Fix or Fight?

Reposted from For more information check out Wallace Weir project page on

leader's compass

img_0645 Fritz Durst, Board chair of Reclamation District 108, gives opening remarks at Wallace Weir

At the celebration of the construction of the new Wallace Weir, Fritz Durst called everyone to join the assembled collaborators to fix problems instead of fighting. People often refer to California “water wars” and as a result many problems remain intractable. The Northern California Water Agency and its members have been working hard to find ways to solve problems, sometimes at risk to their own interests. This project is one of over 49 identified to improve the chances for endangered salmon to return in the Sacramento River Salmon Recovery Program. They are joined by other stakeholders including local, regional and state agencies.

I have been working in the Yolo Bypass on behalf of Metropolitan Water Agency of SoCal to try to find common ground with a diverse group of stakeholders. We are seeking solutions that will allow…

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Tiny House Extravaganza!

img_0706I do not think SMUD or the other organizers of the Tiny House competition open house (Saturday, November 15, 2016 at Cosumnes River College) expected such an enthusiastic response. Even with rain threatening, the 5,000 brochures they printed up were snapped up by 11:30 a.m. When I left at 1:15 there was a steady stream of people still arriving.

There were 10 tiny houses entered by various college and universities and each of them had at least a 20 minute wait in line to see the inside. If you arrived at 9:00 a.m. when it opened you’d be challenged to see them all by 4:00 p.m. Fortunately there were food trucks and information tables to help you gather information about saving energy or water, or how to become an advocate for tiny homes.

I only had a couple of hours so I took lots of photos and waited in line to see the Laney College entry, “The Wedge” winner of the architecture award. Overhearing conversations around me, the people in line were curious to see if a tiny home will work for a mother-in-law suite, an affordable way to live off the grid in Idaho, a guest home, or a home for themselves.This home cost $55,000 to build. The college plans to sell it and then using the same program to build homes for the homeless.

The overall winner was Santa Clara University’s entry. Entries had to be moved to Cosumnes River College by Friday for judging. Homes were rated on design, energy efficiency, home utility and communications. Modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, the program asks teams to use modern building techniques and technology to maximize energy efficiency in a home not to exceed 400 square feet.

Entrants included:
1. California State University, Fresno
2. Laney College
3. College of the Sequoias
4. University of California, Berkeley
5. Cosumnes River College
6. Santa Clara University
7. San Jose City College
8. UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College
9. CSU Sacramento
10. CSU Chico
If you are a city councilmember or a County supervisor in the NorCal area, take note of the level of interest. Many localities have vague guidance about permitting or using tiny homes. Tiny homes can be mobile more like a travel trailer, but tend to be built more like a custom home than a manufactured home.  The American Tiny House Association offers sample zoning regulations.

Proclaiming Tiny Houses!


This weekend I am going to check out the Tiny House competition sponsored by SMUD, created by students, and ready for inspection at Cosumnes River College. It will probably be raining, so I’ll dig out my warmer wardrobe and take my umbrella. I am really curious to see how small tiny is. I watch Tiny Househunters on HGTV and it is hard to imagine what it would really feel like to live in a house under 500 square feet. Checking it out and asking: could this be a solution for homeownership for single person households, a less expensive solution for ending homelessness, or just affordably add second units for short or long term rental?

proclaimersThen on Monday my all time favorite music group is performing at Harlow’s. I am going to see the Proclaimers! Since I live in the neighborhood I do not have to walk 500 miles. On Monday night I’ll be on my way to the Proclaimers.

Golden One Center Opens


The Golden One Center is ready for events and for the NBA season. This large construction project is completed on time and on budget (cost increases were at owner’s request and expense–not the City’s). It is still surrounded by construction sites for other buildings, yet this weekend it will open for it’s maiden concert with Sir Paul McCartney.

The Sacramento Bee offered some helpful advice on getting to the Center by car: reserve a parking spot in advance in a downtown garage at I highly recommend this because the available street parking is of short duration and now extends to 10 p.m. So if you arrive at 5:30 p.m. for a concert and park in a one hour spot, you will have a ticket by 6:31 p.m. It is much cheaper to pay for a garage spot than a $58 parking ticket!


The Golden One Center is designed so most seats are between the boxes and the floor.

For the McCartney concerts the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates are offering valet bike parking at Cesar Chavez park (and they’ll stow your helmets and backpacks, which are not allowed in the Center).

YoloBus is offering free shuttle rides to the arena from the West Sacramento transit center on West Capitol Avenue from City Hall. Sacramento Light Rail will drop you within a block of the Center and you can park and ride from many locations.

The most relaxed way to enjoy an event is stay at one of the hotels within walking distance. Depending on your mobility, the Holiday Inn Sacramento, and the Citizen’s Hotel. There are many more closer to the Capitol about 7-10 blocks away. Finding places to eat near the Golden One Center is also easy.

I am not a basketball fan and I rarely go to concerts in large venues, nonetheless, I hope the downtown arena delivers on its promise to revitalize K Street.

Sac Porchfest: Midtown Musical Celebration

Walking to coffee after dinner this evening I was charmed by a concern on I Street. On the way home I discovered it is part of Sac Porchfest, one of the annual events that people organize in Midtown Sacramento.  I am sorry I missed the earlier concerts on 21st Street.

Midtown is interesting in other ways… neighbors have decorated their homes for Halloween.



Up With People Tickets Available

My friend Jenni was in Up With People (UWP) and she is sharing on Facebook about the upcoming Sacramento concert date on September 30 at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. It is the only concert in California for the foreseeable future. You can buy your tickets on-line.  Or save the service fees and get them from the Community Center Theater box office for $25 per person general admission.

The Journey, UWP’s newest touring production, is designed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of UWP, while acknowledging that their mission is an ongoing journey, and is as relevant in 2016 as it was in 1965.

I look forward to the show as it is sure to be energetic and upbeat. Who doesn’t need that right now?

Mural Walk in Sacramento


Michelle Blade, 1300 21st Street

The Sacramento Mural Festival provided much interest and entertainment for the week in August when artists worked on the 11 murals throughout downtown and midtown. The best thing about the Sacramento Mural Festival is that it beautifies Sacramento for many years and you can still use their map as an art scavenger hunt.


David Fiveash, 1025 R Street

I spent 3.5 happy hours on Friday afternoon pedaling to all of the locations on my bike including a lunch stop at Crest Cafe. I am writing a two-part longer blog on and breaking it into zones if you do not have a half day or longer to pedal or walk to see all of the murals.


Add Fuel, 1108 R Street

Some of the artists drew the short straw with the walls available. Jake Castro not only is on the back of the Crest Theater but his alley workspace is jammed with dumpsters. It must have been aromatic in August! Presented by the Friends of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, I hope it becomes an annual tradition. Art on exterior walls fits with the other public art in downtown and midtown Sacramento. (Reminder: the Bicycle Rack Scavenger Hunt game card is still available as a free download on this website.)


Drew Merritt, 2020 J Street (behind building in alley)

The winners are the people of Sacramento and visitors who will find some of the murals sneak up on them to their surprise and delight.