An issue that gets no props

A press release from the Elk Grove Police Department came across my desktop today:

ELK GROVE, CA – Earlier today, Elk Grove Police Officer Ali Khalil was arrested by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and served with a complaint alleging several felonies associated with mortgage-related financial transactions. None of the allegations were related to Officer Khalil’s official duties as an Elk Grove police officer. Officer Khalil, age 29, has been a member of the Elk Grove Police Department since 2006. Officer Khalil has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, which is standard practice when an officer has been charged with a crime.

We obviously have no details at this point about the nature of the charges or the crime, but the role of mortgage predators brokers in the housing industry has played a huge factor in our economic meltdown. Some brokers were above board but many others were not. These unscrupulous individuals played a significant role in suckering banks and borrowers into bad mortgages. Many of these old brokers are now setting up shop as refinancing experts and mortgage assistance houses (word of advice: do your own research and deal with your lendor directly). They basically splashed everyone with mud and are now offering to take people to the cleaners.

Eyebrowraisingly, it seems police officers are not immune from felonies arising out of the housing industry (though this not to say that he is charged with crimes that he did while on duty – we don’t know). Also, this officer was charged by the FBI but the EG PD still has to do their own internal investigation, during which time the accused is still on paid leave (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

I, for one, would like to see a more aggressive effort by the state government to ban unscrupulous mortgage broker marriage. We need fewer of those people and the more we can do to stop them from procreating, the happier we’ll all be.

UPDATE 6/2: Further details available at the Bee. Thanks to the SacRag faithful for keeping me on my toes. Vigilance!

Stuffing the ballot box

The cars-crashing-into-buildings news story has long lost its snarkworthiness in these parts, but there’s something special about this one:

K.J.’s Campaign Headquarters Collapses, 2 Hurt

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The building that housed Mayor Kevin Johnson’s 2008 campaign headquarters has partially collapsed following a violent crash this afternoon.

The building located on 2030 16th St., gave way at around 2:20 p.m. Tuesday after two vehicles ? a Volvo sedan and an ICEE delivery truck — collided, sending the truck into the building and apparently into critical supports.

Drivers of both vehicles suffered minor injuries.

The building was thought to be vacant, but rescue personnel have sent a search dog inside to check for possible victims.

Is something afoot? Have people just lost their minds with their 12th election in seven years?

Nah, it’s just Sac being Sac.

We’re not the only ones who report old news

“When coming here today someone hit a pole on Marconi. On Marconi, people just don’t pay attention and it’s foggy. They don’t care if it’s 50 mph in a 30. People don’t care,”

…so is quoted in a story from KCRA on CalTrans’ newly released 2008 California Highway Safety Improvement Program 5 Percent Report (don’t read that title while driving).

According to the study, Sacramento ranks number two (behind Los Angeles) in the number of traffic accident hot spots in the state. The worst spot in Sac? It probably won’t surprise anyone:

Over the past 10 years, Watt Avenue has been the site of 7,800 crashes, according to the California Highway Patrol, while Highway 99 near 12th Avenue hosts three accidents a month. Also, the link between Interstate 5 and 50 averages a crash almost every other day.

Who could have guessed?

Right Awn! Don’t let them take Christmas!

Right AWN!It seems that things get a little silly around town during Christmas. But, is this really “how we do it in Sactown“?

In any case, this story is too good to be true, except that apparently it is true. As such, it warrants a dusting off the RIGHT AWN!, for the dude who used a giant Christmas ornament to defend his family and guests. I’ll let the story tell the story:

Man wielding candy cane lawn ornament subdues attacker

SACRAMENTO (AP) — A man using a candy cane lawn ornament fended off a knife-wielding neighbor who had been attacking holiday guests at a Sacramento home.
Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong says the man used the two-foot-tall plastic ornament to subdue the attacker until officers arrived.

He says the 49-year-old suspect became intoxicated, went over to a neighbor’s home on Thanksgiving and began waving a kitchen knife at people gathered on the lawn.

He cut several peoples’ clothing before one of them decided to fight back.

Police say the man with the knife was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The guest who took up the candy cane was not arrested because police determined he acted in self-defense.

RIGHT AWN, Christmas Candy Cane Wielding Ninja Defender!

Dude, where’s my cart?

The obligatory weekend trip for groceries means for me to hit the Costco. As an Elk Groover, the closest location to me is the South Sacramento store. Yep yep y’all, we’re going to South Sac.

Unfortunately, the only thing this store has going for it is that it’s a Costco that’s closest to those of us in the south side of the county but north of the cattle.

The staff are very friendly, but the store itself is wrought with overcrowding, rude customers and people who line up for free samples of orange juice and bacon, and then loiter in the middle of the aisles like they’re partaking of a United Nations relief mission. When you’ve finally navigated through the Dixie Cup buffet, you get stuck in a horrible feeder line system at the check out that also falls smack in a major thoroughfare in the store, so people with arms full of Christmas ornaments are running crosscurrent through the lines to get through.

The indoor food court is just as overcrowded as it is unsanitary. The time it takes to wait in line for the $1.50 hot dog and soda while you study the story told by the tattoo on the back of the neck in front of you, is worth more than the $1.50 you’ll spend. And, because people have had too much of a good thing back in the store, people also loiter around the soda vending machines refilling their cups of soda after every sip and making the rest of us wait for sweet flavourless bubbly. You also do not want your food to touch the picnic tables (complete with umbrellas) in the indoor sitting area, lest you disturb the flies. Besides, good luck pulling your food off the table once it’s been placed there and permanently affixed by old ketchup.

To top it off, last weekend, as I was browsing in an aisle, someone jacked my half full shopping cart and disappeared into the crowds. My bad. I forgot to padlock my cart to the shelf when I turned to browse.

My recommendation: go to another location. It might take longer to drive but you’ll save that time in the store, with a more pleasant experience.

Costco South Sacramento
7981 East Stockton Boulevard
Sacramento, California 95823
Rating: *

et tu, Santa?

Not only does Roseville have the better mall, but they’ve now even taken Santa from Sacramento:

The jolly old one will attend holiday events in Roseville on Saturday – including that city’s annual parade – but Sacramento’s annual Santa Parade has been canceled.

The event, always run on the Thanksgiving weekend, has been called off for the first time in the event’s 26-year history, said parade organizer Laurie Hensley.

The decision to cancel the privately organized event was prompted when organizers came up $15,000 short for stages, sound equipment and cash prizes for parade participants, Hensley said.

Sorry Sacto kids, but it looks like your Christmas Eve milk and cookies will go uneaten this year. Santa is off to more lucrative pastures.

In Roseville, however, the Sylvia Besana Annual Holiday Parade is ready to roll at 10 a.m. Saturday.

It will begin at Riverside Avenue and Douglas Boulevard and Vernon Street, proceed along Vernon Street and end behind the Roseville Square shopping center.

Really, Roseville, have you no shame?

UPDATE 11-24-2008: Sac-Eats called it, the Sacto parade is back on after a hefty donation from Mayor-elect KJ. One wonders if Santa was being held as an innocent hostage in some kind of parade-financing dispute.

The proposition 8 my homework

It’s NOT just us. We now have evidence that Sacto’s kids are, in fact, getting dumber. The Sacramento Business Journal reported earlier this week:

High school graduation rates are falling and fewer teens are meeting requirements to get into University of California and California State University schools in Sacramento County.

Those are among the many findings of the 2008 Sacramento County Children’s Report Card, according to a report to be presented Tuesday to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors…

…Among its education findings, the group reports that the graduation rate among high school seniors decreased to 79.6 percent in 2006-07, from 85.1 percent in 2000-01.

The “group” in question is the Sacramento County Children’s Coalition, and they also reported on several other interesting damn lies statistics:

• High school drop outs earn an average of $21,346 a year, while graduates earn an average of $8,747 more.
• Those with a bachelor’s degree earn more than $21,000 annually more than people who have only a high school diploma.
• Spending per student in Sacramento County in 2005-06 was $7,324, compared to the state average of $8,486 and the national average of $9,138.

Who thinks this will get worse before it gets better? Perhaps it’s time to give education its rightful props on the voting ballot.

Peets alert!

It may not be economic but it's definitely stimulus.
It may not be economic
but it’s definitely stimulus.

Here’s another one for the “things are not as bad as they seem” file.

For all you midtown Peetniks, a new Peets has opened up at the southeast corner of Capitol and Alhambra. You’ll be happy to know there is yet another caffeine option in the area.

So, even though times are tough, apparently the fundamentals of our coffee are strong.

Because the art books kept going missing

The Sac library system wants to put butts in the seats by allowing butts on their computer screens:

Sacramento, Apr 29, 2008 / 09:23 pm (CNA).- The Sacramento Library Authority Board voted last Thursday to retain its policy of minimal interference with patrons who access pornography on library computers, News10 Sacramento reports. Board members also voted to spend $21,000 for more computer monitors with recessed screens to allow more private viewing.

Recessed screens? How about just set up a whole private booth complete with neon lights?

Board member Robbie Waters explained his support for $21,000 for more private computer screens, saying he wanted people to be able to exercise their right to be able to view whatever they would like. “It allows the screen to come right up at you and nobody can look over your shoulders,” Waters said.

This might be one of the most ridiculous decisions made by a public library that I’ve ever seen. Is perversion not pervasive enough, that now parents can’t take their kids to Sacramento’s libraries unsupervised?

And, just one request to you commenters. Please refrain from commenting on the “exercise their right” or “allows the scene to come right up at you”. It’s a little too obvious, even for the Sac Rag.