Hits, catches and calls at the plate were made as youth baseball leagues opened throughout Sacramento this past Saturday. Pocket Little League opened as the sun rose over Wes Yeargin Field in South Sacramento. Hundreds of kids marched onto the field dressed in traditional baseball gear. The opening celebration included recognition of 2012’s Pocket Little League Yankees who were the Minor League California District 7 T.O.C. Champions, followed by an opening day pitch by Sacramento City Councilmember Darrell Fong. Participants at Natomas Youth Baseball began their season at Strauch School Park in the Northgate neighborhood of Sacramento. Players warmed up with players and coaches as fi
After hearing the arguments of 18 impassioned medical marijuana advocates and a few foes, a decision on whether to toughen the zoning restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries was pushed back Tuesday night by the City Council. The council was poised to pass an ordinance amendment which would have increased the distance dispensaries are required to be from schools from 600 to 1,000 feet, but the item was pushed back three weeks after some council members spoke against the proposal and directed staff to do further research. "My concern is we've created an outright ban," said District 3 Councilman Steve Cohn. "What we're talking about here is medical marijuana, not recreational marijua
Noah Painter, the District Director for Councilmember Darrell Fong, sent out this email alert Monday night: "Two puppies were found Monday around 4:45 pm near the Robbie Water’s Library. We have attached pictures of the dogs. The dogs do not have a chip. The dogs are currently safe and warm with a kind citizen. If you recognize the puppies, please contact Kathy. Her contact information is: 804-9810 or email: pnpdavies[at]sbcglobal.net." Editor’s note: The “News Digest” goes out every Tuesday morning and highlights our best stories, photos and videos from the week prior. Sign me up.
Just as Sacramento is facing an increase in gun crime city wide, and a rash of muggings on the grid (including one Friday in which a woman was shot), the City Council is tasked with the decision of where to funnel funds resulting from the passage of the Measure U sales tax. What no one disputes is that the Sacramento Police Department has endured serious cuts, the question in front of the council now is how the department should be restored. On Tuesday night the council members will vote on city staff recommendations regarding the usage of Measure U funds, and those recommendations will then be finalized with more detail in the city’s budget, which will go before the council on Jan. 29.
An early evening snapshot of Sacramento's newest light rail station on Richards Blvd. Please see photos and story from its opening today - CLICK HERE>>>.
Nearly 200 people lined the tracks of the newest light rail station Friday as the inaugural car of the Green Line arrived for a grand opening celebration. The Green Line is a 12.8-mile-long project that will eventually connect downtown Sacramento to South and North Natomas and the Sacramento International Airport. This first phase, which opensed Friday, is a 1.1-mile segment that extends from downtown at the H and Eighth streets station to the the Township 9 station at Seventh Street and Richards Boulevard in the River District. Here is a map of what the proposed route will look like when the Green Line is completed. The Township 9 station station is built on a site that was once the lo
Local officials are currently in the nation’s capital to lobby for federal support – and funding – for regional projects, pushing the City Council meeting to Thursday. “For me, it’s all about our levees,” City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby said. “I’m doing all I can to keep the conversation going (about funding) here in Washington.” Ashby represents an area of the city where levee work is needed to improve flood control, but projects have stalled due to lack of federal funding. City Council members Jay Schenirer, Steve Cohn, Bonnie Pannell and Ashby and City Manager John Shirey left Sacramento Friday with the Cap-to-Cap program, organized by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. Whi
With a triumphant shout, Mayor Kevin Johnson cast the final vote in a 7-2 decision in favor of a financing plan to build a new entertainment and sports complex and keep the Sacramento Kings in town for another 30 years. Cheers, applause and chants of “SAC-RA-MEN-TO” broke out among the more than 250 people in council chambers Tuesday at the end of a four-hour-long City Council meeting that culminated in what Johnson called “a historic vote.” “Every one of you in the community did not give up,” Johnson said. “People far and wide all played a role and came together. I think we met every milestone along the way, and we made every minute count.” Johnson and City Council members Angelique As
Mayor Kevin Johnson held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to give an update on progress with discussions between Sacramento, the NBA and the Sacramento Kings’ owners, the Maloof family. “There are great discussions going on between the city and the NBA and we are confident that we, as a city, are doing our part to make (a deal) happen,” Johnson said. Johnson appeared at the press conference flanked by City Manager John Shirey and City Council members Jay Schenirer, Angelique Ashby, Darrell Fong, Rob Fong and Bonnie Pannell. “We’re closer than we’ve ever been before, and the bottom line is – the city controls its own destiny,” Johnson said. Earlier Wednesday, Johnson and NBA Comm
The city is spending more than it is bringing in, and even though that’s normal for this time of the year, officials need to make changes to keep spending under control and keep the budget on target. According to the mid-year budget report presented to the City Council Tuesday, expenditures are at 50 percent of projections, and revenues are at 36 percent – about 14 percent less than anticipated. This is typical for this point in the fiscal year, Finance Director Leyne Milstein told council members Tuesday – but adjustment is still necessary. “Without these recommendations, we will not be able to balance our budget,” Milstein said. It’s not all bad news, though. The 2010-11 fiscal year
Sacramento City Council members had their hands full this year – from balancing the budget to redrawing district lines to a citizen uprising that found its way to the doors of City Hall. Here’s the city government year in review. CITY MANAGER DRAMA The year started off with interim city manager Gus Vina not being promoted to the open city manager spot. Vina replaced previous city manager Ray Kerrige when Kerrige resigned in February 2010. Vina resigned two months later – just a few weeks before the budget was due to the City Council. He later became the city manager of Encinitas. The City Council was criticized for making decisions about the city manager position in closed sessions bef
As the song goes, Santa’s making his list, checking it twice and deciding who gets cool goodies and who gets lumps of coal. Between the budget, redistricting and facing dissatisfied citizens who took over a city park in protest, the City Council has been busy this year, so The Sacramento Press made its own “naughty or nice” list. If you were Santa, how would City Council fare? Here’s our list for 2011. Mayor Kevin Johnson: NAUGHTY Sure, he led the way to advancing green technology in the city and supported a citizens advisory committee’s effort to redistrict the city. But being absent for 10 City Council meetings in a single year? Tsk, tsk, Mr. Mayor. (And we’re not bitter about not b
Occupy Sacramento protesters told City Council members Tuesday in no uncertain terms – “Tyranny.” “Unconstitutional.” “Treason.” – that their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly are being violated by an ordinance that prohibits overnight camping in city parks.) “We should not be here to teach you about the Constitution,” said Sacramento resident David Witkin, 28. “We are here to tell you what your constituents want.” Protesters who have taken over Cesar Chavez Plaza for nearly two weeks showed up in force at City Hall Tuesday to ask council members – again – to consider an exception to the law allowing them 24-hour access to the park. “The Constitution wasn’t drafte
The City Council unanimously approved a recommendation Tuesday to develop a vending machine nutrition policy that requires at least 50 percent of products sold in machines in city-owned facilities to meet an approved healthy requirement. “I think it’s something that’s necessary,” Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy said Tuesday. “It would be nice to have better choices at community centers where our kids are. I think this is something our communities need.” The new vending machine nutrition policy will set parameters for sodium, sugar and calorie content of food and beverages available in all vending machines. It would also require beverage choices to include ample variety of water, low-fat milk a
The City Council voted 5-3 against allowing a fifth cardroom license within city limits Tuesday. “The question is simply: Do we want 15 more tables of gaming somewhere in the city?” asked Councilman Rob Fong before the vote. “For me, the answer is no.” Sacramento city code currently allows a maximum of four licenses – all four of which are held by open cardrooms in the city. Bill Hamilton, owner of the Old Tavern Bar and Grill in Midtown, used to have a cardroom license in the late 1990’s but let it lapse. The Gambling Control Commission recently adopted a regulation to allow some expired and inactive cardroom licenses to be reactivated under certain conditions. Gambling licenses in t
With one last vote Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council approved a map that seals council district boundaries for the next 10 years, but the work of redistricting isn’t finished just yet. “The new map goes into effect Oct. 6, which is only 30 days after the final council vote,” said Scott Mende, principal planner with the Community Development Department. “After that, each council member has a different group of constituents.” New district lines for the city and new constituents for council members will have a ripple effect throughout city administration, and Mende said city staff has a lot of work to do to be prepared for it. The first step, Mende said, is a “massive outreach” to counc
The City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday night in its final redistricting vote, keeping a map that has been hotly protested over the past weeks, leaving hundreds of people sad and angry – and ready to cast ballots in June to prove it. With a vote identical to the one on Aug. 23, the City Council approved a final redistricting map – a revised version of a map called “NeighborhoodsTogether 2.0”– that puts the the downtown railyards in the same district as East Sacramento, divides South Land Park at Fruitridge Road and makes the Central City one district. And – against the vehement opposition of residents, business people, students and community leaders – it is a map that takes the UC Davis Medic
In a King Solomon-like compromise, Oak Park lost one of its key components Tuesday when City Council members voted to divvy up the 100-year old neighborhood between two council districts. District 5 gets to keep most of the Med Center neighborhood and Sacramento HIgh, but District 6 gets the coveted Med Center. In a 6-3 vote, council members approved a variation of the “Neighborhoods 2.0” base map, drawing the boundary between Districts 5 and 6 – right down the middle of Stockton Boulevard. “We have let you down as a council,” Mayor Kevin Johnson told the audience just before the vote. “We can say anything we want and make it all fancy, but you guys see right through it.” Tuesday’s Cit
The city of Sacramento will have new district boundaries by the end of the month, but the lines won’t be familiar to anyone who has followed the process so far. In a 6-3 vote, the City Council passed a motion Tuesday to use a new map submitted by Councilman Steve Cohn as the ‘base map’ for new district boundaries – much to the surprise of advisory committee members, meeting attendees and Mayor Kevin Johnson. “I am extremely disappointed and sad,” Johnson said. “This is the worst-case scenario. It’s the council putting self-interest above all else, and that is disappointing.” The map – which Cohn named “Neighborhoods Together 2.0” – was submitted just minutes before the council meeting w
California Redevelopment Association Executive Director John Shirey emerged as the front-runner Friday for Sacramento’s city manager position. “Right now, we’re going through the process (of hiring a city manager),” said City Councilman Darrell Fong. “He is definitely the strong candidate, and he is definitely the focus.” The council has not made a decision, though there was a closed-session meeting Monday in which the city manager search was the topic. The city has been without a city manager since Ray Kerridge resigned in March, 2010. In the meantime, both Gus Vina and a former city manager, Bill Edgar, served as interim city managers. Edgar is currently serving as interim city manage