A win for the people of Curtis Park

Curtis Park is south of Downtown Sacramento and west of Highway 99.
Is one of the more popular neighborhoods in city.  Within its boundaries you can find the very popular Gunther’s Ice Cream store and Freeport Bakery.

Earlier this year, Redfin a Seattle based Real Estate Company added Curtis Park to its top ten list of the nations most desired neighborhood in the United States.

The Developer vs The People of Curtis Park

On the southwest corner of Curtis Park near Sacramento City College lies 72 acres, the former site of the Western Pacific Railyard . For decades the lay abandon.  After years of chemical use in the yard, the land required considerable clean up .

In 2003, the land was purchased by the Petrovich Development company.  The company spent 35 million dollars cleaning up the toxic site. The community wanted the new development to compliment the existing homes in the area.   The developers initial offering in this large infill project,resembled homes and shopping found in the suburbs.

Citizens led by the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association rejected early plans of the project.  Many believe the project was too large.  Others questioned the developers solution for water run off.   Several changes to the project including reducing the size of parks and other public spaces brought the developers overall credibility and commitment to the neighborhood into question.

For some residents, the city seemed give Petrovich everything they wanted.  The issue that galvanized this  community where the plans for Safeway.  Many community leaders said they knew a Grocery Store was going to be in the center,what they didn’t know was a Gas Station was part of that plan.   Petrovich said, Safeway would not build a store without a fuel center and no other major Grocery Chain is currently interested in the development.

Many people  believe the Gas Station (open 24 hours) would bring more traffic to this quiet neighborhood. The only Safeway with a Gas Station in Sacramento is in the North Natomas neighborhood.

A few hours before the meeting, Paul Petrovich told reporters “he was entitled to a gas station in his Curtis Park Village development after spending $35 million cleaning up the former toxic railyard”  

In front of a pack chamber, filled with Curtis Park residence.   Petrovich, addressing the City Council, said he called his 2010 deal with the city  in which he paid for the toxic cleanup and other improvements in exchange for development rights – the “grand bargain.”

Part of that bargain included the shopping center, and while he admitted the plan didn’t include a gas station until this year ,it was perfectly legitimate for the planned Safeway grocery store at the site to have a gas station.  He was exerting its right under the grand bargain.

Last night the vote was 7-2 against the service station and a win for the citizens of Curtis Park. 

Nearly 20 years ago, the council approved a Shopping Center with a Safeway in North Natomas with a gas station. Safeway said, they would not build without a gas station.  Which meant a change in the community plan.  The original plan ,drafted by the Natomas Community Association was for North Natomas to be a walkable neighborhood (Think East Sacramento) neighborhood with shops and business fronting the streets.



363 Days Before Halloween “Angelique Ashby Believes in the Great Pumpkin” Oakland Raiders and the 49ers-Too Much Nay Nay-

If you didn’t get enough candy last weekend, this is your week. Stores needing space for Thanksgiving and Christmas displays, will be marking candy down as much as 75% off.  I’m putting mine in a Weight Watcher Bag with a bag of soy chips on top.

You have to admire Angelique Ashby’s innocence. (One wonders if she sat in one of those big fields in Natomas waiting for the Great pumpkin this weekend) Before Mayor Kevin Johnson could step down from the podium. Angelique was stepping up announcing she was running for mayor.

A few days later, former State Senator Darrell Steinberg announced he was also running for the city’s top chair, When Steinberg publicly announced he was running, he was surrounded by men with deep pockets.  Steinberg also has a few coins of his own. A reported 1.4 million coins.   Over the weekend she tweeted-Steinberg should donate the money to a worthy cause. No worries there Ms Ashby, I sure he has just the cause.   As for your campaign,perhaps a few hundred bake sales are in order.  Pumpkin cookies, Yum!

Mayor Johnson’s image may be tarnished, but he is a large presence in the business community and quite a few coins for the right and patient candidate.

If your a Raiders fan, your heart is racing,you cant stop dancing.  Two wins in a row!  I’m a lifelong Raiders fan, which means I’m very insecure. Even when they have had a huge lead in the third, I have seen them collapse in the fourth quarter.   Yesterday, they were a smooth machine as they spanked the New York Jets. 34 to 20
The only issue I had with the game was with Fox Sports. Who would show images of San Francisco even though the game was played in beautiful Oakland

The opposite WAS true of the Niners.  If they had a lead early in the second quarter. Niners fans could confidently uncork the “78” and order brie and water crackers served on an environmental friendly tray.  But that was so 2011.   Today, many of the fans are having Berka’s delivered by Amazon.  (Prime members in Sacramento can get their Berka’s in two hours or less!)
Yesterday, they were spanked by St Louis 26 to 6 and sent to bed early without pudding cup.   There has to be an alternative to Colin Kaepernick and the defense. He’s becoming too comfortable in this position.
St. Louis Rams v San Francisco 49ers

There were many many parties in Sacratomatoville this weekend.  What most of them had in common was  Silento’s “Watch it” (Whip/Nae Nae)  and somewhere between eleven and one I injured my Nae Nae.  I can Whip it, as long as its slow.  There will be no stanky legs until my Nae Nae fully recovers.


Hey Mayor Kevin Johnson “Dont! Touch City Staff” Hand Shakes Okay!

Attorney memo

A law firm hired by the city wrote in a confidential memo that Johnson should “be advised as to how his actions  are being perceived” by some city employees, and that he should “refrain from hugging or touching anyone” at City Hall or at city-related events.

More to the story

Sac Bee: Sacramento needs real ethics reform, not city’s fake version

Sacramento’s Mayor, Vice Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem. and one former supervisor have been accused of harassment.   The City’s fix, will allow the mayor and the council to appoint members of  this ethics group.   Sort of like allowing the inmates to select the jury pool.

Click on the link below for the Rest of the Story


GOP Presidential Candidate Scott Walker chooses Professional Basketball over Public Education

By CityFella

Build us a new modern arena by 2017 or we will leave town.  Sacramentians are familiar with this sentence from the National Basketball Associations playbook and by golly, next fall Sacramento will open the ultramodern Golden One Center Downtown, the newest NBA Arena( I mean Entertainment Complex) in the nation.   Until the city of Milwaukee opens its new NBA Arena( I mean Entertainment Complex ) in Downtown Milwaukee in the fall of 2017.

In July, Wisconsin’s Governor and GOP Presidential Candidate Scott Walker cut $250 million dollars from the 13 four-year universities and 13 two-year campuses University of Wisconsin system.  He initially proposed cutting $300 million from the system.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says, Wisconsin is already spending less on higher education than all of its Midwestern neighbors and is one of only six states that have approved or are considering reducing higher education funding for the next fiscal year

On August 12th, Governor Walker signed a bill approving $250 million dollar in public funding for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks

Bloomberg view calls the signing,”A fly in the face of both Walker’s presidential campaigning as a fiscal conservative and his insistence that there isn’t enough money for things like public education or living wages.”  “Walker can talk all he wants about lowering taxes and cutting waste, but when all is said and done and you include $174 million in bond interest over 20 years, he’s sinking upwards of $400 million into a stadium for a team owned by billionaire hedge-fund managers in a state with a projected 2.2 billion deficit.

The People

Like Sacramento, if the citizens of Milwaukee voted on this arena, it would have failed at the ballot box.   In an Marquette University poll . 67%  of people polled in the Milwaukee Media Market opposed public funding. Statewide only 9% supported public funding for a new arena.

The people of the great state of Wisconsin have low tolerance for public funding for professional sports.  In the early nineties  Major League Baseball (Milwaukee Brewers) wanted a new stadium, it they didn’t get a new stadium (you know).

The citizens didn’t want to fund a new stadium.  Politicians proposed a one percent sale tax increase on the citizens in Milwaukee county and the surrounding counties of Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha.  The taxes was very unpopular.  State Senator George Petak initially promised to vote against the tax and changed his mind at the eleventh hour. A special recall election was held and George Petak became the first Wisconsin legislator to be successfully recalled from office

A combination of Democrats and Republican legislators supported the Arena Deal.   Time will tell if there will be repercussions at the ballot box next year. Citizens are talking notes.

As for Scott Walker, he has some “Splanin” to do.  At one point the fiscal conservation will have to tell the potential voters why he chooses Basketball over Public Education

Steve Hansen removes the Cone of Silence from Sacramento City Hall

One can hear a pin drop at City Hall. The Silence hasn’t gone unnoticed by the local press.  It began in May, after a city employee filed a claim against Mayor Kevin Johnson, accusing him of sexual harassment.

Click Link for Story


 A few days ago Vice Mayor Allen Warren was accused of sexual harassment by a former city aid

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One day after Allen Warren’s complaint, Elsie Fong a (former supervisor with the Department of Utilities) was accused of sexually harassing a female subordinate.

An former employee said ,Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby
denied an employee medical and family leave benefits.and is suing the city.

District 4 City Councilman Steve Hansen   says the city isn’t doing enough to prevent sexual harassment after three cases of allegations.  He wants the city auditor to evaluate the city’s policy over the next 30 days.

At last night council meeting, the mayor and some of the other council members would have preferred Hansen meet with the council before talking to the media.

The allegations began May, if this was another public entity, such as school board,  there would be demands for an independent inquiry.

The resent events are unprecedented, never in the history of the City of Sacramento has three members of the city(The Mayor, the Vice Mayor and Mayor Por Tem)  accused of harassment (within months of each other)

Delia Chacon complained to the city about Allen Warren and Estrellita Ilee Muller filed her claim with the city clerks office and it was the council who voted 7.0 in a closed door session to reject Muller’s claim against the city.

 What are the consequences for city employees and elected officials?

Hansen says, the city’s policy is outdated. A paragraph on the city’s human resources website has a link to read more, but the link doesn’t seem to work.

“Our policy doesn’t say we have no tolerance for this behavior, it doesn’t explicitly say that it’s illegal which it is,” . “San Jose’s policy is 11 pages long, but it also deals with if an elected official does something that is inappropriate how to report it.”

Outside  of City Hall, The League of Women Voters, Sacramento Democratic Party and the Eye on Sacramento are calling for a creation of an independent city ethics commission.  Many cities have formed ethics commissions.

The mayor and some members of the council are miffed by Hansen’s actions.  How dare he talk to the media!  The mayor says he supports ethics reform.  Angelique Ashby and Allen Warren are on the city’s good governance committee.

At last night meeting, it seemed to be more about protocol than repairing the system.  District 8 Councilman Larry Carr said he had a problem with asking the city manager to implement a policy before the council sees it.  Image and Conflict of Interest is lost on  District 7’s Councilmen Rick Jennings who believes Ashby and Allen(who are accused of harassment) should not be asked to step down from the good governance committee.

It is clear, the current system is broken and breeds corruption.  The sentiment last night seemed to be, forget public perception, protect our colleagues. The only solution is an independent body.

Secrets and the Cone of Silence

There are eight council members, two of the eight have been accused of harassment. Citizens are talking,wondering what’s going on?     Missing is the outrage and embarrassment for city!  No one has come forward not a single council member has said,we need to look into this.    Transparency is simply 12 letter word.  Steve Hansen, a party of one has lifted the cone of silence off Sacramento’s City Hall.    At last nights meeting he said  “We can’t just let things get swept under the rug”    


Sticky Fingers : Stockton Teacher “Jennifer Ann Matuska” said she took the Cash!

Last December, Elementary School teacher,  Jennifer Ann Matuska admitted stealing over twenty five thousand smackers from Stockton’s Taylor Elementary, Parent Teacher Organization for her personal use.

The jig was up after teachers questioned why there were no funds left for certain activities that had already been set up. The school discovered the organization’s bank account had been wiped out and closed.

Guess, who was in charge of the MO-nay?

Parent Teacher Organization’s are different than Parent Teacher Associations (PTA’s)

 PTA’s are highly structured. Parents control distribution of funds, multiple signatures are generally required to withdraw funds, after approval from members of the PTA’s.

This is the second embezzlement case involving a Stockton Unified employee in the past two years. Former Bush Elementary Principal Marlesse Cavazos pleaded no contest early in 2014 to charges she embezzled from the school’s PTO.    Stockton Unified is slowly moving away from PTO’s

Yesterday, Matuska pleaded no contest to San Joaquin County Superior Court, after making restitution to Stockton Unified in the amount $13,585.00 she also agreed to perform 200 hours of community service.

Matuska resigned from the school district and is on one year probation .  As for the balance ,“If the school district wants more, they can ask for a hearing.” says San Joaquin Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor.