Abandoned cars don’t hide well. They are filthy from sitting in the wind and sun.
Windows are covered with dust. Tires slump as the air slowly drains away. Cobwebs grow in wheel wells. Anyone walking past can tell, yes, no doubt, there’s an abandoned car.
Pocket and Land Park have never been known for attracting large numbers of abandoned cars, but this historical trend is shifting. In recent months, abandoned cars have been found on Havenside Drive, Greenhaven Drive and 43rd Avenue. A resident named Duwayne Brooks, who enjoys daily neighborhood walks of about 1½ miles near his Pocket home, tells me he has found more than 30 abandoned cars in recent weeks.
Every now and then someone who knows my history as a sportswriter asks if I can recommend a good sports bar. It’s a fair question. I love bars and am flattered when people remember amusing stories I wrote about the Kings when I covered the team 30 years ago.
But I’m not much help when it comes to modern sports bars. Public House Downtown at 16th and L streets is bright and friendly and has countless beer handles. Ink Eats and Drinks at 28th and N is excellent for lunch with a ballgame on TV because the bartenders know to keep the sound turned to zero. Nobody in a bar should be forced to hear sports announcers.
Back in March, when my friend and saloonkeeper Simon Chan died from COVID, I wanted to figure out what Simon meant to Sacramento. I contacted another friend and saloonkeeper, Randy Paragary. “Simon was here for the best of times,” Randy told me. “Not as much fun now.”
Five months later, Randy was dead from a virulent pancreatic cancer. Simon’s death was drawn out over months with hospitalizations and respirators. Randy went fast, barely four weeks from diagnosis to last breath. Sacramento was at its best with them and will never be as much fun without them.
There’s something about living along the Sacramento River Parkway that makes a few people hate their neighbors. This is no exaggeration. Maybe it’s the arrogance that comes from living in a house that backs up to something timeless and beautiful. Maybe it’s the fog of exclusivity created by fences that blocked levee access and pushed neighbors away.
No matter the explanation, it’s tangible and unhealthy and dishonorable. Let’s examine this sorry situation and find a way to stop it.
Evidence of anti-social behavior by some levee-side tenants is plentiful. They install fake warning signs about trespassing. Over the summer, a resident on Benham Way rigged two sprinklers with motion detectors and embedded the contraptions on the levee. The goal was to blast water at neighbors who walked there.
Sacramento is preoccupied with whales. It’s an unhealthy obsession for a city without an ocean.
Ten years ago, Chris Lehane, adviser to Mayor Kevin Johnson, introduced the concept of whales to Sacramento. Lehane wasn’t speaking about waterborne mammals, which on rare occasions have detoured from migratory routes and toured the Sacramento River. He was talking about wealthy sports investors who swim in dollars—gamblers willing to bet on Sacramento.
The last Sacramento mayor who moved onto bigger and better things was Dr. Henry L. Nichols. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because Mayor Nichols served only one year. It was 1858.
Nine years after he left City Hall, Dr. Nichols became California secretary of state. He was on the job when the Capitol building was finished, and climbed to the top of the new dome and stuck the golden ball in place. It’s still there.