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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

Judicial Beauty

Over the years, I spent lots of time in two buildings that have generated countless colorful stories—the state Capitol and county courthouse.

Both spawned captivating tales of intrigue and chicanery, but it was no contest when it came to which was the more inspiring structure. The original neoclassical Capitol is 149 years old and one of the most graceful statehouses in the nation.

The Gordon D. Schaber courthouse, named after the late, longtime dean of Sacramento’s McGeorge School of Law, is as far from graceful as you can get.

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A Commons Mistake

Katherine Bardis and her husband, Bay Miry, are a local development team that does quality work with a good reputation.

Born into the building business, they have fathers who ran successful development firms and continue to leave a positive mark on the community.

Working together as Bardis & Miry Development, the couple continues the family legacies with contributions of their own.

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Restore, Protect, Manage

If you’re a cynic convinced government rarely gets anything right, walk to Seventh and P streets and check out the new headquarters for the California Natural Resources Agency. Then let me know how you feel.

You enter a different kind of state building when you step into the light-drenched lobby, see a quote from poet Gary Snyder emblazoned over the outline of a grizzly bear—“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home”—and learn part of the wall is covered in wood salvaged from the deadly Paradise Camp Fire.

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Our Joan Didion

Joan Didion, the trailblazing Sacramento-born writer who died a year ago, is getting her due in her hometown.
Didion, 87, was one of her generation’s most celebrated writers. But except for a white mansion with a wrap-around front porch at 2000 22nd St., there are few visible signs she ever lived here.

The reasons aren’t clear. Sacramento has always been skittish about boasting on its celebrities, and a number of Didion fans believe she never cared for the place.

They point to comments made in her writing and elsewhere—“Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento,” for instance—and how she couldn’t wait to flee after graduation from C.K. McClatchy High School in 1952.

But many ambitious young people feel constrained by their hometowns. There is ample evidence she cared deeply for the city and its surroundings.

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‘Societal Armageddon’

Moments before signing a package of bills aimed at easing California’s affordable housing crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom used some colorful language to describe the issue. He called it “the original sin of the state of California.”

“That’s the issue of housing and affordability,” he said. “It touches more things in more ways on more days than any other issue. It is at the core of so much of the frustration many of us have about our state and our future.”

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