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Sacramento Press on Insight: Good news for a change!

David Watts Barton shares news with Insight host Jeffrey Callison

When I visited with Jeffrey Callison on Capital Public Radio’s Insight Tuesday morning, the news was better than usual: topics included the improved financial picture for the city regarding the redevelopment of K Street’s 700 block, a new Goodwill for downtown and news of Jackie Greene’s new band.

After its unanimous approval by the City Council last week, Sacramento Press reporter Melissa Corker detailed the improved financial outlook for the development of the 700 block of K Street. With some new federal money secured, the city’s investment shrank from $16 million to $14.7 million, which means the city will now get about 40 percent of the return the block will stimulate, through taxes on sales and incomes. The developers also say that if the property is sold, the city will get 20 percent of the profits after loans are repaid.
All of this led Councilman Rob Fong to call it “a great investment for the city.”

There was also a surprising new concept for developing Cal Expo unveiled on Friday, which would add 120,000 square feet to the exhibition space and build a new 10,000-seat amphitheatre. 

Public input was requested for library cuts after the county announced that it will be cutting about $800,000 from the Sacramento County library system’s 28 libraries. Forums will be held at three different locations in July, at which library users will be able to tell library staffers which programs and library functions they want to see survive the cuts. We published a list of the dates and times of those meetings. 

There’s a new Goodwill store in Midtown, but this one’s a bit different: It features vintage clothing culled from other standard Goodwill stores and is aimed at discriminating Midtown shoppers who are looking for more stylish items than one might find in a regular Goodwill store. It’s at 16th and L streets.

And credit where it’s due: Last week The Sacramento Bee reported that Regional Transit may restore late night-service after four years of nothing but cuts. RT is dependent on sales tax revenues for half of its budget (fares pay only a quarter), and sales tax is up this year after shoppers started returning to stores. RT will wait another month to make sure that the trend is solid, then will resume late-night (after midnight) service. Currently, most trains stop rolling at 9:30 p.m. 

The state Senate approved a bill that will help local fire departments get more in federal funds for providing ambulance transport for MediCal recipients. It will be paid for through the federal MediCare program and will reimburse local fire departments as much as 50 percent. Fire departments are mandated to transport MediCal patients and as many as two thirds of their calls are for medical emergencies. Only 4 percent are for actual fires. This could mean as much as $90 million for state fire departments this year, and $50 million each for subsequent years. 

Old Sacramento is going to be expanding its tourist offerings starting next year, including the extension of the excursion trains south as far as Hood and with the further development of underground tours and perhaps even the addition of a 19th century clipper ship at the riverfront. Public hearings have already been held, and now the proposals, by the Department of Parks and Recreation, will be going through one more public review and then on to the City Council for a vote. It is expected to be finalized next year. 

More than 1,000 Sacramento-area nonprofits had their nonprofit status revoked by the IRS as part of a clean up of their books after a 2006 pension reform act. Most of those 1,000 or so organizations have ceased to exist, but two local organizations we contacted have some work to do: One, the California-Nevada Soft Drink Association, didn’t know its status had been revoked until we called them about it, and the other, ironically, is the Sacramento City Taxpayers’ Rights League!

We reported last week that local favorite son Jackie Greene has formed a new band, Trigger Hippy, that includes three former members of the Black Crowes, as well as singer Joan Osborne, who, like Greene, has performed with former members or versions of Grateful Dead. Jackie will reportedly also be performing as a trio with former Dead member Bob Weir and former Black Crowe lead singer Chris Robinson. 

The mobile food movement is moving outside of the central city. Thursday, a group of local food trucks composed of the Mini Burger Truck, Mama Kim on the Go and Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen gathered in the parking lot of Tognotti’s Auto World at Fulton and El Camino for the first event held by the fledgling Sacramento Food Truck Alliance. This was just outside the city limits, beyond the reach of the food truck ordinance that the Alliance is aiming to overturn. And it will happen again this Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at Tognotti’s. 

To listen to the audio for this show, click here.

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