Sacramento, at least we’re not Stockton (yet?)

Man, this Stockton bankruptcy thing is quite the mess.

The city of Stockton in California’s crop-abundant Central Valley has the second-highest foreclosure rate in the nation and one of the highest crime and unemployment rates. It was named America’s most miserable city in a national magazine — twice.

Of course, this is a loaded issue full of politics and rhetoric. One scan of the comments area of this particular article will give you an idea of what I mean.

California re-elected every single incumbent in 2010 ..the majority of voters of California are the dumbest on earth..Liberals have destroyed the state from the environmentalists to the sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants ..its also the highest taxed state in the nation ..Central California has 25% unemployment because the idiots cut the water to farmers because it endangered a fish…the people voted to raise the gas tax so now gas is at 4.30 a gallon ..they just made it illegal to throw a frisbee or football on the beach…

And the best reply to this I’ve read so far:

Ya got nice weather and…nice weather!

Ha! Zinger.

So, what can Sacramento do (or continue to do) to avoid finding itself in a similar situation? Build a new arena for a professional basketball team?

City Council in preliminary vote on parking lease tonight

On the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting is a motion to select 10 of the 13 bidders who sent in responses in pursuit of the City’s proposed plan to lease parking operations rights to raise money for a new arena. It’s at the bottom of the agenda, and it’s a purely procedural item but if recent meetings are any indication, folks will most likely show up for the Public Comment ready to talk.

If you want to follow along, you should be able to tune to Channel 15 or stream it live. But I also recommend following a few folks on Twitter who will most likely be discussing/snarking on the proceedings. Not just professional journos like The Bee’s Ryan Lillis (@ryan_lillis) and SN&R’s Nick Miller (@NickMillerSNR) and sports folks like Carmichael Dave (@CarmichaelDave), but also normals like Michael Minnick (@SacraMINNICK), Kevin Fippin (@kfippin) and our old blogger pal Maya (don’t call her Mia) Wallace (@mayagirl) from Postcards from Sacramento.

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?”

Didn’t need no welfare state

Opening to All in the Family
Everybody pulled their weight.

The Associated Press released this article yesterday about California making deep cuts to its welfare programs and I couldn’t help but notice how each new agency picked it up and spun it a bit differently., for example, only gave it four paragraphs and with little statistical information or specifics. The Contra Costa County Times, on the the other hand, provided over 30 paragraphs with many statistics and specifics about the cuts.

At any rate, here are some numbers that caught my eye…

The state has one-eighth of the nation’s population but one-third of all welfare recipients. California is one of the few states that send welfare checks for children when their parents are no longer eligible. About three-quarters of California’s 1.5 million welfare recipients are children 18 and younger.


California will spend $6 billion… Continue reading “Didn’t need no welfare state”

What’s our problem?

Sam and Ralph calling it a day.
Sam and Ralph calling it a day.

Interesting commentary on about this recent article in the Sacramento Business Journal regarding unemployment rates in Sacramento.

In the middle of downtown Sacramento there is a building with a gold dome. People from all over the State come there for three purposes. The Republicans to give back freedom, allow families to keep more of the money they earn and to allow business to grow so they can hire people. The Democrats have two purposes. One, in the belief you are incapable of spending your own money they take as much as they can–so government can spend it. Their second purpose is to assure that business have a high cost of operation and that regulations force as many jobs to Texas.

I am always humored by the “my side is better than your side” debate with politics. Reminds me of the old Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf cartoons from the ’60s. “You’re the problem!” “No, you’re the problem!” “Hey, it’s lunch time, who wants a pizza?”

The people of Sacramento can not be very smart. They have a bad unemployment problem. Instead of voting for themselves and their families, the voters of Sacramento appear to believe they are not competent enough to get a job, spend their money, get into a school or get government contracts without the iron fist of government in someone’s face–taking from some and giving to others, while growing a government that has tanked.

What do you think? Are we smart? Just not *very* smart? I’m all for voting for myself and my family. Where does that line form?

Parking lease proposal stinks?

Sheedy, literally asking the speaker to define "monetize"

The more I think about the current proposal to lease the City’s parking operations to fund a big upfront payment on the arena, the worse the idea sounds. I guess you could say I’m approaching Heckasac levels of frustration with the idea.

Last week Cosmo Garvin highlighted the numbers in the initial report on the parking proposal, and it’s pretty obvious that the City would be giving away half a billion dollars of future parking revenue for the prospect of getting half that up front. As Garvin points out, the high-end figure of $245 million is probably not realistic. And even that number means giving up $205 million–5 times the City’s budget deficit. Councilwoman Sheedy said as much during the Tuesday night meeting, citing Chicago, “The Big Windy Apple” as they call it, as a large city that sold some of its parking interests. Continue reading “Parking lease proposal stinks?”

Think Big not thinking about the little people?


Not too proud about that headline. Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy’s poll about the use of City funds to bankroll the new arena showed overwhelming public support for going to the ballot box, the Bee reports today. However, Think Big Sacramento, the Mayor’s initiative aimed at making the arena happen, calls the poll suspicious. Apparently they have their own poll that contradicts Sheedy’s:

Chris Lehane, head of the mayor’s Think Big Sacramento commission, pointed to a poll his group commissioned in August that found majority support for selling some city land, and for leasing city parking garages as part of a potential financing plan.

Supporting putting it to a vote and supporting some of those uses don’t seem to be diametrically opposed, but I’d have to see the questions on both polls. The Bee doesn’t supply those.

Continue reading “Think Big not thinking about the little people?”

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”

Daddy, what’s an “A**hole?”

Updated with video and reference to “cursing.” Hmm.

More classy journalism in the form of headline writing. Fox40 brings us this story about a Sacramento Council Member apologizing for calling citizen an a**hole.

It was during a heated debate September 6th, when the City Council was discussing Oak Park redistricting, that Pannell lost her cool. She told the angry crowd that she would be on the ballot in 2012. “I’ll be there,” replied Margo Rose-Brunson from the crowd. “I’ll be there,” Pannell repeated. And then she turns away from her mic, and perhaps believing it to be off she says, clearly but under her breath, “A**hole.”

“And perhaps believing it to be off…” Awesome. I mean, who knows, right?

I get that you want to tell the story, but perhaps the headline could have read “Sacramento Council Member Apologizes for Calling Citizen a Bad Name.” Or, “…Apologizes for Using Foul Language.”

And, yes, I am officially a curmudgeon.

Yeah, California. Yeah, Education.

We suggest a donation, you know, if it isn't too much trouble.
We suggest a donation, you know, if it isn't too much trouble.

The RonTopofIt family received a letter the other day from our son’s principal informing us that our child “has been identified as a GATE student by our district.” Well, that’s cool, way to go, right? The letter continues, discussing the program and the teacher. etc. Remember, however, this is California and we’re talking about educating our youth…

As you may be aware, there is no funding for this type of program by either the state or district. However, we are asking parents for a donation to help with the costs. We estimate the donation amount to be $35.00 for the school year.

Sigh. It’s not about the $35 as I am happy to pay it, it is just one of those “really?” things that gets you about our educational system.

The letter closes with a reminder that “the cost of an enrichment GATE program is not funded by state or district money. A parent donation of $35.00 per year is suggested.” Not mandatory, of course, just suggested. Cause, you know, we wouldn’t want to offend anyone.