The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

December 26, 2008
Give Grant Pacers decent competition

Before the glow of the Grant High School Pacers football championship fades away, I have a request for Grant and its legions of loyal fans, my husband among them. Next year, please give this team some decent competition. 

Ever since the powers that be for high school football moved Grant from Division I to Division II at the end of the 2005 season, Grant has been forced to play against not just mediocre but flat out awful teams, against players that should not be on the same field with the Pacers.There's no better proof of that than the series of embarrassingly lopsided scores for Grant's regular season Metro League games. 

Grant beat Sacramento High, 55-0, Kennedy, 61-0 and McClatchy, my alma mater, 89-0. Rosemont got a 58-6 thumping. Hiram Johnson took it on the chin 62-6. The only league game that offered Grant a whiff of  competion was Burbank. Even that score wasn't really close, 35-13.

Those kind of games are painful not just for the players but for the fans. I think Grant should be moved back into Division I for football so it can play the regional powerhouse teams again - the Nevada Union Miners and the Thundering Herd of Elk Grove, among others.

 Prep sports experts say that's not the answer. OK - then suggest something else. Just don't make Grant play McClatchy again next year. Who wants to watch an 89-0 football game? No one!

December 18, 2008
Meeting the new poor in line at welfare offices

Here's my advice to Republicans who are anxious to make deeper cuts in social services and welfare. Visit a welfare office in your home district as I did in Sacramento the other day.

You'll likely found what I did. First time needy, people who have worked hard all their lives and paid the taxes to fund legislators' salaries and  programs for the poor that they now need to access themselves for the first time in their lives.

 I met Jason, a 28 year old who was laid off from a sign making shop a few months ago. He's sleeping on a friend's couch and hasn't had a decent meal for days. He needs food stamps.

  I met Fernando, a laid off pressman with a wife and two kids and a mortgage living on unemployment. His savings have run out and he and his wife need help too. Heather, is 21 and lost her job at a coffee shop in Folsom when she moved to escape a difficult dometic situation.  Unable to find work, she's been sleeping in her car. 

There were more like that, hundreds of them in this one office on one afternnon in Sacramento. Legislators who want to cut benefits to the poor should take time away from their cozy offices at the capitol and talk to these new poor. It will be illuminating for them. It was for me.

December 12, 2008
Tent city for the homeless - Where should it be?

Bob Slobe, the North Sacramento businessman and long-time critic of the way the city deals with its homelss population, and a friend of mine, says location will be the biggest issue if the city sanctions a tent city for the homeless.

He's right about that. Slobe suggests Land Park or Curtis Park for the location. Someone else mentioned Capitol Park, all, enclaves of the rich and powerful. The suggestions are obvious digs at people who recommend solutions that don't impact where they live. Slobe has a point but not a very useful one. Any camp set up must be in walking distance of Loaves & Fishes, the social service complex north of downtown which serves the homelss now.  To work, the tent cities can't just push the homeless to other neighborhoods. They need to be served when they live now. Like it or not, north of downtown is where a huge bulk of the homeless live.

December 11, 2008
Homeless camps - should they be legalized?

The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board is considering endorsing the creation of a legally sanctioned campground for the homeless.

The problem of illegal camps and the futility of closing them down, only to see them pop up somewhere else days later is obvious as a recent story in The Bee  by Cynthia Hubert illustrates.

So does it make sense for local governments in this region to designate "high tolerance" quasi-legal campgrounds where the homeless can set up their tents and shanties  without fear of being arrested or rousted by police? 

What are your ideas? If you oppose the notion, what would be a better alternative, something more humane and effective than the endless homeless chase authorities are engaged in now?



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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