No ponytails at Sac State? Improved, pro-active campus security plan needed

A new year is a prime time to set resolutions—an opportunity to do better, to strive for self-improvement. On the top of the list for Sacramento State University: Make the campus safe.
Female students feel trapped by what they perceive as a lack of security on the campus of Sacramento State University. They are advising one another to hide ponytail hairstyles (which are easily grabbed) and to start carrying mace.

Female students feel trapped by what they perceive as a lack of security on the campus of Sacramento State University in light of recent attacks by an assailant who grabs women by the hair from behind. Students are advising one another to hide ponytail hairstyles (which are easily grabbed) and to start carrying pepper spray. / Photo courtesy

At least, that should be on the top of the school’s “Get-it-Right List” for 2011.

Although much news has been made concerning the school’s never-ending budget crisis, the main topic of conversation among female students of Sac State (of which I am an alumnus and where my wife is a current graduate student) is the matter of campus security and the worry by women of possible rape while walking to their cars or class.

For a number of months since the beginning of the fall 2010 semester, the East Sacramento-based university has been plagued by incidents of sexual assault, most recently focused on female students as they crossed the school’s grounds. The last school year saw eight sexual assaults, the latest in December when a man attacked a woman as she walked to her vehicle. The woman turned the tables on her attacker by drenching his face with pepper spray. The man ran off, but no assailant has since been detained or arrested.

Feelings of unease and discomfort have caused women to begin taking proactive measures concerning their personal safety. Many women, including my wife, have begun walking the school grounds with pepper spray. In addition, women are collectively passing words of warning and caution to other female students, such as advising their classmates not to walk the campus while wearing a ponytail, as the bounded hair acts as a perfect griping point when someone attacks from behind.

No ponytail on campus – is this what it has come to? A sensible act to be sure – one implemented by women aware of their dodgy surroundings – but is this voluntary act by female students more a sign of the times or a sign of things to come on campus? Instead of a reduction of ponytails, we should be seeing an increase in university action against an uptick in violence against female students.

To be certain, Sacramento State has responded. The school has stated that it has increased its police presence and has also made law enforcement and security personnel available to female students in need of an escort. In addition, the college has used the attacks as an opportunity to educate their students about personal safety and sexual assaults.

Still, these actions are reactive, as they are only addressing issues as they arise. To address this matter further, the university must be prepared to adopt a new philosophy concerning campus safety and implement new measures to assure students that the college is working to provide a safe environment for instruction and personal enrichment. After all, the school maintains that “the safety and wellbeing of all students, faculty, staff and visitors on the Sacramento State campus is (the) primary concern” of their police department.

The following is a four-point plan the school should consider implementing to improve campus safety.

1. Work with the patrolling police officers

The university must audit its police force and its strategy for patrolling the campus. Earlier this month, the university police officers held a no-confidence vote regarding the leadership provided by Police Chief Daniel Davis; the chief lost that vote, 14-1. University officials must listen to its police officers on patrol – the same officers that are accusing the campus police department of being “the most management-heavy department in the California State University System.”

“The chief seems to have forgotten how to prioritize spending,” said Jeff Solomon, president of the California Statewide University Police Officers Association. “His 200 percent increase in administrative staffing means less money for campus patrols at a time when they are needed.”

2. Utilize additional private security

Addressing the issues of staffing and patrolling within the university police department is a start, but there are 29,000 students registered at Sacramento State and only 15 patrolling officers.

The campus needs to think about how its police force can be augmented with an additional part time security team. Although budget hawks might cry foul, asserting the money doesn’t exist, one needs to look no further than the misspent funds uncovered by campus police officers within their own department; it’s a classic example of money hiding in plain sight.

Sacramento State officials need to provide an audit of their own and make the hard choice: staffing or safety. If California Gov. Jerry Brown can save millions by cutting the state’s cell phone budget, perhaps the university can find the funds needed to provide additional security.

If the nearby Target store can provide a security officer patrolling the parking lot on a Segway scooter, then perhaps the campus can do the same.

3. Provide students with live safety updates

For years, media agents and reporters have been invited to the school to witness its high-tech alarm, the Emergency Notification System, developed to alert students of an urgent situation on campus. Oddly, not once has this system been implemented to alert students via text message and email that a classmate has been attacked.

Not once.

The school should review what other unused communication and reporting tools are at its disposal.

4. Light the campus

There is a reason why there is a market for motion-detection spotlights – most criminals don’t like to be seen committing a crime. Sacramento State is a beautiful campus, covered with trees, but the canopy that delivers so much shade during sunny days also creates poorly lit areas at night. A new lighting scheme, perhaps one powered with solar-powered lights to save money, can go a long way in removing the shadowy element to an evening walk across campus. As to where to put those lights, the school need only ask the students that walk the campus – a webpage to receive those suggestions would be a simple (and free) platform to exchange the information.

This spring semester, which began Jan. 19, is an opportunity for Sacramento State University officials to regain the trust of their students. Time will tell if they make the grade.

Ryan Rose is an East Sacramento resident and is editor emeritus of Valley Community Newspapers, Inc, publishers of East Sacramento News. He can be reached at ryanrose@live.com.

Election Results: Sacramento City Council shake-up

 

*THIS INFORMATION BASED ON SEMI-OFFICIAL RETURNS REPORTED BY THE SACRAMENTO COUNTY REGISTRAR OF VOTERS.

 

 

Since 1992, no incumbent Sacramento City Councilmember has lost a re-election bid; on Tuesday night, that all changed.

The June 8 Primary Election has changed the make-up of the Sacramento City Council.
The June 8 Primary Election has changed the make-up of the Sacramento City Council.

 

The June 8 Primary Election was a defining moment in politics statewide: for the first time, the California Republican Party was running not one, but two women for statewide office, with Meg Whitman as the party’s gubernatorial nominee and Carly Fiorina as the GOP pick to run against Barbara Boxer in the U.S. senate race. Adding to this historic development was the local result – Sacramento City Councilmembers Ray Tretheway, from Natomas’ District 1, and Robbie Waters, representing Pocket-Greenhaven’s District 7, have apparently lost in their race to serve another four years at City Hall. It’s been 18 years since such an upset has occurred in Sacramento City politics.

 

According to semi-official results released June 9 at 1:48 a.m. by the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters, both incumbents lost to political newcomers, Tretheway falling to Natomas grassroots campaigner Angelique Ashby, and Robbie Waters being edged out by Ryan Chin and Darrell Fong. Tretheway, who claims he was a target because he would not support Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s strong-mayor initiative, had been recently seen by political watchdogs as very vulnerable, especially as Ashby scored a number of major endorsements and political allies (Johnson being one of them). Waters, who ran twice unopposed (most recently in 2006), faced a tough fight of his own, desperately trying to fend off two candidates that were as equally funded and organized.

 

 

The District 7 Race

According to the semi-official results, Chin was the big winner Tuesday night, taking in 38.45 percent of the vote; Fong came in second with 31.41 percent; Waters, the four-term incumbent and only Republican on the City Council, garnered 27.44 percent; and college student Diedre Hobart came in a distant fourth place. With no candidate earning a clear majority, the results set up a likely run-off election this November between the first- and second-place winners, Chin and Fong, respectively.

 

Waters, who has served on the City Council since 1994 and raised more money and spent more money in this election than any other City Council candidate, was fighting a determined battle in his re-election bid. Challengers Chin, a strategic communications officer with Sacramento State, and Fong, a retired Sacramento Police captain, seized early on to the anti-incumbent sentiment sweeping the U.S.

 

In their first public debate held last spring, the District 7 challengers came out swinging, saying that Waters was out of touch with the current needs of the district. Waters, for his part, pointed to a number of recent accomplishments, such as the building of a new library; however, the library issue had turned into a slight political misstep among some Pocket voters as the new building was named after Waters. Some screamed impropriety; Waters and his supporters have said the councilmember simply followed the wishes of library volunteers.

 

Also dampening Waters’ re-election momentum was news that his son, Dan, had been allegedly involved in a city scandal involving building permits in Natomas, an area off-limits to new construction due to persistent flood concerns. Although the councilman had no direct connection to the permit mess, Waters nonetheless appeared in a number of news reports discussing the situation and deflecting character attacks.

 

In a special interview prior to the election with Valley Community Newspaper reporter Celia Green, Waters had said that he hoped to serve one more four-year term and then retire from city politics. That retirement, it seems, will come early.

 

 

The District 3 Race

Although the Pocket-Greenhaven community saw quite the political upset, the District 3 race was anything but; Councilmember Steve Cohn, Midtown and East Sacramento’s longtime representative on the City Council, will remain in office for another term. The incumbent had faced a strong challenge from East Sacramento Chamber of Commerce President Chris Little and Midtown business owner Shawn Eldredge, but the incumbent persevered, winning his bid for a fifth term as the District 3 representative.

 

Cohn, who will now be one of Sacramento’s longest-serving councilmembers, garnered 53.95 of the vote, winning a clear majority and avoiding a run-off election in November. Little and Eldredge scored 37.73 percent and 5.52 percent, respectively, while candidate Jeff Rainforth garnered the remaining votes.

 

 

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Race

A bruising primary election will likely turn into a bruising general election: candidates Scott Jones and Jim Cooper, both captains with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, did not win a clear majority of votes and will now face one another again in the November General Election.

 

In what has been one of Sacramento’s most hotly contested races, Jones and Cooper threw mud, hurled accusations, and laid charges of political impropriety and professional misconduct. The race has also come to represent a battle between two law enforcement legacies, as Cooper, endorsed by former Sheriff Lou Blanas, and Jones, endorsed by outgoing Sheriff John McGinness, attacked one another for their political connections as much as their administrative philosophies.

 

Jones came out on top in Tuesday’s race, but not by much, taking in 46.17 percent of the vote; Cooper came in second and garnered 41.37 percent of the vote; a third candidate, Bret Daniels, drew the remaining votes.

 

Sacramento County voters can expect the war of words to continue into the fall. The 2010 General Election is Nov. 2.

 

 

Sacramento Area Race Results listed as “semi-official” by the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters (winners listed in CAPS, % of vote listed in parentheses, incumbents listed as necessary):

Sacramento City Council, District 1

ANGELIQUE ASHBY (50.98%)

Ray Tretheway, incumbent (41.55%)

Efren M. Guttierrez (7.36%)

Write-in (.12%)

 

Sacramento City Council, District 3

STEVE COHN, incumbent (53.95%)

Chris Little (37.73%)

Shawn Eldredge (5.52%)

Jeff Rainforth (2.69%)

Write-in (.11%)

 

Sacramento City Council, District 5

JAY SCHENIRER* (47.04%)

Patrick Kennedy (34.32%)

Henry Harry (6.41%)

Terrence Johnson (6.04%)

Leticia Hilbert (6.00%)

Write-in (.19%)

*(As no candidate won a clear majority of 50-percent-plus-1-vote, Schenirer will likely face Kennedy in a run-off election in November, according to semi-official results)

 

Sacramento City Council, District 7

RYAN CHIN* (38.45%)

Darrell Fong (31.41%)

Robbie Waters, incumbent (27.44%)

Diedre Hobart (2.67%)

Write-in (.04%)

*(As no candidate won a clear majority of 50-percent-plus-1-vote, Chin will likely face Fong in a run-off election in November, according to semi-official results)

 

Sacramento County Board Of Supervisors, District 1

PHIL SERNA (71.60%)

Keith Weber (28.15%)

Write-in (.25%)

 

Sacramento County Board Of Supervisors, District 2

JIMMIE YEE, incumbent (78.05%)

Raymond Kemp (21.73%)

Write-in (.22%)

 

Sacramento County Board Of Supervisors, District 5

DON NOTTOLI, incumbent (70.01%)

Lovie Kirkland (29.75%)

Write-in (.24%)

 

Sacramento County Assessor

KATHLEEN E. KELLEHER (63.98%)

David A. Benson (21.60%)

Margaret Pennington (14.28%)

Write-in (.14%)

 

Sacramento County District Attorney

JAN SCULLY, incumbent (79.39%)

Julius M. Engel (20.44%)

Write-in (.14%)

 

Sacramento County Sheriff

SCOTT JONES* (46.17%)

Jim Cooper (41.37%)

Bret Daniels (11.77%)

Write-in (.70%)

*(As no candidate won a clear majority of 50-percent-plus-1-vote, Jones will face Cooper in a run-off election in November, according to semi-official results)

 

 

For complete Sacramento County election results, visit http://sacresults.e-cers.com/default.aspx. For information on statewide races and ballot measures, visit www.sos.ca.gov.

 

E-mail Ryan Rose at ryanrose@valcomnews.com.

Play ball, Sacramento

Ryan Rose, editor
Ryan Rose, editor
As it is with so many others, my love of baseball began in my youth. Outside my boyhood home in Manteca, the neighborhood kids (shout out to Brian Sutton and Keith Danel), my brother Kevin and I would gather in the middle of the street, mark some of the manhole covers as bases, and play the game. We’d wear white T-shirts on which we had written our favorite player’s number. On my back, I had the number “22,” with the name “Clark” printed across my shoulders. I was a longtime San Francisco Giants fan and Will Clark, the team’s first baseman during the mid to late 80s, was my hero and my brother’s idol.

 

I spent many a summer’s day playing baseball with my friends — we would start right after breakfast and play until it was too dark to see the ball. We’d pick teams, argue about who played what position, and waste away the day hitting balls into the neighbors’ yards. (Phyllis Higgins never knew that her front yard was our homerun marker, but I am sure she grew tired of us boys rifling through her rose bushes looking for lost balls.) My friends and I would often end our games stretched out on my front lawn, drinking cherry soda and talking about our favorite players, possible trades and the hope that one of our teams would go on to the World Series.  

 

Of course, in those days, we would constantly beg our parents for an opportunity to see a real ballgame at a real ballpark. Truly, it was a great gift when we’d go to see a game in San Francisco or Oakland. And more than two decades later, it still is. 

 

Thanks to the generosity of a good friend, I had a prime seat at a recent Sacramento River Cats game. Prior to the beginning of the game, I thought about how lucky Sacramento is to have the River Cats, as Minor League ball seems to be the last bastion of pure sportsmanship in professional baseball – if not professional sports entirely. There, at Raley Field, it isn’t about steroids, but strikeouts; there are no arguments about instant replays; there, standing in the batter’s box and on the pitcher’s mound, are just young athletes working hard so that they may one day make it to a Major League field. In my mind, they’re already there.

 

What can I say about the game itself? Well, the Cats lost. But win or lose—it wasn’t the outcome that mattered. Sitting there, watching these men play a game I love, it was like being in a time machine, visiting forgotten parts of my memory, reliving those childhood games. Every swing, every crack of the bat, every strike out came with a gush of memories. The River Cats may have been beaten, but I walked out of Raley Field a winner.

 

E-mail Ryan Rose at ryanrose@valcomnews.com.


Valley Community Newspapers, Inc. publishes a variety of special advertising inserts in our four neighborhood publications (the Arden-Carmichael News, the East Sacramento News, The Land Park News and The Pocket News). Below, find an archive of these special editions.

2014 Special Sections


June 2014 | Health + Medicalclick here to view
The Health + Medical is a special publication of the Valley Community Newspapers. This section is aimed at individuals and families living in the Sacramento region and looking for any health related services. Inside, articles have information ranging from planning retirement to selecting different medical services.



May 2014 | Real Estate Quarterlyclick here to view
The Real Estate Quarterly Special Advertising Section is a quarterly publication of the Valley Community Newspapers (publishers of the Arden-Carmichael News, the East Sacramento News, The Land Park News, The Pocket News, California Kids and The Valley Shopper). This section is the real estate resource in the Sacramento area. Inside, find articles and advertisements covering the metropolitan real estate market.



May 2013 | Let’s Go!click here to view



2013 | Master’s Clubclick here to view
Directory of Masters Club achievers for the year 2013 as presented by the Sacramento Association of Realtors.



March 2014 | Home & Gardenclick here to view
“The Home and Garden Guide” Special Advertising Section is the landscape and home design resource in the Arden-Carmichael, East Sacramento, Land Park, and Pocket areas. Inside, find advertisements and articles ranging from home improvements, design, decor, architecture, gardens, events, and the local community.



November 2013 | Holiday Greetingsclick here to view
The annual Holiday Greeting insert is a great opportunity for local businesses to say “thank you” and “happy holidays” to their communities and their patrons. This full color pull-out is just one of our many themed annual inserts we offer our readers in the Arden-Carmichael, East Sac, Land Park and Pocket newspapers.



October 2013 | Real Estate Quarterlyclick here to view
The Real Estate Quarterly Special Advertising Section is a quarterly publication of the Valley Community Newspapers (publishers of the Arden-Carmichael News, the East Sacramento News, The Land Park News, The Pocket News, California Kids and The Valley Shopper). This section is the real estate resource in the Sacramento area. Inside, find articles and advertisements covering the metropolitan real estate market.



August 2013 | Real Estate Quarterlyclick here to view
The Real Estate Quarterly Special Advertising Section is a quarterly publication of the Valley Community Newspapers (publishers of the Arden-Carmichael News, the East Sacramento News, The Land Park News, The Pocket News, California Kids and The Valley Shopper). This section is the real estate resource in the Sacramento area. Inside, find articles and advertisements covering the metropolitan real estate market.



June 2013 | Health + Medicalclick here to view
The Health + Medical is a special publication of the Valley Community Newspapers. This section is aimed at individuals and families living in the Sacramento region and looking for any health related services. Inside, articles have information ranging from planning retirement to selecting different medical services.



May 2013 | Real Estate Quarterlyclick here to view
The Real Estate Quarterly Special Advertising Section is a quarterly publication of the Valley Community Newspapers (publishers of the Arden-Carmichael News, the East Sacramento News, The Land Park News, The Pocket News, California Kids and The Valley Shopper). This section is the real estate resource in the Sacramento area. Inside, find articles and advertisements covering the metropolitan real estate market.



May 2013 | Let’s Go!click here to view



2012 | Master’s Clubclick here to view
Directory of Masters Club achievers for the year 2012 as presented by the Sacramento Association of Realtors.



February 2013 | The Senior Lifestyleclick here to view
The Senior Lifestyle is a special section of  the Valley Community Newspapers (publishers of the Arden-Carmichael News, the East Sacramento News, The Land Park News, The Pocket News, California Kids and The Valley Shopper). The Senior Lifestyle is your resource for financial and retirement planning needs.



January 2013 | Real Estate Quarterlyclick here to view
The Real Estate Quarterly Special Advertising Section is a quarterly publication of the Valley Community Newspapers (publishers of the Arden-Carmichael News, the East Sacramento News, The Land Park News, The Pocket News, California Kids and The Valley Shopper). This section is the real estate resource in the Sacramento area. Inside, find articles and advertisements covering the metropolitan real estate market.



To view editions prior to 2013, click here to view the Special Sections Archive.

Race for the Cure May 8

Ryan Rose, editor
Ryan Rose, editor
A few years ago, I needed a goal – some finish line I could run to, something in which I could find inspiration to rouse me from my sofa. Fortunately, the Sacramento region is home to a bevy of walk-run events, most of them geared to the novice. And I found one that not only helped get me in shape, it taught me a lesson in perseverance, courage and strength.

 

Race for the Cure is May 8

Held annually on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) walk-run event, draws hundreds to Cal Expo every year to raise funds to find a cure for breast cancer. A nasty condition that has affected women in my own family, breast cancer has a deep reach nationwide – 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer were estimated to have occurred among women in the United States during 2009, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure (formerly the Susan G. Komen Foundation).

Since my first Race for the Cure in 2004, I have become an event regular, readily signing up friends and family to join me. Superficially, the race has given me much in the way of healthy living habits: Since my first step in the ’04 race, I work out, eat better, and I now run in a number of events across the country; on a deeper level, the race has had a profound effect on me. Running the event with breast cancer survivors and families affected by the condition has provided much in the way of inspiration and made me thankful for being active – not just in body, but in life.

Thus, I relay the challenge to you: Get up and get over your fitness obstacles – and in doing so, fight breast cancer. To register for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (held this year on Saturday, May 8), go to www.komensacramento.org  and click the “Race for the Cure” tab.

 

E-mail Ryan Rose at ryanrose@valcomnews.com.

Former mayor Anne Rudin eyes City Hall activities

Eighteen years after she retired as Sacramento’s mayor, Anne Rudin made it clear last week to a capacity audience at California State University, Sacramento that she’s totally opposed to current mayor Kevin Johnson’s plan to install a strong mayor system for the city.

Former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin, pictured here with former City Council colleague Michael Sands, made it clear she’s totally opposed to current mayor Kevin Johnson’s plan to install a strong mayor system for the city. (Photo by Art German)
Former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin, pictured here with former City Council colleague Michael Sands, made it clear she’s totally opposed to current mayor Kevin Johnson’s plan to install a strong mayor system for the city. (Photo by Art German)
 “What does it (a strong mayor) really mean?” she asked.  “Is it good for Sacramento?  Will it provide the kind of leadership that Sacramento needs?”

She indicated that her answer to all three questions is a resounding “no.”

Rudin, who served 21 years on the Sacramento City Council, including two four-year terms as mayor before retiring in 1992, was introduced during the CSUS Friday forum by a former City Council colleague, Michael Sands.  The scene was the Hinde auditorium in the Student Union, an event sponsored by the Renaissance Society, a learning program at the university for retirees.

Sands, a retired attorney, served on the City Council with Rudin during the 1970s, “and we were good friends,” he added.  Sands now heads the Renaissance Society’s forum committee and introduced Rudin as the weekly speaker.

Johnson’s strong mayor plan would give him authority to hire (and fire) such key officers as city manager and city attorney. The strong mayor arrangement would also give Johnson (and all future mayors) wide discretion to make decisions for such current issues as developing the city railyards; restoring the K Street mall as Sacramento’s downtown hub; and relocating the current basketball arena site of the Sacramento Kings without necessarily obtaining approval from the City Council.

Although a cornerstone of his 2008 election campaign, Mayor Johnson has had difficulty implementing his vision for a change in city governance policy. Mayor Johnson’s plan had originally had been earmarked for the ballot this June but the action was disqualified by the courts.  The fate of the strong mayor plan is currently up in the air and it will be up to the City Council to decide on what final action to take.

Rudin said the current council-manager form of government is widely used throughout the U.S. and provides opportunities for the mayor to exercise leadership – “and he doesn’t just have to be a figurehead.”

But if the relationship is changed to one in which the mayor can veto an action that is supported by a majority of the City Council,  “it would make the council and the mayor ‘adversarial,’” she said.

“Is this democracy?” Rudin asked.  “Is there really a need for such a change?  I am sure that Sacramento would be tied up with legal disputes for a long, long time.”

Rudin said the change to a strong mayor system might also create problems for Sacramento in its relations with the county, which doesn’t have a mayor at all in its overall government structure.

Recalling her own years as mayor, she noted that problems with the other council members were inevitable from time, but we always tried to work them out. 

“You just needed to sit down and talk it over with the other people,” she said.

Such cooperation, she added, led to joint city-county planning for successful outcomes of the closing McClellan and other military bases during recent years.

At the end, Rudin did sidestep one comment from a Renaissance Society member.  As a reply to one questioner who asked if men or women would be more effective mayors, she replied, “I can’t answer that” and the forum was ended.

 

E-mail Art German at reporter@valcomnews.com.

Calling all ‘Blue Thumbs’: Promoting landscape water efficiency

The Regional Water Authority and local water providers launched a new public service campaign April 14 in Land Park that promotes landscape water efficiency in the Sacramento region.

The Regional Water Authority and local water providers launched a new public service campaign April 14 in Land Park with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Dinger of the Sacramento River Cats. (Photo by Stephen Crowley)
The Regional Water Authority and local water providers launched a new public service campaign April 14 in Land Park with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Dinger of the Sacramento River Cats. (Photo by Stephen Crowley)
The television and radio campaign stars Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Dinger and Grounds Manager Chris Ralston of the Sacramento River Cats, Meteorologist Elissa Lynn of the state Department of Water Resources and six residents (one of whom is Land Park resident Sara Shultz) from throughout the Sacramento region who have earned their “Blue Thumb” by using water efficiently in outdoors projects and landscaping.

With the Sacramento region’s hot, dry climate and long summer season, more than 65 percent of a household’s yearly water consumption typically goes toward landscape irrigation. Of that, 30 percent is lost due to overwatering or evaporation.

Recognized for using water efficiently in outdoors projects and landscaping, Land Park residents Sara Shultz and her 3-year-old daughter will be featured in the television advertisements demonstrating how they earned a “Blue Thumb.” (Photo by Stephen Crowley)
Recognized for using water efficiently in outdoors projects and landscaping, Land Park residents Sara Shultz and her 3-year-old daughter will be featured in the television advertisements demonstrating how they earned a “Blue Thumb.” (Photo by Stephen Crowley)
The Regional Water Authority is conducting this campaign to inform residents that they can make a big difference in their total water use by making sure landscape irrigation is efficient and by eliminating runoff. Those are two of the most cost-effective ways to stretch our limited water supplies and ensure the region continues to have sufficient water for a healthy environment and economy in the Sacramento region.

The kick-off event for the new public service campaign was held at Sara Shultz’s Land Park home. Shultz and her 3-year-old daughter will be featured in the television advertisements demonstrating how they earned a “Blue Thumb.”

For more information on neighborhood water conservation, visit www.bewatersmart.info.

Find a local brew

Ryan Rose, editor
Ryan Rose, editor
Without reward or recognition, many of our best people and our most gifted businesses are working hard to get the local economy back on its feet. In these uncertain financial times, I believe it is important to celebrate those individuals and local businesses for their efforts; as such, let me introduce you to Land Park’s United Coffee House.

 

Coffee and culture in Land Park

Just south of Sacramento City College is a caffeinated oasis of divergent extremes – a unique union of the exotic and the familiar, the clean lines of modern architecture blending with the esoteric design of contemporary furniture. Such is Land Park’s newest café, the aptly named United Coffee House.

 

United Coffee House, located at 2114 Sutterville Rd. and specializing in fair-trade coffee, opened two months ago by young entrepreneurs Harjinder Singh and Tiffany Colby. (Photo by Ryan Rose)
United Coffee House, located at 2114 Sutterville Rd. and specializing in fair-trade coffee, opened two months ago by young entrepreneurs Harjinder Singh and Tiffany Colby. (Photo by Ryan Rose)
This independently owned café, located at 2114 Sutterville Rd. and specializing in fair-trade, French-pressed coffee, opened last year by young entrepreneurs Harjinder Singh and Tiffany Colby.

 

“I [imagine] this being a place where you see your neighbors,” said Colby. “A community hub.”

 

Since opening in August, Singh said the café has developed a string of regular customers and the neighboring community and nearby college have done much to make them feel welcome in Land Park.

 

“Everyone has been so kind,” Colby added. “It’s been perfect.” 

 

Unique blend

On any given morning, the café is teeming with energy, alive with a mix of Seattle Coffee house vibe and International swing. The air is filled with the welcoming scent of a bold brew and the walls are decorated with pieces from renowned artists. Small palms shade angular furniture placed throughout the coffee house while exotic music plays overhead. It’s as much inspiring as it is inspired. And that unity of spirit comes from the unique relationship of Colby and Singh, who together developed the concept and brought their café to life in Land Park.

 

“We are such polar opposites,” said Colby. “But I think we came to a good place.”

 

Growing up on opposite sides of the world, Colby in the western U.S. and Singh in India, the pair has contrasting views on decorating and music, but the two are unified in bringing their coffee house dream to a prosperous future. After meeting in India in 2008 and planning their business for more than year, Colby and Singh are excited to have finally brought their vision to life. Curiously, it is an endeavor that Singh, a regular tea drinker, only recently started to enjoy by the cup.

 

“I was not a coffee person and she got me a vanilla latté and after the first sip, I was like, ‘Wow, this is good,’” he said, adding that now he has his mom hooked on the brew.

 

But, according to Singh, it’s not just any cup of coffee that piques his interest, but the specialty roast his café offers daily. Supplied by Flying Goat Coffee roasters out of Healdsburg, Calif., Singh said that United Coffee House also French presses all their coffee – an unusual practice when so many other cafés use automated drip machines.

 

“That is as fresh as coffee as you can get,” Singh said, adding that if their prepared coffee is not sold in 40 minutes, it’s thrown out and a new batch is prepared. “I think when you are going to prepare a fresh cup of coffee, it makes people come back for more. That’s how we get regulars.”

 

Colby said the café is also trying to distinguish itself through its other offerings and by transitioning to a completely organic menu.

 

“Where I come from in Sonoma County, people care about where their food comes from,” she said. “I think there are a lot of people here who have those interests… and that is why we want people to know what we have is good and good for you.”

 

Colby said that the café is working with local vendors, such as Freeport Bakery and Grateful Bread Co. to help supply them with delicious menu items, like pastries and bread for freshly made sandwiches. In addition to that, Colby also sells homemade bread pudding from a recipe she picked up after years of working in the food services industry. 

 

United in style

Colby and Singh have high hopes for their burgeoning business, and hope to bring more and more local residents to their one-of-a-kind coffee house. With hopes of playing a role in the popular Second Saturday Art Walk and opening up their café for other venues (such as book clubs), the two eager entrepreneurs believe their new enterprise fits in among the eclectic offerings of the Land Park community.

 

“In the coffee industry in Sacramento, there are a lot of players, and the city is really big and I like building community in the town and among coffee sellers,” Colby said. “I really want people to come here… if they can use our spot as their spot that would be awesome.”

 

E-mail Ryan Rose at ryanrose@valcomnews.com .

The fake news

Ryan Rose, editor
Ryan Rose, editor
Editor’s Note: I received quite a few e-mails over the last few days from folks that were duped by our April Fools Day story on Mayor Kevin Johnson selling the Sacramento Kings to raise money to build a new Kings arena downtown. By request, I have posted this story on our Web site. Enjoy. And one more thing: Let me again thank Mayor Kevin Johnson, Joe and Gavin Maloof, Tyreke Evans and the rest for being such good sports.

 

 

Breaking news: Mayor Johnson supports selling the Kings to raise money for new Kings Arena

Mayor Kevin Johnson
Mayor Kevin Johnson
In a stunning – and somewhat unbelievable move – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has agreed to sell the Sacramento Kings basketball team in an effort to raise money to build a new Kings arena at the railyards north of downtown.

 

The move was announced April 1 at Sacramento City Hall in front of a crowd of shocked city residents.

 

“I promised the city and the voters when I was elected that I would bring a new arena to downtown, and I plan on delivering on that promise,” Johnson said. “Previous mayors have tried to build a new arena, but they were always held back by a lack of funds.”

 

For a number of years, the city has attempted (and failed) to craft a deal to build a new sports and entertainment complex for the Sacramento Kings. The Kings’ current home, Arco Arena off Interstate 80, is one of the most dilapidated sports venues in the NBA. Although officials with the state of California and the city have negotiated with the NBA and local developers to build an arena at the abandoned downtown railyards, talks recently began to stall and it seemed as if the Kings might be moved to a town more hospitable to building a world-class sports center. Now, Johnson said, the city doesn’t have to worry about whether or not the Kings would be moving away.

 

“Now we know they’re going for sure,” the mayor said. “And that fact really eases my mind.”

 

Johnson said that the decision to sell the Kings was a difficult choice, but he was able to convince the Kings’ owners, the Maloof family, when he explained that it was likely the only way the city would be able to provide the team a new arena. The mayor said the Maloofs were originally lukewarm to the idea, but were ultimately on board when he explained the logic behind the decision.

 

“I said, ‘Joe, Gavin, other Maloofs, the Sacramento Kings team is our city’s most valuable asset besides the Tower Bridge – and we can’t sell the Tower Bridge because it is bolted to the ground.’ The Maloofs immediately understood,” Johnson said.

 

Although the Maloofs are behind the deal now, they had earlier proposed another plan to generate revenue to support arena construction.

 

“We had offered to buy the name of the city from Mayor Johnson,” Gavin Maloof said. “We figured we pay, like, a million bucks for the naming rights to Sacramento. I suggested we call the city ‘The Capital brought to you by the Maloofs,’ but Joe said we should call the city ‘Kings.’ I agreed.”

 

Fortunately, according to star Kings player Tyreke Evans, that proposal was rejected by Johnson.

 

“I mean come on, we would have been the ‘Kings’ Kings.’ That is the dumbest thing I ever heard,” Evans said.

 

Johnson said he and the Maloofs put the team up for sale on eBay last week. After a bidding match by the cities of Seattle and San Jose, the New York borough of Queens was named the winner of the online auction, paying a little over $30 million to move the Kings to the East Coast.

 

Evans said he is excited by the move and plans to work hard to build fans at his new home. He is also satisfied that the new name of the team will be slightly less embarrassing than the “Kings’ Kings”

 

“Yeah, we are going to be the Kings of Queens,” said Evans, shaking his head. “Wow.”

 

The mayor said the $30 million should arrive sometime next week.

 

“I asked for cash,” Johnson said. “I’ve been burnt on eBay before.”

 

The mayor hopes construction on the new arena could start as soon as January of next year.

 

“The new arena is going to be great,” Johnson said as he finished his press conference. “Oh, and by the way Sacramento, promise kept.”

 

If you’ve made it this far through the story and haven’t yet realized that it is a fake, let me wish you a happy April Fools Day! Please send the inevitable complaints to ryanrose@valcomnews.com.

Twain you and me

Ryan Rose, editor
Ryan Rose, editor
In response to a news story that he was at death’s door in London, Missouri-born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known popularly by penname Mark Twain, wrote, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Indeed, as Twain has since passed, his legend (and wisdom) lives on in popular culture. And while his larger-than-life persona is sometimes exaggerated by modern authors and playwrights, Twain’s pointed humor, dogged honesty, keen insights and plainspoken ways are as welcomed now as they were when he was writing for The Sacramento Union newspaper during the 19th century.

It has been nearly a century since his death, but his ghost still haunts Sacramento. The capital city’s deep political divide would be the perfect fodder for a Twain novel or the subject of a community chat.

The man, the legend: Mark Twain.
The man, the legend: Mark Twain.
Next month, Twain returns to life via the stage – and he is back in Sacramento. Actor Hal Holbrook portrays the famous author Saturday, March 6 at 8 p.m. at The Community Center Theater. Tickets are available at the Convention Center Theater Box Office (1301 L St.), Tickets.com, and (916) 808-5181. Ticket prices are $30-$60 plus facility and service fee. Student tickets available for $15 with I.D. at the box office.

Holbrook has been portraying Mark Twain on stage for over 50 years and has performed more than 2,000 shows. His portrayal of Twain is one that is as much educational as it is entertaining.

Considering Twain’s far-reaching legacy, our city is very lucky to have such a connection to the author (much as I’m sure Salinas values John Steinbeck). Clemens might have been born on the Mississippi River, but Twain spoke the language of modern Californians – in his time, he was a pioneer for human rights, women’s rights, the environment and the humane treatment of animals. He may have been a character of the Gilded Age (having coined the term in fact), but Twain, pseudonym and all, was the real deal.

The Sacramento Union believed that – and they traded on that reputation. Anytime The Union encountered financial problems, the publisher would drag an old desk out from the backroom and sell it as a “Desk used by Mark Twain.” Almost always, those desks sold quickly.

A chance to experience a form of Twain today is a treat. As Twain’s close friend Helen Keller wrote, “I think ‘Mark Twain’ is a very appropriate nom de plume for Mr. Clemens because it has a funny and quaint sound that goes well with his amusing writings, and its nautical significance suggests the deep and beautiful things he has written.”

 

E-mail Ryan Rose at ryanrose@valcomnews.com.