City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

December 31, 2012
Sacramento council to appoint vice mayor on Thursday

In its first order of business in the new year, the Sacramento City Council is scheduled to select a vice mayor for 2013 at its meeting Thursday.

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby served as vice mayor in 2012.

The job is a largely ceremonial distinction, but does involve running City Council meetings when Mayor Kevin Johnson is out of town - a situation that occurs with some frequency.

December 31, 2012
Confusion over the sales tax rate in the city of Sacramento

There seems to be a little confusion among city merchants over just how much tax they should be charging customers starting Tuesday.

The state Board of Equalization sent out notices to businesses recently stating that the sales tax rate in the city will rise to 8 percent from 7.75 percent starting Jan. 1. That's a result of the passage of Prop. 30 in November.

But what about the city sales tax increase also approved by voters in November?

December 31, 2012
Kings drama, credit card scandal dominated Sacramento City Hall in 2012

The credit card scandal that struck City Hall - and has one of Mayor Kevin Johnson's former aides facing criminal charges - was the big story of the year on City Beat. The Kings, and the city's quest to build the team a new arena, was the other.

Here's the top 5 most viewed stories on the blog in 2012:

5. Record request another sign of strained Kings/city relationship, April 5

December 11, 2012
New Sacramento City Council takes office tonight

It's a little later than usual, but Sacramento's new City Council will be sworn in tonight at City Hall.

Newly-elected Council members Allen Warren and Steve Hansen will take the oath of office prior to the council's regular meeting. Both are coming off victories in November that were so narrow, election officials did not finalize the results until more than three weeks after the election.

Their victories also are another step in the ongoing transformation of City Hall. Five of the eight City Council seats have now changed hands in just the past two years.

December 7, 2012
Oak Park farmer's market in line for more upgrades

Once a haven for crime, McClatchy Park in Oak Park continues to undergo a transformation.

The City Council is expected Tuesday to approve funding the final stage of the park's farmer's market. The project would include two large shade structures and electrical outlets for vendors. The $332,000 project would be funded mostly from fees collected from developers.

Construction is expected to be completed by April, in time for the market to re-open for the season.

December 5, 2012
Confused about city recycling changes? Help is on the way

For those of you wondering this morning how in the world you're going to remember when to place your recycling by the curb, the city says it's going to have you covered.

The City Council last night approved a plan to scale back recycling collection from weekly to every other week. And this morning, I've received many calls from residents worried that they won't know when their recycling will be scheduled for collection.

I called Erin Treadwell, a spokeswoman at the city's solid waste division, and she said the city is already working on several tools to help keep residents informed.

December 4, 2012
Sacramento expected to make big changes to recycling, green waste collection

The City Council is poised tonight to make sweeping changes to the way green waste and recycling are collected.

Following the approval of Measure T on the November ballot, city staff is recommending that the council require the use of green waste bins and scale back the regular leaf collections made by the Claw. Measure T, which passed 51.4 percent to 48.7 percent, allows the council to make that change.

The Claw would still make regular leaf collection runs in November, December and January, and would also be available for appointments to pick up bulky items.

December 3, 2012
California watchdog agency fines Mayor Kevin Johnson $37,500

The state's political watchdog group announced today it has fined Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson $37,500 for failing to report millions of dollars in donations he solicited for various non-profits, including the group he tasked with developing a financing plan for a new arena.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission said it found 25 cases in which Johnson failed to report what are called behest payments within the required 30 days of securing those donations. The FPPC investigation was sparked by a Bee report in September that revealed thousands of dollars in donations to the mayor's Think Big arena task force had not been reported in a timely matter.

The behests examined by the FPPC totaled more than $3.5 million and were made to the mayor's arena task force and education initiative. Donations secured by the mayor were also made to City Year - a national program Johnson recruited to Sacramento that places young tutors and mentors in schools - and Teach for America, another national education organization.

December 3, 2012
Sacramento lands minor league soccer franchise

As their neighbors in Elk Grove move forward with a quest to lure a Major League Soccer franchise to the region, Sacramento officials announced this morning that they have landed a lower-division soccer team.

An ownership group led by former River Cats executive Warren Smith has been granted the franchise, which will begin play in 2014 in the United Soccer League Pro division. Smith said he is negotiating with Sacramento City College to have the team play in the newly renovated Hughes Stadium.

Smith and Mayor Kevin Johnson announced the new team at a press conference this morning.

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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