Your dinner is trying to escape


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It was one of my friends favorite Chinese restaurants.  You must try it!  he said,  “Hands down it beats any Chinese restaurant in San Francisco.

Due to an accident, it took an extra half an hour to get downtown.   I was starving.  After being seated, I left to go to the restroom.

Upon my return, I could see behind a picture hanging on the wall.  Behind the picture were a few critters of the insect variety.  Panicked , I didn’t embarrass the host or wreck the evening for everyone, but one thing was clear,  I wasn’t eating.

Denial

I can’t be the only one in the entire world who has seen those crawling creatures.   My mind went into overdrive as the waitress was taking orders.  Maybe its my overactive imagination.   So, I clumsily excused myself and returned to restroom.   Slowly looking behind the picture.  Yep, they ARE back there and its Quite the Village.     Ain’t no way I’m eating….

Returning to the table (yes, I looked again) some of my tablemates asked if everything was okay?  I told them, it was my nervous stomach.   Then went and ordered Fried Won Tons.    Fried foods calms your stomach? someone asks.      Yes, I said.

The food was coming out.  It was quite the production, giant platters and bowls of steaming hot food.   Hey’ there is a lot of food so feel free, its really good.

I thoroughly inspected my won ton, looking closely for body parts.  Cleared, the won ton was good.

The food, looked and smelled good.  There were many mmmmmmm’s .   I was weakening, the fat man on a won ton diet?  Bullshit.    I asked for some rice and my mainstay, orange chicken.   “That’s all you want? there is plenty”, someone said.    I was looking around to see if I could see something that didn’t belong.  What I wanted to do is  sift through the food.  Well, can’t do that.

Just as I was about to get a scoop of the beef broccoli. Someone said, I think something is alive on your plate, and its trying to escape.

While I would have been a bit more discreet.  She wasn’t , I think people could hear her in East Sacramento.   I am soo happy she did.   My Won Ton was great, Thank you!

CityFella

 

 

 

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Bleak and Scary “J” Street


A few days ago, I picked up a few friends from Boston and drove them from Airport to their downtown hotel. . This was their first visit to Sacramento.   From the airport, I was peppered with questions about my city.  They were in town to attend a workshop and worried about having options in the evenings.

In the car, they were taking the in city, asking about undeveloped areas in Natomas near the Sleep Train Arena.  In Boston, there aren’t any large  undeveloped parcels.   There were smiles, as we crossed over the American River looking downtown. “Ohh this is nice and bright”   “What’s that?” pointing at Old Sac, more ooh’s.

As we exited onto “J” street, the car became silent.   I slowed down so they could see the Golden One Center and someone said, I see you have homeless here too.   The car was silent as we arrived at the Sheraton.  We’re having dinner tomorrow right?  Yes.

After dropping them off, I drove back to 3rd and J streets and looked at the area after dark  as if it was my first time.

J Street ,is the Gateway to downtown Sacramento. Everyday, thousands of people visiting Sacramento for the first time enter via J street.

As you enter J street , to the right, there is the bright Holiday Inn, to the left was a closed (at 10pm ) resturant.  Next to the Holiday Inn  is the rear of Downtown Commons which is very dark. Across from it ,is The Pier Lounge which is bright.

As  you cross 5th Street, the brightest building is not the New Sawyer Hotel and Condominiums, its the new Kaiser Permanente building.

From 6th to 7th Street everything is dark.

On the left side of “J” street, between 7th and 8th there is a series of vacant buildings with homeless people sleeping in front of them and one  Subway Resturant and a bail bondsman.

Between 8th and 9th Streets is modern apartment building with a few closed restaurants. Across from it is an office building.

9th and 10th  Cesar Chavez Park on the Left Side and on the Right side are a few closed businesses and on the corner of 10th is the Citizens Hotel. 

The block between 10th and the 11th Street is the worst block in Downtown Sacramento. With the exception of a Liquor Store across from the Citizens Hotel, every building on both sides of the street is vacant.

Thing begin to get better beyond 12th Street near the Sheraton Hotel. The areas is bright, with restaurants and activity.  With the exception of the crowds outside the 7/11 the area feels safe.

For the first time since moving here, I saw the city through the eyes of a visitor. After a driving a few mostly vacant blocks on J Street, I’m not sure if I would want to continue.

“J”  is Sacramento’s welcome mat. It is the first thing visitors see off  Interstate 5.  It is the exit, drivers wanting a break from the road on route to San Francisco or Los Angeles  from  Portland and Seattle or would take.  The first few block on “J” street might  determine if the visitor wants to see more of the city.

 Sacramento often forgets ,”K” is just one street in Sacramento.  Millions has been spent on Kay Street   To get to K street one has to exit onto J Street.

Sacramento is a wonderful and beautiful city filled with amazing trees and historic areas.  The midtown area is vibrant day and night with something for everyone.  One could spend a full day touring our wonderful museums.

Unfortunately, the first time visitors have to drive through a seedy and scary mess to get to get to the beauty.

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sex under the Capitol Dome: State Senator Tony Mendoza resigns


 

 

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The Me Too\We Said Enough movement is rocking the Golden Dome of California’s State Capitol. Last October a letter circulated by lobbyists, female lawmakers and legislative staff members and some political consultants cited a pervasive culture of harassment in the capitol.  Sexual harassment is common and sexual assaults have taken place in the Capitol.

While some staffers have come forward, many are still afraid to name to harassers as others experienced retaliation after filing formal complaints with the Legislature. 

Unlike state employees and your employer, legislative workers have no civil service protection.

Bills to provide them with whistle blower protection against retaliation has died in the Legislature four years in a row.

Under a new process instituted this year, the Assembly Rules Committee refers complaints deemed valid to an independent law firm — legislators say they believe that will speed the process of assisting victims.

Ten allegations of sexual harassment are pending before the Assembly, according to Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office.

A wave in the dome is in motion and slowly building strength.

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In November, Los Angeles Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra resigned after six women came forward with stories of aggressive attacks by Bocanegra dating back nearly 10 years.  In 2009, Bocanegra  had been disciplined by the Legislature following allegations that he had groped a fellow legislative staffer. In 2010, he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at the MIX Nightclub in Sacramento. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-bocanegra-accusation-harassment-20171120-story.html

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A week later, Assemblyman Matt Dababneh representing Woodland Hills resigned. After Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez came forward.   Lopez claimed in 2016, Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh followed her into a bathroom in Las Vegas, masturbated in front of her and urged her to touch him.

Another woman, Jessica Yas Barker, alleged that Dababneh routinely spoke of his sexual exploits and made disparaging comments about women while she worked as his subordinate office from June 2009 until December 2010.  Dababneh said, both allegations are false.

In an interview Dababneh said,”My stepping down isn’t out of guilt or out of fear. It’s out of an idea that I think it’s time for me to move on to new opportunities”

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Allegations are growing for Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia from Bell Gardens.  Garcia is one of the faces of the #MeToo movement in government.  Garcia, who is currently on a voluntary unpaid leave of absence as the Assembly investigate the charges.

In 2014, Daniel Fierro told POLITICO as a 25-year-old staffer to Assemblyman Ian Calderon, he was groped by Garcia. He said she cornered him alone after the annual Assembly softball game in Sacramento as he attempted to clean up the dugout. Fierro, who said Garcia appeared inebriated, said she began stroking his back, then squeezed his buttocks and attempted to touch his crotch before he extricated himself and quickly left.

Fierro is not the only one claiming improper advances by Garcia. A prominent Sacramento lobbyist says she also accosted him in May 2017, when she cornered him, made a graphic sexual proposal, and tried to grab his crotch at a political fundraiser. He spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals.

The lobbyist, who represents a major industry association, said that Garcia appeared to have been drinking heavily at a fundraiser hosted by Governor Jerry Brown for state Senator Josh Newman at the de Veres bar in Sacramento. He said he was heading out the door in part to avoid the assemblywoman — who had been increasingly “flirtatious” and had called him on a few occasions before for late night drinks which he repeatedly declined.  She spotted him and said,“Where are you going?” the lobbyist said.

“She came back and was whispering real close and I could smell the booze and see she was pretty far gone,’’ he said. “She looked at me for a second and said, “I’ve set a goal for myself to fuck you.”

At that point, Garcia “stepped in front of me and reaches out and is grabbing for my crotch,’’ he said. That was “the line in the sand,” according to the lobbyist, and he stopped her. “I was four inches from her, eyeball to eyeball — and I said, ‘That ain’t gonna happen.’”

But his account of the groping incident was corroborated by another high profile political operative in Sacramento, who declined to be named for publication. She said at the time the lobbyist was both angered and “humiliated” by the encounter, and disturbed that his sexual rejection of Garcia could have implications for his industry.

Both she — and the lobbyist — believe it may already have.

The Cristina Garcia sexual-harassment scandal expanded when J. David Kernick then a field representative to Garcia,  engaged in a night of heavy drinking and urged about a half-dozen staffers to play spin the bottle, the game in which players end up kissing.

Garcia “was seemingly not critical of [Kernick’s] work until after he questioned the appropriateness of her suggestion that after a fundraiser at a whiskey bar that [he] sit on the floor of her hotel room and play spin the bottle,”

In  his complaint to the State Fair Housing and Employment. Kernick said that after “protesting this sexual harassment,” he was written up for insubordination and fired. Kernick said the write-up prevented him from finding another job in politics.

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Yesterday, Democratic State Senator Tony Mendoza representing Los Angeles resigned hours before a possible vote to expel him .

Senator Mendoza’s has denied the accusations made by six women and said the investigation was unfair, illegal and racially motivated.  He say’s he intends to sue.

The Attorneys conducting the investigation concluded that Senator Mendoza “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as offering a 19-year-old intern alcohol in a hotel suite at a Democratic event, suggesting a young woman in a Senate fellowship take a vacation with him and rent a room in his house, and asking several women about their romantic lives.

The investigation found that Mendoza likely engaged in unwanted “flirtatious or sexually suggestive” behavior with six women, including four subordinates, a lobbyist and a young woman in a fellowship with another lawmaker.

He is the third California lawmaker to resign over sexual misconduct allegations since the #MeToo movement erupted nationally last fall, leading millions of women to share their experiences on social media.

The events surrounding the 46 year old married Senator sounds more like “Dynasty” than the Real Housewives.   

Three of Mendoza’s aids were fired after meeting with  the Senate Rules Committee staff and detailed allegations that Mendoza engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior with his district director Ava Perez.
Multiple sources told The Sacramento Bee that Mendoza,  invited the young woman back to his place to review resumes, including hers, on the night of a party at the Mix Nightclub Downtown. The woman, Ana Perez worked as a fellow in his office through a prestigious Sacramento State program that places graduates in legislative offices for 11 months
At least two of his aides complained about the way Mendoza’s district director, Perez treated them. One questioned why she was even working for the Senate given her felony record for lying to a grand jury to cover up campaign finance fraud in Commerce, sources said.
Mendoza has repeatedly denied firing the aids for complaining.  As for Perez and her criminal background, he believes in second chances.  As for the outstead aids, they are silenced by confidentially agreements.  Its not uncommon for aids to sign such agreements.

I’m leaving, but not QUIETLY!

In a Richard Nixon-esk exit.   Mendoza went after the leader of the Senate and former roomate  Kevin de Leon in his resignation letter.

“Its clean that de Leon will not rest until he has my head on a platter to convince the MeeToo movement of his sincerity in supporting the cause.

He wrote, that he wasn’t able to see the evidence against him and was ordered to remain silent about the allegations. He said he couldn’t get a fair hearing with so many of his fellow Democrats running for higher office and thinking about their own political futures.   He called the Senate’s process farcical and  “more likely than not” was a low standard of proof that didn’t merit a penalty as high as expulsion.
He said, he might run for his seat in the fall

 

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Hear the stories, plan your defense,see the letter Click on the link below

 https://www.wesaidenough.com/home

 

 

 

Just another Refugee from San Francisco


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I saw a familiar head in line at the BelAir Market on West El Camino.  We used to call him Peanut head back in the day.   I hadn’t seen Peanut head in more than ten years.  We lost contact after my family moved to Sacramento in the nineties.   There he was, in living color, in South Natomas.   I like a lot of my friends in the Bay, he gave many excuses why he couldn’t visit Sacramento. The number one excuse, was the heat. The number two was, it wasn’t the city and there wasn’t anything to do here.  I parked my cart and intercepted him before he left the store.

It seems Peanut head moved to Sacramento four years ago.  Family members from Hayward and Fremont soon followed.  His younger brother and his partner will arrive this spring.

Peanut head lost his job nearly 30 years and owned a home in the Haight.  After an extended visit in Sacramento he sold his home and paid cash for a home near his friend (a refugee from Los Angeles) in South Natomas.   Today, he owns several properties in Sacramento and has his sights on Oak Park.   He LOVES Sacramento, for more than a half an hour he talked about how much he loved it here.   We discovered we enjoy the same restaurants in midtown., he his a major soccer fan and often attends sporting events in the area.

In the last few years, nearly a dozen friends had quietly moves to Sacramento.   If your a Millennial its possible to own a home here.  If your a baby boomer with children or grandchildren in the state.  You can sell you home in Los Angeles and San Francisco and with the savings have an easier retirement.

Sometimes its difficult to find someone who was born and raised here to have a good word about their city.  Like the central character in Ladybird, they only dreams to leave the city.

I think the refugees are wining ,as Sacramento is the fastest growing big city in the state. While the local say there isn’t much here, the refugees are amazed by what is here.  The initial attraction here is the lower cost of living.  Sactown cost are  higher than most southern cities. Its much lower than the coastal areas of California and Washington.

Refugees have nothing put praise about the city and they are coming in by the car load.

Wikipedia Says, Sacramento has one of the highest LGBT populations per capita, ranking seventh among major American cities, and third in California behind San Francisco and slightly behind Oakland, with roughly 10% of the city’s total population identifying themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual and Sac is as the most “hipster city” in California.

After twenty years in Sactown, I wish it were a bit more urban. A bit more vertical. However what keeps me planted is the diversity, the people. I travel often and one thing I haven’t heard in Sacramento, “people who look like me isn’t welcome in this part of town”.  Something you hear in many cities.. So far, not in Sacramento.

The new refugees don’t share my complaints.  Go to a restaurant along 16th Street in one of the new buildings  or walk along “R”St corridor and you’ll hear (well, with one very vocal exception from Los Angeles who cant wait to leave this pile of …) I like Sac.

CityFella

 

 

 

Showtime for John Saca


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His family has Sacramento in its DNA.  He went to Sacramento State.  His family’s “Filco” stores has been a part of Sacramento for decades.

He’s ambitious, a formative salesman and for a brief moment, he was the prince of Sacramento.

His project “The Towers on Capitol  Mall with two, fifty three story condominiums would have Image result for Northwest corner of 10th and j sacramento  changed the face of and quite possibly the image of  Sacramento.

 This massive  (500 million dollar) project would have been the most expensive in the city’s history.   In contrast, the Golden 1 Center was less than 600 million.  Before one support piling was shoved into the ground, one tower had completely sold out.    Financing for the project collapsed and CalPers reportedly the giant lot at 3rd and Capitol.

The collapse of the Capitol Tower, may have been a good thing for Saca. As the nations real estate market south, selling out the second tower and the rest of te complex would have been a challenge.   Less ambitious projects in midtown struggled for years.

In 2014, nearly seven years after the Capitol Towers project. John Saca said he would build the another Condominium/Hotel project at 10 the J Streets. “The Metropolitan” like the Capitol Towers project,  would be the largest and tallest building of its kind in the city .

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While this is John Saca’s vision for 10th and J Streets

This is what it looks like today

The block on J Street between 10 and 11 is arguably the worst block in downtown Sacramento.  As both sides of the street is filled with vacant boarded up buildings.

One side of the street is Saca’s property on the other side is the former Copenhagen Furniture Store and several other closed and boarded up stores. Copenhagen closed after a fire in the ninties and relocated across town.

Thirty to forty percent of first time visitors to Sacramento, travel down J street to the Convention Center or the Memorial Auditorium. Visitors staying at the popular Citizen Hotel pass by those empty boarded up buildings on route to the convention center.   Finally, after more the twenty years, the city has said enough to the owners of those properties.

Last week the City told Saca, he had until July to move forward with his project or he risks losing his rights to build on that site.   In other words, he would have to start over and reapply.

There are many of us rooting for John Saca, the local boy with a dream.

A former Sacramentian, now living in San Diego resently said about her home town.

 I think it’s safe to say Sacramento is the single most stagnant city on Earth. If New York City is “The City that Never Sleeps,” Sacramento is “The City that Only Gets Up When it Has To.”

Julianna Ress

The tallest single use condominium in Sacramento is the 14 floor Capitol Towers built in the sixes.    While there are several condo projects  on the drawing boards, none are under construction.  Including a smaller mixed used project on the site of  former Saca project at third and Capital.

The newest project atop the new Sawyer hotel adjacent to the Golden One Center has has sold more than half of the condominiums in less then four months.  The units are range in price from $600,000 to 4.1 million. The first homeowners should move in a few weeks

Other cities similar in size to Sacramento have several projects in the sky.  Our leaders in Sacramento, often get it wrong.   They propose expanding a convention center that has never been profitable.   Many cities planted seeds to get the first large projects off the ground.  They saw the benefits of bringing  empty nesters and the well healed back downtown.  Sacramento’s leadership isn’t quite there..

While is original vision did not come to fruition.   To his credit, Saca convinced quite few hundred people in a city with low aspirations. to share his vision.    That says a lot about his abilities as a salesman.

Despite his best efforts, he fouled out.  Locating a lender willing to take a risk on a large project could be daunting.

I am unashamedly a fan.   There are a quite of few of us ,who wants the local guy to put his signature on Sacramento’s bleak skyline.  To believe in Sacramento and people here.  But, everyone starts from START.  I hope he pushes ego aside and secure financing on a smaller project,say,  20 story condo on that site.

If he is the salesman he was in 2006, he will have his sky shattering building in the sky in few years.    The city will work with him, he still has few fans in high places in the city but they are waning.  The Sac Bee reports, neither he or a representative attended the zoning meeting last week  We are  often judged is by our actions.  Can he bring this project forward or is he man with dreams and renderings?

News At 11

CityFella

LadyBird, LadyBird, LadyBird -(Miscellaneous Ramblings on a well received movie)


 

The little indi movie with the big voice shot in Sacramento* broke wide last weekend expanding to nearly 900 theaters in the US and Canada.

I was interested in Ladybird before I knew what it was.  I assumed it was a movie about the former first lady, Ladybird Johnson.

I’ve seen the movie twice.  Once with a fellow babyboomer and again last Tuesday with five girls who ranged in age , from 17 to 23.    With the one exception everyone has seen the movie before, one girl has seen the movie five times.

 It was interesting seeing the movie from their perspective. Initially I thought the appeal was seeing their hometown, but as I listened to their comments and reactions it was very interesting. the some of the scenes resonated with each lady differently.  There was one scene that moved all of us.  It happened at Terminal A.  Some of the ladies prepared themselves for the scene.  But I was the most surprised by my reaction. Our entire row was a lake of tears, five girls and the giant.  Thankfully they  had ample tissue.

Some of the girls want to see again next Tuesday.   I didn’t commit although they “DO” have the snacks.

  1. It’s a good thing it’s an independent film.  This coming of age film, is honest, and extremely intelligent,    The big studios would have ruined this gem, by adding cliques and touches to appeal to the masses.
  2. Who in the Hell is Saoirse Ronan. She is a fucking force as Ladybird.  The 23 year old has been nominated twice. A Best Supporting Actress nominee for Atonement, and a Best Actress nominee for Brooklyn.  Critics believe she is a shoo in for Ladybird.
  3. Speaking of Buzz there is Oscar buzz for Laurie Metcalf in what some are saying is her role of a lifetime as Ladybirds, hypercritical mother.  Her role is complex, she isn’t a monster, I believe Ladybird gives her oxygen even though she is carrying the entire world on her shoulders .
  4. This movie is the best reviewed movie of 2017.  Don’t take my word for it.  Simply Google “Ladybird” the movie.  The life force behind the movie is first time writer director and former Sacramento resident Greta Gerwig! There isn’t a villain here (sorry Hollywood) simply regular people.
  5. Sucks to be Greta Gerwig, hitting a home run the first time at bat. Expectations for the next film will be high.  There is a small part of me that she would use Sacramento in all her future films like Woody Allen who uses New York as his back drop.

 

CityFella

A series of bad decisions


TURKEYDAY 040

 

I’m in the Wally Mart parking lot . A man who looked like he was going to ask me for money, asked me for money saying he ” Keeps making a series of bad decisions which leaves him without money, like now!   I immediately reached into my pocket to give him money, but all I had was a twenty.  He smiled as he walked away.   As I was walking into the store, I wished I had five dollars to give him.  Who knows what bad decision he made to get him in today’s predicament, drugs, drink or like the rest of us a simple bad decision.

Its often fifty fifty, our decisions.  Will it work, its it a good idea?   Of course there are perfect individuals around us, these people are flawless and very judgmental of others.  These people are delusional and sometime dangerous (45) because some of them are in influential positions. Parents, teachers, members of the clergy who will demand perfection from others when they are flawed.  Damaging some innocents for decades.

I try to avoid perfect individuals. As I am flawed.  A broken egg is a broken egg, I will handle the next egg with special care.  There was a lesson there.   My prayer is to make new  mistakes and not repeating old ones.

Unlike perfect people, I am able to laugh at myself.  I’m human, my fall was stupid, I saw the banana on the ground and I stepped on it anyway.  Now my big ass is on the ground, and my lunch is paste.  NEXT!

The guy in the parking lot will haunt me for a while, but for a good reason.  With so much deceit in the world, the truth is often like a drop of rain in the desert.  It’s soo refreshing but it was only a drop.

CityFella