‘Quality of life’ council panel on homelessness fails in Fairfield

By From page A5 | March 19, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A “quality of life” City Council subcommittee proposed by Councilwoman Pam Bertani to address homeless issues failed to win support Tuesday from other council members who said the city staff is already stretched thin and that the council can rely on City Manager Sean Quinn’s reports about homelessness-related matters.

“Although I respect the intention,” said Mayor Price, “we don’t need a council subcommittee for every issue that comes along.”

Quinn said an internal task force with the city now considers issues that include abandoned shopping carts in Fairfield.

Bertani, whose motion for the subcommittee failed to win a second from other council members, said her proposal evolved out of meetings with the public and concerns about homeless issues. She said the homeless population in Solano County has doubled to 1,329 people since 2011.

“Either we get on top of the issues,” Bertani said, “or the issues get on top of us.”

The councilwoman said after the meeting that she is disappointed by the council not supporting her motion and that the subcommittee would not have increased demands on the city staff. She spoke about a lack of hands-on leadership in Fairfield to address homelessness.

“It overlooks our responsibility as elected leaders to actually help and work,” Bertani said of the council’s response to her quality-of-life subcommittee proposal.

Vice Mayor Rick Vaccaro said before the decision on Bertani’s proposal that, “I know we’re up here to be leaders.” But council members can ask questions when Quinn reports about homeless issues, the vice mayor said.

The council at its meeting Tuesday also agreed that Quinn, who retires April 3 as city manager, will serve in an interim role in that post for up 180 days at $95 an hour. Fairfield is recruiting a new city executive but leadership is needed as projects await, including preparation of the 2014-15 budget, according to a city staff report.

Mayor Price participated in Tuesday’s council meeting by phone from Haleiwa, Hawaii, where he traveled for a family celebration.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 22 comments

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  • Rich GiddensMarch 18, 2014 - 9:45 pm

    You should have voted Republican Pam Bertani. Since your Dem pals were elected by your dummy citizens, things have gotten worse!

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  • SalMarch 19, 2014 - 12:46 pm

    Rich Its not about Dems vs Repubs, its about who actually gets things done while in office regardless of their political affiliations. Pam Bertani has done squat for this town. Period.

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  • Tax PayerMarch 19, 2014 - 5:29 am

    Homelessness, that is your biggest issue you are looking to support. Bleeding heart liberal. Let the churches deal with them. Your city needs a leader that is looking into the bigger issues: High unemployment should have been a start!

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  • SupportMarch 19, 2014 - 5:57 am

    The homelessness needs addressed. Helping them is not what many citizens are complaining about. They are complaining about nothing being being done to remove them from loitering and becoming fixtures on corners and throughout town, panhandling, and harassing citizens as they walk by. If you leave them to the churches, then there is no motivation for them to do anything because they know a handout is always coming. Some people don't have a choice on their situation, but they do have a choice on how they interact with productive citizens. If the problem is not addressed, crimes continue to go up and police are left to deal with things like disorderly conduct or public intoxication, when we need our police for more serious offenses.

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  • The MisterMarch 19, 2014 - 6:58 am

    The "homeless" don't "abandon" shopping carts... it's the low-income/welfare recipient/Section 8 recipients who abandon shopping carts. To the "homeless", a shopping cart is like their pickup truck filled with their stuff. As a matter of c0urse, they are not just going to abandon all their stuff and their truck. The people who abandon shopping carts are people who use them to get their groceries or what-not back to their residence. Once they are home, or close to it, they abandon the cart. That's where you get "abandoned shopping carts" from. City Council/Manager, how can you "fix" the problem when you can't even honestly identify what causes the problem?

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  • Skeptic ScroogeMarch 19, 2014 - 7:36 am

    Boo to Bertani! Sje is just trying to expand the homeless population so she can bus them to the polls thru her hubbys church and similar orgs. That doubling of homeless is called prison realignment. Quit trying to bring tnem to Solano with your handouts!

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  • Suisun1March 19, 2014 - 8:34 am

    Thank you Bertani for your leadership. It's unfortunate that the people of this city and even its leadership can't make the connection between high unemployment (@Tax Payer) and homelessness. People who are homeless are just that, people, just like you and me. We are falling behind on this issue and it will only get worse unless we come together as a community. But we need the leadership to lead.

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  • SalMarch 19, 2014 - 9:10 am

    Bertani has been there for years now, what has she done for the homeless to date? Nothing! Now she wants to use the issue to win her next election? She is all words, no results. She is raking in big bucks from the unions and using public funds to maintain a high end life style. She lives in a mansion, yet her business downtown closed down, where do you think her money is coming ? Another corrupt politician using public dollars to get elected to yet another powerful position. She needs to be removed from office for Fairfield's sake.

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  • SalMarch 19, 2014 - 10:41 am

    "Thank you Bertani for your leadership. It's unfortunate that the people of this city and even its leadership can't make the connection between high unemployment (@Tax Payer) and homelessness. People who are homeless are just that, people, just like you and me." Really Suisun!? She is homeless like you and me? Do you know that she lives on a golf course in a 4K sf house, which costs 5K a month in mortgage? She drives an SUV, and is seen around town with I Pads, Mac Books, I Phones, with her kids in suit with all of the above of their own, and you think she knows and cares about homelessness? My question is, as an attorney out of work, (it is no secret she has not been able to keep a job for more than a few years), where is all the money to support this life style coming from? Her husband is a church pastor and is not the main bread winner. Who is giving them big bucks to keep up their big life style? And is she the leader we the people deserve?

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  • Mr. SmithMarch 19, 2014 - 9:06 am

    I would like to know more about Mr. Quinn's "internal task force with the city" with regard to how it seeks to address the issues around homelessness in the city. When does it meet? Are there meeting minutes? Who sees them? Does this "task force" consider more than the abandoned shopping cart problems? In Fairfield, does addressing abandoned shopping carts equate to trying to solve the problems caused by the homeless? I could have predicted the mayor and council's "do nothing" reaction to this suggestion. They don't give a hoot. And therefore, neither does the chief of police. And people still wonder why our once proud and clean city has gone down the sewer? Hah!

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  • CD BrooksMarch 19, 2014 - 9:24 am

    Mr. Smith, I like to believe that traffic offenders are easy targets that actually bring revenue, but the chief says "not enough resources." Well it doesn't get any easier than finding and removing homeless so apparently, they don't have resources for that either. I suppose we are out of luck. The bad guys are winning everywhere you look.

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  • Mr. SmithMarch 19, 2014 - 9:41 am

    Right, CD: What are these bums gonna do--outrun the cops on their rusty bicycles? At least the jerks who drive around here like maniacs have a motor vehicle to help them avoid capture! Like I said the other day--it's a matter of will, not resources. The police chief dances to the council's tune. I think the orchestra has left the building, and the rats are having a blast in Fairfield.

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  • rlw895March 19, 2014 - 10:12 am

    Mr.S: We agree(!). This story is thin on a lot of details about what's being done now and what exactly this new subcommittee was supposed to do, instead focusing on the political dance. Bertani should not have brought up the issue if it wasn't even going to get a second. It makes it look like she was merely posturing, which very well may be true. Yes, that itself is a story, but while we're on the subject of the homeless problem(s), we might as well have a full discussion, and this dispute provided a good opportunity for that.

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  • PattyMarch 19, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Everyone needs to stop giving money to the bums on every corner. We are making it too easy for them to just enjoy the nice weather while holding up a sign for money. Support the local food banks, shelters etc to help if you feel guilty that you made good life choices.

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  • rlw895March 19, 2014 - 10:26 am

    How about we hand them a bucket, a safety vest, and pick-up tool and pay them minimum wage for picking up litter wherever they hang out? No extra pay for quantity, but they have to look busy. They only get paid if they return the equipment.

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  • SalMarch 19, 2014 - 10:36 am

    I agree with rlw895, Bertani looks very manipulative to bring up this issue now, and make it a slogan to get media attention for herself. She ran on the slogan of revamping our downtown, and did squat for the last four years. Now she wants to rake in big bucks for herself, on the pretext of running for supervisor.She is all hot air. She uses slogans to make herself look good. The unions back her up as a pony to contest the anti vote race against Sperring. She will end up using donations to support her grand life style, even if she does not win the election. It is no secret she has no other source of income and has closed her office in downtown. She is now living off slogans, hoping to win pubic office where she can get a fat pay check for making speeches and not showing her constituents any real results.

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  • Mr BrownMarch 19, 2014 - 11:33 am

    Politicians come out of the woodwork before elections. Bertani is no different. Just more fake than the rest.

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  • Grumpy GusMarch 19, 2014 - 12:14 pm

    She did recently paint some picnic table in the park...

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  • SalMarch 19, 2014 - 12:44 pm

    And posted pictures world wide with a paint brush in her hand!

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  • Mr BrownMarch 19, 2014 - 12:51 pm

    I agree its not about the political party you belong it, its about personal integrity. Some have it. Some don't.

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  • SalMarch 19, 2014 - 1:13 pm

    Well I can tell you with certainty Pam Bertani does not have integrity. Remember when she got elected, all the promises she made? Now she wants to cure all to get elected to Supervisor? What did she do as council woman?

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  • Mr BrownMarch 19, 2014 - 1:16 pm

    Pam Bertani plays all sides, conservative to get church votes and liberal to get union votes.

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