Archive for the ‘Issues & Answers’ Category

Natural Foods Co-op To Be Moving?

January 9, 2012

Our neighborhood's own Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op at 1900 Alhambra Blvd.

The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op will be seeking to move to a new location, according to General Manager Paul Cultrera in the Co-op’s latest quarterly newsletter.  “[A]fter months of exploring many sites” that would meet the Co-op’s criteria, Cultrera writes, “we have found one that will meet them all.”  The Co-op cannot disclose the location, he says, until the project’s developers (Ravel Rasmussen Properties and Separovich/Domich Real Estate) are able to begin discussions with the City of Sacramento Planning Department and the site’s neighbors; but he adds that this should happen “in the next few weeks,” and that the site will be revealed then.

The need for a new site for the Co-op has been clear to some observers.  In a Sacramento Bee article last Wednesday (Jan. 4) on the Co-op’s planned move, Bob Shallit writes that the Co-op, currently with about 12,000 members, “has been coping for years with inadequate parking and sales space for its growing operation.”  The Co-op’s attempt to address the problem by opening a second location in Elk Grove in 2005, failed 18 months later due to low sales.

In his message, Cultrera writes that (without being able to reveal the location), the new site will be within “two minute’s walking distance” from the current site; “more than double” the available parking spaces; increase the main floor area by more than 30 percent; and combine the store and all the Co-op’s offices, meeting spaces and classroom space into the same building, “while doubling the space available for those purposes.”  Cultrera adds that the increased size will mean the Co-op’s rent costs at the new site will be “significantly higher” than at the current location; but that “increased sales volume” from the new location would make the higher rent affordable.

Once the location is announced, Cultrera anticipates that the Co-op members will be asked to vote on the project by this April, with plenty of “informational meetings” prior to the vote to inform members of the “benefits and risks” of the project.  If the project is approved and all goes well, the Co-op’s new location would open by the middle of 2014.

For more information, please pick up a copy of the January-March 2012 “Co-op Reporter” at the Co-op; or visit the Co-op’s website.


It’s a New Year for the Neighborhood!

January 3, 2012


Happy New Year!  I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season, and this strangely dry December.  I’ve really enjoyed looking at all the lights and decorations at people’s houses, on my walks through the neighborhood.

It’s a new year and a time for new beginnings.  And I don’t usually like to make pitches for things, but there is a group here that’s trying to make this neighborhood a better community, and to be a voice for all residents.  It’s the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association.

Membership is just $12 a year.  Becoming part of the Association is a great way to be involved in issues that matter to all of us–the residents of the Poverty Ridge, Newton Booth, and Alhambra Triangle neighborhoods.  The Association organizes also fun events like last November’s “Newton’s Night Out”; and with more active members, we’ll be able to have more events to bring neighbors together.

Below is the membership application–just print it out, write a check for the low, low membership price of $12, and mail it in!

Also, if you’re a member of NBNA (or have decided to join), and if you’re interested in getting involved in the neighborhood and making things happen, consider applying for membership on the NBNA Board.  The Board is looking for new members who love the neighborhood and have a desire to work toward taking care of and improving the community. 

Below is the Board Membership Application; please print it, fill it out and send it in, if you’re interested.  Thank you!

And on behalf of the Neighborhood Association, I’d like to wish all of you a happy and prosperous 2012.

Newton Booth’s “Community” Sculpture Vandalized

December 1, 2011

Neighbors coming home from Thanksgiving who happened to go by the intersection of 26th and S Streets last weekend, were in for an unpleasant sight.  At some time before the morning of Saturday, November 26, the metal sculpture inside the 26th & S traffic circle, a piece called “Community,” had been vandalized–apparently by a driver who managed to drive over the entire traffic circle.

The sculpture, created by Sacramento artist Kristen Hoard, is a symbol of the Newton Booth neighborhood, and (as far as we know) is the only art piece in Sacramento made to decorate a traffic circle.  The circle, in the center of the intersection, creates a small “roundabout” and was intended as part of the city’s traffic calming program.

Originally, the sculpture had four metal human-like figures facing each other, mounted into the dirt in the circle on small concrete stands.  Whoever vandalized the art piece somehow managed to knock over two of the standing figures.  Judging by the direction the two fallen figures were laying, it can be inferred that whatever drove over the traffic circle was traveling south on 26th Street, going towards T Street:

The uprooted concrete stand for the metal figure on the south end of the traffic circle. The metal figure was pushed over so violently that it was driven into the ground.

Was this a case of drunk driving?  A speeding truck of enormous size with an oblivious driver?  No witnesses that we know of have come forward, and even the general time of day of the incident is not known.

What is known is that speeding drivers on our neighborhood streets have become an increasing problem.  26th Street is a direct line to the freeway and to Broadway; and perhaps some foolish driver with too much to drink, or distracted (maybe with a cell phone call or a text message?), barrelled down the street late Friday night or early Saturday morning, unconcerned about the neighborhood sculpture in front of him or her.  The problem of speeding, careless drivers passing through the neighborhood is not limited to this incident:  One of the new traffic-calming islands at 23rd and T Streets was reportedly hit by a driver in the past couple of weeks.

Also, it is a bit chilling to note that the human-like figures in the sculpture, run over by a careless driver, look not unlike actual people sprawled on the ground.  I mention this in order to remind everyone reading this, that an accident can happen to pedestrians anytime, day or night–so please be careful crossing the street, and watch out for bad drivers.  Don’t assume a driver will stop for you.  And drivers, please be aware of your surroundings at all times, drive at posted speeds, and brake for pedestrians and cyclists.

The good news is that this neighborhood has a lot of people who care about our community–and our “Community” art piece–and we will be working to fix what was done.  In the weeks to come, the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association will be working with the City of Sacramento, and with Kristen Hoard, to figure out the next steps to restoring the sculpture.  Might a small, friendly neighborhood fund-raiser perhaps be in the works?  We’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, please walk, cycle and drive safely…here in the neighborhood, and everywhere you go.

Putting the Brakes on Passive Bulldozing

October 19, 2011

As the NBNA continues to work cooperatively with those responsible developers doing important infill on legitimately vacant lots, other less responsible, absentee landlords who purchase historic houses and allow them to crumble to the ground in order to create new vacant lots for development represent an increasing problem in our area.

We recently supported an NBNA member’s ongoing efforts to get city action on one such absentee landlord, whose property at 1811 26th Street was vacant, hazardous and garbage-filled. The City’s efforts to enforce property code violations extended over two years and seemed mostly to have involved failed efforts to communicate with the property’s owner, who is ambiguously–and one might suggest contemptably–listed as “Joe Jones Properties.”

The clock was ticking, the fines were adding up, and the property was continuing to decay in what can only be described as “passive bulldozing.”

After taking some digital photos of the property, the NBNA went online and filed a complaint with Sacramento Code Enforcement in support of the NBNA member, including the photos which spoke volumes. For good measure we sent a duplicate email to Sacramento 911.  A few weeks later, we went and checked out the property again.  The house was still abandoned,  but the yard was cleared of garbage, and that felt good.

It’s no secret that these days the City of Sacramento has limited resources to address many of the problems it faces–and that includes code enforcement. Which is why it’s important to help the process by utilizing the City’s online infrastructure. Registering a concern about a delinquent property, illegal dumping, overgrown weeds or graffiti is easy thanks to Sacramento Code Enforcement’s online complaint forms. If you’ve got a digital camera, you can even attach a photo of what concerns you, like we did, and help the City do its job.

Passive bulldozing is still a problem.  But we can’t put the brakes on it if we don’t push the pedal.  The more people who participate in government, the more effectively government works.  It’s that simple.

Before & after. The garbage-filled backyard of an abandoned house gets cleaned up with a little help from the NBNA.

Here’s the City’s URL for filing code enforcement complaints:

City Planning Commission to Discuss Proposed 24th and T Street Development

March 7, 2011

Months after the property on the northwest corner of 24th and T Streets (shown above) was cleared and a house on the lot taken down, the proposed development for the site will shortly be reaching the City Planning Commission.  On Thursday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m., the Planning Commission will be holding a hearing on the proposed 24th and T development in the New City Hall, 915 I Street (1st floor).

This proposed development has attracted a great deal of attention and debate within the neighborhood.  A group of neighbors has organized against the planned 6-unit condo building, arguing that (1) the large size of the building is out of proportion to the surrounding neighborhood; (2) the density of the development is too high, considering the large number of multi-unit apartment buildings already in the near vicinity; and (3) the design of the building is too “modern” in contrast to the immediate area, which has many historic older homes and bungalows.

Arguments and counter-arguments have been made over the past few months, and this is clearly an issue on which many neighbors have strong,  passionate feelings.  Thursday night’s meeting at the Planning Commission will therefore be of great importance to many people in our neighborhood.  For more information about attending the meeting, please call City Hall at (916) 264-5011.

Community Meeting to Discuss 24th & T Street Project

November 17, 2010

Dear Readers–The Blogger apologizes for the extremely short notice on this news.

An important community meeting will be held Thursday, November 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Eleanor McClatchy Center at 2131 Q Street (across from the Sacramento Bee).  The topic is a proposed residential development for a 0.19-acre property on the northwest corner of 24th and T Streets.

Want to learn more about the proposed development?  Have concerns about it?  Please come, learn more, and join the discussion.

Jerry Brown Rally at Winn Park Oct. 31

October 30, 2010

We at the Newton Booth Neighborhood Blog have tried to remain non-partisan in this election season; but we are also interested in telling you about upcoming events in or near the neighborhood, in case you the reader are interested.

In that spirit, we pass on word that Democratic candidate for Governor, Jerry Brown, will be holding a rally/voter meet & greet at Winn Park, located between 27th and 28th Streets and P and Q Streets – just a block north of the Newton Booth neighborhood – tomorrow, October 31, starting at 12:45 p.m.

This information comes to us courtesy of the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club, so if you have questions, please call them at (916) 557-1100, x119.

And whatever your politics may be, we at the Neighborhood Blog urge all of you to inform yourselves about the issues and candidates, and to please make time to go out and vote next Tuesday, November 2.  Thank you.

Community Conversations Returns Oct. 21

October 19, 2010

A bold new experiment in bringing together citizens to discuss issues of importance to them, is returning to Sacramento this Thursday night.  Community Conversations, a project co-sponsored by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Capital Public Radio, and the Sacramento Bee, will be holding a citywide discussion in a number of locations in Sacramento on Thursday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m.  The topic up for discussion is:  “Do you feel safe in your own neighborhood?”

The discussions are divided into Sacramento’s City Council districts.  Since the Poverty Ridge/Newton Booth/Alhambra Triangle falls into City Council District 4 (which also includes Land Park), the Community Conversations discussion for District 4 will be held at Espresso Metro, 2104 11th Avenue (by 11th and Freeport Avenues, just north of Sacramento City College).  Or, another discussion being held nearby will be at the Old Soul Co. coffeehouse at 3434 Broadway in Oak Park (City Council District 5).  A full list of the discussion locations can be found here.

Before attending, please have a look at the Guidelines for Civil Discourse that have been developed for the discussion.  They are intended to foster mutual respect, listening and learning, and limiting excessive political partisanship – qualities of civic discussion that often seem to have been lost in our society in recent years.

For more information, please contact the Sacramento Region Community Foundation at (916) 921-7723.

Community Conversations – now in Land Park (July 13)

July 12, 2010

It may be short notice, and I apologize – but the next edition of Community Conversations is coming to Land Park/Curtis Park on July 13.  Plus it’s in Oak Park, Midtown, and other parts of Sacramento.

The second in a series of community dialogues, Community Conversations is sponsored by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Capital Public Radio, and the Sacramento Bee.  The series, which deals with different topics of current public importance, aims to allow neighbors to listen to each other and learn from each other, leading to better informed, more engaged citizens.

The next conversation will be taking place at various locations across Sacramento (one in each City Council district), on Tuesday, July 13 at 7:00 p.m.  Tuesday night’s topic is: “Budget cuts: What are we willing to do without, and what are we willing to do about the rest?”

Since the Poverty Ridge/Newton Booth/Alhambra Triangle neighborhoods are basically all in City Council District 4 (which includes Land Park and Curtis Park), the conversation for this district is being held at Espresso Metro, 2104 11th Avenue.  There are also conversations being held at Old Soul Co. on 3434 Broadway in Oak Park (Council District 5); and at Butch and Nellie’s at 1827 I Street in Midtown (Council District 3).

One more thing:  In order to keep the discussion civil, participants are asked to read the following Guidelines for Civil Discourse, and to please abide by them during the conversation.

Community Conversations – Coming to Temple May 11

May 9, 2010

Dear Readers:  Once again, many apologies for my delay in putting up regular posts the past couple of weeks or so.  I do have some good news: the Blogger has bought a new camera (my old one went on the fritz last October), and hopes to be posting new photos from around the Newton Booth neighborhood soon.  Please stay tuned.

In the meantime, I have to use a “file photo” for this next upcoming event… 🙂

Temple Coffee, at 2829 S Street.

On Tuesday, May 11 at 6:00 p.m., a series of public discussions to be called Community Conversations, will be held at various locations in Sacramento.  The idea is to encourage civil discussion on topics of vital importance to our community.  This first series of discussions will be based on the topic, “What will it take to propel our region beyond the present slump into a thriving, vibrant future?”

The discussion in our area (actually intended to cover “Land Park/South Midtown,” which is also City Council District 4) will be held at Temple Coffee at 2829 S Street.  The discussion at Temple will be facilitated by Becky LaVally, an instructor in the Communications Studies Department at California State University, Sacramento, and a former Sacramento bureau chief for Gannett News Service and United Press International.

Other locations include the Old Soul coffeehouses at 1716 L Street (rear alley) in Midtown and at 3434 Broadway in Oak Park; It’s a Grind at 2731 Del Paso Road in Natomas; The Art of Food at 1825 Del Paso Blvd. Suite 2 in North Sacramento; the Starbucks at 8393 Folsom Blvd. in College Glen; Caffe Latte at 7600 Greenhaven Drive in the Pocket area; and the Starbucks at 6200 Mack Road in South Sacramento.

Community Conversations is sponsored by a partnership of The Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Capital Public Radio, and the Sacramento Bee.  The discussion question is an extension of the “Road to Recovery” news series created as a collaboration of Capitol Public Radio and the Bee.

For more information, please visit the website  Participants are also encouraged to read the following Guide to Civil Discourse beforehand.  Most of its recommendations are pretty basic, but unfortunately even the most basic rules of courtesy and respectful discussion have sometimes fallen by the wayside in our current political culture; hence the need for such a guide.