Los Angeles County. [KPCC]

• Two big fires broke out late Sunday in Napa County, forcing evacuations. [Napa Valley Register]

• Self-driving cars aren’t just for the young. A start-up is testing a driverless taxi service in a retirement community in San Jose. [The New York Times]


Pavel Cherkashin, a Russian investor, is turning a church in San Francisco into a tech space, which he planned to call Hack Temple. He is having second thoughts about the name.

Jason Henry for The New York Times

• With news of Russia hacks escalating all year, many Russians in Silicon Valley have found themselves the target of jokes and even suspicion. [The New York Times]

• Mike Pence walked out of an N.F.L. game after players from the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the national anthem. Some criticized the move as transparently premeditated. [The New York Times]

• The Los Angeles Times wrapped up a six-part true crime series and podcast about a dangerous serial manipulator. Readers called it “chilling,” “riveting,” and “mind blowing.” [Los Angeles Times]

• Photos: The Blue Angels put on a show in the skies above San Francisco. []


Being the mother of two young children has complicated the touring life of a pop star. “There’s been many mornings when I look at myself in the mirror with tears in my eyes and I’m like, ‘You can’t have it all,’” Pink said. “There’s always a compromise.”

Elizabeth Weinberg for The New York Times

• Pink’s career provided a blueprint for the female pop-outsider archetype — embodied now by Halsey, Kesha and more. [The New York Times]

Coming Up This Week

• Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican from Vista, is holding a town hall on Monday — sort of. It’s being conducted over the phone.

• Bob Dylan starts a fall tour of the United States on Friday at a hotel-casino in San Diego County.

• A new Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge is scheduled to open on Friday. The span buckled during winter storms, cutting off a major artery into Big Sur for months.

• The two-day Art & Pumpkin Festival begins on Saturday in Half Moon Bay, a town that calls itself the “World Pumpkin Capital.”

And Finally …Photo

The Dodgers took a lead of two games to none over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday in their best-of-five National League division series.

Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The Dodgers are the only Californian club competing in baseball’s playoffs this year.

On Friday, Conor Dougherty, a Times reporter and Giants fan, asked readers to consider a touchy question: Was it even possible for a Giants fan to root for the Dodgers?

Let’s just say the feedback was spirited.

Some samples:

“No. Just no.”

— Margaret Stone

“I don’t know where to begin. The reporter’s premise has left me apoplectic. While I am also a die-hard Giants fan, I would no sooner root on the Dodgers than I would the I.R.S.”

— Chris Larson

“As a longtime Giants fan, I’d say the only time I’d root for the Dodgers would be if they were playing against the Taliban.”

— Pete Mastromonaco

“I’m a true blue, 54 year old, born and raised in Southern California, watch every game I can, Dodgers fan. But if my guys weren’t in the postseason and the Giants were, I’d be rooting for them! We Californians need to stick together, water rights be damned!”

— Laura Turkel

“My dad taught me two things: Love the Giants with all of your heart and hate the Dodgers with every fiber of your being. The mere thought of a playoff series between the Giants and Dodgers makes me hyperventilate.”

— Harrison Reilly

“I don’t see why not. Us SoCal residents cheered endlessly for the Giants in 2010, 2012, 2014. It’s time they returned the favor. We can keep the rivalry but at the end of the day, yes — we’re all California.”

— Nicole Villanova-Price

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see:

The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Los Osos. Follow him on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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