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

Misplaced Danger

Recent hand wringing about the American River Parkway being destroyed by illegal camping reminds me of the old Yogi Berra line: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

If you listen to the critiques, including those from such stalwart advocates as the American River Parkway Foundation, you’d think the popular trail is a dangerous place best avoided at all costs.

“The parkway is in crisis,” Dustin Luton, president of the foundation’s board, wrote city and county officials this year.

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Tear It Down

A few months ago, I saw a flurry of nostalgic photos on social media from longtime friends and former colleagues working or posing in room 1190 of the state Capitol.

That’s the place in the old Capitol annex where reporters gathered for jousting sessions with governors and other elected officials. Because I spent considerable time there when I covered politics for The Bee and later as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speechwriter, the photos and social media posts caught my eye.

But I have to confess, I feel no warm sense of nostalgia about the place and agree with political columnist Dan Walters, who wrote: “No one who works in and around the Capitol will be sorry to see the annex disappear. It is not only plug ugly 1950s brutalist architecture at its worst, but dysfunctional to the max.”

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Lighten Up, Neighbors

And the award for most absurd move by a California city to circumvent state law allowing multiple residential units in neighborhoods previously zoned for single-family homes goes to the snooty Silicon Valley suburb of Woodside.

Rather than allow a few duplexes, city officials released a memo this year declaring the entire town a safe haven for mountain lions. So, of course, Woodside claimed it could not permit any duplexes, lest valuable mountain lion habitat be compromised.

The town would rather have mountain lions roaming around than people who might want to live in a duplex. And we wonder why California has a shortage of affordable housing.

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Voters Weigh In

Voters Weigh In Homeless proposal moves to ballot By Gary Delsohn May 2022 If you’re searching for...

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From The Wreckage

What a difference a pandemic makes. In spring 2019, a buoyant Mayor Darrell Steinberg, doing his best Daniel Burnham imitation to “make no little plans,” unveiled his big vision for Old Sacramento and Downtown.

Sacramento would leverage more than $40 million in hotel taxes left from the Convention Center and Community Center Theatre renovation and jazz up the waterfront. New attractions would include an outdoor concert venue, rooftop bars and a barge docked so people could swim safely near the Tower Bridge in our namesake river.

The central city had arrived. Downtown would finally get its must-see family attraction. Construction cranes were everywhere. The future looked bright. Steinberg would have a legacy other than heartache over the growing homeless and housing crises.

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