People in Pocket and Greenhaven who have worked from home the past 16 months might believe their neighborhood exists in a universe removed from City Hall. It’s understandable. But I can tell you it’s not true.
The city did not forget about Pocket during the pandemic. The city had bigger things to worry about. Federal and state bailouts saved the day, making it easy to forget how bad the future looked at City Hall last summer.
Nathaniel S. Colley died in 1992, but he’s having an excellent 2021. His home on Pleasant Drive in South Land Park has been declared a historic landmark, along with his office on S Street. A new school on Gerber Road is named for the civil rights attorney.
Tributes to Colley invariably mention his work to end housing discrimination and his status as the first African American lawyer to practice in Sacramento. That would be January 1949, when he was admitted to the California Bar. Six years later, he built his home at 5114 Pleasant Drive, integrating a whites-only neighborhood.
After a decade of looking for encouraging news about Sacramento’s homeless crisis, I’ve found some: Compared to downtown Los Angeles, Sacramento has no homeless crisis.
I visit downtown L.A. every couple of months and have watched its vibrancy sink into an abyss of misery, poverty, crime and wasted lives. Tents, doorway sleepers and garbage are everywhere. Recovery will take years. If L.A.’s anguish makes Sacramento look hopeful, it also carries a warning. As Mayor Darrell Steinberg says, “Los Angeles is a cautionary tale.”
Before the pandemic, about 4,600 homeless people lived in L.A.’s dystopian wasteland east of Main Street between Third and Seventh streets. The slum covers 50 blocks and almost 3 square miles. Welcome to Skid Row.
Eager to appease a noisy gaggle of citizens who don’t like cops, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and his City Council colleagues blundered into a policy that threatens to endanger the public and demoralize the Sacramento Police Department.
With the city’s new policy, Steinberg and the council decided there’s no such thing as active shooters or ambushes. The mayor and council believe every 911 police emergency features an opportunity for de-escalation and negotiation, a chance for reasonable people to calm down and talk things over.
Here’s a warning for people who walk along the Sacramento River levee in Pocket. Several residents who live near the levee seem ready to resort to violence as they harass folks enjoying the waterfront parkway.
The threatening behavior has frustrated city authorities responsible for public safety on the levee.
As the pandemic devoured chunks of humanity, one recreational holdout stood tall, defiant and immune: the golf course. Designed for distance and unfettered by walls and ceilings, golf became the perfect antidote. A vaccine is not required to shoot par.
In Sacramento, golf played through. While lockdowns ended fan experiences and demolished profit margins across the sports landscape, Morton Golf, which runs the city’s four municipal courses, didn’t miss a tee time.