Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Sacramento Mayor Steinberg vows to fight for undocumented city residents

Molly Gherini and Sydney Shields

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Sacramento’s new mayor, Darrell Steinberg, plans to create opportunities for youth, look at innovative ways to deal with homelessness and stand up for immigrants.

Steinberg was joined by City Councilmember Eric Guerra (District 6) at a news conference with student journalists on Feb. 7, in which the two focused on local issues Sacramento is facing.

Among many of Steinberg and Guerra’s objectives is creating opportunities for youth. Steinberg hopes to make waves in his youth program, which will in part promote employment for high school students.

Steinberg told the journalists from about 10 schools at the event arranged by the Mirada that he campaigned on a pledge to “make Sacramento a city for and about youth.”

“[The plan is] to help empower young people and protect the dreamers and the hard-working families,” Steinberg said. “We are taking on major changes for the youth.”

The mayor has proposed along with Councilmember Jay Shenirer creating a department that oversees youth services.

The city has won initial approval from the State Employment Training Panel for $950,000 for a training and internship program that would offer paid positions to about 500 juniors and seniors from high schools in the city.  Steinberg has proposed adding over $1 million in city funds to that figure.

When asked by a Mirada reporter if the city planned to offer internships to students who live in the city but attend high school, such as Rio, that is outside the city limits, Guerra said that is something that could be discussed at an upcoming committee meeting. “That’s why we have a democratic process,” he said.

Another major obstacle Sacramento has been battling for years is homelessness; with the homeless setting up their camps boarding city hall, the problem has become more fervent than ever.

With the conditions of the heavy rains and the cold, there have already been two deaths right outside the doors of the old city hall building.

Guerra said he hopes to take initiative like Bakersfield, which exchanged food and shelter to the homeless for community service like cleaning highways. He described San Francisco’s take on solving the homeless issue as just “throwing money” at the problem and not creating a long term solution.

“San Francisco has spent $26 million on solving their homeless problems and they still haven’t figured it out,” Guerra said. Other states containing a prominent issue with homelessness are Oregon and Washington. In fact, Seattle’s tent city option gave stability to the homeless population.

Steinberg said he cares about the disenfranchised and the underdogs in society. For this reason he is concerned about President Donald Trump’s policies on immigrants.

“Sacramento is a sanctuary city and doesn’t care about immigration status. It is public safety place,” Steinberg said.

He called Trump’s call to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities “unconstitutional,” and said

he would not compromise on human rights.

“If, God forbid, his acts were to become legitimate and valid  law, I will not be a mayor who trades people’s civil rights for money. Period.” Steinberg said.

A born and raised Sacramento native, Steinberg has served as a city councilman and rose to become the first Speaker of the California State Assembly from Sacramento in 154 years. Between his time in the state assembly, Steinberg as worked in private practices as an attorney in the private sector before being elected a mayor of Sacramento.

The mayor has other big plans for the city.

He pointed to the temporary Art Street, a free show inside a warehouse near Third and Broadway, as an example of the city’s creativity and innovation.

Steinberg said that he is working with Guerra “to make Sacramento a destination city.” “Let’s call it something different,” he said. “Let’s call it a cool city.”

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Rio Americano High School
Sacramento Mayor Steinberg vows to fight for undocumented city residents