Parkway Fires, 15 total in June and July

According to the Parkway Rangers report, in the month of June there were 9 fires on the parkway, the largest being 46 acres; and in the month of July 2016 there were 6 fires, the largest being 4-5 acres.

According to the Sac Fire Twitter feed, we only found 1 in July and 2 in June, the others mentioned by the Rangers were handled by other fire districts, but from now on we will rely on the Ranger’s account as well as SacFire.

 

Posted in Parkway Fires

State Conservancy Support

While this supportive article in the Sacramento Bee about the proposed legislation establishing a state parkway conservancy is accurate on the benefits, and sentiments, it fails to mention (while noting the homeless camping problem) the inability of the current Parkway manager—Sacramento County Parks—to effectively address illegal camping.

While we certainly wish all the best in the pursuit of new governance and new funds for the Parkway, relying on the same management—as the legislation does—does not give us much confidence.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

In the Legislature’s final push, one bill that deserves attention is Assembly Bill 1716, the Lower American River Conservancy Act.

Authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a Sacramento Democrat, the bill would let the American River Parkway compete for funding through future bonds, money not available through limited state allocations and a stretched county budget.

The parkway is a jewel of the region. In addition to recreational activities, the parkway provides natural habitat, flood control and a nature-friendly transportation artery. Yet there is significant room to extend the parkway’s benefits to more residents.

While private funding and foundations offer amenities on the eastern and central sections of the parkway, it changes character downriver. The challenge of the homeless is well-documented, and the western section lacks destinations to attract visitors. Given the proximity to midtown Sacramento and Del Rio, nature centers, interpretive trail systems or play areas for children would dramatically improve the parkway’s benefits. By carefully establishing these improvements, we can also preserve the parkway’s natural settings.

As stewards and benefactors of this amazing local resource, we should no longer accept two distinct areas of the parkway.

Posted in ARPPS, Homelessness, Nonprofit Management

Excellent Idea for Parkway

Tracking visitors behavior, as reported by Engadget.

An excerpt.

Like any other potential advertising space, New York City’s Bryant Park needs information about its visitors in order to attract potential sponsors. To gather that information, the private Bryant Park Corporation, which runs the city-owned park, has announced a new partnership with data analytics firm PlaceIQ allowing the BPC to glean anonymized data from visitors’ mobile phones that can be used to create a generalized picture of the parkgoers and their movement or buying habits.

While visitor numbers are a useful metric for planning park events and estimating foot traffic, PlaceIQ’s platform tracks more than just the size of the crowds. According to PlaceIQ’s handy Bryant Park infographic, the company has already determined that only 19 percent of visitors live in Manhattan, but the average visitor is 50 percent more likely to visit Macy’s and twice as likely to shop at PetSmart or do their banking with Bank of America. Which is all useful data the Bryant Park Corporation can leverage while courting potential sponsors for events like film nights in the park (sponsored by HBO), morning yoga on the lawn (sponsored by Athleta) or the seasonal “Winter Village” (sponsored by Bank of America).

As AdAge reports, PlaceIQ and several other similar companies gather their information from mobile app location data (which most users allow access to when they download free mobile apps) or from geo-targeted mobile ads. Although the data is anonymized and not tied a specific user’s phone, it still creates a surprisingly complete picture of the visitors to the park.

While the prospect might seem alarming to privacy advocates, it seems location tracking is an inevitable part of the future of public green spaces. In 2015, London came under fire after a Guardian report revealed the city’s massive 350-acre Hyde Park spent 12 months collecting similarly aggregated and anonymized data. In both cases, the administrative bodies have claimed the information will give them better insights into who uses the parks, allowing them to better manage the sites.

Posted in Public Safety, Technology

Homeless Heroin Use Allowed in Housing?

This policy would be a natural growth of the Harm Reduction movement in dealing with drugs and is now being proposed in Seattle to allow homeless with heroin addictions to shoot up in homeless housing; bizarre, as reported by the Seattle Times.

An excerpt.

The Heroin Task Force formed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine has endorsed the creation of safe-consumption sites for addicts, which would be a first in the U.S.

A majority of the task-force members support a place or places for addicts to use heroin and other drugs besides public restrooms, alleys or homeless encampments such as The Jungle, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, task force co-chair. The idea is that users could visit a supervised facility where they could get clean needles and anti-overdose medications as well as medical attention as needed and treatment opportunities.

The task force is working on formal recommendations expected next month, Duchin said, for what a model might look like and what legal hurdles it could face.

But such a site wouldn’t directly address homelessness among addicts. The Jungle’s population dropped by about 200 people after the mayor initiated intensive outreach efforts earlier this summer, but about 120 people remain. The vast majority have addictions, with heroin the most prominent.

Murray has proposed a dormitory-style homeless shelter modeled after San Francisco’s Navigation Center that would allow pets, partners, storage for personal belongings, and intoxicated residents — unlike some shelters — as a way to coax residents out of encampments.

Posted in Homelessness

Safety of the Streets is Largely Gone

Which is sadly true in most of the urban areas of our country, including Sacramento, and it isn’t until you get into the outlying suburbs that it returns.

This article from City Journal is about this.

An excerpt.

“The bedrock attribute of a successful city district is that a person must feel personally safe and secure on the street among all these strangers,” wrote Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Jacobs is revered as an urban prophet, but key facets of her prescription for how to keep streets safe and maintain thriving urban neighborhoods are increasingly being ignored in New York today.

Key to safe and thriving sidewalks is what Jacobs called “eyes on the street”: people taking an active interest in what’s happening around them. Citizen vigilance, she believed, was even more important than the police. Public peace, she wrote, was “kept primarily by an intricate, almost unconscious network of voluntary controls and standards among the people themselves, and enforced by the people themselves.” Some eyes on the street were more important than others—especially those belonging to local business owners. “Storekeepers and other small businessmen are typically strong proponents of peace and order themselves,” Jacobs observed. “They hate broken windows and holdups; they hate having customers made nervous about safety.”

As sensible as this sounds, we’re not practicing it today with anywhere near the breadth and consistency that we should. Instead of policing the sidewalk in front of their establishments, shopkeepers have been reduced to hapless bystanders, begging for someone to help them deal with aggressive, mentally ill vagrants, who accost their customers, camp out in front of their establishments, and urinate in the street. Families visit New York and take their kids to Times Square, where naked ladies—and at least one naked cowboy—hit them up for cash. Young boys have eyes on that street, I’m sure.

The New York Times recently profiled an Upper West Side street vendor who puts out as many as ten tables of books to sell on the sidewalk. He even leaves his books out overnight, covering them in plastic. Neighbors have complained about him for more than a decade at local police precinct council meetings. He has received up to 200 summonses from the police, frequently getting them dismissed—and even collecting $80,000 from countersuits that he filed about improper summonses. His real business appears to be trolling for reasons to sue the city.

How can these people operate without any sort of permit? We’re solemnly told that all this is constitutionally protected behavior. Naked ladies, the mentally ill panhandlers cursing at women on the sidewalk, and street vendors without permits taking up over a block of sidewalk frontage have their rights. There is nothing to be done.

It’s not that social control over antisocial public behavior has broken down. Nor is it purely a legal matter. Rather, social control over anti-social behavior is becoming delegitimized. Many urban boosters, in fact, cheer this development. Some even support decriminalization of certain illegal behavior, such as fare-jumping. It’s a strange inversion. Today, it’s aggressive panhandlers and touts who have become what Jacobs called “the natural proprietors” of the street. And they act like it. Other citizens, along with tourists and businesses, are forced to adapt to and comply with the standards that they set.

No wonder that, in New York as in other cities, a perception grows that disorder and unease are increasing on the streets. High-profile incidents—ranging from a mentally ill man hacking at a woman with a machete in Bryant Park to a knife-wielding man killed by the police in Midtown—increase the anxiety. No, New York is not going back to 1975. But it’s clear nonetheless that antisocial behavior is seeping into the mainstream. For example, there’s an epidemic of “box blocking”—stopping in intersections—including by the city’s own bus drivers, often directly in full view of traffic control agents. I’ve often seen it happen myself.

Posted in Public Safety

Homeless in National Parks

This reality, as reported by the New York Times, can also be found in our Parkway, sadly; and the paragraph in bold is so pertinent in relation to the homeless services mall surrounding the Parkway in the 12th Street/Richards Blvd/Woodlake/North Sacramento area which clearly exacerbates the illegally camping in the Parkway.

An excerpt.

NEDERLAND, Colo. — Gerald Babbitt lives in these woods, in a pop-up trailer on cinder blocks that he bought for $250. His toilet is a bucket, and when he and his wife need to refill their water jugs, they drive their creaky green Jeep a mile down the mountain and into town. Most people are kind, but the other day someone called them “homeless vagrant beggars,” Mr. Babbitt said.

“Yes, we’re homeless,” he said, sitting in the shade of his camper here in the Arapaho National Forest. “No, we’re not vagrants. No, we’re not beggars. We just barely are making it. What you see is by the grace of God.”

To millions of adventurers and campers, America’s national forests are a boundless backyard for hiking trips, rafting, hunting and mountain biking. But for thousands of homeless people and hard-up wanderers, they have become a retreat of last resort.

Forest law enforcement officers say they are seeing more dislocated people living off the land, often driven there by drug and alcohol addiction, mental health problems, lost jobs or scarce housing in costly mountain towns. And as officers deal with more emergency calls, drug overdoses, illegal fires and trash piles deep in the woods, tensions are boiling in places like Nederland that lie on the fringes of the United States’ forests and loosely patrolled public lands.

“The anger is palpable,” said Hansen Wendlandt, the pastor at the Nederland Community Presbyterian Church.

Some residents have begun taking photographs of hitchhikers or videotaping confrontations with homeless people camping in the woods and posting them online, including on a private Facebook page created recently called Peak to Peak Forest Watch. Some say the campers have cursed at them for driving past without picking them up, or yelled at them while they were cycling or hiking. They say they no longer feel comfortable in some parts of the woods.

But as a homeless man named Julian, 30, hiked down from the hills and into Nederland one rainy afternoon, guitar and knapsack slung on his back, he said a passing driver yelled at him to get out of town. He said he, too, felt uncomfortable and was heading toward Estes Park, Colo., then on to Oregon. He did not give his last name because he said he did not want friends and family reading that he was homeless.

Mr. Wendlandt serves lunch and hands out socks to needy campers every Thursday. But he has stopped provisioning people with blankets and sleeping bags, worried that what seemed like compassion could be exacerbating a problem.

A wildfire in July was a tipping point. Two men from Alabama pitched camp without permission on a privately owned hillside near Nederland, lit a campfire and read their Bibles, they told the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. The men told officials they put some rocks on the fire to put it out, and though they discussed whether they should do more to smother it, they decided not to.

One smoldering cigarette or lightning strike can ignite an entire hillside in the parched, fuel-filled forests across the West, and officials say the campfire galloped away and burned 600 acres of canyons and forests around Nederland. It destroyed eight homes, including that of a fire captain.

Posted in Homelessness, Public Safety

Financial Services Sector Booming

Very interesting article from New Geography and Sacramento comes in at 41st in the large cities category.

An excerpt.

From the earliest days of the Republic, banking and finance has largely been the purview of what one historian calls the “Yankee Empire.” Based largely in New York and Boston, later on financial centers grew along the main route of Yankee migration to Chicago and San Francisco.

Yet, if you look at where financial jobs are now headed, perhaps it’s time, as the Dallas Morning News cheekily suggested recently, to substitute Y’all Street for Wall Street. Finance, increasingly conducted electronically, is no longer tethered to its traditional centers. Large global financial companies like UBS, Deutsche Bank , Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are all committed to relocating operations to less expensive locations.

In the U.S., this has benefited the South the most. This year’s list of the metro areas that are increasing employment in financial services at the fastest rate is led by first-place Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., No. 2 Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, No. 4 Austin-Round Rock, Texas, and No. 5 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia N.C.-S.C.

Financial service employment is important, particularly since the recovery from the 2008 financial meltdown. The industry is second in the U.S. only to the professional and business services sector in terms of the number of people it employs in high-paying jobs (average salary: $62,860), and its recent growth has been spread across the country. Of the 70 large metro areas we studied, only three have lost financial jobs since 2010.

Methodology

To generate our ranking, we looked at employment growth in the 366 metropolitan statistical areas for which BLS has complete data going back to 2005, weighting growth over the short-, medium- and long-term in that span, and factoring in momentum — whether growth is slowing or accelerating. (For a detailed description of our methodology, click here.)

The South Rises Again

The shift to the South seems to be based on several factors: lower costs (including for housing), less regulation and expanding markets, driven by rapid population growth. As population has shifted to the South, most notably low-tax states like Tennessee and Texas, it has clearly increased local demand for financial services. But there’s also another factor: the migration of financial jobs from traditional centers such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Our top emerging financial superstar, Nashville, has all these characteristics.

Since 2010, the area’s financial workforce has expanded 24.5 percent to 60,900. Population growth and in-migration rates have been spectacular.

Posted in demographics, Economy