City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

March 22, 2012
Special interests divided in Sacramento City Council campaign

The folks in Land Park, downtown and midtown better get ready for an intense campaign season.

The city's big special interest groups are splitting their allegiances in the race for the area's open City Council seat, meaning multiple candidates are going to have the cash and manpower to mount intense campaigns before the June primary.

In a somewhat unusual situation, interest groups that normally align with one another are disagreeing on whom to support. Seven candidates are running for the District 4 seat being vacated by two-term Councilman Rob Fong, and residents of the district are already reporting multiple visits to their homes from many candidates.

March 20, 2012
Sacramento's 'The Claw' on life support, other changes on tap for waste collection

The City Council voted Tuesday night to all but kill leaf collection by The Claw, scale back the collection of recyclables from homes and to get out of the commercial solid waste business.

The council voted unanimously to make the changes.

The city's solid waste division will now collect recyclables from homes every two weeks, down from the weekly service currently offered. City officials said they did not expect the change to create an inconvenience for homeowners, most of whom they said do not fill up their recycling bins on a weekly basis.

March 20, 2012
AEG president: Sacramento 'is a good bet' on arena deal

The man who seeks to operate Sacramento's proposed sports arena was introduced today to the public.

Tim Leiweke, the president of international arena operator AEG, told reporters at City Hall that his firm is making "a huge commitment" to the project, but that he feels strongly "Sacramento is a good bet." AEG has committed $58.75 million in upfront costs to the $391 million project.

"We'll have one of the great arenas not just in the US, but in the world, and Sacramento will be a different community," he said.

March 19, 2012
VIDEO: Big changes are afoot for The Claw in Sacramento

The Claw may be on the verge of hibernation.

A proposal to be considered by the City Council on Tuesday would call for Sacramento's quirky leaf-collecting machine to be shelved all but three months of the year. At the same time, the city could require all residents to use bins to collect green waste.

First, city residents must repeal 1977's Measure A, which prohibits the city from requiring green bins. The council is expected to place a measure on the November ballot to repeal Measure A.

March 16, 2012
Another packed field for Sacramento City Hall races

Once again, a seat on the City Council is a hot ticket.

A packed field of 17 candidates has filed to run for council in the June primary. Another four candidates are running for mayor.

It was a similar story in 2010, when 16 candidates ran for council. That election marked a shift to more competition in local politics. As recently as 2008, the four council members who sought re-election ran unopposed.

March 15, 2012
Speaker Boehner tours Natomas levees

House Speaker John Boehner toured levees in Natomas this week at the invitation of Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River), as local officials push the feds to fund ongoing levee improvements to the area.

That Monday visit came on the heels of a trip to D.C. made last week by Mayor Kevin Johnson and Councilwoman Angelique Ashby to lobby federal officials for levee funding.

Local officials have had a hard time convincing the federal government to fund the final stages of levee improvement in Natomas - work that is needed to lift a federally-backed building moratorium in the area.

March 14, 2012
Copper wire thefts leaving Sacramento streets in darkness for months

With copper thieves continuing to wreak havoc on city streets, the City Council wants to make cleaning up the mess more of a priority at City Hall.

Councilman Steve Cohn asked City Manager John Shirey on Tuesday to speed up the repair cycle for street lights left inoperable by copper wire thefts. Cohn said he has been told by some residents that it is taking the city six to 12 months to fix broken lights.

"Obviously the problem is much bigger than what we had feared initially," Cohn said.

March 13, 2012
Tree removal at Sutter's Landing to cost city more than $200,000

A city crew's decision in September to clear cut an acre of trees that was sheltering homeless campers near the American River could cost the city well over $200,000.

A report issued by a City Council-appointed committee to address the incident has recommended planting dozens of trees inside Sutter's Landing Park - to the tune of $206,000. That committee also hired a consultant to help with its months-long study, and city officials said that consultant could cost $30,000.

The City Council is scheduled to address the committee's recommendations tonight.

March 9, 2012
Fundraising drive for Sacramento pools has a long way to go

A fundraising campaign to open city pools this summer has raised $113,683 - roughly one-tenth of what officials want to generate by next month.

The Save Mart Save Our Pools campaign has been in action since mid-February and lasts through April 10. Save Mart is matching donations up to $500,000 and city leaders are hopeful the campaign will generate at least $1 million.

City officials are hoping fundraising kicks up in the coming weeks.

March 8, 2012
Update: Sheedy not running for Sacramento mayor

All of that Sandy Sheedy For Mayor talk has fizzled.

Sacramento's chief arena opponent has apparently opted not to run against Mayor Kevin Johnson, despite a lot of chatter at City Hall today that she would. The deadline for Sheedy to file her campaign papers has come and gone. For the record, she never returned my phone call today.

As a result, Johnson will run against five candidates with little or no political experience.

March 8, 2012
Is Councilwoman Sheedy running for Sacramento mayor?

There's a lot of talk at City Hall today that Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy is going to jump into the mayoral race.

Several insiders told me today that Sheedy is considering running against Mayor Kevin Johnson and that she plans to file her campaign documents today. If she is, she has until 4:30 p.m. today to file those papers to meet the city's deadline for mayoral candidates to declare.

Sheedy has not returned my phone call seeking comment.

March 7, 2012
Live chat: Sacramento's path to a new arena

March 7, 2012
Sacramento Kings announce season ticket plans for next year

The Sacramento Kings are apparently trying to capitalize off Tuesday night's historic City Council vote.

The team announced this morning it was launching a season ticket campaign for the 2012-13 season. Prices will remain the same as this year, according to a news release.

That announcement came just hours after the City Council voted 7-2 to approve a non-binding "term sheet" that lays out the financing plan for a new $391 million sports arena in the downtown railyard.

March 6, 2012
Mayor: Sacramento 'on the verge of doing something very special' with arena vote

With the City Council expected to approve a non-binding financial plan for a new downtown sports arena tonight, Mayor Kevin Johnson told reporters this morning that "we're on the verge of doing something very special."

"We're finally at the point where we have one single vote, one moment in time to totally transform the downtown community and Sacramento for generations," he said.

The council is expected to approve a "term sheet" for a $391 million arena. The city has proposed contributing 65 percent of the project cost, mostly through either leasing or borrowing against downtown parking.

March 1, 2012
Arena term sheet unveiled

The financial term sheet for a new $391 million sports arena in the downtown railyard was released today.

Among the new details released were plans for a privately-financed $25 million premium parking facility next to the arena; a $1 fee on every arena ticket that will be set aside for facility maintenance and operations; and terms of a 50-50 split on naming rights and luxury suite revenue between arena operator AEG and the Sacramento Kings.

The term sheet can be found here.

March 1, 2012
Maloof says some negotiating left to do on Sacramento arena

As the city prepares to release the financial term sheet of a new downtown sports arena, Kings co-owner George Maloof said today there are "some things we still have to negotiate," but that he is confident a deal will get done.

"Term sheets are not final deals, but there's enough in there that there's a road map to getting it done and that's our intention," Maloof told me. "It is our intention to get this done and stay in Sacramento."

Maloof would not say which parts of the term sheet still need negotiating.

About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at


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