The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

February 6, 2009
Recover overpayment for train depot?

We're working on a Monday editorial taking up the idea that the City of Sacramento should aggressively go after money owed to the public to help fill a $50 million budget gap.  Council members Kevin McCarty and Rob Fong have identified at least one prime target, worth millions of dollars.


In a rush land deal in December 2006, the city gave Thomas Enterprises $55 million to help the developer close on its $70 million purchase of 240 acres in the downtown railyard.


The city's $55 million was called an "advance payment" on city purchase of 32.8 acres, which included the historic I Street train depot.


With no appraisal, the city paid roughly $1.7 million per acre for the 32.8 acres (while on the same day, Thomas Enterprises paid roughly $292,000 an acre for 240 acres in the railyard).


However, the purchase and sale agreement did lay out a three-month negotiation/mediation/arbitration process to determine the fair market value of the 32.8 acres and to have Thomas Enterprises pay up if the city's $55 million advance payment was more than the final purchase price. 


Yet two years have passed and the city still has no final purchase price or settle up.

What do you think the mayor and city council should do?

February 6, 2009
Editorial: Big Five secrecy makes mockery of democracy
By voting for these budget packages and allowing their leaders to negotiate them in the dark, lawmakers of both parties are ensuring an odious outcome. In essence, they are abdicating their responsibility to legislate and govern, further diminishing their standing in the public eye. To read the full editorial, go here.

Related content:
SacBee: "State's Big Five keep talks secret for fear of dooming budget deal"

Tim Herdt: "When the deal hits the fan"
February 3, 2009
Editorial: Bike path growing on the Garden Highway?
LS TANDEM CYCLING 1.JPGA wider levee in Natomas could be the foundation for bicycle and hiking trail that could stretch from Sutter County to Sacramento. To read the full editorial, go here.

Sacramento Bee Photo/ Lezlie Sterling

February 3, 2009
Editorial: CTA takes low road with its ads
The California Teachers Association is running television ads urging legislators to reject proposals to give school districts funding flexibility to mitigate inevitable reductions. Teachers at the local level need to tell their leaders at the state level that flexibility is better than draconian cuts. To read the full editorial, go here.
February 2, 2009
Prison pugilists need to put down their gloves
Our lead editorial today urges Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to start negotiating with the state's prison receiver, instead of wasting time on what is surely to be a unsuccessful court effort to end the receivership.

States the editorial:

Delays mean that thousands of prisoners have to be transported from prison to local community hospitals, costing hundreds of millions a year. The shadowboxing between Schwarzenegger, Brown and Kelso provides great entertainment, but is getting the state nowhere - at great expense.

February 2, 2009
Union leaders hurt rank and file by not cutting furlough deal
In an editorial today, The Bee notes that rank-and-file state workers would have been far better off if their leaders had quickly agreed with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to implement one-day-a-month furloughs as an alternative to layoffs or two-day furloughs.

Had the governor been able to implement one-day furloughs two months ago, the state would have banked the savings quickly and there would have been less pressure to seek other payroll savings.

An excerpt from the editorial:

Now that so much time has passed and Schwarzenegger has been given new leverage by the court decision, he may continue pressing for the full two days rather than agreeing to a compromise.

We still think a cut that large puts too much of the burden for solving the state's budget problems on its employees. Unfortunately, that is the price they might have to pay for the intransigence of their union leaders.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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