Homeless Death Near Parkway

As reported by the Sacramento Bee.

An excerpt.

Just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, the Sacramento Police Department received a call that the body of a homeless woman was found near Northgate Boulevard and the Arden-Garden Connector.

Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said officers believe the woman lived in a nearby encampment.

“A lot of the transient community lives here,” Heinlein said. “As a precaution, we called in our homicide team and investigators. We treat it ‘worst-case scenario,’ and we pull back resources if it’s natural causes,” he said.



Posted in Homelessness

Parkway Fire #32

Today, as reported by SacFire Twitter.

An excerpt.

2 alarm vegetation fire on Am. River Parkway @ Mile 4 confined to 2.5 acres. No injuries, cause under investigation.

Posted in Parkway Fires

Cleaning up After the Homeless

It’s a slog, as this article from the Sacramento Bee reports, and the garbage picked up from the Woodlake/Cal Expo area of the American River Parkway far outweighs what this article reports was picked up along the Sacramento River.

An excerpt.

A heap of soiled clothes. Several bike wheels. A shopping cart. A refrigerator door. A torn, faded purple suitcase. Syringes.

“A lot of human feces,” offered 16-year-old Delaney Roybal as her fellow YMCA Youth in Government members murmured in agreement.

Those were among the items collected by about 75 volunteers who descended on a stretch of the Sacramento River in West Sacramento on Saturday, joining a California Coastal Cleanup Day effort that included five Delta counties.

The turnout marked a significant improvement over last year, when only a few people showed up. Cub Scouts, teenagers, senior citizens and at least one father with a baby strapped to his back joined the effort.

They hauled some 1,800 pounds out of the stretch of river flowing between the Tower Bridge and the Pioneer Bridge, one piece of a statewide effort encompassing hundreds of sites that yielded at least 278 tons of waste.

“Most people don’t realize how much pollution is in the water,” said Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas, who joined the effort.

In the weeks leading up to the cleanup, Villegas said, officials reached out to three homeless people living in two encampments along the slice of river where the cleanup was to take place. Two ended up taking advantage of county services, he said.

Posted in Homelessness

Parkway Fires #29, 30 & 31

All small fires on September 22nd, as reported by SacFire Twitter.

An excerpt.

UPDATE: 3 separate spot fires on south side of American River at North 10th now extinguished. Cause unknown.

Posted in Parkway Fires

Parkway Fire #28

Must be a small one, yesterday, as reported by SacFire.

An excerpt.

Sac Fire crews continue working mop up of AR Parkway fire; grateful for light rain this morning. Every bit helps!

Posted in Parkway Fires

California Dreaming

An excellent analysis from Joel Kotkin in New Geography.

An excerpt.

As its economy started to recover in 2010, progressives began to hail California as a kind of Scandinavia on the Pacific — a place where liberal programs also produce prosperity. The state’s recovery has won plaudits from such respected figures as The American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson and the New York Times’ Paul Krugman.

Gov. Jerry Brown, in Bill Maher’s assessment, “took a broken state and fixed it.” There’s a political lesson being injected here, as well, as blue organs like The New Yorker describe California as doing far bettereconomically than nasty red-state Texas.

But if you take a look at long-term economic trends, or drive around the state with your eyes open, the picture is far less convincing. To be sure since 2010, California’s job growth has outperformed the national average, propelled largely by the tech-driven Bay Area; its 14% employment expansion over the past six years is just a shade below Texas’. But dial back to 2001, and California’s job growth rate is 12%, less than half that of Texas’ 27%. With roughly 10 million fewer residents, Texas has created almost 2.8 million jobs since the turn of the millennium, compared to 2.0 million in California.

Even in the Bay Area, the picture is less than ideal. Since 2001, total employment in the San Francisco area has grown barely 12% compared to 52% in Austin, 37.8% in Dallas-Ft. Worth, 36.5% in Houston and 31.1% in San Antonio. Los Angeles, by far California’s largest metro area, scratched out pedestrian job growth of 10.3%, slightly above the national increase of 9.3% over that time span.

Remarkably, despite the recent tech boom, California’s employment growth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields (aka STEM) since 2001 is just 11%, compared to 25% in Texas. Both Austin and San Antonio have increased their STEM employment faster than the Bay Area while Los Angeles, California’s dominant urban region and one-time tech powerhouse, has achieved virtually no growth. This pattern also holds for the largest high-wage sector in the U.S., business and professional services.

Geographic Disparity: Relying On Facebook

“It’s not a California miracle, but really should be called a Silicon Valley miracle,” says Chapman University forecaster Jim Doti. “The rest of the state really isn’t doing well.”

This dependence on one region has its dangers. Silicon Valley has only recently topped its pre-dot-com boom jobs total, confirming the fundamental volatility of the tech sector. And there are clear signs of slowing, with layoffs increasing earlier in the year and more companies looking for space in less expensive, highly regulated areas.

Consolidation and dominance by a few giants like Google, Facebook, Apple threaten to make Silicon Valley less competitive and innovative, as promising start-ups are swallowed at an alarming rate. Even Sergei Brin, a co-founder of Google, recently suggested that start-ups would be better off launchingsomewhere else.

Housing poses perhaps the most existential threat to the Bay Area, particularly among millennials entering their 30s. Only 13% of San Franciscans could purchase the county’s median home at standard rates and term. For San Mateo, the number is 16%. No surprise that as many as one in three Bay Area residents are now contemplating an exit, according to an opinion poll this past spring.

Outside the Bay Area, where tech is weaker, the situation is much grimmer. In Orange County, the strongest Southern California economy, tech and information employment is lower today than in 2000. In Los Angeles, employment has declined in higher-wage sectors like tech, durable goods manufacturing and construction, to be replaced by lower-wage jobs in hospitality, health and education. A recent analysis by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. predicts this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Expanding Inequality

Perhaps nothing undermines the narrative of the California “comeback” more than the state’s rising inequality. A recent Pew study found California’s urban areas over-represented among the metro area where the middle class is shrinking most rapidly. California now is home of over 30%  of United States’ welfare recipients, and almost 25% of Californians are in poverty when the cost of living is factored in, the highest rate in the country.


Posted in demographics, Economy, Government, Politics

Lower Conservancy Program Bill Signed

This is good news, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, in that more money might be available for the Parkway; and bad, in that the same management—Sacramento County—will be in charge; but let’s hope for the best, and prepare for the worst to continue, as represented by the ongoing and destructive Parkway fires.

Text of the bill is here.

An excerpt.

In a measure to make the American River Parkway eligible for more state money, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation creating a conservancy program for the area.

The fourth-term Democrat signed the bill without comment.

Assembly Bill 1716, by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, establishes a Lower American River conservancy program to receive and spend bond money and other appropriations in the urban forest and recreation area. Parkway advocates have complained about homeless encampments and wildfires along the parkway, which runs 23 miles from eastern Sacramento County to the central city.

Posted in Government, Homelessness