In late June, Mayor Darrell Steinberg received a letter from Michael Bowman, presiding judge at Sacramento Superior Court. The message was clear. Homeless conditions surrounding court facilities at 720 Ninth St. prevented justice from being served.
Bowman cited the disheartening environment and numerous encounters between unsheltered people and members of the public who need to be in court, including court employees.
“These daily incidents include, but are not limited to, physical and verbal assault, public sex acts, open fires, nudity, urinating and defecating on walkways,” Bowman wrote. “Court security removes unsheltered individuals, who have no business with the court, from the main courthouse daily and our facilities team must regularly remove feces and other waste from our entryways and grounds.”
Everyone knows we need additional housing, but 29 families soon moving into Washington Commons in West Sacramento are searching for something more elusive.
They want a community. A place where people look out for one another, share responsibility, and team up for walks and bike rides. Where they help with communal meals and offer a place for visiting friends and family for a night or two.
Washington Commons, a four-story cohousing condominium project under construction across the river from Downtown with 35 one- and two-bedroom units, is expected to be finished early next year.
One afternoon in my community college English classroom, four students arrived with an assortment of Fiery Hot Cheetos, Skittles and sodas. Students aren’t supposed to eat in classrooms, but it was lunchtime. I knew the students were hungry and didn’t interrupt their snacking before class.
No surprise, by our 1:30 p.m. break, the students who devoured vending machine snacks were lethargic and barely able to participate.
The trends are horrifying and unmistakable. Forty percent of California fifth graders are overweight or obese. A disproportionate number among them are minority students. We know young brains need nourishment. The mind-body connection is under-addressed in our schools.
The Food Literacy Center wants to change how kids eat, teaching them about nutrition and how to prepare culturally relevant, nourishing foods.
Zelda’s Gourmet Pizza opened in 1978. To say it hasn’t changed is false, but close. I mean, they take credit cards now. That’s a change.
To walk into the narrow, shotgun dining room and bar is to step back in time. From the high-backed plywood booths to the stubby laminate bar, the wooden trellis with plastic grapes to the sparkly black cottage-cheese ceilings, the place has a vibe.
And the vibe is perfect. The fact that the pizza is exceptional is a bonus.