In the past decade, news outlets across the country have been gutted and closed, reporters laid off, and publication schedules cut. In 2018, more than 200 news publications closed their doors. There are now huge swathes of our country without local news coverage. They are called “news deserts.”
Locally, we face the same trend. The Sacramento Bee, our largest local news organization, had 9,000 employees a decade ago. Today it’s down to 2,800. But even with a skeleton reporting staff, the Bee remains a primary source for local news. The paper’s work filters across to other media, including television and radio.
While flipping through cable news shows a couple months ago, I came across an interview with a Sacramento resident named Elizabeth Novak. She made national news by posting a desperate—but heartfelt—video message to Gov. Gavin Newsom on social media.
Novak, who owned and operated a hair salon on Broadway in Land Park, posted a video on Twitter describing how difficult it was to run her business during the homeless crisis. She asked how the governor was going to help. I was intrigued because I’ve had small-business owners reach out to me with similar problems.
In honor of Veterans Day, I offer a “soldier’s story” of life in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. My experience exemplifies a time shared by millions of other young men and women who served honorably—and is a tribute to those who no longer have a voice.
I served a 14-month tour in Vietnam, from Dec. 13, 1968, to Feb. 17, 1970. My unit was First Field Force Vietnam, 6th Battalion, 84th Field Artillery, stationed in An Khe in the Vietnam Central Highlands. Midway through my tour, I was transferred to Nha Trang.
Please accept this correspondence as my strongest possible protest to the behavior of Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen at his Town Hall meeting Monday, October 21, 2019, at Kobasic’s Candies, 5324 Freeport Boulevard.
At the Town Hall, Mr. Hansen and his staff publicly intimidated and attempted to prevent a photographer for Inside Publications, Aniko Kiezel, from taking photos during the public event.
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that one in every four women and one in every 31 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Locally, domestic violence occurs every day. It includes elder abuse, child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking.
Last year in Sacramento County, there were more than 18,000 domestic violence calls to 911. Our law enforcement agencies respond to more domestic violence-related calls than any other problem. The tragic loss of 26-year-old Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan—who in June was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance—is a sad reminder of the danger these situations pose for law enforcement.
Browsing in a gift shop recently, I came across a lovely poster with the headline, “How to Build Community.” Given that building our community has been my mission for almost 30 years, I was naturally attracted to the message. The poster listed dozens of suggestions. Here they are, with some thoughts along the way. And I’d love to hear your ideas—email me and we’ll publish them in an upcoming edition.