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.
As a writer, Patricia Newman has a radar that is “always up and looking for ideas.”
The prolific children’s book author and Carmichael resident turns those ideas into educational and entertaining books that tackle complex subjects for readers ages 4 and up. She’s on the lookout for inspiration.
“You have to follow those cryptic signs placed in your way throughout your life and be open to what they’re telling you,” says Newman, whose newest and 18th book, “Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean,” was published this year.
With a filled stamp card from The Upper Crust Baking Company, I happily make my way to the Certified Farmers Market under the W/X Freeway. It’s a bright Sunday morning and I’m eager for a fresh loaf of birdseed bread. But when I turn the corner along Southside Park, I don’t see the cars, vendor umbrellas or usual market bustle. It’s empty. Confused, disappointed and breadless, I turn around to walk home.
Had I ventured further under the Highway 50 overpass, I would have found the answer: Posters taped to concrete pillars explained where the market went. A 10-month construction project forced the weekly Certified Farmers Market to temporarily relocate. The market will be in the parking lot of Arden Fair Mall behind Sears until December.
Debra Celiz was not in the best spirits when she returned to Sacramento in 2013 after 45 years in San Francisco.
In the midst of a busy career in health care administration, Celiz was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disorder. There’s no cure. Patients gradually lose peripheral vision. Celiz decided to move back to her hometown to be closer to family as she figured out how to live with declining eyesight.
Tucked among other news roiling our lives is a growing drumbeat about environmental justice.
President Joe Biden has promised his administration will keep it “in the center of all we do.” Health and Human Services director, former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, spoke often about environmental justice. Becerra joined residents in San Bernardino to oppose plans to expand the airport for Amazon’s logistics needs.