Publishing a monthly magazine isn’t optimal when information about the coronavirus changes hourly. So most of what you see this month in Inside Sacramento will ideally serve as a welcome and necessary contrast to media approaches that prize speed over accuracy and are intended to generate extreme emotions.
Here we love our neighborhoods because their scale is small. Our relationships tend to be more intimate than what a big city or rural community might offer.
Almost a year ago, Inside Sacramento began monthly coverage of the homeless problem in our area. A key focus has been the root causes of homelessness, including mental health and drug and alcohol addiction.
In my May 2019 column, “Is Sacramento Dying?” Sacramento City Councilmember Jeff Harris said he favored an individual triage process to help understand the paths that bring people to the streets. His goal is to avoid placing folks who are simply unable to afford or find shelter in the same category as addicts, criminals and the mentally ill.
One of the most important questions I recall from childhood is, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” The question was not necessarily about jobs and pay. It was about life. Choosing a field of work defines who we are and how we live. It’s about what we accomplish and achieve.
The opposite of work is not leisure or play. It’s idleness. The philosopher Aristotle declared happiness resides in activity, both physical and mental. People who lack the joy of work—the feeling of a job well done—miss something important.
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.