The city of Sacramento will have new district boundaries by the end of the month, but the lines won’t be familiar to anyone who has followed the process so far. In a 6-3 vote, the City Council passed a motion Tuesday to use a new map submitted by Councilman Steve Cohn as the ‘base map’ for new district boundaries – much to the surprise of advisory committee members, meeting attendees and Mayor Kevin Johnson. “I am extremely disappointed and sad,” Johnson said. “This is the worst-case scenario. It’s the council putting self-interest above all else, and that is disappointing.” The map – which Cohn named “Neighborhoods Together 2.0” – was submitted just minutes before the council meeting w
When is comes to redistricting, the LGBT community has a lot to say about being recognized as a legitimate community of interest and working toward getting the central city united into one council district. “Unless you see yourself represented, it’s hard to see yourself in the world,” said Steve Hansen, a community activist and a member of the former Citizens Advisory Committee on Redistricting. Hansen and Rosanna Herber, chairperson of the LGBT Redistricting Committee, said members of the LGBT community worked tirelessly over the last several months to be recognized as a community of interest and be given a stake in the process. Their goal has been to finally see the central city united
A new downtown arena could draw 3.1 million visitors to the central city each year and bring the region more than $7 billion over 30 years, according to a report released Thursday by an arena campaign committee. The 37-page report on an arena’s expected impact to the region was released to reporters at a press conference at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. "In downtown Sacramento, there's a considerable economic boost, just by the fact that there really isn't a facility like that," said Cathleen Dominico, author of "The Economic Engine Report: An Economic Analysis on the Regional Impact of an Entertainment and Sports Complex," during the press conference. "If you can create a downto
The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission is developing a new fundraising strategy to help offset continued cuts in public funding that have slashed the agency's primary financial sources by 70 percent in the last four years. The strategy includes an expanded arts public service campaign, a donors' "Walk of Fame" on K Street Mall and new types of fundraisers, such as one involving City Council members and a celebrated local restaurateur. As of Friday, public funding for the joint city-county agency will be just under $900,000 for fiscal year 2011/2012 – down from $2.6 million each year in July 2008 and 2007. Last year's public funding totaled $1.04 million. That doesn't include money f
The approval of the redevelopment project for the 700 block of K Street brings more than just the prospect of a revitalized block of the J-K-L corridor, it also includes financial incentives that supporters say will spur the local economy and bolster revenues for the city. Originally, developers Bay Miry, D & S Development, and Ali Youssefi, CFY Development, proposed that the city put in $16 million of funding assistance – one half of that amount in the form of a grant, and the other half in repayable loans from a variety of redevelopment agency sources. Since the initial proposal, however, Miry and Youssefi were able to tap into new funding sources for the project, including a federal p
The Sacramento City Council’s tentative decision Tuesday night to make severe budget cuts to public safety is not final, but it made a big statement. Council members voted 6-3 to say they intend to make budget cuts later this month that include layoffs of 82 sworn cops and increases in brownouts or alternating closures for fire services. A big caveat to the tentative decision is the council’s statement that it is still open to further negotiations with the city’s public safety unions. Tuesday’s hearing drew intense public interest. Many people arrived more than an hour early to the 6 p.m. meeting. Shortly before 5 p.m., about 70 people waited in line for the doors at City Hall to open.
The Sacramento City Council discussed Thursday how to make major changes to city operations in the next few years to resolve the city’s long-term imbalance where costs outpace revenues. The city’s $39 million gap for the 2011/2012 fiscal year is part of an ongoing trend of budget shortfalls. Multi-million budget gaps will remain until fiscal year 2015/2016 as a result of the city’s imbalanced finances, according to predictions by city officials. “We need to set the expectation of what the City Council wants to provide for the residents and the businesses of this city,” Interim Deputy City Manager Betty Masuoka said. Seven council members were at the budget meeting – Mayor Kevin Johnson
Sacramento civil rights attorney Mark Merin is once again in the spotlight. This time, he’s being quoted by the local media for his role in a federal class-action case about homeless people’s constitutional rights and personal property. And, in the March issue of Harper’s Magazine, Merin’s work with Safe Ground is mentioned. The article, titled “Homeless in Sacramento: Welcome to the New Tent Cities,” focuses on Sacramento’s homeless and the city’s ordinance against camping. These are only two of many examples of Merin’s highly visible and controversial advocacy work for Sacramento’s homeless. Earlier this week, a federal jury released its verdict in Lehr v. City of Sacramento, finding
The Sacramento Kings' majority owners reacted positively to a new plan for a proposed $387 million arena project unveiled Thursday, but admitted they're anxious to see whether the plan can be turned into reality. Developers told the Sacramento City Council a $241 million arena, with a total project cost of $387 million, could be built by early 2015 if a mix of public and private funding can be pulled together. During a two-and-a-half-hour presentation, ICON Venue Group President Tim Romani, Sacramento developer David Taylor and others on an arena development team provided the public with many details of the plan. Afterward, team co-owners Gavin and Joe Maloof told reporters they have a
The owners of the Sacramento Kings announced Monday the team will stay put for at least one more season – giving the region and the National Basketball Association time for one final push to build a new arena. NBA officials quickly announced a commitment to make one last effort over the next 10 months to pave the way to replace Power Balance Pavilion. The league is sending nine people to Sacramento Tuesday to provide expert support in the regional effort to construct a new arena and to help the Kings' owners, the Maloofs, lead the team to a successful next season, NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a teleconference Monday afternoon. Kings fans, elected officials and business leaders re
Should a group of homeless people be allowed to camp together in Sacramento without outside monitoring? Safe Ground Sacramento, a group of mostly homeless people, says it should have the right to be “self-governing” and to operate an overnight camp independently. But a few Sacramento City Council members said they disagreed with that idea Tuesday. The City Council held a workshop on the safe ground issue as part of its weekly meeting. Over the past two years, Safe Ground Sacramento has asked the city to dedicate land for a site where the homeless could camp legally overnight. The city has an ordinance that bans overnight camping. One of the group’s key principles is that its members ar
Spring is nearly a month in, and as April turns into May, the forecast promises warmer weather and plenty of outdoor activities, especially this weekend, as Easter is Sunday. There are plenty of ways to celebrate Easter, whether you’re looking for a traditional egg hunt or a nice place to eat Sunday Brunch. What: Southside Park Spring Egg Hunt When: Saturday, 11 a.m. - noon Where: Southside Park, 2107 Sixth St. Cost: Free With help from the Southside Park Neighborhood Association and St. John’s Baptist Church, Vineyard Church, the city of Sacramento will host the Southside Park Spring Egg Hunt, which will have a plethora of activities for the kids, including an egg hunt, face paintin
Anyone in the city can use the city’s online tools to carve up the eight City Council districts and present their redistricting ideas to city leaders. The mapmaking tool for the 2011 redistricting process is free to use, and the city welcomes maps from residents. Maps developed and submitted by citizens will be shared with the City Council, the council’s redistricting advisory committee and the general public, said Maria MacGunigal, the city’s Geographic Information Systems manager. Every decade, the city rearranges its council districts by applying U.S. Census data.The reordered districts should all have the same population, according to city staff. “The primary objective of redistric
A huge crowd turned out at Cesar Chavez Plaza Tuesday at 5 p.m. to support the Here We Build effort organized by the man known on Twitter as @CarmichaelDave. Read Janna Hayne's story on Here We Build here. Read Mark Needham's story here. According to the Here We Build website, the rally was sponsored by Jiffy Lube and City Councilman Rob Fong and Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna were in attendance. Below are photos taken at the rally. For more information or to get involved, click here or visit the Facebook page or Twitter page. All photos by Ben Ilfeld.
Four Sacramento council members will discuss ideas for growing the number of community gardens in the city on Tuesday afternoon. City Council members Jay Schenirer, Sandy Sheedy, Darrell Fong and Steve Cohn sit on the Law and Legislation Committee, which analyzes ideas for local ordinances. The committee will examine ways to regulate community gardens and increase their presence. Councilman Rob Fong spurred the committee’s discussion, according to a city staff report. The city should do everything it can to encourage community gardening and to explore urban farming, Fong said Monday. “I just think we need to utilize our spaces well,” Fong said. Committee members will evaluate a propose
A number of recent City Council meetings relating to Interim City Manager Gus Vina, including the council’s January vote against his promotion, have been closed to the public. An attorney and open government advocate commented on the Brown Act Friday, saying he opposes “closed session” meetings on hiring and firing matters affecting the city manager. Terry Francke, an attorney for the nonprofit open government group Californians Aware said city manager hiring and firing decisions should be made public. Central to the issue of closed meetings is the way city officials interpret the Brown Act, a state law intended to make government meetings open to the public at the local level. The City
The clock is ticking for the Sacramento City Council. Sacramento Interim City Manager Gus Vina’s resignation on Friday morning means that the City Council must take immediate actions that will impact the city budget and labor negotiations with municipal unions. Council members must find a new top city official one month before the city’s proposed budget is due. Vina’s resignation also means that the city’s labor unions will take up budget negotiations with a new city leader. “We don’t have time to grieve,” City Councilman Steve Cohn said in an interview Friday. Cohn was one of four council members who supported Vina’s earlier effort to become Sacramento’s next permanent city manager.
Interim City Manager Gus Vina’s resignation comes just weeks before the city must propose a budget for the next fiscal year. In Sacramento’s city government, the city manager prepares a proposed budget and the City Council makes final budget decisions. Vina told the Sacramento Press on Friday afternoon that the proposed budget will be on time even though he is leaving April 8. “We are very close to finishing the proposed budget,” Vina said. “It will be ready to meet the May 1 deadline … I committed to council that I would get the budget done and I will.” He said he was leaving because he was not supported by the full City Council. “I need to move on and pursue other opportunities becaus
Sacramento City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby’s district has grown 123 percent since 2000, skyrocketing from a population of 47,670 in 2000 to a population of 106,729 in 2010. But it won’t stay that way for much longer – the city intends to chop it up in this year’s redistricting process. The 2010 U.S. Census numbers relating to the city’s redistricting process came in Tuesday, three weeks earlier than the city had expected, said Scot Mende, the city’s new growth manager. And Ashby’s District 1, which includes North and South Natomas and part of downtown, is much larger now than any other district. Maria MacGunigal, the city’s Geographic Information System manager, attributes the changes
Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel received support from the City Council Tuesday on a plan to bring back three or four job openings that have been eliminated in the department as part of budget cuts. Braziel told the council and Interim City Manager Gus Vina that he must reopen some key positions because nine of the department’s top 11 officials, ranked captain and higher, will be eligible to retire within three years. The city is facing a $35 million - 40 million budget gap for the 2011/2012 fiscal year. Braziel said he would be able to open the positions without asking the city for additional money. “It’s not the right time, but we have to do it,” Braziel said. “We don’t have a cho