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SacPress on Insight: Redistricting, bridges and yoga

David Watts Barton discusses local news with Jeffrey Callison on “Insight.”

My weekly Tuesday morning visit with Jeffrey Callison on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight” was full of news about changes in city leadership, plans for new bridges and changes at Midtown’s oldest yoga studio.

The most important thing at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting will be the decision on a redistricting plan. We have taken several looks at this issue over the last few months, but tonight is the beginning of the end game. The final choice is Aug. 22, but now is the time to be heard. There were four or five finalists, with different complications – including potentially pitting council members against each other for reelection – and a couple of sure things, such as the consolidation of the central city into one district. 

After five different city managers in less than six years, with two or three “interim” city managers since Ray Kerridge resigned in March of last year, a front-runner emerged in the search for a new city manager to replace two recent interim city managers. California Redevelopment Association Executive Director John Shirey is the name that is agreed to be the front-runner, though no decision has been made, and will be made “soon.” The mayor himself blogged that he is unhappy with the choices the council has, and even went so far as to write, “The small number of applicants for the job demonstrates our city’s diminished status.” All of this could set up an interesting dynamic with Shirey, should he be chosen.

And if there’s anything even more controversial than a city manager, it’s bridges. The City Council last week heard the results of nine months of study about potential Sacramento River crossings between West Sacramento and Sacramento. There are a number of possibilities, but the council got hung up on the phrase “neighborhood-friendly” and told the staff to spend another three weeks deciding what that means. However, there seemed to be a clear understanding that the good folks in Land Park will probably block ANY bridge that feeds traffic into their neighborhood, even though that’s probably the area where a bridge is most needed.

Christine Collins is closing Deep Art and Yoga, which was one of the first, if not the first yoga studio in Midtown when she opened it back in 2005. She has handed the place off to Tyler Langdale, who is also a terrific yoga teacher. He has moved his recently opened studio, Yoga Shala, out of the YWCA and into Deep’s beautiful space at 21st and H streets. 

Minds are changing, but some of my buddies in old media were skeptical, to say the least, about “citizen journalism,” or whatever you want to call it when “civilians” dare to try their hands at reporting on their city. The nerve! But we had a terrific example of such writing from a cab driver named Angelo Howland, who published a story about his experiences driving a cab in Sacramento, and it was eye-opening.

More arena news, kinda-sorta: Mayor Johnson assembled the representatives of 14 area Chambers of Commerce to back the current arena plan, which is still not really a plan at all until we get some suggestions for how it might be funded. This drew quite a few comments on the story’s Conversation, and several of them added quite a bit to the story. People are extremely skeptical about this whole process, and the “where’s the money?” question is more pertinent than ever. We shall see in September, or so we are told.

Some good news for residents of the Pocket area in South Sacramento: The bike trail that runs along the Sacramento River south of the Pocket area has been closed for four years for the expansion of the intake there at Freeport Boulevard, but now it’s open again, with new public artwork and other amenities. We’ve got some great photos of it, including an aerial shot that really placed it well for me.

Lastly, Jeffrey Callison will be coming to The Sacramento Press office to teach a workshop on the art and craft of interviewing, and anyone interested would do well to come get the wit and wisdom of one of our local masters of the form.

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