Mayor thanks police, says young people staging fights at Arden Fair should be held accountable
The events of the last 24 hours at Seventh and K streets and at Arden Fair mall are unacceptable in our great city. The facts of the downtown shooting are still being investigated. I want to comment specifically on the reports of hundreds of young people creating disturbances requiring the closing of the Arden Fair mall early on successive days.
The vast majority of young people in our city are working hard and doing the right thing. As a city, we are laser focused on increasing our commitment to young people and all our neighborhoods. That’s largely what the recent campaign in our city was all about. As your Mayor, my commitment to carrying out that opportunity agenda for all is unwavering.
I also know that especially during long school breaks, young people often don’t have enough to do. We have a responsibility to change that and we will. Measure U and our still healthy economy and budget provide a unique opportunity for us to flood our neighborhoods with round-the-clock positive activities for young people. No young person should ever have the time to even consider getting in trouble.
Yet too much unstructured time is no excuse for bad behavior. It’s important to say that young people who act like it’s OK to run around a public mall fighting and yelling and acting purposely to make others uncomfortable must be held accountable for their actions. Where people break the law, they should be held accountable, including arrest and prosecution where appropriate. If nothing else, such action would set an example of appropriate community behavior.
It is sad that some mess it up for all, but Arden Fair is a vital economic asset for our city. We have a responsibility to assure people the mall is safe. We cannot lose business for our City because we choose to look the other way.
I want to thank our Sacramento Police Department officers, led by Police Chief Daniel Hahn, for their commitment to upholding the rule of law and keeping our residents safe. People need to know that they can come and enjoy the exciting public spaces that we are creating in Sacramento without the threat of violence.
I also want to thank community leaders like Arden Fair owner Mark Friedman, Derrell Roberts, Chet Hewitt, Berry Accius, Betty Williams, Aliane Hasan-Murphy, among others, who are already hard at work figuring out how to make this situation better. It is going to take all of us to both provide positive alternatives for our youth while insisting that inappropriate behavior be addressed without hesitation.
Our young people are better than what’s been happening at the mall and elsewhere over the past days. Our city is better than these end-of-year headlines. Let us begin the new year with a firm resolution. Opportunity and accountability are not inconsistent values. We insist on both.