Commentary

To live life unburdened by stuff

I really did love my stuff. I even used a lot of it. And I had a lot: My gorgeous Victorian home in downtown Sacramento held closets full of clothes, a kitchen crammed with utensils, a garage full of sporting gear, a formal dining room, a roomful of records, even a library, floor to ceiling with books. So much stuff. These days, I have a backpack and a duffel bag

Hurricane Sandy & climate change

By the end of the week, this storm revealed the extent to which climate change may soon be affecting many millions of people—because it already has. The deniers will continue to deny—it’s what they do—but if Manhattan is not safe, if the “Capital of the World” can be plunged into darkness so quickly, so completely, what does the future hold for other cities?

What I Saw at the Hyperlocal Revolution

Much of this piece, which was intended to be about journalism, is instead about money. Perhaps that’s the ultimate message, as journalists everywhere are discovering. As journalists, we’re nothing if we don’t tell the truth, backed up by solid reporting. But unless someone, somewhere, is bringing money to the table, our political insights or critical acumen or familiarity with the machinations of city hall are mere dinner party—or Facebook—fodder. Without the money, we don’t have jobs. And “citizen journalism” notwithstanding, without journalism jobs, we don’t have journalism.

All Things Must Pass: A Farewell

Over my nearly three years at The Sacramento Press, I’ve written some nice farewells to folks who’ve left us, and I’ve even had to fire a couple of people. But now I find that the tables are turned: I was laid off yesterday as Editor in Chief of The Sacramento Press. It was a cost-cutting measure, done to get this young company to profitability. Not the way I wanted to help get there, but you do what you can.

Commentary: Auditing the Auditors

As we in the Sacramento Press newsroom digested the news that a newly hired deputy city auditor was resigning – as a result of one lunchtime phone call to auditor Gerald Silva from our city hall reporter, Kathleen Haley – I marveled at several things. First, that the Sacramento Press’ inquiries had caused a city official to resign. Despite what people might think, that’s not the most rewarding thing a journalist can do. But when the official and his boss have hidden damaging information from city staff and the public – in this case that Silva was fired for his role in a sexual harassment lawsuit while working for San Jose’s city government – well…that’s good stuff. But there’s more to marvel at.

Commentary: Choosing Reality Over Dreams on K Street

One sign of a world class city is that its citizens don’t sit around dreaming up ways to hit that one grand slam that is going to instantly vault it into the status of “world class” cities. Ideas like the Saca twin towers. Like Aura. Like the Sacramento Boqueria. Big projects that promise much but ultimately come to nothing. I believe in dreaming big. But right now, in this town, we need a success. And success isn’t going to come in one fell swoop, with one grand gesture. It is going to come with something that is already happening on K Street: critical mass. The Promenade on K project offers just that.

Commentary: A “Strong Mayor”?

Sometimes you can want something so much, and push for it so hard, that you end up creating the opposite of what you wanted. Which is perhaps how we’ve ended up with such a weak mayor. That was never more clear than on Tuesday night, when Mayor Kevin Johnson’s dogged pursuit of a “strong mayor” remake of the city charter went down – spectacularly – at the hands of a city council united against him.

Commentary: In These Hard Times

These are the times that try men’s souls, it’s true. And you see a bit about people in their reactions to the bad news, not always appealing. I admit my own vascillations between hope and despair, particularly in the way I talk – one day I’m quoting terrible news, the next I’m sayin’ it ain’t so bad. Strange times. But I had a conversation with some good friends the other night, outside the Torch Club, and the conversation turned to the economy, and the gloom. And several of the conversants – all guys in their 30s and 40s – opined that, in times like these, the cops were spread thin, and the best insurance against hard times was a shotgun.

Black September at The Sacbee

A Bee Business story on this week’s buy-outs was long on numbers, but it didn’t mention a single name of the very real people who are leaving The Bee this fall. So I’m going to drop the commentary and just list those who are leaving. Read the names, remember the people – and the stories. These are the people who made The Bee what it is…was. And the names say it all.