Gary Delsohn

Planning, Architecture and Development Columnist

About This Author

Gary Delsohn is a former Sacramento Bee urban affairs and political reporter, a design and architecture columnist, governor’s speech writer and author of The Prosecutors: A Year in the Life of a District Attorney’s Office.

Articles by this author

Daring Greatly

It’s a refrain I hear a lot these days, especially when I’m cycling along the American River or through the center of our troubled city.

“Steinberg ran on a promise to fix the homeless problem and it’s only gotten worse. He’s wasted time, money and energy, and there’s more garbage and encampments everywhere. What a failure.”

Now Mayor Darrell Steinberg has put forward his latest plan to attack our chronic homelessness problem—his “Housing Right and Obligation Act.” It’s generating even more heat.

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People Power Suburb

There’s an old academic exercise among urban planners where they ask something like this: If a revolution comes to your town, will you instinctively know where to gather to find out what’s happening?

Identify a park or square where people would naturally flock, and it means your town has some appreciation for civic space and a sense of community fostered by planners and architects.

My family and I enjoyed living in Carmichael for 20 years. If that question were asked of residents there, what would they answer? Spoiler alert: They can’t say a strip mall or Starbucks.

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Housing Solutions

It would have been easy to overlook with everything else happening, but two days after defeating the ill-conceived attempt to recall him, Gov. Gavin Newsom made news by signing three bills to chip away at California’s affordable housing crisis.

Newsom, who three years ago promised to deliver 3.5 million new homes by 2025, is taking a more incremental—and practical—approach to the problem.

None of the bills will come close to solving the state’s monumental housing problems, but if harsh reaction to at least one of the measures tells us anything, the governor has indeed shaken things up.

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‘A’ For Effort

William S. White, a journalist who spent much of his career writing about Lyndon Johnson, called the late president and U.S. Senate leader an expert at “politics as the art of the possible.”

That was before partisan media and ideological zealots turned compromise into a dirty word. But the description came to mind recently as I read Sacramento’s “2021 Master Siting Plan to Address Homelessness.”

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Built To Last

Kevin Dobson is different from you, me and most people. When we see a problem in our community, we may gripe and vent, but we’re busy with our own lives and that’s often as far as we get.

Not Dobson. When the 32-year-old Natomas Charter School principal grew frustrated seeing so many smart, creative students finish school with “no tangible real-world skills,” as he put it, he felt compelled to act.

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