Dedeveloping K Street and the Railyards?

Sacramento’s quest to revive downtown K Street and develop its northerly neighboring railyards may be facing a setback suddenly, now that millions in redevelopment money is at risk. The Bee published a collage of reactions yesterday from developers and city officials commenting on last week’s Supreme Court ruling that eliminates redevelopment and, possibly, subsidies that were counted on to redevelop the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street, and provide infrastructure, utility hookups, and affordable housing to support the Railyard project.

Sandwiched between the State Capitol building and thousands of yearly hotel visitors, and linking, by what seems an awkward geographical accident, a destination Convention Center on 13th Street to the tumbleweed-strewn Westfield mall on 7th, K Street remains Sacramento’s breakout on prom night. I wish we could do something to at least fix the desolate 700 and 800 blocks. Continue reading “Dedeveloping K Street and the Railyards?”

How the “Other” half of the other half lives

What with all the talk at Cesar Chavez Park and around the nation about the “1%,” the Bee yesterday provided a closer look at those wealthy one-percenters living in our own backyard.

Looking at a breakdown of the industries the 1% works in, the first question that jumps to my mind is what’s “Other,” where apparently 38% of the region’s $300,000-plus-earners make a living? Is the secret to making it in America avoiding all college courses that might lead you to law, healthcare, finance, construction, trade, or manufacturing?

I should be living in the Fabulous Forties by now.

Sampino’s Towne Foods: Welcome home

One of my recent favorites is Sampino’s Towne Foods, a wonderful and quirky Italian deli and gourmet meat market on 16th and F Street. I may have never noticed it, tucked away next to 16th Street Donuts. What I really like about Sampino’s comes down to two things. First, of course, is the quality of the food – magnifico!

And second, the warmth of the place. I swear, I feel more at home at Sampino’s than I do in my own apartment. The staff at Sampino’s will do anything you want with the pastas, salads and meats you see behind the glass. You can point to a lasagna and ask them to heap it onto their chicken marsala, then skewer a pastrami sandwich, two porcini mushrooms and a meatball onto the lasagna with toothpicks. And they’ll do it.

Continue reading “Sampino’s Towne Foods: Welcome home”

I-80, your tyranny is over

great bridge, lousy phone camera

For years, North Natomans who worked just 3 miles from home started each day with an exhaust-spewing surrender to tyranny. That tyrant was I-80, which blockades our northern suburbanites from a tantalizingly close downtown destination – because even on a clear, warm day, these oppressed commuters had no choice but to pile in their cars and slog through traffic.

Well, those days are over. Yesterday, city officials opened a new bike and pedestrian bridge that arcs over I-80 and liberates a whole community from the monopoly of the car. For the weary road-enraged populace, bicyclical commutes are no longer a fantasy, but an actual choice.

Continue reading “I-80, your tyranny is over”

Went big at Sam’s

footage of the incident

One of the thrills of blogging is extending the bounties of a life-changing discovery to countless readers. It’s that thrill that I resume with my describing Sam’s Hof Brau and my adventures there.

Sam’s Hof Brau is a “time out” from the judging eyes of society’s nutritionists and vegans. It’s a place that people visit for only one reason – to get serious about eating a lot of very fine carved meat.

I discovered Sam’s about a month ago when a very great friend of mine took me there for my birthday. We literally ordered every cut of meat on the menu – some of them in abundance – and several sides of Sam’s excellent potato salad. Where one might expect the grim spectacle of Man vs. Food-like perseverance, I was instead enchanted by the succulence of every bite.

Continue reading “Went big at Sam’s”

School’s Out

Almost every one of California’s 120 legislators left town last month, and last week Gov. Brown finished his solemn task of cleaning up the mess they left.

I wish I could say it was this year’s rambunctious Legislature that kept me from posting on Sac Rag for the last five months. It definitely is on the list of reasons, right below ‘lazy,’ ‘distracted,’ and ‘goofy kid wearing the ‘College’ t-shirt from Animal House who ran a stop sign, totaled my car, and condemned me to a Kafkaesque eternity of dealing with insurance companies and car dealerships’ (no one was hurt, thank God, except my faith in traffic laws). It made me hope, while sifting through the 1000s of bills our Legislature served up this year, that at least one stiffened the penalties for stop sign-running – but no luck. Apparently there were 1000s of other issues worth legislating. Continue reading “School’s Out”

River Cats History

I missed my chance to witness Sacramento history Saturday night, when the River Cats played the longest game in River Cats history - 16 innings to break a stalemate, well past midnight, to defeat Oklahoma City’s Redhawks.

After enjoying a good 9 innings, and sitting through an additional 5, my crew and I finally succumbed to dropping temperatures, high winds, and Dinger Dog stupor. And packed it up and went home.

Continue reading “River Cats History”

Wonks: The Next Generation

Today Sacramento State is hosting a commencement ceremony for this year’s graduates of the Master’s Program in Public Policy and Administration. I finished this program a few years ago and still consider it one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

If you work in the public sector, or in the political or nonprofit arenas, or if you aspire to work in these fields, I’d recommend giving this program a close look. The training I received in this program marvelously strengthened my skillset as a wandering politico and generally opinionated person.

Continue reading “Wonks: The Next Generation”

Shady Lady on Hiatus

Prohibition Strikes Back!

Maybe the R strip’s most beloved watering hole, the Shady Lady Saloon, will be closed until May 19. Apparently a technical slip up in Shady’s reporting to Alcoholic Beverage Control landed the bar a 10-day suspension of its alcohol license.

Shady Lady is a fantastic bar. The decor drips 1920s speakeasy. The front patio has lots of streetside seating. There’s often a live band playing. And I’m told they make their own tonic (though I’m not really a gin and tonic drinker) and it’s excellent.

Continue reading “Shady Lady on Hiatus”

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

So about two years ago I was appointed to Sacramento’s Housing and Redevelopment Commission. Twice a month, yours truly and ten other wonks meet to provide input and vote on what the city’s and county’s redevelopers want to do with public money.

Meetings are open to the public, but I can count on my own ten fingers (no toes) the regulars who show up and spout off. These eight or nine folks by default represent all of Sacramento’s residents. Continue reading “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”