The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

December 2, 2010
The Money Trail: City Hall has begun to clean up its fowl mess

They've had enough with the squawking over at Sacramento City Hall.

No, we're not talking about political infighting. This one's for the birds.

The city has installed noise makers on the roof of City Hall to scare away hundreds of birds that flock to the trees along 10th Street.

The past two winters, those birds - mostly crows - have been turning the sidewalks around City Hall into a slimy, slippery mess. It reached a nasty level last winter, when the walkways were so caked with excrement that women in high heels could barely stay upright and city crews were forced to clean the pavement three times a week with a power scrubber.

After hearing from angry residents, the city decided to flap its wings. Sacramento spent $2,852 last month on a sound system that plays predatory noises to scare away the birds. While the feathered nuisances are still leaving their mark on the sidewalks, it isn't nearly as bad as last year.

"We still have to tweak it a little," said Gina Knepp of the city's Department of General Services. "It takes a little time to get it right."

Knepp said the money spent on the new system - which included the cost of labor to install the devices - will offset what the city spent last year on manpower to wash off the sidewalks.

"We'll get a return on that investment," she said. "And we don't want it to be so dirty down there."

- Ryan Lillis

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at:

The Public Eye


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives