City touts “win” in Railyards environmental case

The City of Sacramento and Thomas Enterprises are proudly bragging of a “win” in the suit against them brought by the Downtown Plaza and three individuals who challenged the environmental impact reports prepared for the Railyards site. The Sacramento Superior Court today ruled that the City and Thomas Enterprises complied with the law under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Believing in the “Skyscraper Fairy”

Sometime Sac Rag commenter William Burg has a great op-ed on the front page of the Sac Press today: A 10-Step Plan To Fix K Street, Or: The Legend of the Skyscraper Fairy.

1. Accept that the Skyscraper Fairy does not exist.
Many landlords along K Street have no apparent interest in maintaining or improving their properties. Some are convinced that as long as they own the land, the magical Skyscraper Fairy will give them uncountable millions for the land where their decaying buildings sit, and will replace them with shiny new skyscrapers. Thus, they have little interest in maintaining or tenanting their buildings. The result is under-utilized or vacant buildings whose facades continue to crumble.

He has some wonderful ideas (my favorites: streetcars and a permanent farmer’s market) and offers them in a hopeful manner. It leaves me a bit depressed, though, as I am skeptical that the politicians and developers currently working on Downtown will ever attach themselves to anything but the status quo.

Railyards Project featured in NYT

Today’s New York Times Real Estate section features a story on the Railyards development. It is interesting to read about it from an out-of-towner’s point of view. We locals seem to be wrapped up in the details of making it happen, such as the toxic clean-up, the I-5 expansion, transit issues, the stadium controversy, and more. I think we forget the immensity of the project (one of the largest proposed urban expansions in the nation) and the history behind the land. Enjoy.

Raise high the bargain beam, carpenters

East Sacramento shoppers, rejoice at the photo The Game Guy just snapped:

Target raise the roof

Not sure what it means — according to the Target @ 65th Website, which I just discovered 10 seconds ago, the project is going in further down 65th, on the other side of US50. Perhaps the contractors are setting up shop behind the Dollar Tree in order to start hiring laborers? Also, do my words have the power to get cranes in motion?

SN&R: Josh Pane backing ballot measure to stop mermaid bar

The News & Review’s Cosmo Garvin reports that former City Councilman Josh Pane is “mounting a campaign stop the mermaid bar on K Street” and several other businesses being funded by a recent city council subsidy.

The $6 million subsidy came from a special fund set aside to support redevelopment projects by local developer David Taylor.

That just doesn’t sound right, does it? But I know that government cheese has always been around, and that there are probably businesses up and running today on the grid who wouldn’t be here if not for government cheese. Likewise I’m sure that my knee-jerk reaction against this particular subsidy would set me up as a hypocrite if the council were to subsidize a midtown Barnes & Noble, or a 65th St. Target. (Send your angry anti-corporate e-mails to:

Also: the over-30 dance club would be called “Frisky Rhythm”? Gag me with a spoon…

No Mermaids Need Apply

mermaid barI know I made light of the mermaids thing but the larger issue is the proposed $8.6 million city subsidy for the building of the complex. As you might expect, there is a petition out there in opposition to the subsidy. Neighboring businesses argue the subsidy would “bankrupt” their businesses. The Midtown Business Association has collected some documents about the proposal (they call the proposed new bar with swimming girls a “mermaid bar,” which is confusing — if it was truly a bar for mermaids, that wouldn’t necessarily cut into the bottom line for neighboring businesses catering to “normals.”)

Based on the developer’s proposal it sounds like the mermaid bar/mermaid-themed bar is going to be punningly titled “DIVE BAR” and the “adult pizza” (??) joint is to be called “PIZZA ROCK.”

Downtown to get mermaids??

We would be remiss if this planned testament to d-baggery were allowed to go unremarked:

[San Francisco nightclub owner George] Karpaty’s K Street proposal has some novel elements: a pizza shop with staffers doing “dough acrobatics,” a dance club targeting the 30-and-up crowd, and a bar featuring a built-in aquarium with women swimmers costumed as mermaids.

I’m trying to find the local news clip touting the mermaid idea as being “straight out of the movies” — the movie in this case being the totally relevant “Analyze This” from 1999. I’d like to see this idea carried forward into a whole block of ’90s movie-themed d-bag hangout spots. For example, a “breakfast any time” Vegas diner joint, a “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” juice bar, or perhaps a “Crying Game” hot dog shop run by women.

And let’s not forget the “dance club targeting the 30-and-up crowd.” Who really wants to see that?

Run them out of town

This is a major scandal. It’s old news by now, but back in 2007 when the city council agreed to transfer $55 million to Thomas Enterprises to help the company buy the rest of the railyard land, it apparently overpaid by several orders of magnitude because it didn’t take the time to get an appraisal done. Most of the money came from the transportation fund and thus couldn’t be used to get us out of the $50 million hole we’re in — though how it was able to be transferred to a real estate developer in that case is beyond me.

This whole mess stunk before, but this is an outrage. The Sac Rag does not do political endorsements, but let’s just say I personally hope the city council’s unemployment rate soon becomes 100%.

An unsatisfying journey

Make a U-turn, if possible

I don’t know why this story of folks getting lost trying to get to the new Red Hawk casino using their GPS devices makes me chuckle. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been in the same situation before trying to decide if I should use my common sense or hand my faith over to a talking box when driving to a new destination.

I have such a love/hate relationship with my Garmin Nuvi. On one hand, it’s been a life saver when I’m forced to take side roads or alternate routes due to a traffic accident or construction. On the other hand it, it’s caused many delays especially when I approach forks in the road or subtle turns. Hard right or soft right? Veer right or stay to the right which is actually straight with no turn at all?

Back to the Bee story…

Continue reading “An unsatisfying journey”

Natomas chains halt construction

I was in the Natomas/Truxel area the other day and noticed that the new Sonic/T.G.I. Friday’s construction had all but stopped. Fast forward a few days and the Computer Pages once again come to my rescue.


At the intersection of Truxel Road and Gateway Park Boulevard, construction has been halted for a Sonic drive-thru and a T.G.I. Friday’s, which were scheduled to open two years ago.

Sonic blames the slowing economy for not completing the project. It plans to finish its Lincoln location first.

Two years ago! Man, brutal. I think we can do without another chain restaurant (Hear that, Guy?), but I’ve always wondered what the Sonic was all about. Well, apart from those irritating commercials.