Cecily Hastings


About This Author

Cecily Hastings owns and operates Inside Sacramento and offers her insight and views on local issues each month.

Articles by this author

People Do Not Feel Safe

Thien Ho has a mandate. The new Sacramento County district attorney was elected last year by a landslide, defeating Alana Mathews by more than 43,000 votes. Now comes the hard part. Ho must deliver on a promise to make the community safe again.

In a wide-ranging interview before he took office in January, Ho told me his experience as a prosecutor and legacy as an immigrant will guide him through challenges that await.

“We face two huge issues in our community right now,” he says. “No. 1, without a doubt, is the homeless crisis. And second is gun violence. Whether it’s the shootings that happened Downtown, or in other parts of our county, violent crime is escalating.

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Engage With Us

We are grateful for engagement with readers. It primarily comes from email, but for me engagement also happens while I’m shopping or at community events. It’s almost always positive.

The compliments often end with one thought: “I appreciate what you write, but I wish it was read by more people.” I chuckle at this because we are—by miles—the widest read print publication in the city and county.

Each month we print 83,000 copies of Inside Sacramento. More than 80,000 are mailed to homes in our readership area. The rest are distributed through newsstands.

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Who’s Next

News of a murder next to Sutter Lawn Tennis Club arrived as a text message from a friend. My first thought was the location must be confused with the Sutter Club located near the Capitol.

It was no mistake. The unthinkable happened in my neighborhood. An older gentleman was shot in the face with a rifle. He was on his way to his weekly card game at Sutter Lawn.

In an instant Charles Starzynski joined James Raleigh and Mary Kate Tibbitts as a murder victim in one of our city’s best neighborhoods.

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The Art Of Caring

Ten years ago, filled with energy, optimism and can-do spirit, Lisa Schmidt and I took on the monumental job of saving the Clunie Community Center and McKinley Rose Garden in McKinley Park.

We founded a nonprofit called Friends of East Sacramento in 2010. That was the easy part. The rest of the story is an adventure in generosity, volunteerism and community pride, along with the darker parts of human nature, from petty jealousy and troublesome neighbors to crime.

Faced with drastic cuts to city park budgets, the rose garden and community center faced a crisis after the Great Recession in 2009. The center was headed for closure. The city was unwilling to spend $100,000 a year to keep it open. There were no funds for much-needed maintenance.

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Still Suffering

Sacramento is still recovering from COVID-19. As of September, the pandemic killed 3,399 people in Sacramento County, with 1,830 COVID deaths in the city. Those numbers are tragic, and they especially impact older folks with pre-existing conditions. But just about every problem faced by our communities, schools and businesses resulted from broad lockdown policies authorities ordered despite the societal and economic damage closures would inflict. It was myopic, short-term, “let’s do something” thinking that will negatively impact a generation.

Many experts advocated for isolating medically vulnerable people, rather than the entire society. Their voices were slandered and censored by lockdown architects, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president. He recently stated lockdowns had not gone far enough.

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