Editorial: Today I support a strong mayor

During the debate on a “strong mayor” system of government, each side battled over which form of government allowed for the greatest accountability to the public, democratic ideals in decision making and open debate of policy. After a fateful 5-4 vote not to promote Gus Vina to full-time city manager and his subsequent resignation, I know that the council system we currently have is seriously broken. Why? Not because of the vote itself or Vina’s decision. But because the debate and vote were conducted behind closed doors in a closed session. I have no idea why the council decided not to promote Vina. Council members refuse to talk with our reporters about the decision. Wait, what? Yes, you and I and everyone else has no idea why we are without a city manager. We, the public, were not party to the decision, and we cannot easily hold the council accountable, because we do not know the reasoning. The decision over who manages our entire city government may be the most fateful decision in a decade since that person is tough to both hire and fire under the current system. Yet the people were not a party to it. We were not allowed to speak one way or another in a pubic forum. Whatever the reason, we were not told what the council or individual council […]

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Editorial: Crime and the City

My, it was a busy weekend around Sacramento. And I'm not talking about the holiday. People were shot, people were killed and people (and homes) were robbed. And there was all the other horrible stuff that happens daily. I took the four-day weekend off from news consumption. Monday morning, I remembered why. Much of it, especially the crime news, is depressing and does nothing to improve my life. Worse, some of it is not even entirely true. But confronting it now gives me the opportunity to ask Sacramento Press readers a question about the future of this website. But first, as they say, the news: The big news that I missed until Monday was that a group of four people – described in The Bee and other media as "a family of four" – were shot at (and two hit) near the Safeway at 19th and S. They were walking to Panda Express. This was, of course, seized upon by Sacbee.com commentors as proof that "downtown" Sacramento is unsafe. Having taken place a mere two blocks from The Bee building, and since the central city remains our civic focus, this was the big news. But it wasn't the only news. A man was shot in Folsom during a dope deal gone bad. The victim said the shooter, a customer, was from Elk Grove. Meanwhile, a […]

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In praise (really?) of the new Grocery Outlet

Grocery stores aren’t as cool as bars. But what a difference a grocery makes. Neighborhoods that thrive – neighborhoods where people live – need grocery stores. Grocery stores may not be sexy, but they keep us alive. The opening last week of a Midtown Grocery Outlet selling fresh produce, prepared foods and many of the staples of the run-down convenience stores that dot the Grid, is a big deal to those of us who live here. The fact that their prices are roughly half that of the nearby Safeway is a significant bonus. For anyone who wants Sacramento’s Central City to thrive, the opening of the Grocery Outlet in the old grocery at 17th Street and Capitol Avenue is unalloyed good news. A couple of visits there in the last week have been very encouraging. Rick’s Uptown Market, like Compton’s before it, was drab and often understocked, and ultimately, not very useful unless you were looking for a quick "forty." By contrast, the new Grocery Outlet – which is NOT, despite the name, one of those big, sprawling superstores offering canned goods of questionable quality – really feels like a neighborhood market. The produce looks good, there’s quite a cheese and meat selection, there are “grab ‘n’ go” prepared foods that look pretty good, a good selection of wine – and the staff is friendly […]

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May 19 Sac Press Tools and Tricks workshop – See Sacramento Press behind the scenes

Have you ever wondered how the Sacramento Press functions technically or editorially? Do you want to know how many views our site gets on a daily, monthly or yearly basis? Our Sac Press Tools and Tricks workshop will answer those questions and any others you might have Wednesday, May 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Sacramento Press office. Geoff Samek, one of the co-founders of The Sacramento Press, will go over many of the newer site features and discuss ways of utilizing these tools to your advantage so you are spending less time trying to figure out how to post articles, comment or other actions. Samek will share statistics on the number of page views the site gets, when readership peaks, and he will also cover computer basics that will come in handy. Colleen Belcher, managing editor of The Sacramento Press, will be at the workshop to discuss how the editorial side of The Sacramento Press works. The goal of the workshop is to make using the site easier and give attendees a better idea of all of the tools available and how the newspaper functions from both the technical and editorial sides. We have a second event this month on May 26. Doug Herndon will teach a workshop titled Interviewing Techniques. Herndon is an English and journalism professor at Sacramento City College […]

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A Letter To Meg Whitman

On February 12, the Sacramento Bee’s ‘The State Worker’ blog published a post about a letter to Meg Whitman that was penned by an anonymous DGS employee. Due to policy regarding anonymous submissions, the blog did not post the referenced letter. This is that letter: September 28, 2009 Meg Whitman 20813 Stevens Creek Blvd. Suite 150 Cupertino, CA 95014 Dear Ms. Whitman, I’m writing regarding your remarks in announcing your candidacy for Governor of California. I am using my lunch hour (unpaid time) to clarify and correct some things stated by you. You stated that almost every state worker receives a merit pay increase every year until they reach the top of their pay scale and further ask how can that be. You further state that with “automatic” pay increases every year, there is no incentive for state worker to perform and managing performance is nearly impossible. You go on to say that you’ll reform government management and will crack down on the overly generous benefits of state employees and you are deadly serious about rooting out the waste of tax dollars. As a state worker, I resent your mis-informed statements, as they reflect ignorance on your part, thus lacking creditability of your sources. Governmental Code Sections (GC) 19829 through 19837 specifically address your misstated comments for Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4,11, 14,15, 17, 20 […]

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Editorial: Transparency and scrutiny

There are not a lot of solid rules for starting up a hyper-local site fueled by community contribution. We think, rethink and question just about every policy and design choice for The Sacramento Press. We strive to act with integrity as individuals and as an organization. Our highest principles at The Sacramento Press are openness and transparency. Our policy is to allow anyone to publish. Then we and our community read, rate, flag, comment and add to the story. We ask our contributors to use their real names. We ask them to stay local and to disclose their affiliation with the issues they write about. Recently there was considerable debate here and elsewhere on the Web about our policy of publish first, ask questions later. I want to open up a debate here about how to do a better job. The article that sparked off the debate was published by Ronald West, Mayor Kevin Johnson’s brother and a consultant for Sacramentans for Accountable Government (SAG). While he did use his full name, he did not offer disclosure of his involvement in SAG. Soon after the article appeared, the conversation on the article heated up and uncovered these facts. The response there (in the conversation) and elsewhere was to question whether we should first screen articles in order to make sure authors give full disclosure of […]

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R.E. Graswich opines

Former Sacramento Bee "three-dot" columnist R.E. Graswich was an early supporter of Kevin Johnson’s campaign for mayor of Sacramento. But recent events have caused him to reconsider his support. This column was written specifically for SacramentoPress.com.   King Kevin? By R.E. Graswich Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson promised to be different. Yet his first two months have featured one stumble after another. The collapse of Johnson’s self-indulgent “strong mayor” scheme proves Johnson has much to learn as he fills the vacuum of leadership at Sacramento City Hall. Sorry, Kevin wasn’t elected to be our king. The mayor’s failures have been self-inflicted. Kevin has made the quest for more power his top priority, rather than solidifying support from council members. In the “strong mayor” push that ended today, Kevin made no serious effort to capitalize on the pulpit and megaphone that accompany the mayoral office. He sought to junk the job he was elected to hold, change the rules and reject a system that he doesn’t seem to comprehend. The present council system, belittled by Kevin as outdated and straight out of Mayberry, wasn’t contrived by accident or naivety. It was designed to combat big-city problems that plagued Sacramento in the Roaring 20s – corruption and cronyism. The “weak mayor” rules evolved from community outrage over payoffs and backroom maneuvering. City residents only needed to read history […]

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Didn’t feel like the ‘old’ me…

Time for a Change I’m not the typical mom. I don’t have baby weight to lose. No.1 she’s seven and No. 2  I lost all the weight within a year after I had her. My problem is I always wanted to be there for my daughter, she has been my #1 priority, while I dropped to #55 on a growing list. I started working at home to be with her. I stopped doing all the things that made me feel good, inside and out: Hair, nails, social time with friends, etc. I’m heavier, now, than I’ve ever been and totally out of shape. A flight of stairs makes me lose my breath. I tried to do something for my mental fitness (went back to school), which still was doing nothing for my physical fitness. Needless to say “going to the gym” was at the bottom of my priorities list. It’s 2009, and I’m a new woman. I think I am strong enough now to see to it: I do what I want, when I want. (for the most part) I can be a great mom and still take care of me. I still work from home. I still go to school and get 4.0GPA. I started getting my nails and hair done, again. I’m still an assistant Girl Scout leader, I still take my daughter […]

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Editorial: “Flash Mob CIty”

On New Year’s Eve a few friends and I went to Social nightclub to see the ball drop on 10th and K. The place was packed, the streets were packed (12,000 to 20,000 people) and there was a seriously festive atmosphere. But the ball was small. And it wasn’t really a ball, more of a diamond inside a round cage. The ball didn’t drop very far. It dropped maybe ten feet. The whole thing got plenty of media coverage. There were complaints the day after about all sorts of minor incidents. But really who could have expected a crowd of 20,000 people to show up to 10th and K? I started thinking, without any tradition or expectations all it took to get 20,000 Sacramentans to go party in the streets was a tiny ball drop. ****** There is something here. It seems like any time someone gives us a reason to get together lots and lots of people show up. Other examples: When the Kings came to town. We were not rabid basketball fans but we sold out the arena for a decade while the franchise set a record for missing the playoffs for a decade. The old thursday night markets. They filled up K street. Of course, we were unable to control the violence that came with instant urbanization. Second Saturday. Is it even […]

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What makes Sacramento Press Great, An open letter to the editors and contributers

Since the beginning I have been in a guarded state of well being since the creation of this format. An information via that brings usable and more important constructive data to me for my daily life.  No school shooters mug plastered all over the front page raising my concerns that copy cat horrors might emulate from the daily fishwrap. Very little politico dogma and best of all hope for the future.  For me this works and I am slowly getting addicted to what is happening here. Guarded as it is as I know todays reality and journalistic code is you must somehow shock your reader to attention.  The gossip,scandal, blood and guts are designed to hypnotize its readers this bike advocate thinks. Thus we have very few solutions to mans problems rising to the top. So my open letter to the Sacramento Press is simply keep doing what your doing and  try and refrain from the daily horrors of life on our mudball. We need all the optimism we can get so leave the muckracking to that other media.    Yours truly, John Boyer

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