We get emails at Inside Sacramento. Some of them demand my head on a platter.
Not long ago, seven or eight emails arrived at the editor’s desk saying awful things about me. The emails were identical, but people who sent them were different. There may have been a strategy to this, but I didn’t catch it.
The people who sent the emails were angry about my campaign to open the Sacramento River Parkway and levee bike trail. They overlooked one important fact: It’s not my campaign. The parkway and bike trail are the city’s idea.
Some NBA teams don’t worry about balancing the books. Their owners swim in deep green seas of personal wealth. They treat league membership as an extension of their entitlement, a bragging right with benefits of ballooning equity.
The Kings are different. Their owners are rich, relatively speaking, but can’t matchup against billionaires. A welterweight bank account is a big disadvantage in a game played by heavyweights.
They needed to say something with six bodies scattered around the sidewalk at 10th and K streets. So Darrell Steinberg and Katie Valenzuela took shelter in the safest place they knew. They blamed guns.
With an actor’s studied passion, Steinberg spoke of broken hearts and school shootings. Valenzuela, newer at this sort of performance, tearfully described a phone call at 2:30 a.m. and waded into the weeds of the nation’s fascination with armaments.
My friend Bill Conlin would fill the room with unprintable words if he could hear what I’m about to say. But Bill is resting at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery and not likely to notice.
Bill was a baseball guy. The demise of baseball in Sacramento saddened him. He died two years before the River Cats arrived and never had the pleasure of wrapping his hands around a cold beer at Raley Field or Sutter Health Park. As a newspaper sports editor, he covered the burials of two Solons iterations, in 1961 and 1976.
So I hope Bill’s spirit forgives me for saying it’s a good thing Sacramento isn’t a baseball town these days. Because baseball is dying.
I was walking on Ninth Street near City Hall and passed a tiny homeless encampment burrowed into the porch of a vacant building. Empty wine bottles stood sentry around two people asleep. Garbage spilled across the sidewalk. The little hovel was sad and filthy and carried a stomach-churning stench.
The scene triggered a memory. It made me think about a documentary film I saw two decades ago, “The Marshes of Two Street,” by Richard Simpson.
For years, people in Pocket, Little Pocket and Land Park asked me when the Big Fix—the massive repair job on the Sacramento River levees—would start. Now many of us can’t wait for the work to hurry up and finish.
Sorry, but it’s going to be awhile. This year will see major progress when Army Corps of Engineers contractors move forward with something called “Contract 3” levee repairs.
Levee upgrades under “Contract 3” will cost $40.9 million and ensnare much of Pocket and Greenhaven. Residents are getting accustomed to significant disruptions. Zacharias Park is closed for another year. Parts of Garcia Bend Park are fenced off again.