Sausalito Art Festival canceled over homeless encampment dispute

The Sausalito Art Festival is a no-go this year because of a fight over a homeless camp.

"It's a real shock," said painter Kay Carlson. "It's not that i'm not totally empathetic to homeless people. I am. But it seems like there's room for both."

For years, the iconic festival's been held on Labor Day weekend at Marinship Park.

But down the road is a homeless camp at Dunphy Park, along the city's scenic waterfront. 

The city of Sausalito wants to move the camp to Marinship Park, which is more out of the way. 

"Nobody really wants to move down there," said Robbie Powelsen, who lives at Dunphy Park. "Nobody asked to move down there. This is totally the city of Sausalito's decision."

Sausalito Mayor Jill Hoffman said, "We can't make them accept it, I mean all we can do is offer."

Hoffman said the city is trying to help those in the camp and that the festival's usual home is the safest place for them.

"To us, Marinship Park made a lot of sense because it's more protected than where they're at right now on the water's edge at Dunphy Park."

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Anthony Prince, an attorney representing the homeless said, "I think the city's priority is to hide the homeless. 

Prince won a preliminary court injunction barring the city from immediately moving his clients. But a final ruling by a judge is still pending.

 "It's just a shame that this art fair has become the casualty of the city's indifference and the city's war on the homeless," Prince said

Louis Briones, who chairs the art festival's foundation, said there's not enough time to find a new spot for the event, given the uncertainty of where the homeless will end up. 

"The city is dealing with a very unfortunate situation - the homeless are dealing with a very unfortunate situation, and we're just kind of caught in the middle," Briones said.

Carlson said, "I don't see how we can put Humpty Dumpty back together again."

The festival was canceled last year because of concerns over costs. This Labor Day weekend, the homeless at Dunphy Park are inviting the public to an alternative called the "Rainbow Bay Art Festival."