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AUGUST 6, 2020 | VOL. 32, ISSUE 2

During the pandemic, friends drop off baked goodies, made with love.


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Independent, local journalism Our Mission: To publish great newspapers that are successful and enduring. To create a quality work environment that encourages employees to grow professionally while respecting personal welfare. To have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live. Editor Foon Rhee News Editor Raheem F. Hosseini Staff Reporter Scott Thomas Anderson Arts Writer Lindsay Oxford Calendar Editor Patrick Hyun Wilson Contributors Ngaio Bealum, Debbie Arrington, Rob Brezsny, Aaron Carnes, Jim Carnes, Joey Garcia, Kate Gonzales, Howard Hardee, Ashley Hayes-Stone, Jim Lane, Chris Macias, Ken Magri, Tessa Marguerite Outland, James Raia, Patti Roberts, Dylan Svoboda, Bev Sykes, Jeremy Winslow, Graham Womack

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The acceptance speech Joe Biden should give ‘I promise to serve only one term and to prepare my running mate to become president. She will be the most powerful vice president in history.’ BY FOON RHEE

Joe Biden formally accepts the Democratic nomination for president on Thursday, Aug. 20 in Milwaukee. This is part of the speech he should deliver: My fellow Democrats, I humbly accept your nomination, full of pride, hope and more determination than ever to unite our nation and restore our democracy. We have gone through a tough primary campaign, but it will make me a better president. I have adopted many of my competitors’ ideas and proposals to make America fairer and more prosperous. And there is far more that unites us—most importantly our common goal to defeat this president.

Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Iowa in August 2019. PHOTO BY GAGE SKIDMORE FOR WIKI COMMONS






fo o nr@ne w s re v i e w . c o m

He has violated his oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Instead of helping the American people, he has enriched himself and his friends. And he has utterly failed in the two most important tests of leadership while in office. With his inaction and incompetence, he has worsened the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 150,000 Americans already and could kill many more if he doesn’t finally bring more compassion, common sense and science to the task. With his “law and order” hysteria and use of federal law enforcement and the military against peaceful protestors, he has inflamed the crisis after the death

of George Floyd, while ignoring the real issues of police violence and racial justice. Especially now, we need a president who will unite America and call us to common purpose. Instead, we have one who will divide us for his own political gain. So I want to use most of this precious time to address all my fellow Americans: We need you to join us. It’s going to take all of us to overcome this president. After the U.S. Senate refused to remove him from office, the supporters of impeachment warned of the damage he would do. It is frightening to imagine how much further he might go if he wins four more years and no longer has to answer to voters. I also want to speak directly to African Americans. I truly hope that this time, the protests lead to real and lasting change. I promise to do everything in my power to end systemic racism in law enforcement and society. After 400 years, we have yet to overcome our nation’s original sin of slavery. Today, we have the chance to make great progress, and we cannot let it slip by, again. And I want to speak to America’s young people. I hear you and see you and I pledge to help you. You are the ones whose futures are most in danger. I know that far too many of you are weighed down by student debt or stuck in gig economy jobs, unable to see your way to the American Dream. My agenda to rebuild the middle class will lift you most of all. Finally, I want to speak directly to those of you who have supported Donald Trump. Many of you—deep in your heart and your soul—know that he isn’t fit to be president. But you’re still looking for reasons to vote against him. I will give you those reasons. Our struggle to control the coronavirus outbreak demonstrates how important it is to have a president who tells the truth and can be trusted. Thousands of Americans have needlessly suffered and lost their lives because his administration did not act quickly and smartly enough. Unlike this president, I will surround myself with wise people—Republicans as well as Democrats—and will listen to their advice. I will reestablish the rule of law, not use the Justice Department to go after my enemies and help my allies. I will respect the right of Congress to oversee the presidency, not fire inspectors general or retaliate against whistleblowers. I will

bring back decency and empathy to the Oval Office. I ask you to think about your kids and grandkids: Do you want them to act like this president? I know that some of you have doubts about me. I sometimes don’t say exactly what I mean, and I regret some of my past decisions. I also know that some of you worry about my age. I have already pledged not to run for reelection if my physical or mental health decline. Now I want to go further. I promise to serve only one term and to prepare my running mate to become president. She will be the most powerful vice president in history. She will be in the room for every significant decision. And by the 2024 election, she will be ready to take over on day one. But first, we must defeat this president on Nov. 3. It will not be easy. He and his operatives will lie, violate any law and viciously attack anyone. He will run a campaign based on racial division. He will do anything to win, maybe accept help from foreign adversaries, again. Behind in the polls, he will even suggest delaying the election, a power he does not possess. We must stay focused in the weeks ahead. We do not want a repeat of the shock on election night in 2016. And we must beat him by a big enough margin, both in the Electoral College and popular vote, so he cannot dispute the judgment of the American people. To make that happen, we need to heed the words of the late civil rights legend John Lewis, who was honored last week by former presidents and people across our nation. “We must keep our eyes on the prize. We must go out and vote like we never, ever voted before. We must use the vote as a nonviolent instrument, a tool to redeem the soul of America,” he said in Selma on March 1 for the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” This election will decide whether these past four years will be a detour on our road forward—or the beginning of a decline into darkness that will change America’s character forever. I still have ultimate faith in the American people—that we will see the truth about this president, that we will turn away from his hate and that we will raise our sights to pursue the more perfect union we all want. God bless America and all its people. Ω

Wearing is Caring by Thea Marie Rood


asks or face coverings are now required by Sacramento Regional Transit District, which launched a public information campaign late last month to inform its riders. “Wearing is Caring” is designed to remind people that wearing a mask protects those around you if you have COVID and don’t yet know it, and has been determined to be one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the virus. Since June 29, passengers must wear masks or face coverings while they are waiting at bus stops and light rail stations and while they are riding. Free masks are available at the Customer Service and Sales Center, key transit centers and stations, and on trains and buses upon boarding.

Free masks

are available at: • Customer Service and Sales Center • Key transit centers and stations • Trains and buses upon boarding

SacRT also requires all its employees, including bus and train operators, to wear masks and other personal protective gear at work and to have their temperatures checked before starting every shift. This is all part of SacRT’s efforts to continue providing safe public transportation for riders who need to work, shop or care for family members, while also protecting its frontline staff. Mandatory maskwearing also goes along with the public health order recently issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, which carries the force of law and requires all Californians to wear face cover-

ings in public places, at work and outdoors when it’s impossible to stay 6 feet apart. “Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered—putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease,” the governor said when the order went into effect. The public health order doesn’t require children under the age of 2 or people with a medical, mental health or developmental disability to wear a mask, and SacRT also exempts those riders. In addition to masks, SacRT created 6-foot social distancing markings at stops and stations and blocked off certain seats to maintain more distance between passengers on buses and light rail trains. SacRT also frequently cleans and sanitizes vehicles and facilities, installed plexiglass barriers by the driver’s seat to reduce risks when paying, and offers contact-less paying options (such as ZipPass, the free mobile fare app).

To read more about precautions being taken by SacRT, visit sacrt.com/covid19. To download ZipPass, visit the App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Androids.

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Real police reform Sacramento must lead, and the Community Police Review Commission’s recommendations are a good start For the past several weeks, our city and many other cities have justifiably expressed their grief and outrage. I’m hoping that the recent death of George Floyd is spurring the kind of reflection that leads to changing Sacramento into the kind of city and community we envision. While Sacramento is not Minneapolis, there is a lot we can do to bring about meaningful and positive police reform. To that end, I’m asking all residents of Sacramento to join the movement. Let’s turn our collective anger, sadness and feelings of hopelessness towards doing better. Let’s honor the lives of George Floyd, Stephon Clark, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor and many others. We cannot remain silent, and we cannot simply say we will do better. We must push for change now. The city of Sacramento established the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission, which is dedicated to reviewing the Sacramento Police Department’s polices and programs and advising the mayor and City Council on recommendations for reform. The commission made recommendations in 2018 and 2019 that have yet to be voted on by our city officials. Many of these recommendations are in line with state and national reforms, but some go beyond what has been called for by national groups. Last year, California took a historic step in the right direction by passing Assembly Bill 392, authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber. And while the legislation is beneficial, certain explicit definitions are missing—for example, of de-escalation. The commission’s 2019 recommendations before the City Council define de-escalation as “taking action or communicating verbally or nonverbally during a potential force encounter in an attempt to stabilize the situation and reduce the immediacy of the threat so more time, options,

Mario Guerrero is chairman of the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission.

and resources can be called upon to resolve the situation without the use of force or with a reduction of the force necessary. De-escalation tactics include, but are not limited to, warnings, verbal persuasion, and tactical repositioning.” We can all imagine at least one encounter that might have ended differently had the following policy been in place. Additionally, another commission recommendation includes a requirement for ethnic studies for police officer cadets. Why ethnic studies? Because as many have acknowledged, the solution to police brutality is not just about policy. The police department already requires candidates to complete at least 60 semester hours at an accredited college or university. We need peace officers with understanding, empathy and knowledge of communities of color to eliminate racism and other forms of oppression. While Police Chief Daniel Hahn and Mayor Darrell Steinberg have suspended the use of the carotid chokehold, this is only a step in the right direction. A broader discussion on what reform looks like needs to take place; the commission’s recommendations are a good place to start the conversation. Additional reforms must be considered. For example, a number of cities have given their community police commissions the power to investigate, discipline and dismiss police officers. Also, the City Council is considering redirecting some police funding to a new department that would respond to calls related to mental health or homelessness. We must act. We cannot allow ourselves to do the bare minimum. We need real reform. Ω

“We cannot remain silent, and we cannot simply say we will do better. We must push for change now.”

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Dad would have been 100 this week BY JEFF VONKAENEL

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Jeff vonKaenel is behind his dad’s left shoulder.

After a pause, he gave me an attorney’s name in Santa Barbara, just in case something happened. My love and appreciation for dad grew at that moment. He made it clear he loved me for doing what I believed in, even when he didn’t agree with me. And dad’s views about the government did change over time. Today, remembering my dad’s life experiences gives me hope. In 1932, when the country was in a severe depression, we elected a new Congress and a new president who called for massive reforms. The New Deal included Social Security, jobs programs, union protections, higher taxes on the rich, environmental programs and more. We did it once and we can do it again. We can roll back the tax breaks for the rich and corporations and use those resources to fix America. We can have a real discussion about race and enact policies that bring about equality. We can reform our criminal justice system. We can save our planet. We can be that America that helped a poor Ohio blue-collar worker go to college and become a doctor, a doctor who told his son over and over again that there is more to life than making a buck. You have to do something with your life to make a difference. Dad, you did not need to tell me. I was watching you. Ω Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review.


This week, my dad, William Edward vonKaenel, would have turned 100. During his 52 years on this planet, he experienced the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II and the GI Bill, became a doctor and moved from Ohio to California with six kids in a station wagon in 1964. Although it has been 48 years since he died, he has been in my thoughts over the last several months. It is easy to be overwhelmed with COVID-19, President Donald Trump, political polarization, climate change and numerous other problems. Then I think about my dad’s life. He lost his father at a very young age. Turning nine years old at the beginning of the Depression, he and three siblings and his widowed mom had to scrape by, often not knowing where their next meal would come from. That experience taught him the importance of thrift and family. Serving in the Army and going to college and medical school on the GI Bill made a deep impression on my dad. He believed we were all connected and dependent upon each other. He appreciated that taxpayers enabled him to go to college. During the Depression, he had been accepted at Stanford, but was unable to go because he had to stay home to help support his family. So instead, he worked in the steel mills in Lorain, Ohio. During my high school and college days, my dad and I had heated political arguments about civil rights and the Vietnam War. He understandably saw the government as the institution that helped his family during the Depression, enabled him to become a doctor and won World War II. I saw the government as an institution conducting an unjust immoral war in Vietnam and preventing blacks from voting or having justice. I loved and respected my dad. He called me one night to tell me that he did not want me to join fellow UC Santa Barbara students in protesting the Vietnam War.

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Celebrating 20 Years of Totally Tubular Costumes


Jay Siren, burlesque instructor and performer

Or pick up that brick and drop us a line: 916-448-2594

The Sizzling Sirens have been synonymous with Sacramento burlesque since 2008; founder Jay Siren has been performing with the Sirens and offering instruction to the burlesque-curious since. With classes and live performances off the table for the foreseeable future, she talks about making connections both online and safely distanced, with some good old-fashioned socially-distanced parking-lot dancing.

The Sizzling Sirens are not performing during the pandemic, correct? Correct, the troupe is inactive although everybody is part of a family now. We became a legit girl gang a while ago beyond our work onstage, so we’ve just been treating it that way...[We’ve] been doing intermittent, socially-distanced parking lot dance time. We love dancing together and moving our bodies. Things have evolved and changed, certainly, but it feels good to be where we’re at after all these years.

So these parking lot dances. Do you have audiences for those, or are they just for you and the gang?





113 K Street, Sacramento CA 95814


(916) 448-2594

(916) 717-1791




lind sa y o @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

Burlesque troupe the Sizzling Sirens mix tease with humor.

Dial up the modem and check us out on the internet: www.evangelinescostumemansion.com



No, no, purely for enjoyment and love of movement, moving together. Not with any performative end necessarily, but simply to enjoy each other and enjoy dance, which is something that obviously brought us together, and it’s just a cool way to hang out with your sisters, y’know?

You had been offering lessons through Zoom. Are you still doing that? For the past few years I’ve been teaching a dance class called Foundations with Jay, which is

centered within burlesque movement style, but focuses more on the idea of mind-body connection through the lens of the sensual movements practice...and it was just fantastic and lovely, and when the pandemic hit, I transitioned to Zoom. I quickly realized that the format of that class didn’t translate to the digital sphere...So now we get together [online] from 6:30 to 8:30 pm each Tuesday, and I present a topic for conversation…. It’s been really organic and exciting and the level of vulnerability and sharing that we’re doing is just really gorgeous and has ended up being supermeaningful. So even though it’s in a way devastating to not be able to hold physical space together right now, it has become an unexpected and kind of glorious gift that the digital format has offered us...Nothing creates opportunities for creativity and expansion like limitations, right?

One of the things people most associate with the burlesque are beautiful, sexy costumes. Do you miss those? First of all, let me tell you, of all the beautiful burlesque costumes I’ve been blessed to wear in my life, I think one of my favorites was a head-totoe solid felt pug costume.

Did you say pug, P-U-G? I did! Part of the sex positivity, body positivity, and excitement that comes from burlesque is really embracing that humor that comes with exploring and celebrating your body and your sexuality and character in different ways. So for the Sizzling Sirens, as a group, that often manifested in really directly humorous ways that involved ridiculous, over-the-top un-sexy costumes. I mean I was a giant cookie, for goodness sake!...And that, to me, is the height of the sexual empowerment that comes from this, where you are so put into your own-ness, like your own-ness of your energy and yourself, that it is a freeing joy to celebrate that in as wacky and zany a way that feels right to you.

Find information about joining Foundations by Jay Happy Hours at http://thesirenevents.com/foundations-happy-hour

SAfeTy fIRST A Q&A with SAcRt SAfety SpeciAliSt Stephen MccAbe by Anne Stokes

As a safety specialist, what does your job entail? It’s everything from environmental compliance, [which is] protection of soil and water, tracking chemical use and disposal … [to] safety, which is to preventing injury to workers and the public.

What do you enjoy most about working in your position for SacRT? The variety. It’s not the same job on a day-to-day basis. … Being able to analyze and problem solve, those are the things that are rewarding about the job.

What new safety challenges has COVID-19 created for SacRT and its riders?

Getting PPE ended up being a big challenge and continues to be a high-priority activity for us. Lately, government agencies—the Federal Transit Administration and the California Office of Emergency Services—have both been great as they get personal protective equipment, they provide it to us and share it with us and other transit agencies. The next thing (we’re tackling) is complacency. When (the pandemic) first started, everybody feared everything and … we were very eager to comply. As time wears on, we all have that normalization that takes place where we all start taking that risk for granted. As a result of that, keeping people aware has been a bigger challenge to get people to stay with it.

In your professional opinion as a former paramedic and as a safety specialist, what can riders do to help ensure both their own safety and the safety of others? The best thing is honestly to wear a mask. We have our vehicles marked with restricted seating or reduced seating to provide for physical distancing—please respect that. We’re making masks available to the public. Both the FTA, the Federal Transit Administration and the California OES have (donated) a lot of masks. We’ve received about 50,000 and we’ve been putting those out for the public on light rail vehicles and buses.

Why is it important to keep services up and running for the community? Keeping (Sacramento Regional Transit District) open for people who really need (public) transportation is key not just to those individuals, but to the services and products they provide, which can be anything f rom a grocery worker, a health care worker, anyone else. If you take away their ability to get to work, that’s one less service or one less provider that’s out there and it can have a trickle-down effect and impacts everyone else.

For schedules, routes and other information, visit sacrt.com or call 916-321-BUSS (2877).

By the numBers



SacRt operates seven maintenance and operations facilities: one for buses, three for community bus Services, and two for the light rail system.

SacRt has an 11-member board of directors from the cities of Sacramento, Rancho cordova, citrus heights, elk Grove and folsom as well as the Sacramento county board of Supervisors.

1,400 SacRt employs a work force of approximately 1,400 people, and 81% of them directly operate or maintain the bus and light rail systems.

$200 m the fiscal year 2021 operating budget is $200.3 million, with a capital budget of $789.4 million.

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School cops California districts replace police with counselors as demands grow for reform BY CAROLYN JOHNSON

Read the unabridged version of this article at edsource.org




Faced with a soaring budget deficit and a growing fear of school shootings, Fontana Unified took a drastic step in the early 2010s: First, the board laid off the district’s entire staff of 69 counselors. And then it bought its police department 14 automatic rifles. The San Bernardino County district was not unusual. In the wake of the Columbine school shooting, 9/11 and the 2008 recession, school districts throughout California mad similar choices to cut mental health services in favor of more police, according to a 2019 report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Now, as the Black Lives Matter movement gathers momentum, some districts are moving in the opposite direction: cutting back on police spending and hiring more counselors. But social justice advocates say that eliminating police should only be a first step, and districts need to take broad action to reduce institutional racism that they say permeates most aspects of the education system. In June, Oakland Unified voted to shutter its police department, saving $4 million per year, and other districts, such as Los Angeles Unified, voted to reduce funding for its police force by $25 million. Sacramento City Unified and San Francisco Unified, among others, voted to sever their contracts with local police departments, saving millions. There are plenty of benefits to investing in mental health counselors, research has shown. An analysis by the UCLA Black Male Institute at the Graduate School of Education suggests that redirecting police funding to mental health might be the most effective way |


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to address a surge in student behavior problems and other incidents on school campuses linked to rising poverty and childhood trauma.

RACIAL DISPARITIES Those who say that funding cuts is just a first step point to the disproportionate rate at which Black and Latino students are suspended and expelled by teachers and administrators, not police. They also cite funding inequities that affect schools with a majority of low-income, Black and Latino students, according to several reports. With less money, schools with Black and Latino majorities are less likely to have extra tutors, counselors, coaches and enrichment activities such as field trips, and more likely to have facilities in need of upgrades. All of that creates an environment where students are more likely to misbehave in class, get into conflicts with teachers and other students, or otherwise become disengaged in school, experts and advocates say. The issue is complicated by the evolving role of police in some districts. At a state hearing in July, school police officials said that if they’re properly trained, campus police can have a positive impact on students and improve campus safety. They can get to know students personally, work closely with school staff and steer students away from criminal behavior before it escalates. And in some rare circumstances, police are necessary at school, said Loretta Whitson, director of the California Association of School Counselors. Cases of sexual assault,

Most behavior incidents on campus are best handled with mental health services, research has shown. PHOTO BY ALYSON YIN FOR EDSOURCE

threats of physical violence involving weapons, child abuse or criminal incidents in the community that spill onto campus are all best handled by officers, she said. And local municipal police might not be as well-trained or equipped to interact with youth as specially trained school police would be. Some schools are opting for unarmed security guards, who can quell disturbances on campus and help students steer clear of trouble. Among California’s 1,000 school districts, 23 fund full campus police departments while many more contract for police services with local municipal departments. The shift to local control in 2013 made it easier for school districts to free up funding for mental health services and programs like restorative justice, an alternative to traditional discipline that allows

students to talk through their conflicts and reach a peaceful resolution. And in the past few years, the state began pressuring districts to reduce their suspension and expulsion rates and improve campus climate overall. Most recently, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a panel on July 10 on how districts can find money to hire more counselors and other mental health professionals. Some districts, like Stockton Unified, San Francisco Unified and Los Angeles Unified, have begun seeing drops in suspension rates as they’ve adopted alternative discipline policies and emphasized student wellness, partially as a result of the state’s ban on suspensions for willful defiance in elementary and middle schools. Ω

Back to school Many California districts ditch plans for some in-person classes as COVID-19 resurges BY SYDNEY JOHNSON

Read the unabridged version of this article at edsource.org

Most California schools are preparing for a new reality of entirely remote classes this fall, after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced July 17 that schools cannot offer in-person instruction if they are in counties the state is closely monitoring for coronavirus spread. That means it is back to the drawing board for the many districts that were previously planning on offering a variety of options to students and parents, ranging from in-person classes and online instruction to hybrid approaches that involve a blend of both. Sacramento County’s Office of Education had already announced July 15 that public schools in all 13 districts will remain closed at the start of the school year, and students will continue learning at home and at a distance. Distance learning “is a challenge in any experience,” Newsom said, and in-person instruction would be far preferable. But keeping schools closed for in-person instruction in counties on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list is necessary to reduce infection rates in California, he said. District officials interviewed by EdSource said they felt relieved to now have a clearer set of expectations from the state about when and how to bring students back to campus. At the same time, they said the future is still uncertain, and they are trying to be prepared for to make further pivots should they be necessary.

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Distance learning was unsuccessful for many students in the rapid pivot last spring, and now state education officials are looking into ways to help districts make remote learning more effective this fall. California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced in a webinar that districts can now apply for $5.3 billion to assist with improving distance learning and reducing learning loss. In June, in response to the clear need to offer improved distance learning, California legislators passed a 2020-21 budget bill with detailed requirements regarding remote learning. School districts have to implement the provisions of the bill to receive funding from the state. Among the requirements, school officials have to confirm that students have access to the necessary technology to participate in online classes, take attendance, monitor weekly progress and ensure teachers interact daily with students. Some researchers worry that districts that were focused on offering hybrid instruction—with some classes offered in person, and others remotely—may not


have put in the necessary time to set up a high quality distance learning program. In fact, some districts, like CoronaNorco Unified in Riverside County, were hoping all their students would return for in-person instruction in August. Earlier this summer, the district crafted a detailed plan for how students and staff could practice social distancing on campus and implement guidelines for masks and sanitation requirements when schools reopened. But as the number of coronavirus cases climbed in Riverside County, which is on the state’s monitoring list, Superintendent Michael Lin said it became clear that a full return would not be possible. Now the district is now planning to start the school year on Aug. 11 with all students learning remotely, “The key is to return as safely as

possible, it’s not about returning as quickly as possible,” Lin said. Distance learning proved to be ineffective for many students last spring when schools closed suddenly for in-person instruction, and now some districts are seeking to come up with creative solutions to ensure greater success for students in an only-online environment. San Francisco Unified, for example, is planning to open up 40 in-person “learning hubs,” or spaces where students can go in-person to access digital coursework and receive help. The program will prioritize low-income families, foster children and other students in a difficult situation for remote learning, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Ω






A business tries to survive the lockdown while in mourning When a rural café lost its co-owner, the community wouldn’t let it lose everything BY SCOTT THOMAS ANDERSON sc o tta @ ne wsr e v ie w.c o m

Jon and Sina Hanning spent the last six years transforming a typical small-town café into a bedrock of their Gold Country community—a popular neighborhood hangout that also showcased Sutter Creek’s rustic charm and character to tourists. The couple had been married 27 years. Between Jon’s smoky, savory barbecue skills and Sina’s creativity with sandwiches, Backroads Café had expanded into catering and was gaining momentum. Then, on the morning of March 3, without warning, Sina woke up, turned over in bed and discovered Jon had died in his sleep. The day after Jon’s funeral—Friday the 13th—the COVID-19 lockdown was announced. At that point, it wasn’t clear if the Hannings’ shared dream could even survive. Sina was overwhelmed with grief, confusion and a sense that the rudder was completely off the boat. Yet, she soon learned that the family-like approach she and Jon took with their tight-knit staff, the close relationships they’d built with customers near and far and Jon’s constant support of neighboring businesses was all about to bring a kind of calvary riding in to rescue Sina from her personal nightmare. Four months later, Backroads Café is still above water. Regulars are coming through its doors again, many looking for a little taste of everyday normalcy. And while Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision this week to hit the “dimmer switch” on indoor dining in California is another setback for Backroads, Sina says the outpouring of community support still has her confident she’ll make it through the most painful year of her life. It’s a lesson she wants to share with other small businesses owners who are worried and suffering: Don’t lose hope. 12





THE BIG MAN ON THE LINE Sina met Jon when she was 19. He was a boisterous, outgoing people-person who loved dirt bike riding and had a great sense of humor. The two first ran into each other at a little Mexican restaurant in Concord. “I wasn’t even old enough to drink at the time,” Sina remembered with a laugh, “but I had my first margarita with him.” Three years later, Jon proposed. In 2000, the couple moved to Sutter Creek, a Gold Rush-era town known for its Victorian architecture and an emerging place in Northern California’s wine scene. Sina got a job as a barista at Backroads Café. Its owner at the time, Cely Gardella, taught her that the secret to a popular menu was keeping things simple and consistent. Later, a new owner bought Backroads and changed its vision and atmosphere. Sina worked at the other version of the café for years before she got a chance to buy it herself. Sina was eager to bring the business back to its roots. “I wanted all those kids who’d grown up in this county to still get their favorite sandwiches and drinks, and just kind of have that feeling of home again,” Sina recalled. “Rather than being something new and hip, I wanted to make it old school.” Jon dove head-first into that mission by bringing his passion for barbecued meats into the fold. He also did the heavy lifting for the day-to-day operations, handling the accounting, books and payroll. When Jon wasn’t cooking on the breakfast line or walking orders over to customers’ houses, he was serving as president of the Sutter Creek Business & Professional Association, strolling up and down the city’s historic main street each

day, checking in on the other mom-andpop storefronts. Jon’s fountain of energy was something Backroads employee Faith Goncalves admired. “Even as busy as he was, he would stop, just for a moment, to talk to anybody,” Goncalves remembered. “He’d help them out, make them feel better. He was always really good about that … He was a mentor for us, awesome with our customers and an amazing cook.” Jackson Israel, who’s worked for the Hannings the entire time they owned Backroads, appreciated all the ways Jon helped him grow. “For me, it was a lot of learning, because Jon was showing me so much about cooking than I’d never known before,” Israel said. “He was a teacher and a close friend that I could always laugh with. I felt like I could talk to him about anything at work.” There were some warning signs about Jon’s health, but nothing that alerted Sina to the magnitude of the danger. Jon, who was 55, had recently found out he was diabetic. In the week leading up to his death, he appeared bloated. There was also a wound on his leg that didn’t seem to be healing. Doctors later told Sina that Jon had died of a massive heart attack during the night. Sina knows exactly what was going through her mind that moment in bed she realized Jon was cold. “It said to myself, ‘OK, as soon as I call 911, my life is going to totally change forever,’” she recalled. “So, I kind of waited and just laid with him, and let the dogs lay with him for a bit, and just tried to get my head together.” Finally, Sina picked up her phone. She braced for the fire trucks, the cars, the neighbors flooding in. Looking back at that surreal week, there are so many

“what ifs” that keep floating through Sina’s mind. “I was bugging Jon to go to the doctor or the hospital, but he didn’t want to go,” she said. “But maybe it’s better he didn’t go, because with this whole COVID thing, he might have died anyway, and died with tubes in his face, while I wouldn’t have been able to see him.” The Saturday after Jon’s memorial service, Sina was prepared to distract herself by working at the café. She couldn’t do it. The weight of the world was too much. She felt paralyzed. At virtually the same moment, she learned that Backroads Café had to shut its doors anyway, for an unspecified amount of time, due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Sina had no idea what would happen next. “I was in the worst, darkest low point of my life,” she said.

PICKING UP THE PIECES It was a phone call from a cafe employee that marked the turning point. Backroads had been closed for two weeks following Jon’s funeral and the start of the lockdown. Goncalves was chatting with Sina on and off, checking in on her. Noticing other restaurants were starting to do to-go orders, Goncalves had an idea. “I figured Sina was probably going stir crazy,” she remembered. “In all of the years I’ve worked here, she’s never been off that long before. She’s at Backroads every day.” Goncalves made an enthusiastic call to her boss, suggesting they throw a new sign on the door, start sending food out and leave tables on the sidewalks for customers to rest and eat. She, Sina, Israel and employee Raven Owing quickly got a take-out operation running. “When Faith did that, it really got me out of my funk,” Sina said. “And I’m glad she did, because as soon as the locals knew that we were open, they were hitting us almost every day, just coming in all the time … People were surprised I was even able to come back, after everything that happened, but it was clear they didn’t want to see my business gone. They wanted to see me fight on and keep going.” That doesn’t mean that first month was easy. Relying exclusively on to-go orders meant that Backroads sales were down by 50%. Yet the steady stream of regulars convinced Sina and her team

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Jon Hanning, a popular business owner, cook, husband and mentor, spent the last six years helping his wife create a café that was a hit with Sutter Creek locals and visitors alike. PHOTO COURTESY OF BACKROADS CAFÉ

that they could make things work. Goncalves noticed many people in Sutter Creek weren’t just going out of their way to spend money at the café, but also at other food businesses on the street. “I’d see somebody would come by here, and grab like a coffee and sandwich, and then they’d would go next door to get something different for dinner,” she said. “I feel like the community was doing really well at supporting the places they cared about.” Until July 13, the relatively low number of COVID-19 cases in Amador County allowed its restaurants to continue to offer dine-in services. “Businesswise,

it’s almost back to normal now,” Israel said last week. Three years ago, Jon and Sina had supported Israel during his own family tragedy, when his brother, Mike—who’d also worked at Backroads—was killed overseas while volunteering to fight ISIS in a Kurdish militia. Israel appreciates and values the family-like environment the Hannings created at the café. “It was about sticking together,” he said of weathering the last few months. “We stuck with Sina. We’re all that close. We’re not going to leave each other for dead.” Newsom’s order to roll back

reopenings was a blow to businesses owners across the Mother Lode, where most counties continue to have relatively low COVID-19 caseloads, according to the state’s official coronavirus dashboard. But Sina says she doesn’t plan on letting the reversal keep her business or her employees down. “I think I just have to keep an open mind and know that things might not go back to the way they were,” she said. “When I look back at everything that’s happened, what it’s taught me is to never give up.” Ω


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The lonesome death of ‘the Can Lady’

BY SCOTT THOMAS ANDERSON s cot t a@ n ew s r ev i ew . c o m



here was darkness over the tracks. In the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 26, 1984, a patrol car moved down Roseville’s Atlantic Street, its headlights tracking smoke-brushed freight cars that idled in the largest switch yard on the West Coast. A sliver of the city some stayed away from after dusk, its nighttime corridor was split by rundown bars on one side and cold rails and bending shadows on the other. This wasn’t the Roseville that later became a sprawling, suburban commerce center. This was the twilight of blue-collar Roseville—the rowdy last vestiges of a worn-out railroad town. The nocturnal makeup here was barking voices and clanking bottles in the taverns, while 20 feet away, the railyard stirred with signalmen moving freight cars by streetlamps and rootless boxcar riders huddled around camp fires. Men drifted in from nowhere, then hopped trains, never to be seen again.

The police officer pulled to a stop. He was responding to a 911 call about a woman laying on the ground. The officer started making his way toward the West House, a turn-of-thecentury hotel and saloon with a faded marquee jutting like a stiletto into the moonlight. Beyond its curved, lamp-lit canopies and glass block windows was an alley that cut behind the east wall. Venturing in, the officer encountered a savage sight. 14





A call went over the radio, and Roseville homicide detective James Fujitani was soon looking at a body behind a dumpster. It was a 69-year-old woman named Madeline Garcia. Some knew her as “the Earlier Riser,” but most in the neighborhood simply called her “the Can Lady.” Garcia wasn’t indigent. She lived in a tidy Craftsman home a 15-minute walk from the other side of the railyard. She got her nickname because every morning before daybreak, she ventured out through the unlit alleys and avenues of central Roseville to collect cans from trash bins. Sometimes she fetched her bounty while riding a big, bizarre tricycle. Other times she trudged along, mummified in a fluffy coat and floppy hat, hauling a bag of aluminum loot over her shoulder. To merchants and bar owners, the Can Lady was just another offbeat fixture of the historic quarter, her routine part of a city’s mundane morning rhythms. But the community’s image of Garcia bore little resemblance to what Fujitani was staring down at. Her face had been beaten almost beyond recognition, and she was covered in blood. “She was brutally attacked,” he recalled. “It was such a violent attack that we found her false teeth in the gutter.” Detectives caught sight of a semi-spattered blood trail down Atlantic Street, but there was an odd pattern: mostly long, drawn-out marks, and every 20 or 30 feet, a large splat. Garcia was not a small woman. It appeared the killer had been carrying her, but kept dropping her on the ground. Fujitani’s team followed the grim tracers for 300 feet, where they stopped near a bar called Gordie’s Club. The detective had three questions in front of him. How did the assault happen? Where did the attack start at? Why was Garcia the target? The first two puzzles were solved before the day was out. But the question of why Garcia fell prey to such a ruthless predation would elude police for decades. Yet the careful work that Fujitani and his team did that morning—combined with the later efforts of a cold case investigator—has now given some of Placer County’s most experienced detectives new leads in the case. And for longtime residents who knew Garcia, that’s raised an unexpected question after nearly 40 years: Is there finally a chance to know what happened to the Can Lady?

The sun sets on a stretch of Roseville’s railyard near where Madeline Garcia was found murdered in 1984.



Madeline Garcia poses with her dog several years before she was killed. ARCHIVAL PHOTOGRAPH

A YARD OF GHOSTS, A HOUSE OF DRIFTERS An evidence technician named Gary DeMille stood behind the dumpster photographing Garcia’s remains. The sun was rising over the railyard as Fujitani studied the blood trail. This was the golden window for collecting evidence. Finding every last piece was critical. Fujitani was arguably the ideal man for the job. Raised in nearby Lincoln, he was a science enthusiast growing up, a kid with an affinity for fishing and all things outdoors. Since he studied biology and population genetics in college, Fujitani had been following advancements in forensic science since the late 1970s. His fellow investigators noticed that his academic-mindedness—and his habit of talking “biology shop” with medical examiners during autopsies—bred an analytical approach that was fine-tuned to small details at a crime scene. Fujitani’s team combed the area, searching for hairs, fibers, fingerprints, additional blood and fluid samples, even cigarette butts. They saw that the blood trail leading up to the alley started near the corner of Lincoln Street. When they made the turn, they found Garcia’s signature floppy hat on the sidewalk by her bag of aluminum cans. Fujitani expanded the crime scene. Whoever killed Garcia had first gone after her near the Roseville Telephone Company. It wasn’t a great scenario for witnesses. Even though the assault started within view of Vernon Street, Roseville’s main historic avenue, it was deserted that time of night. The prospects for witnesses were better once the killer had carried Garcia down Atlantic Street. Though Gordie’s Club and the West House were closed, there was a chance that railyard employees or lingering boxcar riders might have glimpsed something from a distance. Better still, when the killer dragged Garcia’s body into the alley, it was below the upstairs sleeping quarters of the West House. Most of its

rooms were occupied by nomads, loners and Union Pacific men from faraway places. And if none of these short-term strangers admitted to seeing anything, then Fujitani knew the killer’s identity might lay in the very nature of that riddle. The possibility that the killer had hopped off a train was especially troubling, invoking some bad history in Roseville. In the 1940s, a deranged drifter the newspapers dubbed “the Jungle Killer” stalked this section of the switch yard. He murdered numerous men from Bakersfield to Auburn. In Roseville, he crushed a down-and-out veteran’s skull with a massive rock. The police never caught him. He simply got bored one day and turned himself in. Placer County’s sheriff at the time said the case would have been difficult to solve. Now, Fujitani could relate. “The question was, if this was a railroad transient, we might have an issue even trying to locate the suspect,” he remembered. By late morning, Roseville police had compiled a list of people staying inside the West House and began doing interviews. Fujitani wrote a 40-page report on the initial hours of the investigation. Questions of chance soon hovered over the case. One involved why police couldn’t locate witnesses in the railyard. Anyone familiar with Union Pacific’s operation there knew sometimes heavy freight cars got unhooked, causing a thunderous sound, like bombs detonating in the center of the city. Had such a commotion muffled Garcia’s screams? News of the Can Lady’s death broke the same day in The Roseville Press Tribune. It ran on the front page under the headline “Woman found dead in alley,” opposite a story about Charles Manson being lit on fire by a fellow inmate. That headline: “Fellow killer turns Manson into human torch at prison.” Garcia’s autopsy was completed within 24 hours, her body sent to a Spanish-style funeral home with an Art Deco sign on Douglas Boulevard. The next morning, The Press Tribune upgraded her murder to the top of the front page with the headline, “Kind woman’s brutal slaying shocks friends.” The interviews with Garcia’s family and friends offered a different picture than what police and business owners knew. The city’s beat cops observed Garcia to be a brash, sometimes confrontational, woman who wasn’t above arguing with people over cans. But those close to her described a sweet, helpful, matron of Hill Avenue. Neighbors recalled her happily giving out homemade preserves and baked goodies. Children got their own treats from her, as well as eager help with their hobbies. Forty years later, this is the version of Garcia that Phoebe Astill still remembers. “Madeline wouldn’t hurt a fly,” said Astill, who lived two doors down from the Can Lady. “And she was really great to the kids on the street. My grandkids called her grandma, because she was always so good to them. They’d be out there laughing and joking, and that’s the way I remember her.” Yet, there was at least one hint of the Can Lady’s cantankerous side in the Sept. 27 story, and it was of clear interest to police. Garcia’s sister, Mary Panighetti, told reporters that the victim had a disturbing encounter with a stranger while collecting cans the week before, somewhere near Atlantic and West Washington streets—the same spot where she was attacked. “She said, ‘He scared me, and such a dirty mouth he had. I told him to go find a job.’” On that particular morning, Garcia was on her custom tricycle and was able to quickly ride away.

“Madeline wouldn’t hurt a fly. And she was really great to the kids on the street.” FORMER NEIGHBOR PHOEBE ASTILL








But the probe began to stall. Leads went cold. Clues went nowhere. New violent crimes came up and needed attention. By late October 1984, a Press Tribune headline about a different California case foreshadowed what could happen in Garcia’s: “SF’s Zodiac Killer still sought, but leads fade.”





COLD CASE: DETECTIVES REOPEN 1984 SLAYING OF ROSEVILLE’S ‘CAN LADY’ GO FIND EVERYONE It was a spontaneous blur of violence that pulled Fujitani off the Garcia case. Just five days after the Can Lady was battered to death on Atlantic Street, a confrontation erupted a mile away at some apartments on Oakland Avenue. David Dominguez, 22, felt he was being bullied by a guy from his neighborhood named Jesse Laumbach. On that day, Dominguez ran into Laumbach on the staircase and pulled out a pistol. Laumbach brought his palms into the air, saying, “What are you going to do, shoot me?” Dominguez drilled a bullet right between his eyes. Dominguez caught a glimpse of Laumbach’s 18-year-old stepbrother, Lazaro Quiroz, peeking around the corner of a fence. Dominguez raised the gun and clipped him before the teenager could escape. Dominguez strolled down the steps, hopped over Laumbach’s body, put another round in Quiroz then fired twice more into the lifeless body of his rival. It was Roseville’s first double homicide. Fujitani was reassigned to the shocking scene, and his work that week eventually led to Dominguez being sentenced to life in prison without parole. Meanwhile, the Garcia case was handed to Roseville police detective Brian Wilder. Eventually, every person who was staying at the West House was questioned. So was the man who made the 911 call, as well as the mysterious stranger who confronted Garcia the week before her death. Investigators ultimately contacted more than 1,500 people. But the probe began to stall. Leads went cold. Clues went nowhere. New violent crimes came up and needed attention. By late October 1984, a Press Tribune headline about a different California case foreshadowed what could happen in Garcia’s: “SF’s Zodiac Killer still sought, but leads fade.” Fujitani retired in 2008, though he kept his ear to the ground on the Can Lady case. By then, Roseville police detective Kurt Leatherman was trying to pick up the scent. He’d been a patrol officer at the time of the killing and had occasionally spoken to Garcia. “It always stood out in my mind because she was the first person who I’d actually known who was murdered,” said Leatherman, now retired. He combed through old evidence logs and started selecting items to be submitted for forensic analysis based on new technology. He organized the case into binders kept at his desk, often using them to walk new investigators through what was known. Over the course of a decade, Leatherman identified—and cleared—numerous potential suspects, a painstaking process of elimination to get closer to understanding what happened on Sept. 26, 1984. While progress on the Garcia case became like a faucet drip, Leatherman did manage to crack Roseville’s other major cold case, the murder of a 46-year-old train-hopper named John Owens. It was a break that had ripple effects for detectives seeking justice for the Can Lady. Owens was bludgeoned to death near a southwest span of the railyard in 2000. Given that his killer was also a railrider, police were seeking an unknown suspect who could be anywhere. Any witnesses could also be scattered in engine barns and freight depots from the Midwest to the Deep South. But in 2011, Leatherman used DNA from the scene to prove his victim was murdered by “Dirty Mike” Adams, a self-proclaimed enforcer for the notorious rail gang, the Freight Train Riders of America. Adams has since claimed that he was mentored by the train-hopping serial killer John Boris, better known in the switchyards as “Dog Man Tony.” It’s now believed Adams has multiple victims, including a woman who was murdered in El Paso, Texas, and two off-the-grid drifters


Roseville Police evidence technician Gary DeMille works at the crime scene on the morning Garcia’s body was found. ARCHIVAL PHOTOGRAPH







COLD CASE: DETECTIVES REOPEN 1984 SLAYING OF ROSEVILLE’S ‘CAN LADY’ Top: Madeline Garcia as a child, around 1920. Side: Garcia’s body was hidden in an alley behind the West House, a saloon and boarding house built in 1914. Bottom: Madeline Garcia’s gravestone in Rocklin Cemetery.



“This is the one case that I worked on here that’s still open that I’d really like to see solved.” RETIRED ROSEVILLE POLICE DETECTIVE KURT LEATHERMAN

killed in Washington state. Leatherman put “Dirty Mike” behind bars for good, though as recently as 2015 investigations were continuing into slayings he may have committed in the Pacific Northwest. Like Fujitani, Leatherman had to consider whether Garcia had also met some devious denizen of the rail line. Yet studying the crime scene, Leatherman thought the killer had some familiarity with downtown Roseville. There were nooks and shallow alcoves from Lincoln to Atlantic Street, places the assailant could have briefly stashed Garcia’s body to make a getaway. Instead, the killer created a long, bizarre path of blood to a narrow alley, where a dumpster provided additional cover—which the killer likely knew in advance. When he retired, Leatherman passed on such insights, along with his massive binders, to Roseville homicide detective Mary Green. Green started working the case, though she and her partner, detective Vince Dutto, were soon pulled into yet another train-hopper homicide. This time the skeletal remains that were found belonged to a popular 19-year-old college student named John Alpert, a would-be adventurer who decided to dip his toe into the “traveling” subculture. He was stomped to death in a secluded camp under one of Roseville’s railroad bridges, not far from where “Dirty Mike” brutalized Owens 13 years before. It was another case that could have gone cold, but Leatherman had proven to younger detectives, including Green and Dutto, that killings by elusive rail-riders could be solved. After executing dozens of warrants and trekking through five different states, Green and Dutto arrested four suspects in Alpert’s slaying, all of whom pleaded guilty in 2017. Now, Dutto is assigned to the Garcia case as an investigator for the Placer County District Attorney’s Office. He has reopened it as part of a joint probe with veteran 18





Roseville Police Detective David Harlan. On a recent afternoon, Dutto and Harlan revisited the scene of the crime with Leatherman. “This is the one case that I worked on here that’s still open that I’d really like to see solved,” the retired investigator told them. Dutto believes that’s possible. Since Fujitani and DeMille were thorough in their crime scene examination, multiple pieces of evidence have been forensically examined and tested for DNA and other biological evidence over the years. There have been a host of advancements in forensic science, including in hair bacterial assessment, fingerprint time-tracing, familial DNA sequencing, 3D-modeling of crime scenes and methods of laser ablation coupled with plasma spectrometry, which can match tiny particles a suspect leaves on a victim, for example, from their clothing. Such advances in forensic technology have led to recent arrests in other high-profile cold cases. In February, investigators arrested Roseville’s Michael Green for the 1985 slaying of Jane Hylton, an El Dorado Hills newspaper reporter. Two months later, Sacramento police detectives used similar methods to solve the 1981 murder of 17-year-old Mary London, stabbed to death by a teenager named Vernon Parker, who was killed in 1982. These breakthroughs followed the 2018 blockbuster arrest of Joseph D’Angelo, the now-confessed Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist. For Astill, the prospect that justice could still come for the woman who inspired her grandchildren all those years ago is surprising but also comforting. “I would be very happy, because then the rest of us could be at peace,” Astill said. “We’d know it’s been taken care of, and one person is off the streets who shouldn’t be on the streets.” Ω

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Heart to Art 01. Recognizing Sacramento artists even when they can’t exhibit in person BY PATRICK HYUN WILSON | p at r i c k w @ne w s re v i e w . c o m

Part of my job as an arts writer for SN&R is to visit and write about the numerous and varied exhibitions that fill the gallery walls of the city. Since the COVID-19 pandemic left art events without an audience and artists without opportunity to display their work in person, it became increasingly difficult for talented artists to be noticed. Since June, I have talked to Sacramento artists whose work I find transformative, whose stories are captivating and who may not be getting the attention they deserve. I wrote profiles based on those hour-long talks, though not all we discussed could make it in the published article. Here are some snippets of those unpublished talks to give a greater understanding of the artists.

AIDA LIZALDE Aida Lizalde lived undocumented in the United States for eight years, but according to her mother, this generation isn’t afraid. “That has to do with the fact that we are all openly fighting for those rights and now there’s like a status quo that says you are valuable in this country regardless of your legal status,” Lizalde said She says that the psychological impact of feeling unworthy is incredibly damaging for people who have to navigate the complex immigration system. “The most important thing that everyone can do when they’re undocumented is revoking that idea, saying to themselves, they are valuable and they are worthy, so that you don’t have this weight on you that says you’re not welcome.

CLOUDY Cloudy, a 17-year-old youth poet laureate, spent her final semester of high school staying at home. “I worked really hard throughout high school, so I was really looking forward to the second half of our senior year and being able to experience all those things, like senior trips and prom and all that,” she said. Though she still walked across the stage for her graduation, she says she missed out. “The hardest part was not having my family or my teachers in the room,” she said. They included her sixth-grade teacher Ms. Austin, with whom she shared a love of reading. “I used to give her books that I thought were cool, and she would read them in one night and come back and talk to me about them,” Cloudy said. “I loved that because I was a complete nerd and nobody else would nerd out with me like that.”

BRANDON GASTINELL Brandon Gastinell was tired of waiting for an audience for his art on Instagram so he decided to take his work to the streets of Sacramento. 20 |




“I used to take glue sticks and glue pictures to electrical boxes and things like that in my neighborhood,” he said. “We would make fake street signs and zip tie signs onto poles and shit.” After seeing a video of street artist Shepard Fairey mixing buckets of wheat paste to stick pictures on buildings and sidewalks, Gastinell wanted to give it a try. Though Gastinell doesn’t do much street art anymore, he recently pasted a piece on a building on the corner of Q and 5th streets titled, JumpBall.

TAVARUS BLACKMON Tavarus Blackmon is a proponent of the automatic drawing practice, a technique that he says allows the painting create itself. “If it needs yellow, I’m going to do yellow,” Blackmon said. “I’m not really partial to yellow, but if a painting needs yellow, it’s going to have yellow. I’m not really in control of that.” While he has learned to trust the process of image making, he says he has a long history of censoring his own work. “Once I realized that I can relinquish my own control, to do something that I didn’t intend, then I could really fully appreciate what was coming out of me,” he said.

DARBY MADDEN GROSS Though Darby Madden Gross ultimately fell in love with Sacramento, it took a cross-country roadtrip with his girlfriend to put things into perspective. The couple initially planned to make a home in Philadelphia, but they lasted only two weeks in the snowbound city before returning to Sacramento. “Maybe our goal wasn’t to move. Maybe we just wanted to see things,” he said. Gross says the trip deepened his understanding of the world and informed how he thought about his own art. “It doesn’t necessarily matter where you are,” he said. “I’m gonna still be thinking about the same concepts ’cause I do believe the overall arching issues of the world, that we’re all doing, is just something you kinda, can’t escape.”

JUPITER LOCKETT For many artists, having a ritual is important. For Jupiter Lockett, that means painting at 3 a.m. while listening to John Coltrane. “The witching hour, when the demons are asleep and the ancestors are up and you can really talk to them,” he said. The choice to paint in the wee hours came naturally since Lockett was already talking to his grandmother. “I just felt her really strong real real late at night,” he said. “I was like, ‘I know she’s here, and I know if I want to say something or ask something for some help or protection or guidance, I can do it and it’ll happen.’” Ω


03. 05. 06. 04.

01. Aida Lizalde explores identity, politics and her experience as an immigrant.


02. Cloudy writes poetry about love, Black bodies, police brutality and self harm.


03. Brandon Gastinell uses celebrity photos to create digital art.

04. Tavarus Blackmon explores gender and racial inequities. SCREENSHOT FROM “SYNTHPHONY VIDEO”

05. Darby Madden Gross sits in front of a piece titled “Untitled Slice of Bread.”


06. Jupiter Lockett is dedicated to expressing the Black experience.



To read the stories on these artists, go to sacramento.newsreview.com/category/artsculture






New-old oldies for night owls BY LINDSAY OXFORD

Unless you’re looking for it—and that’s if you listen to terrestrial radio at all—you’ll probably miss KJAY 1430 AM/98.1 FM on your dial. But the small 500-watt station has had its home in West Sacramento since 1960. Starting out as a soul station, it’s now home to Hmong, Russian-speaking and gospel programming, with a variety of staff-made playlists carrying the station through the night. Dean Seavers hadn’t been looking for KJAY, either, though it’s only about five miles from his West Sacramento home. After purchasing a virtually unrenovated 1940s gem of a house, he set about filling it with era-specific goods. “One of the things I wanted was an old ’40s console radio. And so I found one…and brought it home, and tinkered and I got it working,” Seavers says. “So that night I’m scanning the dial, and all of a sudden I hear “Lucille” come out of the radio. And I’m like ‘What the—I haven’t heard Little Richard on the radio for 25 years!’”. It’s moments like these that remind you that the Sacramento region is still close-knit for a community of our size. It was only minutes after Seavers excitedly posted on Facebook about his discovery of KJAY’s oldies playlist that a mutual friend offered to put him in touch with one of the station’s co-owners, Tiffany Powell. And one phone conversation later, Seavers was programming KJAY’s overnight content during the week, from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. “We’re sort of informal at KJAY,” Powell said, laughing. 22





Seavers—familiar to some Sacramento music fans as one quarter of longstanding power poppers The Decibels—is taking the task seriously. The definition of “oldies” can be slippery; it’s generally a euphemism for “your parent’s music.” But Seavers’ vision is at once inclusive and hyper-niche: “Traditional oldies radio has focused on the top 40, but there was always Billboard hot 100 playlists,” he says. “So I researched every playlist from 1957 to 1967 and focused on positions 41 through 100. And then I’ve gone ahead and [included] regional hits, too,” he said. “… The thing was so amazing to discover was, of the national charts, there was only about a crossover of about half. So that meant that half of [Sacramento charts] were purely regional [hits].” That’s hard to fathom when the majority of stations nationwide are now owned and programmed by one corporation. Seavers has already incorporated KJAY’s original 200-song digital playlist with his own initial 450-song contribution. It can be hard to pick up the signal, so if you’re not within listening range, you can stream from the station’s website. And if you’re not awake at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, Seavers plans to archive a few shows at a time on his Mixcloud channel, mixcloud.com/dean-seavers/ Powell and Seavers, however, had to negotiate removal of what they call the “evil seven” from the original list. They’re songs such as “Hey Jude” and “Get Back,” controversial omissions for oldies programming, but deemed overplayed by Seavers. Otherwise, Seavers doesn’t stray far from the rules he’s set for himself. “That was one of the beauties of top 40 radio back then, they’d play a Frank Sinatra tune, ‘That’s Life,’ and then they’d play the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ right up against each other, and it worked.” It worked, Seavers says, because “there’s something about recordings made when the recording industry was based on capturing a performance rather than building a song… And so it feels very personal and immediate, and there’s something kind of cool and comforting and meaningful—and sort of like, joyful about those records.” Ω PHOTO BY LINDSAY OXFORD

The Decibels’ Dean Seavers spins oldies overnight at KJAY.


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From Tupperware, with love BY LINDSAY OXFORD

I was never big on pranks as a kid. There were so many other ways to annoy the neighbors that toilet-papering trees and ding-dong-ditch seemed not particularly creative ways to be obnoxious. Now, people either have doorbells with remote camera access, or they don’t bother answering the door if they’re not expecting anyone. But I’ve started playing ding-dongditch again lately, and not as a prank. During COVID-19—suddenly faced with plenty of time on our hands—we baked. Cookies, cakes, bread. So much bread. I didn’t join in on that first round of pandemic baking. I was too busy doom scrolling, in a constant search for business closings and safety updates. I’ve started to bake now, however, and not just because one day I ended up knee deep in peaches so frantically began making cobbler. I’ve been baking food for my friends because in these incredibly isolating times, I want to offer them something more than a check-in text or an hour on FaceTime. While those platforms for personal connections, and even properlysocially-distanced masked outdoor chats are can be vital, the longer I’m away from my friends, the more I feel the need to feed them. I think that impulse is in all of us— that in uncertain times we put in extra effort to let friends and family know that they’re loved. That’s certainly a big driver for me. But I’m also the child of a Home Ec 24





l i nd s a y o @ne w s re v i e w . c o m

to see the number of new cases climb— teacher. The urge to bake is in my blood. that, too, can make things worse. I bake with earnest zeal while utterly I’m unashamed to say that I contend disregarding measurements, making with severe, life-long depression. As questionable substitutions on the fly much as I’d like to pretend it’s someand barely thinking about presentation. thing that will just go away, along with (Sorry, Mom). making sure I eat well and get sunshine, And I’ve been leaving these questionexercise and proper professional support, able concoctions on my friends’ porches, I work hard to make sure I don’t let sending a text or ringing the doorbell to myself isolate completely. let them know I’ve dropped off someAnd so I bake. I bake as an excuse thing. Some are immuno-compromised, to leave the house, if only briefly. If some work from home on interminable my friends are home, we’ll talk through Zoom meetings, some have napping screen doors, catch up a bit. If they’re babies. However questionable the working, or if their health end result of the dish, playdoesn’t allow it, I’ll send ing ding-dong-dine brings a text in advance so the However back some tangible food doesn’t languish connection to my questionable in Sacramento’s friends that I’ve summer heat. the end result of the been missing. However the food dish, playing ding-dongWhether or not gets delivered, I’ve my friends are just dine brings back some made a real, human being gracious, it’s connection with tangible connection to been great to have someone I love in a my friends that I’ve something different time when I—we— to talk about when we been missing. need it so much. do get back to that text I’ve also branched thread, something more into salads and main dishes. than: “Still hangin’ in there?” And I’ve come up with a practiThe pandemic looms over every cal list of how-to’s. First, make sure conversation, our jobs and virtually the container you use seals well. Many every decision we make. It’s the reason people wipe down anything new entering we have to isolate as much as possible. the house, and that doesn’t mix well Whether you’re predisposed to with a loose foil wrap. Second, if you depression, or you’re just in a depressed are making something like a cobbler, state, isolation can make things worse, add a bit more of the drop-biscuit when sometimes much worse. And spending you bake; as you dole it out later, it hours online, refreshing your browser makes it easier to evenly portion the

topping when you’re transferring it to Tupperware. Third, even if you only plan on ding-dong-ditch, let your friends know you’re coming. Weather aside, it’s just common courtesy. Apparently, there’s a saying that a casserole dish should never be sent back empty. I have mixed feelings on that: Yes, by all means, bring me delicious, made-with-love food, but it’s not necessary. It’s a kind thing to do, but if I brought you food, it was meant to be no-strings-attached. The implication that a gift requires something in return no longer makes it a gift; it makes it a future obligation. (While we’re on the topic, don’t give people houseplants; you have not given them a gift, you’ve given them a chore). Maybe it’s not home-cooked food, but friends nearly always leave something in return. Most often it’s a book they know I’ll like, or flowers or herbs from their garden. I’m grateful for those gifts. They’re heartfelt, and they go a long way to chipping away at some of the isolation I’ve been feeling. They’ve made me feel less isolated, more connected and understood, and have shown me the unique ways they show me they care. Who knew a bar of dark chocolate and an Orangina could make me feel so loved? Ω

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Going to seed The nation’s largest organic garden supply company tries to keep with pandemic-fueled demand BY DEBBIE ARRINGTON Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, the nation’s largest

CALL TO ADVERTISE! SPACE RESERVATION DEADLINE FOR PRINT ISSUE: August 27 PLEASE CONTACT: Joe Chiodo, Publisher 916-224-5677 joec@newsreview.com joe Rosemarie Messina, Senior Account Executive 916 498 1234, ext. 1310 rosemariem@newsreview.com





08.06.2020 08.06.20



organic supplier of its kind, reopened its Grass Valley Patricia Boudier realized early on that 2020 would headquarters with plenty of COVID-19 precautions. be a year like no other. “We knew in the very beginning of March that we were running out of seed,” said the owner of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply. “That seed should have lasted us all year.” Headquartered in Grass Valley, Peaceful Valley ranks as the nation’s largest organic farm and garden supply company, with tens of thousands of customers nationwide. “We started to see a huge surge in seed sales in February,” when people heard the early reports about COVID-19, Boudier said. She recalls other news-driven boons in seed sales. There was a spike in advance of Y2K and another right after 9/11. “People worry about food sources,” she said, “and they start to garden.” Founded in 1976, Peaceful Valley has withstood many challenges during its long run as the go-to at a time. Masks are required. Plexiglas and plastic source for everything organic. But nothing could shields shroud the counters. prepare Boudier and her 60-person staff for this “We fully reopened our call center, but we still pandemic-fueled demand. Even putting a $100 minididn’t have enough people,” Boudier said. Some mum on new orders didn’t stop the surge. employees took a leave because they didn’t want to “We couldn’t deal with thousands and thousands risk exposure.” of orders at one time,” she said. “We couldn’t get Four months into the pandemic, Peaceful Valley our seed packets printed fast enough. We worked has found some peace. “This has actually helped us all night to fill orders. We sent out seeds in plain be more efficient,” said Boudier, adding that brown wrappers.” her company put its online business on a Peaceful Valley’s best sellers new web platform. of 2020: Scarlet Nantes carrots, “We This summer, business has Genovese basil, cilantro, couldn’t deal remained strong. Sales for July Bloomsdale spinach and with thousands and are up about 22% compared to Calabrese broccoli. Apple and last year. pear trees were popular, too. thousands of orders at “Anything edible is flying When California declared one time.” off the shelves,” she said. “Even a statewide stay-at-home order Patricia Boudier, owner of sprouting seeds; I was surprised March 19, Peaceful Valley’s Peaceful Valley Farm & by how many people wanted to whirlwind business came to a do their own sprouts. Even if they Garden Supply sudden halt. have no room for a garden, they can “We closed completely for one grow their own microgreens.” day so I could gather my thoughts Boudier expects this boon in organic and do some research,” Boudier said. gardening interest to outlast the pandemic. “As a farm supply, we’re an essential business, “I’ve talked to so many people who put in so we could stay open. We closed our [Grass Valley] their first garden ever; they’re so excited,” she store and nursery until we could be sure we could said. “People are gravitating towards keeping open safely. their food sources protected. They want to grow “Then, we had all these employees who couldn’t their own food.” Ω come to work because they have little kids and needed to stay at home,” she added. “We still did online orders, but we had to close that down for a Debbie Arrington, an award-winning garden writer and lifelong week just so we could catch up.” gardener, is co-creator of the Sacramento Digs Gardening blog Peaceful Valley gradually reopened its store and and website. nursery. Only five or six people are allowed inside

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COVID-FRIENDLY EVENTS CALENDAR While more venues are holding live events, remember to follow public health guidelines. Many events are still virtual due to COVID-19. Keep up to date and list events at sacramento.newsreview.com/


North Dakota and Washington. 8:30am, $12$22. Girl Scouts Heart of Central California, 6601 Elvas Ave.

VIRTUAL RUNNING OF THE ELK: You can run anytime and anywhere you choose. Submit proof of completion and tag #ROTEVirtual2020 on social media. 10am, $15. Sacramento Convention Center Complex, runsignup.com/Race/CA/ ElkGrove/RunningoftheElk.

75 YEARS AFTER HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI ROLLING BACK THE NUCLEAR ARSENAL: 75 Years After Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Rolling Back the Nuclear Arsenal is a virtual event that will livestream and is part of a two-day national virtual event that will be broadcast on Aug. 6 and 9. 2pm, no cover. HiroshimaNagasaki75.org/events.

MONDAY, 8/10 IMPROV GAMES: Learn improv online. This

T A S 8.15

Floating lights illuminate the water at the Water Lantern Festival.

Illuminate the water, with lanterns GIBSON RANCH PARK, 4:30PM, $0-$65 If you’re anything like me, you believe that water is best when illuminated. It’s staggering the number of FESTIVALS times that I’ve had to rush to flip a switch because my water wasn’t lit well. It seems that I’m not alone in my distaste for dim water, The Water Lantern Festival is returning to Gibson Ranch Park. On Saturday Aug. 15, light up the water with rice paper lanterns lit with LED bulbs. The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. with food trucks, music and, according

VIRTUAL TOP 10 LIST PODCAST-LIVE STREAM: Each episode of the Top 10 List Podcast features two guests competing to assemble a top 10 list on a new subject. You can watch The Top 10 List Podcast live on Facebook while they record at the Comedy Spot. Viewers participate each week and Comedy Spot encourages participation. 6pm, no cover. Sacramento Comedy Spot, saccomedyspot.com/live.

VIRTUAL MOVIE TRIVIA BACK TO THE FUTURE: Great Scott! We’re going back to the future! Join Tower Theater on Zoom and test your





FRIDAY, 8/7 NBA 2K20 TOURNAMENT ON DISCORD: Join the Sac State University Union Games Room for an online gaming tournament: NBA 2K20 on PS4. Due to COVID-19, the Games Room will remain closed, but the University Union is offering virtual gaming tournaments via Discord Server. 1pm, no cover. Sacramento State, theuniversityunion.com.



VIRTUAL PAINTING CLASS: Paint Monet’s Waterlillies online from your home. A supply list will be listed after you make your purchase. Pick up your home painting kit on Aug. 8 or 9 between 12 and 3pm and Painted Cork will email you the Zoom online link. 1pm, $20-$30. The Painted Cork, paintedcork. com.

TUESDAY, 8/11 to the festival website, fun. Design your own lantern and set it afloat without the guilt of littering; the cost of an adult ticket includes the price of retrieving and removing the lanterns after their maiden voyages. No other festival makes waterbased luminosity as central of a theme as the Water Lantern Festival; if you share my desire to light water in aesthetically pleasing ways, consider the Water Lantern Festival. 8556 Gibson Ranch Park, waterlanternfestival.com/sacramento.

knowledge of the Back to the Future films. Trivia is free, and just for fun. To participate you will need to launch Zoom and a Google Doc answer sheet. 6:30pm, no cover. The Tower Theatre, (916) 442-0985.


four-week online Improv Games class teaches students to learn and play a variety of short-form games suited for the home. This class is designed for everyone, from the beginner to the advanced, no previous improv experience necessary. 6pm, $75. Sacramento Comedy Spot, saccomedyspot.com/online.

Verbal Insults Duo: Al Shuman and Josh

Means bring the Verbal Insults to the interwebs and invite their guests to sling insults from a safe distance. Tune in at stabcomedytheater.com or on the Stab! Comedy Theater Twitch Channel. 7pm, no cover. STAB! Comedy Theater, stabcomedytheater.com.

SATURDAY, 8/8 GIRL SCOUTS CELEBRATION OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: This one-day virtual event is designed for girls in grades 6-12 to hear from nationally recognized female leaders about the importance of civic engagement and how to lead positive change through involvement in government. Participants will also tour Capitol Buildings in four different states, California, South Dakota,

PROFESSIONAL BREWING PROGRAMS ONLINE INFORMATION SESSION: Join this free information session to learn more about the UC Davis Professional Brewing Programs. Hear from program staff, instructors and alumni about benefits, requirements and curriculum, and how training from UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education can benefit you. Noon, no cover. UC Davis Continuing and Professional EducationOnline, cpe.ucdavis.edu/.

UC DAVIS EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM ONLINE INFORMATION SESSION: Join this free, online information session to learn more about how the UC Davis Executive Leadership Program can help you become a more effective leader. Program staff and faculty will discuss the essential leadership skills that are the focus of the program and who can benefit from the Executive Leadership Program’s eight highly interactive sessions, and answer your specific questions. 4pm, no cover. UC Davis Continuing and Professional EducationOnline, cpe.ucdavis.edu/.

WILL CSORBA VIRTUAL CONCERT. A virtual live concert featuring solo American primitive instrumentalist, Will Csorba. Join from the comfort of your own home by tuning into @SacStateUNIQUE on Instagram for this concert, sponsored by The University Union UNIQUE Programs. Noon, no cover. Sac State UNIQUE, @SacStateUNIQUE on Instagram.

THURSDAY, 8/13 VIRTUAL MOVIE TRIVIA ACADEMY AWARD WINNERS: It’s movie trivia time and this week Tower Theatre is quizzing your knowledge of Academy Award Winners. Dress like a star and show off on Zoom. Trivia is free, and just for fun. To participate you will launch Zoom and a Google Doc answer sheet provided to you the day of the event after you register online or by phone. 6:30pm, no cover. The Tower Theatre, (916) 442-0985.

WINE & READ ONLINE: Grab a glass and join online for the Wine & Read book discussion of The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. 6pm, no cover. Bear River Library, madelynhelling. evanced.info.

FRIDAY, 8/14 SUMMER OF MUSIC VIRTUAL CONCERTS: Start your weekends with Folsom Parks and Recreation for its virtual summer concerts on Facebook and Instagram Live. Enjoy from the comfort of your own home or backyard. Innersoul and Poster Child Band will perform. 6pm, no cover. folsom.ca.us/parks.

SATURDAY, 8/15 JAPANESE CUISINE BASICS SUMMER NOODLE DISH: Learn Japanese cuisine basics while you make your lunch for you and your family at this fundraising cooking class for Temple Kukuri. 11am, $20-$72. Temple Kukuri, templekukuri.org/.

VIRTUAL BOOK BUZZ! Even though Sacramento Public Library doors are closed, library staff can still help you find great books. Adult Materials Selector Brendle Wells will share some of her favorite recent titles, plus details on books you can read this fall. 1pm, no cover. Sacramento Public Library, saclibrary.org.

MONDAY, 8/17 BUSINESS ANALYSIS CERTIFICATE PROGRAM ONLINE INFORMATION SESSION: Attend this free information session to learn about the Business Analysis Certificate Program at UC Davis. Hear from faculty and staff to learn about certificate requirements, career opportunities and the convenience of online delivery, and receive answers to frequently asked questions. 11am, no cover. UC Davis Continuing and Professional EducationOnline, cpe.ucdavis.edu/.

PHOTOGRAPH YOUR WORK–INTRO: Having a strong digital portfolio is important for visual artists. It can be challenging to photograph your artwork at home, especially during a pandemic when resources are limited. In this two-hour class, you will learn simple ways to set up a makeshift studio at home using a smartphone and things that are readily available. 6pm, $35-$50. Verge Center for the Arts, vergeart.com/.

AFRO HIP-HOP DANCE LESSONS WITH MELISSA MUGANZO. Virtual, live Afro hip-hop dance lessons by Melissa Muganzo. Join from the comfort of your own home by tuning into @ SacStateUNIQUE on Instagram for this event sponsored by The University Union UNIQUE Programs. Noon, no cover. Sac State UNIQUE Programs, @SacStateUNIQUE on Instagram.


Spend time laughing in the office, virtually STAB! COMEDY THEATER, 9:30AM, NO COVER

What is a work day anymore? Before COVID-19, the thought of a work day was clear and simple: Monday through Friday, 9-ish to 5-ish. But as the pandemic has persisted, the concept of a work day has slipped through our collective fingers like so many COMEDY Zoom meetings. But that won’t happen as long as Jesse Jones of Stab! Comedy Theater has anything to say about it. Every Monday through Friday starting at 9:30 a.m. Jones jumps onto the digital airwaves to keep us accountable and organized. Jones needs structure, accountability and discipline to stay productive. Office Hours is the way to share the accountability in a “productivity clubhouse.” Tune in on their website or through Facebook or Twitch.tv for Office Hours. 1710 Broadway, stabcomedytheater.com

collage, etc. It’s also a time for you to show off your work to the others in the group. 4pm, no cover. Bear River Library, madelynhelling.evanced.info/signup.

FRIDAY, 8/28 ONLINE COOKING CLUB: Did you spend your time socially distancing cooking and baking up a storm? Have you perfected a sourdough? Are you dying to share that new recipe you found in a library cookbook? Join Bear River Library’s new Online Cooking Club. 5pm, no cover. Bear River Library, madelynhelling. evanced.info/signup.

BURNING MAN: Burning Man will not be held on the playa in 2020, but will take place virtually. Once a year, people by the tens of thousands gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, transforming a dry lake bed into the state’s 10th largest town, Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression and self-reliance. 8/30-9/7, no cover. Black Rock Desert, burningman.org.


featuring the artist. 7pm, no cover. B Street Theatre, 2700 Capitol Ave.

THURSDAY, 8/27 MUSIC AT THE MILL: Live music festival in the winery, 21+. Presented by Level Up Entertainment. 6pm, $40-$65. Old Sugar Mill, 35265 Willow Ave., Clarksburg.

FRIDAY, 8/28

WEDNESDAY, 8/12 LIVE ON INSTAGRAM WILL CSORBA: Solo American Primitive Instrumentalist live on Instagram, hosted by CSU Sacramento as part of their Nooner series hosted by UNIQUE. Noon, no cover. Sacramento State, @SacStateUNIQUE on Instagram. PHOTO BY PATRICK HYUN WILSON

FRIDAY, 8/21 SIX FEET APART DIRTY CELLO: Dirty Cello is a five-piece string ensemble that pushes the envelope and breaks barriers. B Street Theatre is hosting a virtual concert

COMEDIC STORYTELLING 101-ONLINE CLASS: This four-week Comedic Storytelling class trains you in the art of comedic storytelling. In the first week of this class, participants learn the basics to good story structure and then learn how to incorporate comedic strategies into their own personal narratives. 6pm, $99. Sacramento Comedy Spot, saccomedyspot.com/storytelling-101.

monthly local free live jazz event hosted by a Davis 12-piece community jazz band called The New Harmony Jazz Band. 7pm, no cover. John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 1st St., Davis.

INTERSECTIONALITY FREE COMMUNITY TRAINING: This 45-minute training is designed to provide information on what intersectionality is and how it effects those in the LGBTQ+ community. Every month the Sacramento LGBT Community Center will be conducting free trainings to the community on a variety of topics to provide information on relevant topics. 2pm, no cover. The Sacramento LGBT Community Center, saccenter.org.

THURSDAY, 8/20 PROJECT MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATE PROGRAM ONLINE INFORMATION SESSION: Attend this free information session to learn about the Project Management Certificate Program at UC Davis. This program is a rigorous, reality-based educational experience specifically designed for working professionals. 11am, no cover. UC Davis Continuing and Professional EducationOnline, cpe.ucdavis.edu/.

with Rolex, Versace, Luis Vuitton, Chanel and others, this internationallyrecognized 007 affair returns this year for a pandemic-proof evening of intrigue, adventure and thrills, while benefiting breast cancer research. Guests within the U.S. can also receive MI-6 party kits delivered straight to their door. 8pm, $20$700. globalbondsociety.vip/tickets.

SACRAMENTO AMIGA COMPUTER CLUB: SACC is an Amiga fan club where we come together to share current news and old stories about the Amiga platform. 1:30pm, no cover. Sacramento Amiga Computer Club, sacc.org.

PIONEERING WOMEN IN ROCK N ROLL!: In this 10-week class we will focus on Pioneering Women in Rock ’n’ Roll. Each week, Verge will study one musician, artist or group, and learn a selection from their catalog. In addition, each student will pick one artist or musician to write a blog post on, due by the end of class. 5pm, $285-$325. Verge Center for the Arts, vergeart.org.

WEDNESDAY, 8/26 ART ATTACK VIRTUAL ART CLUB FOR TWEENS & TEENS: This weekly Zoom event is especially for teen and tween artists. There will be an activity demonstrated, drawing, painting,

FRIDAY, 8/7 THE GOONIES (1985): The classic tale of pirate ships and Baby Ruth is coming back to theaters at the Crest. 7:30pm, $10. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.




WEST SIDE STORY (1961): Two youngsters from

SACRAMENTO WATER LANTERN FESTIVAL: The Water Lantern Festival is returning to Gibson Ranch Park. Witness the lanterns as they light up the water. 4:30pm, $0$65. Gibson Ranch Park, 8556 Gibson Ranch Park Road, Elverta.

rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy. West Side Story is a American musical romantic drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. 7pm, $10. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.

FRIDAY, 8/14 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1975): In the future,


a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn’t go as planned. 7:30pm, $10. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.

SUNDAY, 8/9 POP AND POUR DIGITAL WINE FESTIVAL: River City Wine Week is going digital in 2020. Join its signature event, Pop and Pour, online. The program includes Tasting with a Somm, Sacramento Regional Wine Panel, wine trivia, live music and more. 4pm, $20. Sacramento Convention Center Complex, 1400 J St.

SATURDAY, 8/15 FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT: A fun family movie night with food trucks, dessert trucks and music. Join for a movie at Bradley Ranch Winery. 5pm, $20. Bradley Ranch Winery, 11070 Bradley Ranch Road, Elk Grove.

SUNDAY, 8/30


2020 SACRAMENTO JEWISH FOOD FAIRE: The 43rd Annual Jewish Food Faire will feature traditional delicacies and baked goods with a drive-thru format. Register online by Aug. 20 at cbshalom.org. This year, it’s all about the food with more than 40 freshly prepared and homemade items, including

Crooklyn at Esther’s Park. Crooklyn is a 1994 American semi-autobiographical film co-written, produced and directed by Spike Lee. The film takes place in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of




DAVIS JAZZ NIGHT: Davis Jazz Night, is a

HOT MUSIC W/JON REYES: Jon Reyes is a San Francisco-based DJ and producer, one half of the hip-hop electronic duo, DLRN. He started the party Hot Music to celebrate soul, house, and global dance music in Sacramento. 9pm, no cover. The Flamingo House Social Club, 2315 K St.

deli selections and lots of unique sweet treats, baked goods (including noodle kugel, blintzes, rugelach, apple strudel and schnecken) and specialty breads. Volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves as they bring food to customers’ cars, and customers should wear masks, as well. 9am, prices range. Congregation Beth Shalom, 4746 El Camino Ave., Carmichael.


Bring Monet into your living room THE PAINTED CORK, 1PM, $20-$40

When Claude Monet was looking at those water lilies, his vision impeded by cataracts and developing his Impressionist style, he saw something special, CLASSES worth painstakingly rendering on canvas. Perhaps it was the light playing on the gentle green pads, or the reflections in the pool. Whatever the reason, Monet painted water lilies, and the Painted Cork is going to teach you how as part of their Paint at Home series of online painting classes. Painted Cork is offering all of the supplies necessary to paint Monet’s “Waterlilies” for $40. If you are a fan of impressionism, Claude Monet or waterbased vegetation, consider learning to paint Monet’s “Waterlilies.” Painted Cork, paintedcork.com.













to decrease distractions from the surroundings. The headphones provide a surround-sound experience that creates the close intimacy of laughter in the group setting of a comedy show with social distancing. 8:30pm. Thursday-Saturday Through August. 1207 Front St.

STAB! COMEDY THEATER: Office Hours. Join Jesse Jones every weekday morning for a little bit of structured project work time! He needs structure, accountability and discipline; maybe you do, too. Whether it’s writing, editing, drawing, graphic design, art, music, whatever, here’s your little corner of your calendar to carve out a couple hours of your morning to get the work done and start your day right. 9:30a.m. weekdays, $5. 1710 Broadway.

FRIDAY, 8/21 MALCOLM X (1992): Biographical epic of the influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam. 7:30pm, $10. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.

Processing. Join James Morrison for this professional development and photography workshop. He will discuss and demonstrate techniques to consider when photographing artwork. 11am. 8/15. Marvel Superhero Illustration with Jerry DeCaire. Dive into the creative world of superheroes during this entertaining and educational workshop on comic book illustration. DeCaire has illustrated Thor, Deadpool, Wolverine and other superheroes for Marvel Entertainment; he will give you a presentation on his career as a comic book illustrator along with a stepby-step live drawing demonstration. 1pm. 8/22. 405 Vernon St. Ste. 100, Roseville.

SUNDAY, 8/23 BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017): Blade runner K’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for 30 years. 5pm, $10. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.


CELEBRATION ARTS: The Inside View with James Wheatley. Celebrating Artists provides opportunities for performers who are connected to Celebration Arts to share their experiences with the community. Perspectives on performance provides an entertaining and nostalgic approach to discussing the history of Celebration Arts. Valerie Gnassounou and Miyo Uchida will be the featured guests. 4pm. 8/9. 4469 D St.

ESTHER’S PARK: Comedy Night At Esther’s Park. Comedian Dru Burks was born and raised in Sacramento. He is hosting this comedy night featuring Michael Calvin Jr. Jovan Whitlock and more. 7pm. Through 8/8. $15. 3408 3rd Ave.

LAUGHS UNLIMITED COMEDY CLUB: DJ Sandhu featuring Jill Kimmel. Buried deep within the most luxuriant beard in comedy lives DJ Sandhu’s silver tongue just aching to get out and spread its diabolical thoughts. 7:30pm, 10pm, Saturday 8/1. Inside Jokes Outside Laughs. Inside Jokes Outside Laughs is an outdoor comedy experience with headphones reminiscent of a silent disco


I Shall Not Know. David Olivant is a mixed media artist whose art bridges the realms of ceramics, painting, drawing and photography. This exhibit presents a new aspect ‘Retroglyphs,’ the new large, high resolution photographs are a collaboration with his studio assistant Jennifer Van. Various times. Through 8/16. No cover. 212 D St., Davis.

B STREET THEATRE: Re-Imagine Series. A new social justice series at B Street that amplifies the voices of Black artists and other people of color in a virtual format. Featuring play readings, poetry, music, live art and more. Join the performances via Zoom to see local talent every week. 7pm. Every Tuesday bstreettheatre.org/reimagine

SUNDAY, 8/30 CAPTURING WAKAMATSU A POETRY WALK/ WORKSHOP: Taylor Graham, El Dorado County’s first poet laureate, and awardwinning Sacramento-area poet Katy Brown will lead an exploration of farmhouse, barn and surroundings, then ask participants to write a poem inspired by what they’ve experienced. 10am, $5-$10. 348 Highway 49, Coloma.

held every Wednesday at 10am. This class is open to all levels. Bring your own yoga mat and water bottle. Summer Ward has been a longtime supporter and teacher at Soil Born Farms. Her teaching is grounded in nature. 10am, $10. Soil Born Farms, American River Ranch, 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova.

SATURDAY, 8/8 CHECKPOINT CHALLENGES DISCOVERY PARK: Checkpoint Challenges is a physical and mental outdoor sport that can be enjoyed by active people of all skill and fitness levels. 9am, $5. Discovery Park, 1000 Garden Highway.

EPIC RE-OPEN II: Join this team FootGolf tournament for all ages and skill levels. Mask required. This golf tournament has two-person teams, scramble format, 9 holes, stroke play and prizes. 10am, $50. Emerald Lakes Golf Course, Elk Grove.

SATURDAY, 8/22 RUNWILD: RunWild is an 88-minute, full-body, intervalistic strength trip, strategically blending chill and thrill, and ending in bottomless mimosas. 10am, $35-$49. Mikuni parking lot, 500 1st St., Davis.

CLASSES THURSDAY, 8/27 RIVERS LAB LANDSCAPES THAT WORK FOR BIODIVERSITY AND PEOPLE: Rivers Lab is a report reading and discussion group assembled so that we can, as a community of river lovers, break down the prestigious walls of academic papers to learn more about the systems we care for and have a chance to ask questions, discuss and enjoy each others company. Noon, no cover. South Yuba River Citizens League, 313 Railroad Ave., Prairie City.

BLUE LINE ARTS: Photographing Your Art Post

runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator. 5pm, $10. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.


PENCE GALLERY: David Olivant Because I Know

Poetry Slam. Every third Friday at Luna’s. The show is unpredictable; we don’t know who the special guests will be until they sign up. We don’t know who the judges will be until the audience arrives. This month we celebrate the women of Sac Unified Slam who are headed to Dallas in March for the Women of the World Poetry Slam. 7:30pm, $5. Luna’s Cafe & Juice Bar, 1414 16th St.




Rose is the award-winning, international bestselling author of some 20 novels, including the bestselling Baltimore and Cincinnati series. Say No More, is the second novel in her gripping Sacramento series. This virtual event is hosted by Sacramento Public Library. 4:45pm, no cover. saclibrary.org.


SUNDAY, 8/16


YOGA ON THE FARM: A 60-minute yoga class is

FRIDAY, 8/21

Brooklyn during the summer of 1973. 7pm, $10-$25. Esther’s Park, 3408 3rd Ave.

apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline-rich community escape a horde of bandits. Check out the second and third installments in the ’80s franchise. 7:30pm, $10. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.






TUESDAY, 8/4 Adult Book Group invites you to escape your home and travel to a different time and place through the pages of a good book. The August selection is the National Book Award winning memoir The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom. In the story of her family around the New Orleans home she grew up in, Broom shares personal tales that intertwine with those of the greater community, including the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the inescapable issues of race and inequality. 5pm, no cover. saclibrary.org.

Burning Man has built its reputation on being the off-the-wall, weird art getaway in the middle of the desert. All was set for this year’s Burning Man celebration to kick off in the VIRTUAL middle of the Nevada desert like any other year, but COVID-19 swept those dreams away. It could have been the end for Black Rock City, but instead the Burning Man celebration just had to get a little bit weirder. Burning Man 2020 is going fully digital. Burning Man organizers have been leaning into this years theme—the Multiverse—turning a weeklong party in the desert into a week-long party in the virtual desert. If you’ve ever wanted to go to Burning Man but never had the money, this year’s festival is totally free and you won’t have to breathe dust in the Multiverse. Virtual Black Rock City, burningman.org.





Expressions Show. Figurative art grapples with a notoriously difficult subject, the human figure. Throughout history and across all cultures, this has remained a subject to which artists have been continually drawn. Various times. Through 8/28. 9080 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove.


What is, 1.21 Gigawatts? THE TOWER THEATRE, 6:30PM, NO COVER

Uncomfortable movie theater chairs? Where we’re going we don’t need uncomfortable movie theater chairs. Because Back to the Future is coming to your FILM living room, and you can test your knowledge of Back to the Future with virtual movie trivia. The ’80s science fiction blockbuster withstood two sequels and four decades and still manages to earn its place as a classic film. Play along at home to the virtual trivia and you can take concessions to go if you call into Tower Theatre. This event is BYOP, Bring Your Own Plutonium. The Tower Theatre, eventbrite.com/d/online/virtual-movie-trivia/


One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

building a



Tale of Two Cities by E D G A r S A N C h E Z


“It was heartbreaking,” Niskala, 21, said of the measure’s demise. “I cried on the inside.”

That disquieting conclusion was reached by pro-youth activists recently, after probing into why Sacramentans rejected a March 3 ballot initiative that would have allowed more children of color to join local youth programs run by the city and nonprofits.

Results of the analysis were released in May by Sac Kids First, a coalition of 24 organizations that collected 39,000 voter signatures to place Measure G on the ballot. Some coalition members, including Youth Forward, are financially supported by The California Endowment, which is prohibited from taking stands on ballot measures and legislative issues.

acramento, one of America’s most diverse urban areas, is fraught with racial and economic fault lines that make it a city of the haves and the have-nots, where race and income can determine how people vote.

An analysis of the voting revealed that poorer neighborhoods such as Meadowview and Oak Park overwhelmingly supported Measure G, aimed at increasing graduation rates by keeping youngsters out of trouble. Wealthier neighborhoods, such as Land Park and East Sacramento, strongly opposed it. Needing a simple majority of 50% plus one vote to win, Measure G drew 45% of voters’ support, even though it would not have raised taxes. Measure G called for the City of Sacramento to allocate 2.5% of its general budget — about $12 million annually — to children/ youth programs run by the city and nonprofits, with minority kids impacted by poverty, violence and trauma getting priority. The new funding, through the next 12 years, would have been in addition to the money Sacramento currently devotes to youth programs each fiscal year. Dexter Niskala, a Sacramento State sophomore who campaigned for Measure G, was devastated.

“I CrIEd oN tHE INSIdE.” Dexter Niskala Measure G campaigner, describing his reaction to initiative’s loss

The 18-page post-election report, “A Tale of Two Cities: The Campaign for a Sacramento Children’s Fund,” was mainly written by Jim Keddy of Youth Forward. “People of color who have read our report usually say it’s not surprising,” Keddy said. “White people ... find it hard to accept.” Measure G would have redirected city funding, which some saw as a move toward defunding of police — the words now shouted in nationwide Black Lives Matter protests after the May 25 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. “Measure G was an attempt to shift funding away from law enforcement toward

three times in the past four years dexter Niskala, 21, has campaigned for ballot measures that would have expanded Sacramento’s youth programs. All three were rejected by voters, the latest being Measure G in March. “I’ll do it again,” Niskala vowed, posing with Jim Keddy (right), main author of a report detailing why G lost. Photo by Edgar Sanchez

youth and prevention,” Keddy said. “Police services take up the biggest percentage of the Sacramento city budget and the police union likely saw Measure G as a threat, which is why it contributed $31,000 to the opposition campaign.” The battle over the measure intensified when Mayor Darrell Steinberg asked Sacramentans to vote against it. He promised a youthprograms counterproposal for the November election. The mayor did not respond to a request for comment on the Tale of Two Cities report.

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment

BuIldING HEAltHY CoMMuNItIES In 2010, the California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

To read “A Tale of Two Cities”: https:// www.youth-forward.org/ uploads/9/8/8/6/ 98869028/a_tale_of_two_ cities-_final.pdf

www.SacBHC.org 08.06.20





One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

building a



Black Lives Matter by E d g A R S A n C H E Z


he 2018 killing of Stephon Clark by Sacramento police deeply impacted Josh Harris, an American River College student. Shocked and angry, he became an activist against police brutality and has joined protests organized by Black Lives Matter, or BLM. In May, after Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd – whose name, like Clark’s, is now on the long list of unarmed African Americans slain by law enforcement – Harris vowed to continue to speak out against what he termed police oppression of Black people. “The police are dangerous,” Harris, 23, who is African American, said recently amid the latest BLM protests in Sacramento. “We need to defund them so they can’t be a weapon against our communities.” He wants police held accountable for murder, whether the innocent/unarmed victims be Black, Latino/a or of other races. He is not alone. As Harris chanted “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” in day-after-day local protests after Floyd’s death, marchers worldwide also demanded a halt to police violence. The ongoing protests have a seemingly unstoppable momentum and have involved people of all races supporting systemic reform of law enforcement, the courts and the carceral network. It’s a historic moment with great potential. By mid-June, Harris had participated in 10 local protests, most of which involved Capitol Park rallies.

Like Capitol Park’s mighty trees, many who mobilized there seemed to be from around the world. Harris said, “There were Latinos, Native Americans, Muslims, Asian Americans, Sikhs, whites” and others, including LGBTQ+ people, protesting in solidarity with Blacks.

“THE PoliCE arE daNgErouS.” Josh Harris Sophomore, American River College

At times Harris marched beside his mentor, Ryan McClinton, a community organizer for Sacramento Area Congregations Together, which is supported by The California Endowment. “Ryan is like a big brother to me,” Harris said. “He taught me humility” and the importance of helping others. Harris never met Stephon Clark. But last fall, recalling Clark’s tragic death, Harris told this column: “I feel like Stephon Clark was my brother.” Harris sharply criticized the over-reaction of two Sacramento police officers, caught on tape, who killed Clark in the backyard of his grandmother’s Meadowview home on the night of March 18, 2018.

“i really hope we see long-lasting institutional change” from the worldwide protests against police brutality, said Josh Harris, a sophomore at american river College, posing before the fenced-off State Capitol in May. “i hope the momentum doesn’t die.” Photo by Edgar Sanchez

smashing car windows, the officers fired 20 shots at Clark, believing he had pointed a gun at them. At least seven bullets struck Clark, 22, who was holding an iPhone. No charges were filed against the police. “I have three younger brothers,” Harris would later say. “I don’t want them shot by police for being Black.” His brothers – Levi, 20, Jeremiah, 14, and Titus, 8 – are wary of anyone with a badge and gun.

Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment |




in 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

Seeking a fence-hopping man who was

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live.


BuildiNg HEalTHY CoMMuNiTiES

For more info, visit http://www. sactakethepledge.com www.SacBHC.org

One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

building a



Defunding School Resource Officers By E D g A r S A n C h E Z


or 20 years, some members of the Sacramento Police Department had one mission: to help provide security for the Sacramento City Unified School District in their role as school resource officers, or SROs. Initially, each armed SRO worked full-time in a local high school or middle school. But the district’s money woes and increased community opposition to police on campus led to a gradual reduction of SROs, from about 12 roughly 15 years ago to three roving SROs and a sergeant this spring. Before SROs arrived in SCUSD in 2000, the district had its own police department, a force born amid the turbulent psychedelic era, when drug use among youth skyrocketed. “The district started its own police department in 1968 at the urging of SPD,” said Vince Matranga, chief of the Sac City Unified Police Department from 1986 until his 2010 retirement. “The five high schools in the district were calling SPD almost daily to handle calls for service, including for outsiders selling drugs on campus. Those calls were draining SPD resources.” The district’s police slowly faded after 2000 when the district embraced SROs to supposedly cut costs. In fact, Matranga believes SROs should remain – because, he said, they deter criminal activity on or around school campuses. Now, however, it appears the SROs’ watch in Sac City Unified may be over, just as it soon will be in other cities like Oakland.

The $600,000 contract between the Sacramento school district and the police department expired June 30 and likely won’t be renewed. During a virtual meeting in June, district trustees approved a tentative fiscal 2020-21 school budget with zero funding for SROs.

“THIS IS wHaT wE’vE BEEN advoCaTINg For ...” Alma López Brown Issues leader, after approval of new tentative SCUSD budget that has zero funds for police.

Soon after, School Board President Jessie Ryan directed Superintendent Jorge Aguilar to craft a resolution this month to create an Alternative School Safety Task Force. It would include community groups along with district staff, parents and others. “I’m glad ... (this) resolution” is forthcoming, board member Mai Vang told her colleagues. “I hope we can continue to ... dismantle a system that has hurt many of our students.” Alma López of Brown Issues, a statewide organization that is grooming the next generation of Brown leaders, said in a later interview: “This is what we’ve been

“Students want to be safe in school. So they were our best source of information about which students were carrying guns or illicit drugs on campus,” said vince Matranga, now retired, who led Sac City Unified Police Department for 24 years. Photo by Edgar Sanchez

advocating for – no contracts with law enforcement.” A board commitment to implement an alternative safety plan is also needed, said López, whose group is supported by The California Endowment. Calls to remove school police have been made by others, including the Black Parallel School Board. They contend SROs unfairly place youth of color in the school-to-prison pipeline, and that after defunding police, the district should hire more mental health/academic counselors and other staff.

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment

BuIldINg HEalTHY CoMMuNITIES In 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. Over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

For more info, visit the Instagram page @ BrownIssues www.SacBHC.org 08.06.20





One of a series focusing on efforts to improve the health of residents in the Sacramento region.

building a



A crisis-resolution option by E d g A r S A n C H E Z


eople of color increasingly think twice before dialing 911 to report an emergency, be it on the road or at home. This reticence reflects a profound fear of police among growing numbers of African Americans, Latinx, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native communities. A 911 call by a dark-skinned citizen has at times resulted in the caller and/or relatives being beaten or even killed by law enforcement, followed by the survivors’ arrest. Caucasians dialing 911 also risk the same tragic fate, but at lower rates. Fortunately Sacramento now has an alternative way to resolve certain crises, without police involvement. “We are not anti-police,” Adam Wills, a co-founder of the new system, emphasized recently. “We are anti-police terror, which is when entire communities fear for their safety in dealing with law enforcement.” The new program, Mental Health First, or M.H. First, is a volunteer critical intervention team that primarily responds to disturbances involving persons with mental health issues. Its responders include registered nurses, crisis counselors and others, with a doctor always on call. The unarmed team, which has modified its operations amid COVID-19, is sponsored by the Anti Police-Terror Project, a grassroots group that believes police are overburdened. Sacramento County’s police agencies respond to thousands of non-criminal mental health

calls yearly, Wills, an experienced mental health worker, said. “Police chiefs across the nation say police don’t want to be mental health workers,” he said.

“WE arE Not aNti-PoliCE. WE arE aNti-PoliCE tError ...” Adam Wills Co-founder, Mental Health First

Between January and March, when COVID-19 arrived, M.H. First independently responded to dozens of calls for people with mental health issues. The calls vary from “people acting erratically because they’re hearing voices or seeing (imagined) things” to “someone acting paranoid, thinking someone is out to get him,” said Wills’ wife, Asantewaa Boykin, R.N., an M.H. First member and an emergency room nurse at a local hospital. One call concerned a pedestrian weaving in and out of traffic downtown. Such situations can be exacerbated by “authoritarian figures” armed to the teeth, Wills said. “When you approach people in crisis, you approach them meekly,” he said. “You ask them, ‘How are you doing? May I help you?’” The first step can be as simple as handing the distressed person hot cocoa, sodas or blankets.

Mental Health First is for Sacramentans who “are not comfortable calling 911, or who will not call 911,” said r.N. asantewaa Boykin (left), who, like her husband adam Wills (right), is a founding member of the volunteer response team. Both wore M.H. First’s distinctive green tops. Photo by Edgar Sanchez

Keeping people out of jail is a priority — which explains why some M.H. First volunteers belong to Decarcerate Sacramento, a group supported by The California Endowment. For now, COVID-19 has turned M.H. First into a “support line.” Callers are counseled on how to de-escalate crises, or are referred to mental health programs. The team works Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Its hotline/textline: 916-670-4062.

Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you’ll live – but it does. Staying healthy requires much more than doctors and diets. Every day, our surroundings and activities affect how long – and how well – we’ll live. Health Happens in Neighborhoods. Health Happens in Schools. Health Happens with Prevention.

paid with a grant from the california endowment 34





BuildiNg HEaltHY CoMMuNitiES in 2010, the California Endowment launched a 10-year, $1 billion plan to improve the health of 14 challenged communities across the state. over the 10 years, residents, communitybased organizations and public institutions will work together to address the socioeconomic and environmental challenges contributing to the poor health of their communities.

https://www. antipoliceterror project.org/mh-first www.SacBHC.org


“Black” is also a loaded term in the vocabulary of cannabis, when used to describe something illegal. At a 2019 Sacramento panel discussion on social equity programs, a woman in the audience stood up and asked everyone to stop using the term “black market,” and substitute it with “illicit market.” Her argument was that the word “black” had subliminal overtones that prejudice the very subject of Black cannabis business ownership. The panel immediately agreed. “It’s not even an illicit market. It’s just unregulated, and that was once our market,” said panelist Kimberly Cargile, owner of A Therapeutic Alternative dispensary. “[Blacks] are entrepreneurs, not criminals.” Blacks and cannabis arrests: Cannabis is now legal or decriminalized in 42 states, yet cannabis arrests are still frequent across the country. According to FBI crime statistics, about 40% of all U.S. drug arrests are Maisha Bahati (left) and Melina Brown for cannabis possession or sales. (right) are the owners of Crystal Nugs. African Americans are significantly PHOTO BY ASHLEY HAYES-STONE more likely to be arrested for cannabis than whites, according to a 2020 study conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union. The study found that it doesn’t matter whether cannabis is illegal, legalized, decriminalized. “At the county level, there are places higher where Black people are more than 20, 30, 40, or even 50 times more likely to be arrested than white people,” the BY KEN MAGRI study said. In Sacramento County, Blacks made up 31% of all cannabis arrests, but represented only 10% of the populacompletely replaced “cannation, according to a Public bis” as the accepted Health Advocates study word. Neither the of pre-Proposition 64 beatniks in the arrests from 2013 to 1950s, nor the “While research shows 2016, hippies in the “While that white people are just 1960s, who research shows as likely to use marijuana as both discovthat white ered cannabis black people, the staggering people are just for their own level of variation in marijuana as likely to use subculture, arrests by race is extremely marijuana as ever considblack people, disturbing.” ered the negathe staggering tive stigma Flojaune Cofer, senior director of policy, level of variation behind saying Public Health Advocates in marijuana arrests “marijuana.” by race is extremely But the word was disturbing,” said deliberately downco-author Flojaune Cofer of graded in the 1990s, when Public Health Advocates. legalization advocates worked Sniff and search tactics: One reason to make ‘cannabis” the accepted public for the high arrest rate may be a term again.

African Americans and cannabis In the new legal cannabis world, arrests are still and opportunities fewer for Blacks

Anyone wanting to argue that systematic racism exists in the United States could start by discussing African Americans and cannabis. While the popularity of the drug among Blacks goes back more than a century, so do the disproportionate number of arrests and stereotypes. Now, white-owned multi-state corporations are expanding their grip on the legal cannabis industry, as Black entrepreneurs struggle. In the post-George Floyd era, it time to ask why Blacks and people of color pay a higher cost than whites for their love of cannabis, while reaping less of its financial rewards. How the words “marijuana” and “black” are used: While many consider “cannabis” and “marijuana” to be interchangeable, they are not. “Cannabis” has Greek and Latin roots and was first

described in the 1850 United States Pharmacopoeia as a commonly used ingredient in sleep remedies. But during the 1930s, “cannabis” was systematically replaced by “marijuana,” which was used to discriminate against its main users, people of color.” Harry Anslinger, the first chief of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, campaigned against the drug and Mexicans, whom he blamed for spreading its popularity. Cannabis was also used by Black jazz musicians, including stars such as Louis Armstrong, and was even being sung about in slang by Cab Calloway (“Reefer Man”), Ella Fitzgerald (“When I get Low, I get High”) and other Black recording artists. By the time the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “marijuana” had






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know—when data has shown—the direct commonly-used policy called “sniff-andcorrelation between marijuana arrest rates search,” which is exempt from the Fourth and socioeconomic disparity,” Knox said. Amendment rights against illegal search Social equity programs are supposed and seizure and which lets police officers to assist individuals from underrepresearch a vehicle based on their own sented groups, or with prior cannabis ability to detect the smell of cannabis, convictions, who are trying to start a therefore establishing “probable cause.” cannabis business. License fees and some Not only does sniff-and-search rely overhead costs are temporarily waived, on subjective conclusions by the officer, giving the new business time to establish the policy does not distinguish between a foothold in the legal market. cannabis versus legal CBD and hemp, “This industry cannot be built with which all smell alike. Recently, some just multi-state operators, owning all of court cases have questioned the policy. the supply and being white-run, as it is Prosecutors are beginning to make the now,” said C.J. Wallace, son of the late distinction as well. In a 2020 directive rapper Notorious B.I.G., who co-founded e-mailed to his colleagues, Florida State a socially active cannabis business, Think Attorney Bruce Colton wrote, “Until BIG labs are set up to distinguish Wallace grew up around between hemp and pot, cannabis, both as an artistic officers should not tool for his recording make a probable artist parents, and a cause arrest for a medicine for his autiscannabis-related tic brother, Ryder. offense.” “We want to honor Cannabis taxes all of the pain and and police creativity that cannafunding: Some bis and Black culture police reform have given us,” said advocates are Maisha Bahati, co-owner, Wallace. “But also also asking Crystal Nugs embrace it and think whether law about the triumph we’ve enforcement agenhad. That’s what we want cies should benefit to celebrate.” from cannabis tax Sacramento’s social equity revenues. program, called Cannabis Opportunity In Portland, voters in 2016 Reinvestment and Equity, recently allowed pot revenues to fund public received a $3.8 million cannabis equity safety, drug and alcohol treatment grant through the Governor’s Office of programs, and to support small neighborhood businesses. But a 2019 audit showed Business and Economic Development. “The city remains committed to helpthat 79% of that tax revenue went to the ing to correct historic inequities present police department for traffic safety and in the legal cannabis industry by creating enforcement of existing cannabis laws, a pathway for business ownership by while only 5% went to drug and alcohol social equity members,” said Davina treatment. Smith, Sacramento’s cannabis program “It is outrageous that in a city like director. “The mandate of the city’s Portland we are funding the disruption CORE program has never been more of our own communities with money clear and its mission more vital.” meant to uplift us,” said Rachel Knox, The Crystal Nugs delivery service, chairwoman of the Oregon Cannabis which has already been helped by the Commission. program, plans to apply and enter the “The war on drugs has been a profitlottery for one of the five walk-in dispenable one for law enforcement, and its sary licenses the city will offer later this legalization diminishes this,” she told SN&R. “Arguably, equity and community year “I think the city understands the need restoration budgets should match or for social equity in the industry,” said exceed law enforcement budgets.” co-owner Maisha Bahati. Ω One answer: social equity programs: The stigma, the arrests, the institutional roadblocks all add up to another rigged system for African Americans. “It’s nefarious, cruel, corrupt, and abhorrent, especially when we

“I think the city understands the need for social equity in the industry.”






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Are there any Blackowned dispensaries in Sacramento? I’m trying to support the cause. Excellent question. The short answer is: No there aren’t, and it’s a shame. There is some good news though. There are at least two Black-owned delivery services, plus a Blackowned CBD shop in DOCO. And before someone gets all upset and comes at me with: “If I asked for a list of White-owned dispensaries, you would call me a racist!” let me just say that this question is ridiculous in the same way that “How come we don’t have a white history month?” is also ridiculous. The reason you don’t have to ask around to find a dispensary owned by a white person is because, as far as I know, all of the dispensaries in Sacramento are owned by white people. Dispensaries owned by white people is apparently the default setting for Sacramento cannabis clubs. Despite the fact that minorities (mostly Black and Brown people) were the ones receiving the harshest punishments during cannabis prohibition, white people seem to be the ones receiving most of the rewards in this era of legalization. And another thing: According to a recent report from the California Department of Justice, while cannabis arrests are down, Black people are still 4.5 times more likely to be arrested for a cannabis “crime” than white people. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Anyways, there are two Black-owned delivery services in Sacramento: Trees of Knowledge (https://treesofknowledge.net) and Crystal Nugs (https://crystalnugs.com).

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Both Jay, the owner of ToK, and Maisha Bahati from Crystal Nugs (Woo-hoo! Shout out to all the Black women succeeding in the cannabis industry received assistance from Sacramento’s Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity program. Both had good things say about the CORE program, although they also said that things could be better. When I asked Maisha about her experiences, she sent me this text: “The equity program is not perfect. It’s a lot of lobbying with the city of Sacramento to improve the program and present the best opportunities that will help further those of us that are trying to succeed. More opportunities for funding is my biggest issue. I’m currently lobbying to help improve the funding opportunities by suggesting to the city of Sacramento the areas in the industry that are essential for sustainability.” Jay for Tok told me over the phone that “It’s something, but it’s not everything. You can throw money, but people need buildings and a lawyer and a CPA and someone who knows how to work the Metrx system, so they can avoid making $1,000 mistakes.” He would like to see a “cannabis incubator” program in Sacramento. John Long from SkyCloud (the CBD shop near the Golden 1 Center) applied for a dispensary license in 2018, but has yet to receive approval. The city plans to hold a lottery to award five new dispensary licenses, but the date for the lottery has not yet been set. Ω

Dispensaries owned by white people is apparently the default setting for Sacramento cannabis clubs.

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.




House arrest or home retreat?

FOR THE WEEK OF AUG. 6, 2020 ARIES (March 21-April 19): In her book Sticks,


How would you describe the past 200 days of the pandemic? Some of us have been swinging between feeling caged and being secretly delighted to cocoon at home. Back in 1981, the futurist Faith Popcorn coined the term, cocooning, to describe a habit of staying at home insulated within “a shell of safety.” Cocooning was self-care, a method of managing microaggressions and stress. Within cozy, private spaces, we reset our sense of self before work or chores required that we venture out again. Cocooning is not the same as staying home to help contain a deadly pandemic, and yet, it’s empowering to reimagine quarantine as an invitation to restore the soul. If you haven’t already carved structured time in your day for quiet reflection, meditation and yoga, start now. Teach your children how to develop intimacy with silence. Start with four minutes and add time gradually. Stillness is a skill that offers lifelong benefits, especially during times of personal or social chaos and conflict. Can’t experience serenity because you share living space with a loud talker? Nudge them toward developing the selfawareness necessary for volume control. It will bring peace to your household and neighborhood, and also protection. Loud talkers can be superspreaders of coronavirus, leaving droplets in the air for as long as 14 minutes. Ick. For many teens and young adults, stayat-home orders feel like house arrest. The resulting distress is driving them to gather and party in defiance. Many say meet-ups with friends are as important for their health as wearing a mask. This week, a 20-year-old college student asks a question that offers insight into this struggle.



I’ve been talking with friends and we all know the chance of getting COVID-19 is low if we don’t socialize. But, if we don’t socialize, the chance of prolonged depression or mental illness is high. What do you suggest? Ignite the awe and wonder of early childhood when a tree or stone or snake in the garden was a friend as dear as someone your age. The experience of being woven within the fabric of nature is key to healing ourselves and the earth. So put technology aside and open to a deeper connection outside. You could also organize a small social circle of friends you trust will practice safe protocols. They would have to agree to hang only with each other. A weekly commitment will give you something to look forward, to and remind you that you are not alone. Schedule regular therapy appointments, too. While it’s tempting to rely on a friend for counsel, it’s too much of a responsibility, especially during these challenging times. One last thing: Psychology is a filter through which we have learned to see ourselves and the world. Go beyond it. If you’re concerned that you are too fearful, for example, notice when you are simply being cautious or careful. Or, if you tend toward attentionseeking from others, slow down and focus on forging a stronger relationship with yourself. The more you can embrace the fullness of who you are, the easier it is to move forward in therapy. Ω

Cocooning is not the same as staying home to help contain a deadly pandemic, and yet, it’s empowering to reimagine quarantine as an invitation to restore the soul.

Email Joey at askjoey@newsreview. com. Give your name, telephone number (for verification purposes only) and question—all correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

Stones, Roots & Bones, Stephanie Rose Bird reports that among early African Americans, there were specialists who spoke the language of trees. These patient magicians developed intimate relationships with individual trees, learning their moods and rhythms, and even exchanging non-verbal information with them. Trees imparted wisdom about herbal cures, weather patterns and ecologically sound strategies. Until recently, many scientists might have dismissed this lore as delusion. But in his 2016 book The Hidden Life of Trees, forester Peter Wohlleben offers evidence that trees have social lives and do indeed have the power to converse. I’ve always said that you folks have great potential to conduct meaningful dialogs with animals and trees. And now happens to be a perfect time for you to seek such invigorating pleasures. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Author Joanne Harris writes, “The right circumstances sometimes happen of their own accord, slyly, without fanfare, without warning. The magic of everyday things.” I think that’s an apt oracle for you to embrace during the coming weeks. In my opinion, life will be conspiring to make you feel at home in the world. You will have an excellent opportunity to get your personal rhythm into close alignment with the rhythm of creation. And so you may achieve a version of what mythologist Joseph Campbell called “the goal of life:” “to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Author Gloria Anzaldúa writes, “I am an act of kneading, of uniting and joining.” She adds that in this process, she has become “a creature that questions the definitions of light and dark and gives them new meanings.” I would love for you to engage in similar work right now. Life will be on your side— bringing you lucky breaks and stellar insights—if you undertake the heroic work of reformulating the meanings of “light” and “dark”—and then reshaping the way you embody those primal forces. CANCER (June 21-July 22): “Pleasure is one of the most important things in life, as important as food or drink,” wrote Cancerian author Irving Stone. I would love for you to heed that counsel. What he says is always true, but it will be extraordinarily meaningful for you to take to heart during the coming weeks. Here’s how you could begin: Make a list of seven experiences that bring you joy, bliss, delight, fun, amusement, and gratification. Then make a vow—even write an oath on a piece of paper—to increase the frequency and intensity of those experiences. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): At times in our lives, it’s impractical to be innocent and curious and blank and receptive. So many tasks require us to be knowledgeable and self-assured and forceful and in control. But according to my astrological analysis, the coming weeks will be a time when you will benefit from the former state of mind: cultivating what Zen Buddhists call “beginner’s mind.” The Chinese refer to it as chuxun, or the mind of a novice. The Koreans call it the eee mok oh? approach, translated as “What is this?” Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield defines it as the “don’t-know mind.” During this upcoming phase, I invite you to enjoy the feeling of being at peace with all that’s mysterious and beyond your understanding. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Author Anne Lamott wrote that, and now I’m conveying it to you—just in time for the Unplug-Yourself Phase of your astrological cycle. Any glitches you may be dealing with right now aren’t as serious as you might imagine. The biggest problem seems to be the messy congestion that has accumulated over time in your links to sources that usually serve you pretty well. So if you’ll simply disconnect for a while, I’m betting that clarity and grace will be restored when you reconnect.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Have you been saving

any of your tricks for later? If so, later has arrived. Have you been postponing flourishes and climaxes until the time was right? If so, the coming days will be as right a time as there can be. Have you been waiting and waiting for the perfect moment before making use of favors that life owes you and promises that were made to you? If so, the perfect moment has arrived. Have you been wondering when you would get a ripe opportunity to express and highlight the most interesting truths about yourself? If so, that opportunity is available. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes,” writes Scorpio author Maxine Hong Kingston. That would be an excellent task for you to work on in the coming weeks. Here are your formulas for success: 1. The more you expand your imagination, the better you’ll understand the big picture of your present situation—and the more progress you will make toward creating the most interesting possible future. 2. The more comfortable you are about dwelling in the midst of paradoxes, the more likely it is that you will generate vigorous decisions that serve both your own needs and the needs of your allies. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons,” says actor and director Denzel Washington. “When you shine bright, some won’t enjoy the shadow you cast,” says rapper and activist Talib Kweli. You may have to deal with reactions like those in the coming weeks. If you do, I suggest that you don’t take it personally. Your job is to be your radiant, generous self—and not worry about whether anyone has the personal power necessary to handle your radiant, generous self. The good news is that I suspect you will stimulate plenty of positive responses that will more than counterbalance the challenging ones. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Capricorn occultist Peter J. Carroll tells us, “Some have sought to avoid suffering by avoiding desire. Thus they have only small desires and small sufferings.” In all of the zodiac, you are among the least likely to be like that. One of your potential strengths is the inclination to cultivate robust desires that are rooted in a quest for rich experience. Yes, that sometimes means you must deal with more strenuous ordeals than other people. But I think it’s a wise trade-off. In any case, you’re now in a phase of your cycle when you should take inventory of your yearnings. If you find there are some that are too timid or meager, I invite you to either drop them or pump them up. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The people who live in the town of Bazoule, Burkina Faso regard the local crocodiles as sacred. They live and work amidst the 100-plus creatures, co-existing peacefully. Kids play within a few feet of them, never worrying about safety. I’d love to see you come to similar arrangements with untamed influences and strong characters in your own life. You don’t necessarily have to treat them as sacred, but I do encourage you to increase your empathy and respect for them. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Your body naturally produces at least one quart of mucus every day. You might not be aware of it, because much of it glides down your throat. Although you may regard this snot as gross, it’s quite healthy. It contains antibodies and enzymes that kill harmful bacteria and viruses. I propose we regard mucus as your prime metaphor in the coming weeks. Be on the alert for influences and ideas that might empower you even if they’re less than beautiful and pleasing. Make connections with helpful influences even if they’re not sublimely attractive.






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