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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

Sidewalk Solutions

Our core city suffered blows in recent years. Early in 2020, with a Downtown renaissance underway, COVID-19 stopped everything. Two months later, protests over George Floyd’s murder turned destructive. Restaurants and businesses boarded up and closed.

With state employees working remotely and several deadly gun crimes generating news, the core was a ghost town, recovery a pipedream.

Today a fair amount of pre-pandemic energy is returning. The Kings’ brief playoff run brought thousands Downtown. Increased police presence made people feel safer. We still miss state workers, but restaurants are crowded and nightlife jumps again.

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Community Trust

Everyone knows we need additional housing, but 29 families soon moving into Washington Commons in West Sacramento are searching for something more elusive.

They want a community. A place where people look out for one another, share responsibility, and team up for walks and bike rides. Where they help with communal meals and offer a place for visiting friends and family for a night or two.

Washington Commons, a four-story cohousing condominium project under construction across the river from Downtown with 35 one- and two-bedroom units, is expected to be finished early next year.

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Build, Or Else

A few years ago, when my wife and I looked for a house to buy after returning to Sacramento from Southern California, we found the perfect place near Tahoe Park.

We liked the neighborhood. The house was updated and reasonably priced. The only drawback was a homeless encampment in the park across the street. That made me uncomfortable. We decided not to bid on the house.

The experience came back to me recently while reading about the lawsuit filed against the city of Elk Grove by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Department of Housing and Community Development. California is taking the city to court over its denial of a low-income housing project known as Oak Rose in Elk Grove’s Old Town.

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Team Effort

Golden 1 Center attracted its share of controversy over the years, but I want to focus on an emotional piece of the story.

Have the Kings finally created real civic pride, or is it just a basketball team? As I thought about this question, a friend posted on social media after the team clinched its first playoff bid since 2006:

“The local sportsball franchise won something important last night, and all over I see statements like ‘Finally, something to be proud of for Sacramento,’ ‘Way to represent!’ ‘Sacramento Proud,’ etc.

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Blame Game

We all should know there are no easy answers to California’s housing crisis. But here are a few things to keep in mind as we consider narratives circulating about where the blame belongs.

First, some encouraging news. As Gov. Gavin Newsom and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty announced, three state office buildings along Capitol Mall are being transitioned into housing.

The Employment Development Department at 800 Capitol Mall, Solar Building at 751 N St. and State Personnel Board building at 801 Capitol Mall are targeted for housing.

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