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.

Advisory committee for Entertainment & Sports Complex issue

Councilman Steve Cohn announces today via e-mail:

The Sacramento FIRST Task Force is reviewing seven new proposals for an Entertainment & Sports Complex. The Task Force is also looking at the current Cal Expo proposal and the option of renovating Arco Arena.

The Task Force is forming an Advisory Committee of interested citizens that will supplement the task force. If you are interested in volunteering to serve on this advisory committee, please let me know by sending an email message to my District Director, Sue Brown, at by Friday, January 8, 2010. Our understanding is that the commitment of time is approximately one meeting per month for about 3 months.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that this city needs the Sac Rag readership’s input in this project…

City wins $20 million stimulus for Railyard move

The City announced on Friday that it had met a December 1 deadline to get shovel-ready on the project to move and realign the tracks at Sacramento Valley Station.

I trust that even though they were “scrambling” to get it done, Kevin McCarty and the other city council members made sure to scrutinize the environmental and logistical work before proceeding with requesting taxpayer money to fund the project on behalf of Thomas Enterprises. Or is it only important to scrutinize when a private company wants to spend its own money?

Continue reading “City wins $20 million stimulus for Railyard move”

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).

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.

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%.

Railyards project receives cash

As reported by the Biz Journal, the city has received an additional $17.9 million in funds tied to the almost $24 billion transportation and infrastructure money approved by us voters in 2006. Construction on the railyards is supposed to begin next year.

The money approved in prop 1B is for “creating infrastructure and affordable housing near transit.” Somewhat ironically, $18 million is exactly the amount Regional Transit expects to lose when the budget is passed. (although by the time the budget is passed we’ll all be tooling around in jet-packs.) Perhaps some of that money can be redirected toward transit near which to build more affordable housing?

Bee pats itself on the back for KJ allegations

Buried at the bottom of this story about Heather Fargo’s uphill battle against KJ’s celebrity status, the Bee’s Mary Lynne Vellinga mentions yesterday’s Padilla bombshell about KJ:

This week, Johnson has again had to contend with allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls in Phoenix and Sacramento. Charges were never brought in either case, but rival mayoral candidate Leonard Padilla on Tuesday distributed the police report in the Phoenix case to the press.

Yes, he had to contend with them again because they were reported on in the same paper after being dropped off by a very concerned political opponent. Continue reading “Bee pats itself on the back for KJ allegations”

New Arena, New Traffic Problems

Poppy is on board!In today’s Bee, writer Tony Bizjak reports on a number of traffic concerns from folks in-the-know concerning the new Cal Expo arena plans.  The piece pretty fairly andd succinctly addresses the concerns of a number of agencies, groups, and individuals, as well as putting forth a fledgling solution, even at this early stage:

Bartosik and other area business officials, in fact, already have been studying a potential traffic reducer — a streetcar that would run on tracks on or off the street.  It could bring people into the area from a nearby light-rail station, looping them to the Cal Expo gates and the Arden Fair front entrance.

Amazingly enough, not one of the so-called experts mentioned the futuristically fantastic solution staring them right in the face.  It’s a solution so singular it only needs one track, so simple it’s already been built, so elegant it only takes one word to express it: Monorail!  (From now on, any mention of the Monorail! will use a capitalized “M” and an exclamation point.) Continue reading “New Arena, New Traffic Problems”