City Beat

Voter Harassment

It sounds virtuous. Take 40 percent of the cash Sacramento collects on cannabis sales taxes and give the money to youth programs. Activities for kids would receive about $10 million a year.

But that’s not how Measure L on the city’s November ballot really works. Millions of tax dollars won’t go straight to support young people.

The cash will be laundered through a middleman: the youth services industry.

Yes, greedy adults stand at the heart of the comically titled “Children and Youth Health and Safety Act.” The proposal establishes a permanent transfer of city money to a special interest group.

It’s a cash geyser for the youth services industry.

Meaningless Measure

In a sure sign the homeless disaster has moved from tragedy to farce, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and the City Council want to fix the mess with political games.

This is the story of Measure O on the November ballot. Known as the “Emergency Shelter and Enforcement Act,” it has no connection with emergencies or enforcement. Even the word “act” is a lie.

If, for some reason, voters approve Measure O, nothing will happen. Or maybe something might, one day. But that’s up to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

The act is a mirage, suspended unless the county rescues the city from the homeless abyss. Which is no way to run a city.

Going, Going…

Soon after she was elected to City Council in 2020, Katie Valenzuela told me something remarkable. She said she would follow her instincts and didn’t care if voters tossed her out after one term.

Now she might not make it that far.

In September, the group “For a Better Sacramento” plans to submit petitions forcing Valenzuela into a recall election next March.

Not Again

Never underestimate the arrogance of politicians, even at the local level. They know better than you and me. And they won’t take no for an answer.

This summer, the City Council considered a November ballot initiative to steal about $10 million annually from cannabis taxes. The money would flow to private organizations. In theory, they will spend it on kids. Or so they say.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Voters rejected two similar schemes, Measure Y in 2016 and Measure G in 2020.

Dysfunctional Town

On Railroad Drive, a security guard blocks a public street with his patrol car. He moves when people ask nicely. Unless they want to build an illegal homeless camp.

At police headquarters, cops hear the words “use of force policy” and get confused. The policy changes often, a politicized moving target. Cops grow frustrated.

In Washington, business executives and city officials meet with local members of Congress and remind them about matters of community importance. One City Council member, Katie Valenzuela, skips the trip. She goes to Cuba and celebrates May Day with comrades.

Easy Street

City Council members come and go, but one tradition never changes: pretending City Council jobs are hard.

When Kevin Johnson was mayor, I worked as his special assistant. The job was fun, filled with interesting people and problems. Being a staff member is not the same as elected. But I can’t call it hard.

Working for Kevin was difficult, but nothing like bartending or nursing or driving a delivery van. It was challenging because Kevin always wanted to know where I was and what I was doing, even when he didn’t need me, which was most of the time.

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