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COVER ARTIST Jennifer Pickering Jennifer enjoys working in several art mediums, but returns to watercolor for its immediacy and spontaneity. Her artwork is featured in her new book: Blooming In Winter (available on Amazon) and at

3104 O St. #120, Sac. CA 95816 (Mail Only) EDITOR Marybeth Bizjak PRODUCTION M.J. McFarland DESIGN Cindy Fuller PHOTOGRAPHY Linda Smolek, Aniko Kiezel AD COORDINATOR Michele Mazzera, Julie Foster DISTRIBUTION Lauren Hastings ACCOUNTING Jim Hastings, Daniel Nardinelli, Adrienne Kerins

916-443-5087 EDITORIAL POLICY Commentary reflects the views of the writers and does not necessarily reflect those of Inside Publications. Inside Publications is delivered for free to more than 75,000 households in Sacramento. Printing and distribution costs are paid entirely by advertising revenue. We spotlight selected advertisers, but all other stories are determined solely by our editorial staff and are not influenced by advertising. No portion may be reproduced mechanically or electronically without written permission of the publisher. All ad designs & editorial—©

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FEBRUARY 17 VOL. 4 • ISSUE 1 7 8 10 12 16 18 20 22 24 26 30 34 36 40 42

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ast February, art lovers were treated to an extraordinary experience with the success of Sacramento’s Art Hotel. The former Jade apartment building—less than a block from Golden 1 Center, which was still under construction at the time—was the temporary exhibit space for many of our region’s most talented painters, sculptors, muralists, historians and sound makers. The exhibit, in which 130 artists participated, took place before the aged building was scheduled for demolition to make way for a new Hyatt hotel. Art Hotel emerged after up-andcoming Sacramento muralist Shaun Burner was approached about doing something to the exterior of the Jade apartment building. M5 Arts, the event’s nonprofit organizer, was overwhelmed by the community’s response. The building faced occupancy limits and block-long lines, so the organizers put strict time limits on viewing and created a timed ticket system, although the tours were free. Because of this, 13,000 tours were taken in the 10-day exhibit run. As much as I think I am on top of things happening in the arts community, I only heard about the exhibit during the first few days it was open. I acted fast and stood in line for several hours to get tickets

CH By Cecily Hastings Publisher’s Desk

Seumas Coutts and Shaun Burner are shown working in the industrial space that opens as Art Street this month. for my husband and stepdaughter to attend with me later that day—the last day of the exhibit! It was an extraordinary and unforgettable experience for all of us. So I was excited when I heard that the team behind Art Hotel was planning another short-term exhibit this year, called Art Street. Art Street will take place Feb. 3-25 on 3rd Avenue, just south of Broadway, in a much larger 65,000 square feet of interior and exterior space. This much larger space will allow viewers to move at a pedestrian’s pace, organizers said. “You will never hear, ‘You have 10 minutes,’” said Seumas Coutts, a lead

curator of Art Hotel and Art Street. “We want people to hang out and experience.” Even with Art Street having more space and a longer run, the organizers still promise a gritty, multidimensional, noninstitutional art experience. The new project will add food and alcohol to the mix to create a European plaza atmosphere. Coutts, who spent much of his career in art in Germany, said the “street” theme will explore transportation, connectivity, pathway and community in all the selected artworks, “even if it is not immediately obvious,” he said.

The organizers had a goal of raising $100,000 in donations to cover the costs of the project, including stipends to all artists. My husband and I attended a fundraising event last fall and became project sponsors because of the sense of artistic community it develops, which is a major mission of our publishing business. As we went to press, they look to have reached their goal. Besides private donations, both Visit Sacramento and the new Mayor’s Creative Economy Pilot Project made grants to the project.






ost residents whose homes back up along the Sacramento River in Pocket, Little Pocket and Greenhaven accept the changes. They know public access is moving up the levee. They know the private cross-levee fences will be removed for flood control improvements, with no permits for replacement. They understand a paved bike path from Freeport to Old Sacramento will be next—an asset for the city. Acceptance can be measured by attitudes encountered in walks along the levee. Three years ago, walking the levee top north of Garcia Bend all but guaranteed an ugly encounter with an angry homeowner or two, complete with threats to call police and accusations of trespassing. That rarely happens these days. As more people assert their rights to walk the levee, homeowners have come to understand that a shared parkway is not the end of the world. But all is not perfect in levee land. There’s one notable exception to the kinder, gentler, nonconfrontational relationship between homeowner and walker. For about two years, Pocket resident Tamara Morgan has enjoyed walking the levee near Arabella Way and Benham Way. She bought a house nearby with the promise of

RG By R.E. Graswich


POC FEB n 17

Pocket resident Tamara Morgan river access. But her access hasn’t been without drama. Morgan has had several confrontations with one riverfront property owner, always the same one. They have argued, insulted and threatened each other. They have used smartphones to film their encounters, creating videos that show one person filming another person filming the first person. They have called police and lodged complaints about harassment and trespass. While other neighbors walk the levee without problems, Morgan and her protagonist somehow get tangled up.

Weary of the phone calls and dramatics, the police and city attorney’s office sought an intervention. They invited the pair— separately—to meetings at police headquarters. Morgan asked if I would like to attend her session. I said yes. The city mediators in this case— Police Capt. Dave Peletta and Deputy City Attorney Sheryl Patterson—had no objections. “How do we resolve this?” Peletta said as the meeting began. Morgan made her case. She said the trouble started when she learned the city paid the riverfront property owner $80,000 for something called

a “recreational” easement behind his house along the levee. The city believes it must pay riverfront property owners for recreational easements—even though land-use attorneys and the Sacramento County Grand Jury say the public already owns free levee access. Making things worse, in Morgan’s view, is after the city paid the $80,000, it declined to exercise its “recreational” easement rights. The city says riverfront properties won’t technically revert to public use until


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Scenes from the 2016 Art Hotel project. PUBLISHER FROM page 7 In early January, the city council approved $500,000 in grants for various local art projects with this pilot project. The exact makeup of the creative projects it intends to fund has not been yet determined. But the program’s aim is to build new economic ecosystems around art, food and technology. The money comes from the existing Innovation and Growth Fund, created by former Mayor Kevin Johnson. For several years, our city and regional leaders have been looking for ways to create the cool image that attracts millennials to stay and relocate here. At the January council meeting, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that part of his forward-looking agenda is “talk and act around making Sacramento a destination city that is for and about youth.” He went

on to add that “the creative economy involves arts, food and technology—things that are tangible, but not necessarily a fixed structure.” “The creative economy is the confluence of arts, culture, business and technology. It is a diverse collection of artists, chefs, small business owners, galleries and creative places—everything that makes Sacramento cool,” said Clay Nutting, a restaurateur and one of the organizers of Art Street, in his testimony at the council meeting. “The creative economy is a driver of significant economic impact. It helps

attract business and talent to our community and gives us a competitive edge.” Projects like Art Street are a perfect example of an organically

grown experience that goes a long way toward shedding the bureaucratic, government-driven image of our city’s past. This new pilot project fund is about investing in our own homegrown talent. While the government often has a terrible track record of picking winners and losers, I am eager to see this play out. The experience of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission definitely needs to be tapped for this effort to be successful. In creating our book, “Inside Sacramento: The Most Interesting Neighborhood Places in America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital,” I was exposed to the breadth and depth of the creative places in our city neighborhoods. I surprised even myself while selecting and documenting all our city has to offer. Please make sure to visit Art Street this month. My description can only go so far. You need to experience it firsthand to understand what is at work here. Cecily Hastings can be reached at n





n Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento has an aggressive and politically progressive mayor who is a selfacknowledged change agent. His background as president pro tem of the Senate and former city council member certainly gives him the political juice and local government knowledge to potentially be a highperformance mayor. Exhibiting the energy and confidence of a man who has been preparing for his new role his entire life, Steinberg has moved quickly to seize the agenda of the city of Sacramento, helped along by the fact that almost the entire city council endorsed his election. Even before he was sworn in as mayor, he persuaded the council to defer selection of a permanent city manager until he could weigh in. A final decision on the proposed expansion of Sacramento Convention Center was similarly deferred at his behest. And he will almost certainly play a major role in the selection of a new police chief, even though the selection is, theoretically, interim city manager Howard Chan’s to make. Steinberg has made no secret of his intent to serve as a regional leader. He sees many of the most difficult challenges we face as regional in scope: widespread homelessness,


By Craig Powell By Craig Powell Inside City Hall Inside City Hall


POC FEB n 17

growing traffic congestion, economic development, a looming pension crisis, youth underemployment, land-use and environmental policies (i.e., suburban sprawl), poverty, poor educational outcomes, etc. And Steinberg is a major adherent of New Regionalism, which consistently calls for a regional approach to solving tough municipal problems. After all, Steinberg is the author of the groundbreaking (some would say local-economy-sapping) Senate Bill 375, which mandates that regional planners take affirmative steps to reduce the climate-changing impacts of local decisions on housing, transportation and land use. He’s tried to facilitate sales-tax-sharing agreements between cities and

counties to reduce local government competition for major retail developments (like auto malls), which gush the sales-tax revenues that are so coveted by local governments. Steinberg wasted no time in tapping his three political allies on the five-member Sacramento County board of supervisors (Phil Serna, Patrick Kennedy and Don Nottoli, each of whom supported Steinberg’s election) to schedule three joint meetings of the city council and the county board of supervisors early this year. The first such meeting, on Jan. 31, will be on the subject of homelessness. The agendas of two additional joint meetings, set for Feb. 22 and March 22, have yet to be determined.

Given Steinberg’s strong support for regionalism and the early signals he’s being issuing, we shouldn’t be surprised if he emerges as the leader of a renewed push to consolidate Sacramento city and county governments.

THE HISTORY OF CITY/COUNTY CONSOLIDATION EFFORTS City/county government consolidation has a long and storied history in Sacramento. As early as 1945, the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce (now Metro Chamber) CITY page 13

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New location: 7450 Pocket Road (916) 427-5022 POCKET BEAT FROM page 8 they all connect to the bike trail,

is not criminal trespassing, and not a

which could take years.

police matter.

“You paid him $80,000 to harass

“We’ve gone to State Sen. Richard

me,” Morgan told Patterson and

Pan’s office, and he has asked the

Peletta. “I’m not trying to be

Attorney General for an opinion on

harassed or cause problems for the

the easement question,” Patterson


said. “Sen. Pan isn’t taking a position

The city’s payments for

on this, but he’s willing to ask the

“recreational” easements are a touchy

question. We’re waiting to see what

subject with the city council and city

the AG says. If they say the public has

attorney’s office. The payments may

access, we tell the property owners, oh

be a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. well, too bad, so sad.” Morgan believes she’s being singled Or so the Grand Jury declared last summer.


out when she walks along the levee. She sees other people walk without being confronted. She wonders

Simply walking on the levee is not criminal trespassing, and not a police matter.

whether it’s because she’s outspoken. Peletta and Patterson didn’t want to speculate. They steered the problem of confrontation—how bad things can happen when people get upset.

confrontations between you two. Please, do not be confrontational.” Morgan had no problem with that.

for generations—has control over all

Like so many other people in Pocket

uses along the levees, from repairs to

and Greenhaven, all she wants is the

public access.

chance to freely walk the levee and

A few homeowners still insist they own the levees, but nobody has been willing to put the issue before

enjoy the river. “If I can walk in peace, I’m fine,” she said. “You have my word.”

a judge. A homeowner could sue a levee walker for civil trespass, but that would require the homeowner to prove the state doesn’t hold easement rights. Simply walking on the levee

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Peletta added, “I want no

which has owned levee easements

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hurt,” Patterson said.

precedent to indicate the state—

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“We don’t want anyone getting

There’s a trove of case law and

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reenhaven Soccer Club is renovating the soccer fields at Renfree and Portuguese Parks, which suffered significant damage from the November rains. In large areas of both parks, the grass has worn away and there are many bare and muddy spots. The club feared that continued play at these sites could be unsafe. At Renfree Park, the club installed protective fencing around the most fragile areas, where it plans to reseed and fertilize. The fencing will be taken down by February for the start of the middle school soccer season. At Portuguese Park, the club will dispose of the unsightly permanent goal posts and bring in portable goals for use during the season. The club will level the playing surface, plant new grass and do gopher remediation. The field will be fenced to protect it during construction and while the grass is growing. The fence will be in place at least until April, depending on weather and health/durability of the new grass.

A VALENTINE’S DEAL Hood Supply Company will offer a free bottle of house wine to the first 50 people who make Valentine’s Day dinner reservations. The restaurant, owned by Pocket residents Vonne and Mark Matney,

SS By Shane Singh Pocket Life


POC FEB n 17


Renovations are in progress at the soccer fields at Renfree and Portuguese Parks is at 10761 Hood Franklin Road in Hood. For reservations, call 775-4494. For more information, go to

NEW PRESCHOOL AT CAMELLIA WALDORF Camellia Waldorf School will begin accepting applications this month for a new preschool program based on the European “forest school” model. The school will begin in fall 2017. Taught by Jennifer Mason, Wildflower Forest Preschool will focus on child-led learning in an outdooronly environment. Classes will be conducted on the grounds of Camellia Waldorf, in the riparian woodlands

behind the school and in Garcia Bend City Park. At European forest schools, children learn social-emotional and motor skill development while exploring forests and woodlands. The school is at 7450 Pocket Road. For more information, call 427-5022 or go to

SPORTS BAR SET TO OPEN FOR SUPER BOWL The new Riverside Sports Bar is expected to be open by Saturday, Feb. 4, in time for the Super Bowl. It’s located at 6401 Riverside Blvd. and can be found on Facebook.

Sacramento Kings public address announcer Scott Moak grew up in the Pocket area. He attended Caroline Wenzel School and Sam Brannan Middle School and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. While at Kennedy, Moak played both football and baseball in an era when the school competed for and won league championships. He played baseball for his own father, the legendary Don Moak. Moak was hired as the Kings announcer after an open tryout. For aspiring public address announcers, he advises, “Get on a microphone as often as you can. Announce all kinds of sports, all kinds of levels. When I was starting out, I announced the Sacramento Girls Invitational Basketball Tournament at American River College. This included calling 16 games in three days. It was the best training ever.”

Golden 1 is simply the best,” he says. “It is a venue that the people of the Sacramento region have deserved for decades.” Moak also works for the team as vice president of community impact and executive director of the Sacramento Kings Foundation. It

is, he says, his “dream job.” When he started at that position in 2014, the team’s new owners knew they had to revamp its community work. His unit focuses on three areas: health, education and sustainability. Collectively, Kings staffers volunteer more than 10,000 hours in the community each year.

Moak loves the Kings’ new downtown arena. “Golden 1 is simply the best,” he says. “It is a venue that the people of the Sacramento region have deserved for decades.” Shane Singh can be reached at n

Kings annoncer Scott Moak grew up in the Pocket area. CITY FROM page 10 was advocating for consolidation. It renewed its effort in 1957, leading to a 251-page study of the idea. But the idea really caught steam in the early ’70s, when a coalition of the Chamber of Commerce, The Sacramento Bee, Democratic Party leaders, restive and ambitious political staffers at the Capitol (some things never do change) and local good-government groups managed to persuade the city council and board of supervisors to create a

joint charter commission to study the idea. Members of the commission were split into three factions: the “old elite” who wanted only modest changes to local government, Capitol staffers who wanted to implement wholesale changes, and the “unaligned” faction, made up of good-government groups as well as newly emergent leaders of the black and Hispanic communities. In 1970, city voters approved a charter change that shifted Sacramento from electing council members citywide to electing

them by district. The change had a profound effect on both the makeup of the council and the city’s very political culture. There was a time before the shift when more than half of the city council members were residents of a single neighborhood, Land Park (which was really great for Land Park residents; for others, not so much). After the change, members of minority groups were elected to the council in greater numbers, which helped empower black and Hispanic neighborhoods and groups. In the end, the charter commission proposed a consolidation plan that called for a strong mayor of a unified government (with the mayor sharing power with a chief administrative officer), an expanded legislative council and a division of the county into five “boroughs.” Each borough government would have the trappings of a mini-city, but with authority that was never well defined. The commission's proposal was put before city and county voters in 1974. The campaigns for and against the 1974 consolidation proposal showed that the measure lacked

broad geographical support. County officials and small-city officials (in those days, the county’s small cities were just Folsom, Isleton and Galt, commonly known as the FIG cities) lined up against the plan, while the Sacramento city council backed the measure. Public employee groups lined up against the plan, while the Chamber of Commerce failed to provide much help to the “Yes” side. Lacking a recognized campaign leader, the “Yes” campaign struggled along with B-list spokesmen, while the “No” campaign was led by the voluble, energetic and popular Jack Kipp, a longtime mayor of Folsom (and a cousin of mine). Kipp effectively castigated the measure as a power grab by downtown interests, foreshadowing, perhaps, a central theme of the opponents of Measure L, the strong-mayor proposal that was soundly defeated 40 years later. The campaigns were decidedly low-budget affairs, with each side spending about $14,000, at a time when a typical

CITY page 14



CITY FROM page 13

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Assembly campaign was spending about $40,000. The 1974 consolidation measure lost big, losing by better than 3 to 1. It carried just seven city precincts and was slaughtered by county voters, who opposed it by more than 80 percent. The proponents of the measure were never able to articulate a good reason for a wholesale change in local government. There was no governmental crisis that precipitated the vote, no demonstrated inability of government to deal with problems and no consensus among the city’s and county’s elite on the need for major changes.

THE 1990 CONSOLIDATION ELECTION The Chamber of Commerce led a renewed consolidation push in the late ’80s, focusing, nominally, on unlocking cost savings that consolidation promised through the elimination of overlapping and duplicative government functions, as well as realizing economies of scale. The promised savings to taxpayers: $27 million annually, which may strike modern readers as pretty modest. But, then again, we live in an era when the city of Sacramento’s annual budget is expected to blow past the $1 billion mark for the first time next year. It was also claimed that consolidation would make it easier to deal with air quality, transportation and other regional problems. Current federal judge Kim Mueller, then a Sacramento council member representing Tahoe Park, said that the opportunity to have regional planning was the primary reason she supported consolidation. “We don’t want this to become another Los Angeles,” Mueller told a Los Angeles Times reporter. But the real reason county government pushed consolidation was to shut down the incorporation of new cities, which were poised to drain the county of tax revenues already constrained by the 1978 passage of Proposition 13. The communities of

Citrus Heights and Elk Grove were making moves toward incorporating, potentially imperiling the county’s ability to fund health, welfare and other services. Following the 1990 defeat of consolidation, both Citrus Heights and Elk Grove did, in fact, incorporate and were joined not long after by the new city of Rancho Cordova. All three cities signed longterm reimbursement agreements with the county (typically 30 years), providing the county with a stream of cash designed to make up for the diversion of tax revenues to the new cities. But those streams will start expiring in the next 10 years. The legendary and always quotable Wendell Phillips, longtime president of the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, backed consolidation for that very reason: “These new cities draw their boundaries and their tax districts and say to hell with everybody else.” But law enforcement was not united in favor of the proposal. Jim Jorgensen, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association, strongly opposed it: “You’re going to create a megagovernment that’s going to make this entire county into one humongous city… it’s going to be a financial nightmare.” Other opponents argued that consolidation “would cost more money not less, lead to poorer public services within the city of Sacramento and would create a metropolitan government that would be less responsive to local neighborhood needs,” according to a 1990 LA Times story. The 1990 proposal, dubbed Measure S, called for a semi-strong mayor and an 11-member council of supervisors. It called for a two-tiered structure that would divide the city into 20 local community councils, each with five elected members. The local councils would make local zoning decisions and create community plans that would have to conform to a general plan. Measure S would also have consolidated 13 independent fire districts into a single district, governed by an independently elected board. In the years following the defeat of Measure S, most of

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these same fire districts agreed to merge and formed the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, led today by an independently elected board (although one under the considerable influence of the firefighters union). Measure S lost 56.3 percent to 43.7 percent, less of a shellacking than the 1974 defeat of consolidation, but still a walloping. In 2010, when Sacramento city and county governments were hemorrhaging money, then-interim city manager Gus Vina and the county executive announced an effort to identify opportunities for “functional” as distinct from “political” consolidations. The idea was for one government or the other to take full responsibility for functions they were particularly adept at providing efficiently and effectively. But the moment passed with few results. The traditional cold-shoulder relationship between city and county governments and leadership turnovers made such efforts challenging, to say the least. With Steinberg’s close political relationship with three county supervisors, the old frosty

relationship may be warming up and opportunities for functional consolidations may have a renewed chance for success. Functions that were once considered candidates include building inspections, code enforcement, vehicle abatements, animal services, parking, SWAT teams and helicopter operations.

FULL CONSOLIDATION: THE DISCOURAGING EXPERIENCE OF OTHER CITIES It might seem from Sacramento’s two tries at consolidation that city/ county consolidations are a popular move elsewhere. In fact, consolidation is exceedingly rare. San Francisco is California’s only consolidated city and county, and Sacramento is the only one of California’s other 57 counties to even try to consolidate. New Orleans and New Orleans Parish were the first city and county in the country to consolidate in 1805. But in the ensuing 212 years, only 26 counties out of more than

3,000 counties in the nation have chosen to consolidate with their major cities. Since 1970, 110 counties have attempted to consolidate with their largest cities, but only 19 have succeeded. Despite the long odds, the attraction of consolidation continues unabated as a kind of evergreen issue for local governments. And those few governments that have chosen to consolidate have had mixed results. Academic studies show that few of the promised cost savings from consolidation have been borne out. Instead of economies of scale, as is commonly seen in private-sector mergers, consolidations of local governments all too often lead to “diseconomies,” with the aggregate costs of the combined governments higher than before consolidation. Why? Merged governments tend to adopt the salary/benefit schedule of the government that was paying the higher salaries and providing the more generous benefits. Also, the larger a bureaucracy becomes, the more prone it becomes to bloat. Large units of government also tend to lose

their focus on, and connection to, the public they serve, leading to greater inefficiency and diminished public satisfaction. (Helpful research aid: VA hospitals.) Politically, it’s very hard to convince skeptical voters that a consolidation of governments will make them more efficient, even when proponents vastly outspend opponents. Those few consolidation campaigns that have been successful have focused, instead, on how it will improve local economic development efforts rather than saving taxpayer money. But that may not be an argument for consolidation that Darrell Steinberg can credibly make given his background as the author of SB 375, which placed considerable restraints on local economic development. Craig Powell is a retired attorney, businessman, community activist and president of Eye on Sacramento, a civic watchdog and policy group. He can be reached at craig@ or 718-3030.. n





f you’ve ever taken a stroll through Land Park (or if you’re one of the lucky ducks who live there), you’ve no doubt noticed the beautiful array of foliage from the hundreds of mature trees that line every street and avenue. You may have also noticed that at certain times of year, citrus fruit hangs heavy on the branches of these gorgeous trees and either litters the sidewalk with squelchy, slippery bits of fruit flesh or is voraciously attacked by squirrels and other creatures. Patricia Sturdevant noticed this seasonal fruit phenomenon and decided to do something about it. The Land Park resident is a retired consumer protection and health care lawyer who didn’t mean to land here but fell in love with the area after growing up in far northern California and living in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., before moving to Sacramento for work. Since Sturdevant loves to take walks in her neighborhood, she started noticing that the citrus fruit was not only hazardous but could also be the solution to an endemic problem that she’d spent her career—and countless volunteer hours—fighting. “There are 245,000 hungry people in Sacramento,” says Sturdevant. She knows that figure because of her work spearheading Food From the

JL By Jessica Laskey Giving Back


POC FEB n 17

a difference—and the donation was tax deductible!”

“It makes me feel really good and I get to meet really interesting people. ”

Patricia Sturdevant Sac Bar, a program of the Sacramento County Bar Association that benefits Sacramento Food Bank. “I noticed that so much of the fruit from the area’s mature trees goes to waste, so it seemed like a great combination of supply and demand to link hungry families with Land Park citrus owners.”

Sturdevant brought her observations to Land Park Community Association. When her own trees gave her an overabundance of fruit two years ago, Sturdevant had called upon Senior Gleaners (which merged with the food bank in 2015). She recalls that “all ages had a great time picking and I felt good because the trees were clean and I was making

At Sturdevant’s behest, LPCA decided to partner with Harvest Sacramento, a program of Soil Born Farms that harvests extra citrus fruit around town and donates it to local food assistance agencies. Though volunteers can lend a hand harvesting any time during the year, LPCA will partner with Hollywood Park Neighborhood Association on Feb. 18 to host an all-day picking extravaganza complete with a free lunch put together by Biba Restaurant’s chef, Brenda Ruiz. “It’s going to be a major logistical effort,” Sturdevant says. “Dominic Allamano (who coordinates Edible City for Soil Born Farms) is going to help us put everything together, and students from McClatchy High School and Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School as well as members of Matt Guzaitis’s Boy Scout troop will help us spread the word. It will be perfect timing, too—the early crops will still be on the trees and the oranges will just be ripening. It’s prime picking time.” Sturdevant is not just excited about the quality fruit the volunteers will be gathering for hungry Sacramentans.


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She’s most looking forward to the connection that volunteering brings, whether it’s for the Harvest Sacramento event or her other extensive charitable work as the president of the board of Consumer Action (a San Francisco-based consumer advocacy group), a member of the advisory board of Donate Life (which promotes organ donation), a member of the board of the National Council of Jewish Women and an active participant in various women lawyer organizations.

“I was a public-interest lawyer, so doing things in the public interest is really important for me,” she says. “I do it not only because I have altruistic goals of helping the community, but also because it makes me feel really good and I get to meet really interesting people. Instead of being linked by work, we’re linked by our neighborhood.” For more information on Soil Born Farms’ Harvest Sacramento program, call 572-6646 or visit n

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end your fellow Land Park residents a hand and help feed the hungry while you’re at it during Harvest Sacramento’s Hollywood Park/Land Park Citrus Harvest from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. Harvest Sacramento is the Edible City initiative of Soil Born Farms, which arranges volunteers throughout the year to help harvest excess citrus fruit around town for donation to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services and other food access partners. Volunteers for this special oneday event will be placed into groups of five to 10 people with a trained harvest group leader. Each group will receive a list of three to five tree sites to harvest in the Hollywood Park and Land Park vicinity and will be provided with all necessary harvesting materials, including gloves, pickerpoles, ladders, clippers and boxes. Have a burgeoning volunteer in your family? Young children ages 3 to 10 are welcome to join, but will be asked to focus their energy on sorting, packing and transporting the fruit. Children under the age of 15 are required to have supervision from a parent or guardian, while youths ages 15-17 can attend without adult supervision but must have a volunteer

jL By Jessica Laskey


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Dungeness crab (naturally) as well as beer, wine and soft drinks available for purchase, all followed by a dessert auction that will have your sweet tooth singing. Tickets are $50 for an individual, unassigned seat and $450 for a reserved table for eight. For more information, call 452-3005 or go to The Sierra 2 Center is at 2791 24th St.


waiver signed by their parent or guardian. Interested volunteers from the area should meet at Centennial United Methodist Church (5401 Freeport Blvd.) with their signed Soil Born Farms volunteer waiver (download one at, closed-toe shoes and appropriate clothing for the expected weather conditions of the day. (It’s also recommended to bring sunglasses, gloves, a water bottle and a bag or box to take home some fruit—you worked for it, you should enjoy the fruits of your labor!) For more information, contact Dominic Allamano, Edible City coordinator, at dallamano@ or 572-6646. For more information on Harvest Sacramento, go to

DIG IN! Get your bib ready: It’s time for the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association and Sierra 2 Center’s third annual Crab Feed from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2. The meal raises funds for the Sac Prep Music Academy (which will also perform at the dinner) and Sierra 2 Center for the Arts. Bring your appetite, as you’ll want to have plenty of room for each offering: fluffy beer bread, fresh green salad, pasta,

If you’re an avid zoo attendee, you might notice that admission prices at the Sacramento Zoo are a bit higher than they used to be. Due to increases in the cost of providing its more than 500 animals with the very best care, the zoo increased admission and membership prices effective Jan. 2. “As a private, nonprofit organization, the Sacramento Zoological Society depends on revenue from admissions and memberships to provide expert, compassionate daily care and world-class veterinary care for the animals, pay staff reasonable wages and benefits and maintain and improve the zoo’s 90-year-old campus,” explains Jeff Raimundo, president of the Sacramento Zoo Board of Trustees (which approved the increase). Zoo director and CEO Kyle Burks concurs. “Despite the increasing cost of operation, the zoo has not instituted an annual price increase in recent years,” Burks says. “We have and will continue to strive to keep our membership and admission prices low and they remain a great value

whether you visit once or become a zoo member. “However, when our costs go up each year, and we keep our prices the same, we can’t have a stable and successful zoo. We are preparing to make improvements necessary to provide our animals and our community with the worldclass institution that Sacramento deserves.” In addition to providing daily care for more than 500 animals and employing a staff of more than 100, the zoo is also making regular necessary capital improvements to its nine-decade-old facility. In 2016 alone, improvements included expanding the off-exhibit living space for the lions; making the red panda exhibit accessible to a young, active pair; new fencing around the lake to facilitate better care for the birds; expanding off-exhibit living space for the Sifaka lemurs; improvements to visitor restrooms (a separate mothers’ nursing room will be complete soon); and emergency funds were mobilized to stabilize the zoo’s Discovery Room building used to educate schoolchildren. Prices increased an average of a few dollars across the board (general admission went from $11.75 to $14.95, for example), and membership package prices are still quite low, considering the numerous benefits they offer. Zoo members receive free admission all year, as well as discounted admission to zoo events and more than 150 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited facilities throughout the United States and Canada. The zoo also maintains its commitment to visitor accessibility by offering a variety of options for free and reduced-cost admission and programs throughout the year. What’s a couple of dollars more to support such a proud Sacramento tradition? For more information, call 808-5888 or go to The Sacramento Zoo is at 3930 W. Land Park Drive.

GET INVOLVED If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get more involved

in your community, the Land Park Community Association offers ample opportunities to do so. So why not join in, meet your fellow Land Parklovers and make a difference in the neighborhood you share? The next Land Use Committee Meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 1. The Land Use Committee is responsible for the topical areas of land use, commercial revitalization and transportation, including use permits and zoning changes within the LPCA boundaries. It’s also responsible for making recommendations to the board on initiatives to improve the health and vitality of the commercial corridors, and it’s responsible for addressing all traffic and transportation issues, including monitoring traffic, bike and pedestrian safety and coordinating with the city’s Department of Transportation, Regional Transit and related public entities and private advocates. The Land Use Committee usually meets on the first Wednesday of the month and is open to current LPCA members. LPCA members may join the Land Use Committee by contacting the chairperson at More interested in keeping everyone safe? The next Public Safety Committee meeting is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 8. The Public Safety Committee is responsible for monitoring and promoting the safety of the Land Park community, informing the membership of the existence of threats and advising them of opportunities to improve public safety, as well as coordinating with local law enforcement, administering electronic public safety communications (including the LPCA’s Public Safety Listserv), fostering the formation of neighborhood watch groups and raising public awareness of public safety issues. The Public Safety Committee meets on the second Wednesday of the month and is open to current LPCA members. LPCA members may join the Public Safety Committee by contacting the chairperson at info@

Admission prices to the Sacramento Zoo have increased If you’re interested in getting a lay of the land before jumping on board, attend the next LPCA general monthly meeting at Eskaton Monroe Lodge (3225 Freeport Blvd.) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 15. For more information about the LPCA, go to

DAY AT THE MUSEUM Sacramento Museum Day is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, so don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy half-price or free admission at almost 25 local museums and institutions throughout Sacramento, including everyone’s favorite play park, Fairytale Town.






n open secret at Sacramento City Hall—or any room where elected officials gather to cast votes—is how little weight is given to public comments. From a policy standpoint, those heartfelt remarks made by common citizens each Tuesday night at city council meetings mean nothing. The board listens politely, then ratifies decisions that were predetermined hours if not weeks prior. Councilmembers view public commentary as a necessary evil, required by law and tradition but secondary to the serious business of orchestrating the city’s course. Prominent within the category of public commentators is a group called Eye on Sacramento. For years, the Eye and its members—a group of people who could comfortably fit around a dinner table—have been showing up at City Hall, demanding their two minutes and weighing in on substantive issues under consideration by the council. The Eye’s sweet spot is tax money and the squandering of same. The Eye has discovered significant waste. When I began working at City Hall as special assistant to Mayor Kevin Johnson in 2009, nobody took the Eye seriously. Part of my job was to attend council meetings and text the mayor about what was going on in the gallery. I got to know City Hall regulars, folks who showed up every

RG By R.E. Graswich


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Susan Foster, Lisa Garcia, Craig Powell, Greg Thompson and Anna Robertson. week. Among them was Craig Powell, the Eye’s indefatigable leader. I enjoyed listening as Powell and his friends respectfully challenged the council on wasteful practices in public works and other departments. Powell was trained as an attorney, and while he doesn’t practice law, he has perfected a soothing, logical delivery worthy of courtroom summations. He’s persuasive and fun to watch. Later, working with the crew at Inside Publications, where Powell writes a column, I got to know him better. While I don’t always agree with Powell and Eye on Sacramento,

I admire the group’s tenacity and purpose. They are a public asset. The Eye rummages through City Hall budgets and staff reports, prepares dissenting arguments and posts conclusions on the web. Whistleblowers are treasured. The Eye sends out press releases to draw attention to itself and keep city staff and councilmembers accountable. In recent years, local TV stations and The Bee began to quote directly from the Eye’s reports. This would not have happened a decade ago, when news organizations had larger and more robust staffs. Back then, the Eye was a tip sheet at best.

These days, it’s easier for shortstaffed media to pick up the Eye’s reports and turn them around as completed stories, using sentences that say, “According to a report from the watchdog group Eye on Sacramento ...” This is bad news for City Hall. Suddenly, city government has a few presumptive, determined citizens who transcend the open-mic atmosphere at Tuesday-night council meetings and vault ahead with credibility certified by traditional media. The Eye became a real watchdog once local media realized they could WATCHDOG page 23

Make strides for the Colon Cancer Alliance at the 2017 Sacramento Undy Run/Walk on Saturday, Feb. 25. LIFE IN THE CITY FROM page 19 Fairytale Town will be offering half-price admission on Museum Day, which means admission is only $2.88 per person! (Children ages 1 and younger are always free.)

Fairytale Town will be offering halfprice admission on Museum Day. A Sacramento cultural tradition, Sacramento Museum Day is designed to encourage all members of the community to experience the region’s incredible wealth of art, history, science and wildlife at little cost. This hugely popular community event is presented by the Sacramento Association of Museums. Looking for something to do on Presidents Day on Monday, Feb. 20? Why not take advantage of Fairytale Town’s holiday admission prices ($5.75 per person) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and enjoy the fresh air and endlessly fun play structures?

For more information, call 8087462 or go to

JOGGING IN YOUR LONG-JOHNS Pull up your panties (and a few extra layers, please) and make strides for the Colon Cancer Alliance at the 2017 Sacramento Undy Run/Walk from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, at William Land Park. Whether you’re in it for the 5K run or the 1-mile fun run—or the hilarity of dressing in pajamas, longjohns and other undergarments in public—your fitness will help fund the Colon Cancer Alliance, which aims to knock colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers by championing prevention, funding cutting-edge research and providing the highestquality patient support services. Race packet pick-up and on-site registration starts at 7:30 a.m., the 5K starts at 9 a.m., 10 minutes later the 1-mile fun run will get underway, and at 10:05 a.m. cool down while you take in the survivor and patient recognition and awards ceremony. Maybe they’ll even call your name! For more information, go to William Land Park is at 4000 S. Land Park Drive.

COMING SOON TO BROADWAY You’ve probably heard plenty of people say over the years that they want to make Sacramento a “worldclass city,” but we might finally be moving in the right direction. According to a December article by Tony Bizjak in The Sacramento Bee, the long-neglected Broadway corridor might soon be getting some muchneeded love. The Sacramento Council of Governments recently approved a $2.8 million “complete streets” grant to give the area a facelift and increase safety for drivers and pedestrians alike. Improvement plans include narrowing the roadway to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane (no more left-turn-during-rush-hour nightmare snags!), new bike lanes and sidewalks and improved pedestrian crosswalks. If all goes well, in the coming months we could see a safer, wider, more accessible Broadway corridor that just might lead to that eagerly anticipated “world-class” boom after

all. I mean, we already have a new sports arena …

NEW PRESCHOOL AT CAMELLIA WALDORF Camellia Waldorf School will begin accepting applications this month for a new preschool program based on the European “forest school” model. The school will begin in fall 2017. Taught by Jennifer Mason, Wildflower Forest Preschool will focus on child-led learning in an outdooronly environment. Classes will be conducted on the grounds of Camellia Waldorf, in the riparian woodlands behind the school and in Garcia Bend Park. At European forest schools, children learn social-emotional and motor skill development while exploring forests and woodlands. The school is at 7450 Pocket Road. For more information, call 427-5022 or go to Jessica Laskey can be reached at n





outh Land Park residents have embraced, with open arms and open minds, the idea of a Del Rio Trail. The abandoned right of way of the old Sacramento Southern Railroad Walnut Grove Branch line would be reanimated and repurposed. The trail would stretch a full four and a half miles from Sutterville Road to Meadowview/Pocket Road. In a South Land Park Neighborhood Association survey, 83 percent of the respondents supported having the trail. No doubt some of that trail support is related to strong opposition to a defunct California State Parks plan. Parks wanted to have steam locomotives chugging through the corridor, belching billows of black smoke. The city will start trail planning in earnest this year, funded with a $2 million grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. There are no funds yet for land purchase or construction but, optimistically speaking, shovel work could begin in 2019. The corridor is owned by Sacramento Regional Transit, which bought it for its light rail South Line, then picked a different route. Usually when a bike trail or multiuse path is proposed for an already-developed area, opponents emerge, raising the specter of horrible consequences. They fear crime, vandalism and homeless camping.

S W By Walt SeLfert Getting There


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The proposed Del Rio Trail would stretch for a full four and a half miles. While the fears may be real, the dire consequences are not. Trails typically bring benefits, not problems. More “eyes on the street” actually decreases crime and other bad behavior. Homeowners who live nearby are happy to learn that trails

not only improve their quality of life; they substantially increase property values as well. Trails provide pleasant places to walk, jog and bike. Trails are a favorite place for cyclists, offering a peaceful, natural setting away from

vehicle traffic. Trails make getting places by foot or bike easier and safer. They allow people to relax, to interact with nature and with each other. Trails aren’t just about recreation and transportation. Trails bring business opportunities and economic benefits. Some people already use the Del Rio corridor for recreation. Ron and Joanne Dick were walking their Dalmatian, Sparky, on a sunny December Sunday when I asked them if they had heard about trail plans. They had. Joanne expressed “mixed feelings.” They love the site as it is and cherish its hidden, natural beauty and community feeling. Ron described how a corridor neighbor had installed a bench for trail users and set out water for Sparky. While a bit wistful, they understand it would be good to have more people enjoying a formal trail. The Del Rio corridor, despite its rusting rails and rotting ties, is bursting with potential for more widespread enjoyment. After 40 years of abandonment, the sterile rail right of way has naturalized. It’s surrounded by backyard trees and ornamental plantings. In the winter, it’s lushly green and quite attractive. A trail is not the only possible corridor use. By folding adjacent land (a former federal site and offered private property) into plans, there would be room for community gardens, sports courts, dog parks and more. The city will consider creative ideas during planning. In a novel approach, the neighborhood association suggested a UC Davis landscape architecture class propose corridor uses. Associate instructor

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Prashant Hedao said students mapped schools, churches, parks, shopping, a fitness center and other destinations that could be reached via the trail. He noted many existing land uses “turned their backs” to the old rail corridor, and students saw possibilities in reversing that orientation. Why not have a seating area for La Bou next to the trail, open a direct connection to California Family Fitness, or create new access points from cul-de-sacs. UC students suggested, in presentations to city staff and neighborhood association members, a basketball court, benches, drinking fountains and bike rentals. They recommended planting deciduous trees to provide shade in the summer while allowing winter sunlight to stream through. Chances to create greenways and build trails in already-developed areas are scarce. Especially rare are greenway possibilities that stretch for miles and are already blessed with mature vegetation. Also rare, and very desirable, is the possibility to

have a continuous trail that does not require stopping or worrying about numerous street crossings. South Land Park Neighborhood Association president Brian Ebbert said Del Rio Trail would be “a great addition to the neighborhood.” It would be wonderful if all Sacramento residents lived near a greenway and trail—if we had great additions to more neighborhoods. While we can’t duplicate the sublime American River Parkway, we need more greenways. Ideally, greenway trails would connect in an off-street network. The Del Rio Trail could connect to the Sacramento River Trail. The Sacramento River Trail could be expanded through the Pocket area. Trails could be added to the south bank of the American River, to Deer Creek, Arcade Creek and other locations throughout the county. With willingness and open minds, more people could enjoy more open space. Walt Seifert is a bicyclist, driver and transportation writer. He can be reached at n


with legal invective and warning Schenirer of dire consequences for

beg rides on the group’s legwork and conclusions. Which brings us to City Councilmember Jay Schenirer. This holiday season, Schenirer catapulted the Eye into the major leagues of credibility by threatening to pry open the group’s membership roster and donation ledgers. In an incredibly peevish move (and I happen to like Schenirer), the councilmember argued that since the Eye was nagging City Hall with requests for information, City Hall should do the same to the Eye, only worse. Schenirer thus certified Powell and

harassment. Quickly, the councilmember backed down. He tried to dismiss the matter as an overblown tempest. His fellow council mates abandoned him. “A councilmember’s harassment could have had a chilling effect on our whistleblowers inside City Hall and our fundraising,” Powell says, underscoring how some of the Eye’s juiciest material comes from city staff. Had Schenirer been less sensitive, he might have taken another approach. He could have publicly thanked the Eye, applauded its passion for citizen advocacy and

friends as worthy adversaries of City

promised to support future Eye

Hall. With his heavy-handedness,

reports, if only to make them less

Schenirer encouraged residents

subjective or flawed. Flattery can

across the community to presume the

work wonders, even with watchdogs.

opposite of the councilman’s intent:

The real lesson here is something

If a city councilmember is trying to

no city councilmember or new mayor

bully these guys, they must be onto

should ever forget: Silly as it seems, it


pays to listen to the little guy.

The Eye ran with Schenirer’s gift. Paul Boylan, a lawyer representing the Eye, fired off a letter bursting

R.E. Graswich can be reached at n





othing is more hands-on than gardening. You can’t grow a watermelon on the World Wide Web or prune a rose with a cellphone. But you can, in fact, learn a lot about how to garden. I rarely refer to the many gardening books on my shelf. When I want to learn about a plant or a pest, it’s easier to go online. Things were different when I trained to be a UC Master Gardener 15 years ago. We were armed with excellent University of California information that the public couldn’t readily access. My most treasured possession was a binder holding a complete set of Pest Notes, which told how to control weeds, bugs, vertebrate pests and plant diseases. I put it next to my desk, along with my classroom handouts and notes and university publications, including the California Master Gardener Handbook. If somebody asked me a question or I needed information for an article, I thumbed through the pages for the answer. UC has put much of that information online, along with many other tools to help you identify weeds, calculate water needs or select plants. A few years back, I recycled my Pest Notes and training materials. People are still encouraged to call the Master Gardener office for advice, but when

AC By Anita Clevenger Garden Jabber


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I answer the phone, I make sure that they know about the Integrated Pest Management website (ipm.ucanr. edu) and our local Master Gardener site ( before helping them sort through and interpret the information. One thing hasn’t changed. During my training, we were warned to be very cautious about providing information from nonuniversity sources. Master Gardeners are part of the Cooperative Extension system, designed to help people use researchbased knowledge. Just as there is fake news on the internet, there is a lot of bogus gardening information.

UC sites are trustworthy, but others may be unreliable, outdated or just trying to sell you a product or service. It’s also possible that the information simply does not apply to our soil types or climate. Not many places in the world have our many months of seasonal drought, mild winters and intense summer heat. All gardening is local. Farmer Fred Hoffman has compiled a wealth of Sacramento-area information on his website ( Sunset magazine emphasizes regions, dividing the west into many zones based on temperature and coastal influence. The magazine

first produced its “Sunset Western Garden Book” in 1954 and continues to update new editions every few years. I still refer to the book, although climate zone maps and other information are on their website ( Sunset has produced a Plant Finder app for the iPhone, although there doesn’t seem to be an Android equivalent. There are many garden apps, but I haven’t run across any that seem particularly useful. However, the cellphone is a great tool for looking up information and taking photos in the garden or at nurseries. You can look up plants, products or tools

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916-925-2577 gardening chat groups, too. These sites have given me a chance to communicate with gardening friends around the world. Closer to home, Nextdoor has been a good place to exchange gardening information and to buy, swap or give away plants and produce. There is a variety of online sources to help you design your landscape and choose appropriate plants. Sacramento County Water Agency lists many design resources with sample landscapes, design templates and plant lists on its Cash for Grass page. At some point, we need to tear ourselves away from our devices, pick up our tools and get to work. Ideally, we can do it better with all of the electronic information that we’ve gleaned. Gardening hasn’t changed. The way that we learn about it has. Anita Clevenger is a lifetime Sacramento County UCCE Master Gardener. If you can’t find your answers online, call the Master Gardener office at 876-5338. n

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errie Kelly understands collaboration. An award-winning interior designer, author and multimedia consultant, she founded Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in 1995. Her new business venture, 42nd Street, came about through plenty of teamwork. Last year, Kelly and her husband, Vinny Catalano, met with a custom cabinetry and millwork manufacturing team in New York. They couple wanted to integrate the features of luxury kitchen cabinetry, such as self-closing drawers, dovetail joinery, and custom hardware, stains and finishes, into a line of wood furniture. The more ideas Kelly and her husband put on the table, the more the New York team agreed. “They never said no to anything we suggested,” she says. “In those couple of hours, the conversation evolved from needs

JF By Julie Foster Home Insight

Kerrie Kelly (in front wearing green) and her design team.

we had for cabinetry to sketches and walking through ideas about furniture pieces,” she says. “We knew we were on the right track. Then we wondered what we were going to call the company.” Kelly’s husband suggested the name 42nd Street, after the street where they live in Sacramento and the notorious New York thoroughfare. The tagline they developed for the business is “Make Your Statement.” “We typically say that our designs are by designers for designers,” Kelly explains. So far, 42nd Street has produced 40 pieces, including the Taylor Console, the Katelyn Bookcase, the Bernard Desk, the Vincent Secretary and the Ramona Buffet. (All are named after family members.) The furniture is made by Amish craftsman. The company’s signature piece is the Mary

Lou Jewelry and Lingerie Chest, named after Kelly’s grandmother. The piece embodies her grandmother’s personality. “She was a woman whose every action spoke to quality,” Kelly explains. The piece is similar to a bedroom dresser. But it is topped with a piece of glass, so you can see your jewelry at a glance and pick out pieces to coordinate with your outfit. “For me, it is out of sight, out of mind,” Kelly says. “I go shopping in my Mary Lou every day.” Every six months, a designer will be selected as a Tastemaker to create one piece under the 42nd Street brand. “Pieces are licensed and carry the individual’s name. When the piece is sold, they get a piece of the action,” says Kelly. “It allows us promote our

pals in the business and make it not all about us.” 42nd Street will be exhibited this spring at the largest furniture design show in the country: High Point Market in North Carolina. “Our brand partner, Wesley Hall, which does all of our private-label upholstery for the Design Lab and 42nd Street Design, has asked us to feature the line in a boutiquelike portion of their two-story showroom in High Point,” Kelly says. “It is also where we launch/announce our Tastemakers each market.” Kerrie Kelly Design Lab remains the hub of activity for Kelly. The East Sacramento location offers interior design and consultation services, indoor and outdoor furnishings, upholstery, casegoods, floor, wall and window coverings, and antiques and artwork.



“Our team will always design pieces for Sacramento, and while 42nd Street is being feathered in, we are the foundation,” she says. Kerrie Kelly Design Lab is at 5704 Elvas Ave. For more information about Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, go to To see Kelly’s 42nd Street line of furnishings, lighting, artwork and rugs, go to If you know of a home you think should be featured in Inside Publications, contact Julie Foster at Correction: The homeowners in the story 'Nod to the Past' were incorrectly identified as Chris and Amy Cookson, rather than Chris and Amy Wood. (Home Insight, January 2017) n


POC FEB n 17


California Stage Theatre Thru Feb 12th 2509 R St, Sac 451-5822 The Whale, Samuel D. Hunter’s incisive look at love, relationships, and religious intolerance. A 600 pound man slowly eats himself to death while teaching online writing courses from his apartment. He’s visited by a friend, a family member, and a stranger, each looking to save or be saved by him. Will his past issues prevent him from learning to live his life?

I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE Sacramento Theatre Company Thru Feb 12th 1419 H St, Sac 443-6722

This popular comedy celebrates that contemporary conundrum known as “the relationship.” Traveling through dating and waiting to commitment and marriage, from the agonies of the in-laws to trips in the family car, this episodic musical pays tribute to both the trials and the triumphs of love.


Capital Stage Thru Feb 26 2215 J St, Sac 995-5464 Emma and Jerry, former lovers, meet at a cafe in the present. Emma’s marriage to Jerry’s best friend Robert is falling apart, and she seeks out Jerry’s consolation. From there, the play travels backwards through time – from the end of Emma and Jerry’s affair to its beginning – and unearths the little lies and oblique remarks that reveal more than direct statements or overt actions ever could.


B Street Theater Jan 14 – Feb 26 2711 B St, Sac 443-5300 Everyone knows Dr. Ruth Westheimer as a pioneering radio and television sex therapist. Few, however, know the incredible journey that proceeded it. From fleeing the Nazis in the Kindertransport and joining the Haganah in Jerusalem as a sniper to her struggle to succeed as a single mother newly arrived in America, playwright St. Germain deftly illuminates this remarkable woman’s untold story.

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Big Idea Theatre Thru Feb 11th 1616 Del Paso Blvd, Sac 960-3036 The Night Alive is a poignant look at the resilience of the human spirit and what it means to find the possibility of hope in the unlikeliest of places. Tommy, a down-andout Dubliner estranged from his family and living in squalor at his imperious uncle’s house, has carved out a meager existence running odd jobs and hatching get-richquick schemes with his friend and associate Doc. One night, after having rescued a battered and bloodied young woman, his act of decency brings about a glimmer of new possibilities. This play observes the small moments of grace that illuminate lives and deliver people from the darkness.


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SEX WITH STRANGERS EMH Productions at The Geery Theatre Feb 2 – Feb 18 2130 L St, Sac 214-6255

When star sex blogger and memoirist Ethan Kane, A.K.A. Ethan Strange, tracks down his idol, the gifted but obscure (she’s not even on Facebook) novelist Olivia, he finds they each crave what the other possesses. As attraction turns to sex, and they inch closer to getting what they want, both must confront the dark side of ambition and the near impossibility of reinventing oneself when the past is only a click away. NOTE: This performance is for mature audiences only.

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B Street Theatre Thru Feb 11th 2711 B St, Sac 443-5300 In the spirit of the B3 Series’ commitment to powerful and thought-provoking work, this piece is both an epic drama as well as an intimate look at faith in modern America. Ambitious and highly theatrical, The Christians features a live choir on stage, as much of the play emulates a Sunday morning service. The breakout hit of the 2014 Humana Festival, The Christians examines faith in America and the challenge of changing one’s mind.


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acramentans have long boasted about living in “the city of trees.” “Not that long!” says Kevin Hocker, the city’s chief arborist. “The Gold Rush, remember, was only a little more than 150 years ago—a long time for humans but not for trees. That’s when trees first started sprouting around this famous goldmining town.” Sacramento, he explains, was known around the nation as “the city of plains” because of the long, rolling, dreary, seemingly endless horizon of flatness as viewed from what is now known as El Dorado Hills near Placerville. But after the cry of “Gold in them thar hills!” resounded around the world, miners and settlers started planting trees here with a vengeance that literally saved their lives. We’ve all imagined what life would be like in 107-degree heat without air conditioning. Throw a complete lack of trees into an outdoor work environment and you can understand why lifetimes were so brief. Hocker, 39, is an articulate, fiercely dedicated protector of trees both public and private. He and most of his 40 or so fellow associates are certified arborists who work for Urban Forestry, a division of Sacramento’s Public Works Department. They plant, prune, maintain and remove public trees, an endless process.

PA By Peter Anderson


POC FEB n 17

Kevin Hocker is the city’s chief arborist. He and his staff review predevelopment and landscape plans that will affect public or heritage trees. And they partner with nonprofit organizations like Sacramento Tree Foundation to expand the urban forest and to inform and assist private citizens in the placement, care and nurturing of trees in public places. Dealing with trees in an urban environment is a science. Hocker, a Sonoma County native, earned his arborist certificate at UC Davis, then moved with his wife and daughter to Sacramento. In 2014, he took the job as Urban Forestry’s arborist. A selfdescribed shy person, he is not timid

at all in his relationship with trees. He has an almost mystical, spiritual reverence and respect for his leafy clients and friends. “After all my training and studies,” he says, “I have discovered that the best way to treat trees is to let them flourish and be themselves. They are far more complicated and self-sufficient than we realize, which is why a hands-off policy usually benefits them best. And there is a real mystery about their survival techniques, as well. At Davis, we had two tree scholars lecture us on consecutive days. One of them had studied for 30 years on how air

pulls water out of trees and into the atmosphere—a process called evapotranspiration—and he told us he still can’t grasp the mechanics. The other professor talked about the opposing force: how a chemical pump in the roots draws water upward to bring a tree to its fullest height. He studied this phenomenon for 30 years, as well. Neither scholar had any idea about what happens in the middle of these two opposing forces and in the middle of the trees. They both called it a mystery of nature.

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Art Preview


JAYJAY presents “What JAYJAY Loves” Feb. 14 to March 25. Valentine’s Day reception 5 to 7 p.m. Shown above: “Before We Count Up What This Will Cost,” mixed media on paper by S.R. Jones. 5520 Elvas Ave.;

Tim Collom Gallery shows works by painter Miles Hermann in February. Shown above: “City Rain,” oil by Hermann. 915 20th St.;


POC FEB n 17

The KVIE Gallery features the work of Bob Miller through March 17 in a show called “Bob Miller: Local Impressions.” Shown above: “Golden Fields,” oil by Miller. The KVIE Gallery; 2030 West El Camino Ave.;

Sparrow Gallery presents “Heat 2017” through Feb. 27. This regional show features works done in encaustic (hot wax layers with pigments burned in). Shown above: “Field of Vision,” encaustic by Barbara Nilsson. 2418 K St.;

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“By the way, all trees are lovely. No such thing as an ugly tree.” Hocker loves his job. “The beauty of my job comes from the people I meet,” he says. “We are, after all, in the business of providing beauty to the citizenry. I’ve had people come

up to me in stores and hug me, just because I may have saved one of their favorite trees a year earlier. And, in another case, one of our arborists working on P Street in Midtown became the subject of a woman’s poetry. She had been watching his regular and very attentive nurturing of a young tree outside her window for weeks and decided to thank him personally. During the conversation, she was so moved by his happiness and joy on the job that she composed a poem.” The mention of poetry immediately conjures in the interviewer’s mind a reference to Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees.” As if reading my mind, Hocker says, “By the way, all trees are lovely. No such thing as an ugly tree. If one appears gnarly or heavily knotted, one should never assume the tree is deformed or diseased. In many cases, those knots have proven to be hidden sources of powerful and effective medicines. Like with many people, the full benefit of trees has yet to be revealed.” n

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“That’s how I approach my work. If I lose that sense of wonder and mystery, then I lose what trees are all about. And sometimes we have to make gut-wrenching decisions about removing trees. The death that ensues we take very personally. It is a loss, and we go through a grieving process until we come to acceptance, just like the seven stages of grief when a human dies. It may be briefer, but it is just as real.”

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Striving Toward Thriving WHERE THE WINDS WILL TAKE ME IN 2017


hen I was a young whip of a preacher, my 80-year-old seminary professor gave me two pieces of advice I’ve never forgotten. First, he said, “Stop trying to sound like Billy Graham. God has one syllable, not two.” OK, that’s important. Second, “Forget retiring in a big house. Use your money to travel.” In 2015, I took his advice by shedding our 2,800-square-foot McMansion. Since then, many readers have asked about my future plans. How long will I continue my little “downsizing experiment” in our dilapidated mobile home rental? If you’ll allow me a personal indulgence, I’d like to share our tentative plans for 2017. Soon, I with start classes at the Art Institute of California, where I hope to earn a culinary arts degree and prove I-told-you-so to my wife, Becky. In the meantime, she’s driving across town to begin her second semester of French at Alliance Francaise de Sacramento. We are doing this to prepare for the second piece of my professor’s advice: travel. By July 1, we’ll retire from our jobs, shed the mobile home, sell our RV and put our household goods in storage.

NB By Norris Burkes Spirit Matters


POC FEB n 17

Our first stop this summer will be Belgium, where Becky’s French lessons should prove handy and my cooking skills shamefully inadequate. But we have made connections with a Brussels church where I promised to “preach for food.” After Thanksgiving, we will join our daughter in Honduras, where she runs a charity called Chispa, helping to bring children’s libraries to local schools ( Then, in early 2018, we will turn our attention to Central or South America. Probably Ecuador. I say Ecuador because we went there in 2015 to see the Galapagos Islands and explore the idea of overseas retirement. We drove 8,200 feet into the cool Andes to find beautiful Cuenca and its population of 700,000. It was there we found an English community of 5,000 expats who’d sold their belongings

to rent furnished homes for half the cost of an American home. We also started an ongoing conversation with a church about how we might help when we returned.

As I share all of this, I am trying to keep in mind the most important lesson I’ve learned as a chaplain: Don’t count on the future. By the end of this decade, we will likely end our gypsy life and return

to the States for a more permanent home—preferably a small house with a picket fence in a town with a little snow, but rarely a scorching day. And yes, to answer your last question, I will keep writing my column as long as my editors keep taking my copy. I’m a lot like Dr. Seuss’s Sam-I-Am who conquered his aversion to green eggs and ham. That means I will write in a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse. I will write here and there ... I will write anywhere. As I share all of this, I am trying to keep in mind the most important lesson I’ve learned as a chaplain: Don’t count on the future. I say that because I’ve seen many folks breathe their last breath before cashing their first retirement check. I’m praying I won’t become like the greedy farmer in Jesus’ parable who told himself, “Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy, and have the time of your life!” If you know that story, you’ll know that God took the old fool’s soul on the following morning. I’m doing everything I can to not become that old—and quite dead— fool. I’m trying to live the best life I can live, no matter where that is. With that caveat, email me at to tell me how you will spend 2017. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to start my cooking lessons. Norris Burkes is a chaplain, syndicated columnist, national speaker and author. He can be reached at n


THE HANDLE The Rind 1801 L Street #40 441-7463 L D $-$$ Wine/Beer Cheese-centric menu paired with select wine and beer •

Zocolo 1801 Capitol Ave. 441-0303

DOWNTOWN Cafeteria 15L 116 15th Street 551-1559 L D $$ Classic American lunch counter with a millennial vibe •

DeVere’s Pub 1521 L Street L D Full Bar $$ Family-run authentic Irish pub with a classic menu to match •

Downtown & Vine 1200 K Street #8 228-4518 Educational tasting experience of wines by the taste, flight or glass •

Ella Dining Room & Bar

Rio City Cafe 1110 Front Street 442-8226 L D Wine/Beer $$ Bistro favorites with a distinctively Sacramento feeling in a riverfront setting •

1112 Second St. 442-4772

2801 Capitol Ave. 455-2422 L D $$$ Full Bar Upscale Northern Italian cuisine

L D $$$ Full Bar Global and California cuisine in an upscale historic Old Sac setting •

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Ten 22 1022 Second St. 441-2211 L D Wine/Beer $$ American bistro favorites with a modern twist in a casual, Old Sac setting •

L D $$$ Full Bar Modern American cuisine served family-style in a chic, upscale space

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L D $$-$$$ Full Bar Upscale American fare served in an elegant setting •

1431 R St. 930-9191 B L D $-$$ Wine/Beer Casual California cuisine with counter service

Firestone Public House

Frank Fat’s 806 L St. 442-7092 L D Full Bar $$-$$$ Chinese favorites in an elegant setting •

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Fish Face Poke Bar 1104 R Street Suite 100 L D $$ Humble Hawaiian poke breaks free •

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1116 15th Street L D $-$$ Full Bar Gastro-pub cuisine in a stylish industrial setting •

12th & R Streets B L D $ Full-service cafe with artisan coffee roasts, bakery goods and sandwiches •

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L D $-$$ Wine/Beer Wood-fired pizzas in an inventive urban alley setting •

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Tapa The World 2115 J St. 442-4353 L D $-$$ Wine/Beer/Sangria Spanish/world cuisine in a casual authentic atmosphere, live flamenco music -

Thai Basil Café 2431 J St. 442-7690 L D $-$$ Wine/Beer Patio Housemade curries among their authentic Thai specialties

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The Waterboy L D $$-$$$ Full Bar Patio Fine South of France and northern Italian cuisine in a chic neighborhood setting •

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Sacramento Ballet is presenting "Beer & Ballet" this month at CLARA in Midtown.


jL By Jessica Laskey


POC FEB n 17

Pints En Pointe “Beer & Ballet” presented by the Sacramento Ballet Feb. 3-19 Fry-Paoletti Stage at CLARA Midtown (E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts), 2420 N St. Get a glimpse inside the minds of the Sacramento Ballet dancers as they unleash their creative power with bold new works of choreographic imagination. Discover the next generation of visionary dance makers and enjoy a variety of brews while you do so. It’s a win-win!

Exhibitionism at the Crocker “JapanAmerica: Points of Contact, 1876-1970,” on view Feb. 12 through May 21 “Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank,” on view Feb. 19 through May 14 Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St. Check out two exciting new exhibitions opening at the Crocker this month. “JapanAmerica: Points of Contact, 1876–1970”, a major exhibition organized by the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, surveys the role that international exhibitions and world’s fairs have played in artistic exchanges between Japan and the United States. Focusing on Japan’s place in major international exhibitions held on the American continent from 1876 onward, finishing with a look at the first World’s Fair held in Osaka in 1970, this beautiful and diverse assembly of more than 100 works examines the influence of Japanese aesthetics on painting and printmaking, ceramics and metalwork, graphic design, advertising, bookbinding and illustration. “Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank” opens Feb. 19, 75 years to the day after former President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 during World War II, authorizing the Secretary of War to designate certain areas as military zones and clearing the way for some 120,000 Japanese Americans to be incarcerated in camps throughout the American West. This compelling collection of photographs—40 by Ansel Adams and 26 by Leonard Frank—presents two views of internment and incarceration in the early 1940s, providing an opportunity to reflect on the nature of reactionary politics, racism, forced separation and the resulting effects on victims.

Stormy Weather “The Tempest,” presented by the Sacramento Theatre Company Feb. 22 through March 19 Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H St. Teeming with shipwrecks, fairies and magic, “The Tempest” is considered by many to be William Shakespeare’s finest romance. The deposed Duke Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, have been stranded for 12 years on a small island where nothing is quite as it seems. But as they separate fantasy from authenticity, they eventually triumph in a new world of love, harmony and redemption.

The Sound of Love “Love Songs in Feb.: From Nat King Cole to Diana Krall—And A Whole Lot of Lovin’ In Between,” a concert featuring the Valerie V Quintet Saturday, Feb. 25 from 6:30-9 p.m. Nepenthe Clubhouse, 1131 Commons Drive 205-4001, To reprise the mood from V Day, crooner Valerie V and her talented quintet will perform sultry standards sure to delight the ear and inspire some amorous admiration. A percentage of profits from the concert will go to Community Resident Services Broadway Senior Center, Sacramento.

"Sex With Strangers" is playing at William J. Geery Theater.

Strange Bedfellows “Sex With Strangers,” a play by Laura Eason presented by EMH Productions Feb. 2-18 William J. Geery Theater, 2130 L St. When star sex blogger and memoirist Ethan Kane, aka Ethan Strange (played by magnetic local actor Tory Scroggins), tracks down his idol, the gifted but obscure novelist Olivia (played by Elise Hodge, founder of EMH Productions), he finds they each crave what the other possesses: her brilliance as a serious writer and his notoriety as a hit on The New York Times best-sellers list for five years in row. As they inch closer to getting what they want, both must confront the dark side of ambition and the near impossibility of reinventing oneself when the past is only a click away. “Sex with Strangers” had its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago and its New York premiere at Second Stage Theatre in June 2014 under the direction of David Schwimmer (yes, of “Friends” fame).



Rutherford Chang is exhibiting at the Verge Center for the Arts through March 19.

My Funny Valentine

Meaningful Music

“Guys! Make a Valentine” Feb. 9 from 6-8 p.m. “Rutherford Chang: We Buy White Albums” (exhibition continues through March 19)

Crocker Classical Concert featuring Jacqueline Hairston, Henrietta Davis and Laurel Zucker Sunday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m.

Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S St. Back by popular demand, this craft workshop will help guys who want to impress their significant other this Valentine’s Day with something other than chocolate and roses (though you might want to include some of those, too). Valentine expert Gioia Fonda, a Verge Studio artist, will lead participants of all skill levels through the steps of making a valentine that “doesn’t suck.” And to get the creative juices flowing, Verge is offering a free beer for workshop participants who are age 21 and over. While you’re there, enjoy the ongoing exhibition “Rutherford Chang: We Buy White Albums,” which continues through March 19. For the duration of the exhibition, the gallery will function as a record store stocking only numbered copies of The Beatles’ 1968 self-titled double-LP, popularly referred to as the White Album. But rather than selling albums, the anti-store will solicit additional albums for Chang’s collection of more than 1,600 copies. For the past decade, Chang has been collecting numbered copies of the White Album. The original pressing featured serial numbers stamped on the covers, alluding to a limited edition—though ironically, that initial release was in excess of 3 million copies! Chang’s interest in collecting the White Album lies in how every copy has aged uniquely. Like a blank canvas, the nearly half-century-old albums have accumulated doodles and graffiti from previous owners (along with discoloration and mold), turning each album into a one-of-a-kind object. The discs themselves have become warped and scratched over time, creating slight variations in playback. Over time, these albums have become uniform yet unique artifacts. Visitors are invited to browse the albums, listen to the vinyl and, of course, contribute their copies of the White Album to the collection.


POC FEB n 17

Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St. In honor of Black History Month, renowned composer/arranger and pianist Jacqueline Butler Hairston presents a program of works by female African American composers. Interpretive soprano Henrietta Davis and recording flutist Laurel Zucker join Hairston to offer compelling renditions of works that include Hairston’s own song trilogy “On Consciousness Streams.” The influence of African American jazz and spirituals, as well as European classical music, will be explored in this gorgeous concert, which will also include lyrical renditions of poetry by Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple.”

Flutist Laurel Zucker will perform at Crocker Art Museum.

Roll Over, Beethoven Two-Week Beethoven Festival presented by the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera Saturday, Feb. 25 (and Saturday, March 4)

Crocker Art Museum will host the Mexico City Woodwind Quintet.

Woodwinds in the River City Crocker Art Museum hosts the Mexico City Woodwind Quintet Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St. The Crocker Art Museum is honored to host the Mexico City Woodwind Quintet during its brief stint in Sacramento. Considered one of the most important chamber music groups in Mexico today, the quintet is dedicated to performing music that reflects contemporary Latin America. Performances with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Mexico State Symphony Orchestra gained the group widespread international acclaim, and its members draw on diverse musical backgrounds to infuse their instrumentalism with astounding artistry. Space is limited and advance registration is recommended.

We All Live in a Yellow Submarine Ron Campbell, legendary animator/director, at Beatnik Studios Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Community Center Theater, 1301 L St. Lend an ear to some of your favorite Ludwig van Beethoven pieces (including his beloved Symphony No. 7) as well as other classics such as Toru Takemitsu’s “Quotation of Dream” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Keyboard Concerto featuring Peter Serkin and Julia Hsu on piano. Guest conductor Andrew Grams has led orchestras throughout the United States, including the Philadelphia, National and Baltimore symphony orchestras and the Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Dallas and Houston symphonies. He has also worked with orchestras abroad, including the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver symphony orchestras, the Orchestre National de France, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, Sydney Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecillia, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and Oslo Philharmonic. Talk about world-class conducting!

Forney Play “Darrell Forney: Playing Around,” presented by Beatnik Studios Feb. 3 through March 23 Opening reception on Friday, Feb. 3 from 6-9 p.m. Beatnik Studios, 723 S St. 400-4281, In this exhibition, Beatnik Studios celebrates the work of late multimedia artist Darrell Forney, who made a significant imprint on the Sacramento community for decades through his paintings, films, photography, writing and music. His artwork ranged from large abstract oils to collage to acrylics to archival sketches and block prints. (He was perhaps best known for his paintings featuring crows, his sewing pattern paintings, his collages and abstractions and his paintings of large lettered postcards.) Beatnik will be showing a range of his work, much of it on loan from Sacramento City College, where Forney joined the faculty in 1966. Jessica Laskey can be reached at n

Beatnik Studios, 723 S St. 400-4281, Ron Campbell, animation director of the Beatles’ 1960s Saturday morning cartoon series and animator of their 1968 film “Yellow Submarine,” will be making a rare personal appearance at Beatnik Studios to offer original cartoon paintings for sale from his 50-year career in animation, including work from “Scooby Doo,” “The Smurfs,” “Rugrats,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “The Flintstones,” “The Jetsons,” “George of the Jungle,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and more. During the show, Campbell will also be creating new pop art paintings, including a special piece entitled “All You Need Is Love,” which can be personalized for that special someone for Valentine’s Day. The exhibit is free and all works will be available for purchase.

Animator Ron Campbell is stopping by Beatnik Studios.






avid Link, the longtime organist and choir director at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Midtown, was once called the Jimi Hendrix of pipe organs. At 61, he looks about as much like Jimi Hendrix as a pipe organ resembles an electric guitar. When asked how he earned that unlikely nickname, he laughs and says, “Believe me, it didn’t come from me! A few years ago, after I played an especially rousing and bombastic piece on the organ during the Easter Vigil (‘Pim’s Toccata’ by Englishman Alan Wilson), a very enthused teenage boy rushed up to me and exclaimed, ‘Wow, dude! You must be the Jimi Hendrix of pipe organs!’ ” Link, who has been at Trinity Cathedral since 1984, is the longest tenured employee of the church and one of the most highly regarded. Says Lynell Walker, a canon pastor who has worked with the organist for 22 years, “I can’t speak much about the Jimi Hendrix comment—my mother was a highly professional flautist in Los Angeles, and we didn’t listen to pop or rock music. But I can tell you this about David: When he plays, it sets your heart in motion. You realize instantly that the person making the music is someone of great faith. “What he has is a profound gift— not a technical or keyboard skill, but a very special gift that springs from the soul. This is a man on a very active spiritual journey. He often leads us in prayer during staff meetings, those tedious hours when our minds get in the way, when you can’t think


POC FEB n 17

David Link is the organist and choir director at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. your way to God. In his music and in his words, David is sacramental and

sensual, and he cuts a path straight from your soul to God’s ears.”

The musical program at Trinity has always been dear to the parishioners’ hearts. It is a happily singing



HAVE INSIDE, L WILL TRAVEth n will return next mo

A Moment in Time FEBRUARY 12, 2017, AT 7:00 P.M.

St. John’s Lutheran Church 1701 L Street, Sacramento CONDUCTOR: Lynn Stevens

To appear in our publications or on our Instagram feed, take a picture with Inside Publications and e-mail a high-resolution copy to Due to volume of submissions, we cannot guarantee all photos will be printed or posted. congregation. Parish administrator and operations manager Jerry Pare says, “Trinity worshippers are absolutely passionate about their singing, and they find David wonderful to work with. He oversees the Children’s Choir, the Celebration Choir and the Cathedral Choir. I think David’s success stems from the fact that he avoids the political realm of church business. His work and leadership cut straight to the heart of why people worship: They want to feel good in their faith, and singing robustly and freely with his uplifting musical ability gets them out of their heads and into their souls. David is a very upbeat guy. He balances his hard work with his two avocations, biking and wilderness camping, both of which refresh his musical ministry.” Link views his position at Trinity

TICKETS $30 Preferred, $17 General, $12 Students

(916) 646-1141

happy with the niche he has carved for himself. “It’s uncanny,” he says, “the chemistry that the people have created with me. When I play, the people instinctually know when to join in, unlike many congregations that experience awkward start-andstop interplays with the organist. Something about Trinity: It’s just mad for singing as a way to reach God. “ Church volunteer Susan Bush, who’s been answering phones for 10 years, loves the fact that Link allows regular parishioners like her to join in during choir practice. “It creates such a great feeling of community,” she says, “to just stop what you’re doing in the office and participate with more polished choir members in these wonderfully upbeat hymns. We

as the perfect culmination of a

are a parish alive with music, thanks

lifetime of organ playing throughout

to David Link.”

Sacramento. He used to play at First Christian Church, St. John’s Lutheran Church and Holy Spirit Catholic Church, and he is extremely

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral is at 2620 Capitol Ave. For more information, go to trinitycathedral. org. n





hen the calendar turns to February, one can’t help thinking of Valentine’s Day. It’s a spot of warmth in an otherwise short and often dreary month. It’s an especially bright spot for those in the restaurant trade. Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest dining-out nights in the country. For some, it’s a highpressure date night; for others, it’s a cozy renewal of years of partnership. Wherever couples are in their romantic arc, Valentine’s is a night when many go out on the town and toast to their love. We offer a few ideas for romantic dining. Whether on V-Day itself or any old weekday night, these spots should help kindle the flame. Ella Dining Room and Bar Maybe it’s the profusion of gauzy curtains, the soft lights swinging from the wood-paneled ceiling, or the gorgeous dishes coming from the kitchen, but Ella has a bit of a transportive quality to it. A night spent surrounded by the indulgent luxury and leisurely service at Ella can move a diner away from the everyday and into a dreamy, languid space. It’s hard to imagine that Ella, a jewel in the Selland restaurant group, has been open nearly a decade. It was one of the first businesses to take a

GS By Greg Sabin Restaurant Insider


POC FEB n 17

Take your valentine to Ella Dining Room and Bar for a romantic dinner. chance on a revitalized K Street and, despite nearby openings of eminently romantic restaurants like Mayahuel and Brasserie Capitale, it still ranks as the street’s premier dining destination. The elegant duck, a simple but gorgeous plate, is a feast for the senses. The old-fashioned seafood tower is a charming way for a party of two to get their hands dirty cracking crab and slurping oysters. The cocktails are expertly crafted, and the happy hour is still one of the best in town.

Ella is at 1131 K St.; 443-3772; The Firehouse Restaurant For half a century, The Firehouse Restaurant has put out exquisite food while surrounding diners with Victorian luxury. Still the grand poobah of Old Sacramento dining, The Firehouse has hosted every California governor since its opening in 1960. During the spring and summer, the ridiculously charming courtyard is a place to dine among twinkle

lights under a canopy of lazy shade trees. But in the cold month of February, the velvety dining room, with its heavy lacquered woods and sumptuous colors, is a space whose warmth doesn’t come from the boiler in the cellar. Every plate that comes from the award-winning kitchen is a piece of art. It’s hard not to be romantic during an evening at The Firehouse. The Firehouse Restaurant is at 1112 2nd St.; 442-4772;

Moxie One simply does not discuss romantic dining without Moxie making its way into the conversation. The narrow, old-fashioned dining room on H Street is still as invisible from the street as it was when it opened nearly two decades ago. The menu is still a mere suggestion, with the rotating specials list being the star of the show. The mere presentation of the laundry list of specials is always a rabbit-from-thehat trick by the owner. The dim lights and closer-thanfamily service are unmatched for creating a romantic dining experience. There is literally nowhere you can eat in Sacramento and feel as special and adored as you do at Moxie. Moxie is at 2028 H St.; 443-7585;















Greg Sabin can be reached at n

Aioli Bodega Espanola The large-windowed space on the corner of L and 18th streets makes Aioli’s medium-size dining room seem huge. During the spring and summer, the small, charming patio is a treasure. But in the winter, the warmth of the dining room, with its windows on the world, beckons. The menu, filled with expertly made Spanish tapas, allows a couple a

chance to share and chat and stretch out the night with a plate of this and a bowl of that. The service is cheeky and charismatic and definitely helps make the evening special. Aioli Bodega Espanola is at 1800 L St.; 447-9440;


Taylor’s Kitchen It’s easy to overlook this little neighborhood dining room attached to Taylor’s Market, but the low lights, rich menu and bustling open kitchen make it a romantic getaway any night of the week. It’s a small, intimate room, and the limited but attentive staff makes every diner feel like friends of the house. It’s impossible not to bond with nearby tables of fellow diners and shout out “bravos” to the kitchen staff. Depending on the night, the room can be wryly rowdy or soothingly relaxed. Either way, it’s imbued with a convivial romanticism that no diner can escape. Taylor’s Kitchen is at 2924 Freeport Blvd.; 443-5154;

A salad from Taylor's Kitchen.



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