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Elk Grove Delegation Part of Annual Cap-to-Cap Lobbying Trip

Written By EGN on Friday, April 17, 2015 | 14:55

April 17, 2015 |

Tomorrow marks the start of the 45th Annual Capitol-to-Capitol lobbying trip to Washington D.C. organized by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. As it has since its founding, a delegation of Elk Grove City Council and staff members will be part of a group of Sacramento region elected officials and business people descending on the nation's capitol in search of Federal dollars.

Elk Grove's delegation will include all council members with the exception of Mayor Gary Davis, and city staff members Laura Gill, Kara Reddig and Richard Shepard. In their meeting leading up to next week's visit, council members and staff both suggested they will focus on transportation funding, with an emphasis on the Kammerer Road portion of the Southeast Connector project.   

Elk Grove City's seven-person delegation is budgeted to cost taxpayers $23,970. Typically the delegation also participates in breakfast, luncheon and dinner meetings provided by sponsor of the event, which this year includes, among others, Teichert and Sutter Health.    

14:55 | 1 comments | Read More

A Crack in the Road; We're Not Playing Sim City

Written By EGN on Thursday, April 16, 2015 | 14:30

April 16, 2015 |

UPDATED 9:30 p.m.

While not as visible or glamorous as discussions with a room full of avid supporters for Elk Grove's forthcoming aquatics center, soccer stadium, or for that matter wayfinding signs, road maintenance has been a topic of some discussion. Most notable has been presentations by Elk Grove Public Works Director, Richard Shephard.

On at least two occasions, Shepard has advised the Elk Grove City Council that deferring maintenance will have deleterious effects on the city's streets and roads. In October, 2013 Shepard gave a lengthy presentation on the current condition of city roads and the effects delayed maintenance will have on them.

According to Shepard in this video presentation, (video starts at the point of these comments) the city currently has about an $8 million annual road maintenance funding shortage.   

Since that time little has been done. Shepard has offered similar advice on at least one other occasion. Rather than address the matter, the city council has decided to defer road maintenance spending in pursuit of other discretionary projects and hopes that a yet-to-be-determined county sales tax initiative requiring a two-thirds majority vote will provide the needed funding.

While many residents are undoubtedly familiar with the city's numerous road maintenance problems, particularly east of Highway 99 and along Waterman Road, there are telltale signs of the deterioration Shepard spoke of in less obvious places.
Left untreated, cracks like this one on Elk Grove's Laguna Boulevard
can quickly deteriorate roads and  cost taxpayers more money than 
had they been properly maintained. 
One such place is eastbound Laguna Boulevard between Interstate 5 and Babson Drive.

While the road appears to be in good condition, there are significant cracks appearing. As you can see from the photo, there is a 1/2 inch wide crack on the left side of the center lane that runs about one mile from at least Harbor Point Drive east to Babson Drive.

The crack is wide enough that weeds have taken root the entire length of the crack and as is clearly visible. While the weeds in the crack do not appear to have any negative effects as it now grows, intuitively, if left untreated, this will undoubtedly need maintenance, and the longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to repair.  

So when the city council takes part in next week's Cap to Cap lobbying effort in Washington D.C, between the parties, catered meals, and hobnobbing with Gucci-shoe wearing lobbyists, please keep in mind maintaining roads is equally as important as pursuing funding for some road that will encourage suburban sprawl. Remember, you're not playing Sim City.  


During Shepard's presentation in the video linked above, he mentioned alligator cracking in passing. 
From what can be ascertained from online sources, the mile long crack on Laguna Boulevard appears to be a longitudinal crack. 

According to the website Pavementmanagement.org, longitudinal cracking "Allows moisture infiltration, roughness, and it may indicate the possible onset of alligator cracking and structural failure."

If the crack is less than 1/2 (low severity) of an inch it recommends to "Crack seal to prevent (1) entry of moisture into the subgrade through the cracks and (2) further raveling of the crack edges. HMA can provide years of satisfactory service after developing small cracks if they are kept sealed."

If the crack is high severity - 1/2 inch or greater - it is recommended to "Remove and replace the cracked pavement layer with an overlay."

Cal Trans describes alligator cracking as being "characterized by interconnected or interlaced cracks in the wheel path, forming a series of small polygons, (generally less than 1 foot on each side). The cracking resembles the appearance of alligator skin, thus the term alligator cracking. Alligator cracking is a load-related distress and occurs when the wheel loads exceed the design of the roadbed. 

14:30 | 3 comments | Read More

Chew's Reviews - True Story

By Gary Chew | April 16, 2015 |

There are vague and haunting similarities between Truman Capote's non-fiction novel In Cold Blood that was subsequently adapted into the 1967 same-titled film and Rupert Goold's just released picture True Story, starring James Franco and Jonah Hill. Both movies are creepy and dark-as-night, fact-based stories about the murder of a family: in 1959, the Clutters of Kansas and in 2001, the Longos of Oregon.

True Story: Murder, Memoir; Mea Culpa is the creation of Michael Finkel, a former New York Times reporter. The screenplay is written by Goold and David Kajganich. The connection between the leading characters, Finkel and Christian Longo, is different than that of the Clutter assailants, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith. You might say that Finkel is more like “Truman Capote” of the earlier piece and Longo is both Hickock and Smith --- rolled into one very complicated fellow.

After publishing an article in The New York Times that Finkel believed would be helpful to abused workers on a West Africa plantation, the journalist was dis-employed by the Times for reportage that, ultimately, was not fit to print. Finkel's name quickly became bad news for journalism.

Following on that, Christian Longo went on the lam out of Oregon to Mexico using Finkel's name and bearing false witness that he was a reporter for the Times. Longo's wife and three young children were found dead. They were discovered in a bay along Oregon's Pacific coast. Longo had never met Finkel but he'd read him --- lots.

Finkel seeks out Longo in a county jail cell back in Oregon and agrees to tell Longo's side of the story. Watching the film, it seemed obvious to me that Longo did kill his family, as Franco plays him as highly suspect, and enough to make me wonder why Finkel would tackle such a story. (I knew nothing of the actual event going into the screening.) The script is written to confuse the audience if Longo did or didn't do it. Moreover, Hill plays Finkel as someone who's trusting of the accused even though Longo is anything but convincing on that score.

It's seems Finkel has undertaken this bigger story of the Longo tragedy to redeem himself in some way for sculpting the truth on the West African story published then retracted in the Times. The film leaves Finkel with egg on his face but with big bucks in his pocket for writing the memoir. I'd guess True Story (the film) will also cause him to make extra trips to the bank.

Closing credits indicate that Longo remains on death row via appeals, and that he and Finkel still talk on the phone every week or so. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith didn't have it so good. They were hanged by their necks until dead in Lansing, Kansas on April 14, 1965.

Copyright © 2015 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

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Bera Scores Record With First Quarter Fundraising

Written By EGN on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 | 18:00

April 15, 2015 |

With his narrow victory to a second term just months ago, Congressman Dr. Ami Bera (D -Elk Grove) has not let up on fundraising efforts in what has become one of the nations most competitive Congressional Districts.

Today Bera announced that for the first quarter of 2015, his campaign raised $308,000, a record for any of his first quarter efforts. Bera has over $350,000 on hand as he works toward the 2016 elections.

Dr. Ami Bera (l) with Elk Grove City Council Members
Darren Suen and Steve Detrick. 
According to his campaign, 87 percent of the individual donors are Californians, with 80 percent of those donating $100 or less.

“I'm honored by the continued support." Bera said. "It is a privilege to represent Sacramento County families and I'll continue to put them ahead of politics and to fight for bipartisan solutions to the challenges they face." 

Bera fought off former Congressman Doug Ose in what was the most expensive Congressional race in the 2014 cycle. In the aftermath of that election, Bera and Ose both criticized the amount of independent money that flowed into the race.

Although no candidates have declared, the 2016 race of the Seventh District seat is expected to be close, and expensive. The Republican National Congressional Committee is once targeting the district as a possible pick-up.   

“Ami Bera has filled his war chest with cash from Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies, but no amount of money can hide Bera’s votes to raise taxes on hardworking families while giving himself taxpayer funded healthcare for life,” NRCC Spokesman Zach Hunter said. 

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Elk Grove Police Make Arrests in Domestic Violence Incidents

April 15, 2015 |

Two Elk Grove residents were arrested yesterday after they were allegedly involved in separate domestic violence incidents.

In the first incident, 53-year old Salendra Singh was arrested after he allegedly grabbed his victim by the wrist and held the victim down on the bed. The victim suffered visible injuries.

Singh fled the scene and was apprehended by police officers. Singh is being held at the county jail on $50,000 bail.

The other incident saw the arrest of 37-year old Latoya Nicole Richards after she allegedly punched her victim in the face resulting in a visible injury. The suspect is being held on $60,000 bail at the county jail. 

The victim of Richard's alleged attack was issued an emergency protective order.    

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'Boots on the Boulevard' Concert to Feature Country Western Artist Craig Campbell

Written By EGN on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 | 05:45

April 17, 2015 |

On Friday, May 15, The City of Elk Grove, Old Town Elk Grove Foundation and the Laguna Sunrise Rotary are sponsoring a concert in Old Town Elk Grove.
Country Western Recording artist Craig Campbell will be 
the featured act at the City of Elk Grove's "Boots on 
the Boulevard" concert on  Friday, May 15.
Photo courtesy of Facebook

The event, dubbed "Boots on the Boulevard" will include as its headline act Country Western recording artist Craig Campbell. The warm-up act is Blackburn Bullet. 

Corporate sponsorship of the event is being provided by the Howard Hughes Corporation and the Elk Grove Auto Mall. Tickets are priced at $18 with proceeds slated to benefit Veteran projects.  

The event is geared for an over-21 audience and gates at the City of Elk Grove site in Old Town adjacent to the railroad tracks will open at 6 p.m. For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, follow this link

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One Year Since Rechristening of the Elk Grove Promenade-Cum-Outlet Collection, and Still Nothing

Written By EGN on Monday, April 13, 2015 | 17:15

April 13, 2015 |

In their April 11, 2014 edition, the Sacramento Business Journal wrote glowingly about the rechristening of the Elk Grove Promenade by its developer, Howard Hughes Corporation. The story noted that the shopping center, which at that time sat unfinished for six and half years, was being re-purposed to the Outlet Collection at Elk Grove.

“I’m really optimistic about this project,” Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis told the Business Journal. “It’s a destination and it’ll be an exciting project for our residents and the region.”

Since that flurry of rechristening activity, there has been no visible activity at the site that sits on the south side of Elk Grove. The City of Elk Grove did release HHC from the development agreement which spurred a still unresolved legal battle pitting another party to the development agreement, M&H Realty, against HHC and the City.

We've heard all sorts of suggestions from our elected officials that we are about to turn the corner on the unfinished facility. One of the newly elected city council members even boldly said one of his goals during his campaign was to get the shopping center finished.

We've heard all sorts of things about how wonderful the Outlet Collection will be once it opens. And yet to the casual observer, there is not even evidence of the promised deconstruction/demolition of the north portion of the structure.   

Aside from the lawsuit, there has been no notable activity reported or visible at the unfinished shopping. Lest we be called a nattering nabob of negativism, on the plus side, HHC is sponsoring a Country Western concert in Old Town Elk Grove next month. At least the million dollar Old Town parcel will be put to use.  

The question we have to ask is this rechristening anniversary going to be another annual  milestone just like the forthcoming seventh anniversary of the abrupt stop of construction in July 2008?   

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City of Sacramento Responds to Questions on Nestlé's Water Use

By Dan Bacher | April 13, 2015 |

Rhea Serran, Media and Communications for the City of Sacramento, on Friday, April 10, responded via email to my questions about Nestlé's water bottling plant in Sacramento.

On March 20, environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m., effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. The complete story is available here.  

The response has arrived a couple of weeks after I finished the article, so I couldn't include it in the original article. Here is the response:

Q: Do you know how much water Nestlé uses in Sacramento?
A: Below is Nestle’s statement on their water usage:

Q: How much do they pay for their water?
A: Nestle Waters, like any metered business or manufacturer in the City of Sacramento, pays the same rate for water like any customer (residential or commercial) at $0.9963 per 100 cubic feet. This rate resolution was passed by City Council. Nestle Waters, or any business or manufacturer in the City, does not have a special agreement or contract for water services. 

All city customers are expected to conserve water to help meet the governor’s mandate to conserve 25% over our 2013 water usage.   

Q: How do you respond to the requests of local activists that Nestle pay a commercial rate under a two tier level, or pay a tax on its profit?
A: Under the Governor’s  Executive Order, there is strong consideration of tiered rates, or some other form of conservation pricing.  Currently, there is no industrial rate for commercial or industrial water users.  All water customers pay the same rate.  

Q: What is the total amount of water used by city of Sacramento water users in acre feet - and what's the percentage Nestle's uses?
A: The overall water usage of all City customers is 31 billion gallons, of this, Nestle Waters uses approximately 51 million gallons per year which is .0016% of the City’s total water demand (Nestle provided their water usage data to be released). There are no water usage limitations for any water user. 
While the city is enforcing watering rules, customers including commercial and industrial customers are making personal decisions about how to change their usage inside their homes and businesses. The city is here to help them if we are asked through our water wise house and business call programs, but many are making these process improvements on their own. 

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Elk Grove Police Arrests Two Probationers on Burglary, Conspiracy Charges

April 13, 2015 |

Elk Grove Police arrested two probationers on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy early Friday morning in the Elk Grove Boulevard Walmart parking lot after they were seen driving erratically.

According to police reports, 38-year old Leon Dale Daniels of San Francisco driving his vehicle back and forth. Police contacted Daniels and his 23-year old passenger, Shyana Wembley of Carmichael, and found were both on probation.

A probation search of the vehicle led to the discovery of $1,500 of unreported stolen merchandise from the Walmart store. Both suspects were arrested and booked into the county jail where Daniels is held on a $50,000 bail.   

11:45 | 1 comments | Read More

California Water Restrictions MUST Include Big Ag, Big Oil and Nestlé!

Written By EGN on Saturday, April 11, 2015 | 11:30

By Dan Bacher | April 11, 2015
The mainstream media and state officials have for years tried to portray California as the "green" leader of the nation. In reality, California suffers from some of the greatest environmental degradation of any state in the nation, since corporate agribusiness, the oil industry and other big money interests control the majority of the state's politicians and exert inordinate influence over the state's environmental policies. 
California is currently in a state of emergency, with NASA scientists saying that California has only about one year of water left in reserves, according to Food and Water Watch. This is largely due to the gross mismanagement of California's reservoirs, rivers and groundwater supplies, during a record drought, to serve the 1 percent.
California Governor Jerry "Big Oil" Brown's recent water restrictions on cities and counties are woefully inadequate. Big agribusiness, oil interests and bottled water companies continue to deplete and pollute California's precious groundwater resources that are crucial for saving water.   
It's clear that the severity of this drought calls for much more than just individual action like cutting back on showers.   
Sooner or later we have to stop subsidizing corporate agribusiness, growing almonds and other export crops on toxic land, soil that should have never been irrigated, with cheap water and other subsidies. The idea of big corporate growers "suffering" during the drought is a classic example of the "Big Lie" that has been spread by agribusiness, the Brown administration and Big Ag Astroturf groups.   
At  a press conference in Sacramento on April 8 after meeting with water agency and agribusiness leaders, Governor Brown said that the "key is to get the water and not point fingers" during the drought.  
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, responded, "We have already sent a tweet asking him get the water for whom? Westlands? Paramount Farms?" 
Natural Resources Secretary John Laird claims that "everybody is a soldier in the fight" to address the drought. Yes, everybody except those planting almonds in the drought! 
According to the "On the Public Record blog, almond acreage in California has expanded by 70,000 acres, a total of 280,000 acre feet per year of new water demand: 
"I have marked the almond acreage at the beginning and end of the 2006-2009 drought (700,000 acres at the beginning, 810,000 acres at the end). At the beginning of our current drought, almond acreage was 870,000 acres. In 2013, after two years of drought, it was up to 940,000 acres. It looks like the 2014 California Almond Acreage Report comes out at the end of April (here’s 2013). I will be excited to see a new total acreage.  
Let’s make this all explicit. Since this drought began, almonds have expanded by 70,000 acres. That’s 280,000 acft/year of new water demand for a snack that will be exported. That water will come from groundwater or from other farmers. At the same time, the California EPA is literally telling urban users to take five minute cold showers. If there is a lot of new acreage in 2014 and 2015, it is going to be difficult for the Brown administration to stay friends with them."     
You can take action NOW to stop corporate agribusiness, big oil companies and Nestle and other bottled water companies from depleting California's precious water supplies during a record drought by visit this site
On March 20, environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m., effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. The complete story is availaba at Daily Kos.

11:30 | 3 comments | Read More

Elk Grove to Launch First-in-State Same-Day Permit Processing

Written By EGN on Friday, April 10, 2015 | 10:30

April 10, 2015 |

At the urging of the advocacy group Region Builders, the City of Elk Grove announced at Wednesday night's City Council meeting it will launch a one day permit processing. 

"We are excited to announce the city is expanding  its expedited, same-day permitting program," Elk Grove City Manager Gill said. 

According to Gill, the expedited permitting process is expanding to include permits for commercial tenant improvements for facilities up to 5,000 square feet. The previous limit for same-day permitting for tenant improvements was 2,500 square feet.

The adoption of the new standards has been part of a concerted push by Region Builders to implement what they call permit simplicity throughout the Sacramento region. According to Joshua Woods of Region Builders, similar permitting processing have taken up to eight weeks in some area jurisdictions.

The program is similar to one used in Phoenix. The difference being that in Phoenix one day permitting can be used for projects larger than tenant improvements. 

"We are excited to see Elk Grove become the first city in California to adopt Permit Simplicity. This program allows Elk Grove to deliver an attractive expedited permit process that will serve as a strong incentive to attract businesses," Woods said. "This program is touted by economic growth experts in Arizona as their "supreme differentiator" in attracting business. We anticipate Elk Grove to experience the same results."

In addition to the launch of same-day permitting, Gill said that an ad-hoc committee of Vice Mayor Pat Hume, Councilmember Steve Detrick and city staff met last week to discuss ways of speeding building permits for same-week approval. Although Gill did not offer specifics, she said it would require applicants to be pre-qualified by the city to participate. 

Gill said it is hoped the streamlining processes will be approved by the City Council for a July 1, 2015 launch. If the policies are formalized by that date, Gill said Sacramento Area Economic Council would be able to provide information about the streamlined permitting to companies who are considering relocating to the region.   

"Elk Grove is serious about attracting new employers and expanding existing businesses in order to reduce our jobs to housing imbalance," Detrick said. "Permit simplicity will crystallize our position in the regional market as destination city."

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Elk Grove Trail Committee Highlight 'Lost Opportunities' During Annual Update - Video

April 10, 2015 |

At Wednesday night's Elk Grove City Council meeting, the Elk Grove Trails Committee presented an annual update. Presenting on behalf of the committee was its Vice Chair, Mark Doty.

During the first eight minutes of the presentation Doty outlined current projects, activities planned for the community and future projects. In the final segment of his presentation, Doty discussed "lost opportunities."

Watch the video below to see the comments and reaction to the "lost opportunities."

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Chew's Reviews - Danny Collins

Written By EGN on Thursday, April 9, 2015 | 22:00

By Gary Chew | April 9, 2015 |

Opens Friday 

If you've had enough birthdays, as I have, you'll remember how the Beatles made you feel when they burst on the American scene. Some of that emotion will make a resurgence in you if you see Danny Collins. People who joined the rest of us on the planet well after Beatlemania stand a good chance of tapping into that vibe too, watching the indefatigable Al Pacino --- in the title role --- with Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer and Bobby Cannavale in a well-done, satisfying movie.

In his directorial debut, Dan Fogelman has spun Danny Collins from an actual event in the life of Steve Tilston, an English singer/songwriter. The story goes that John Lennon once sent a letter to Tilston (Collins in the film) that Tilston never read until 40 years later. Seems Lennon is taken with Tilston's songs and encourages Tilston to keep composing and give him and Yoko a call to chat. Lennon is even so open with Tilston as to jot down his private phone number.

Fogelman expands his script with a fictional, rich and famous, cranky veteran American rocker called Collins. Danny's manager and best friend, Frank (Plummer) gives Collins a letter he's been “sitting on” a while. It's Danny's surprise birthday present. Lennon's letter flips Danny. God, why didn't he get to read it right after Lennon mailed it?

The rest is darned entertaining. Lennon's missive compels Danny to turn over that proverbial new leaf: get his act together. After all, he's an old dude now; ease off on those recreational drugs and the booze. Maybe write another song. Get in touch with his son Tom (Cannavale) whom he's never seen and whose mother Danny never married. Tom's Mom has passed away.

Sounds a little hackneyed but way well worth the time watching Danny Collins.

Tom's married to Samantha (Garner). They have a precious 6-year-old daughter named Hope (Giselle Eisenberg). Young Giselle is guaranteed to knock your socks off with her performance. Ms. Eisenberg already has two other titles on her resume that make one sit up and take notice: A Most Violent Year and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Wealthy Danny shows up at Tom and Samantha's modest digs driving a red Mercedes convertible. Tom is not amused. Samantha's on edge. Hope's having a ball. “A grandpa, Mama! And I've seen him on TV.”

Another running piece of fine work Fogelman allows is for Danny to straighten up and fly a more direct vector in terms of associating with women. That's where Mary (Bening) comes in. To be near Tom, Danny has taken up the most expensive suite at a New Jersey Hilton that's managed by Mary. Since Mary is an attractive, middle-aged professional woman, Danny hits on her in all their scenes for having dinner with him. Bening, another really fine actor, is very close to stealing scenes from our old Pacino pal. Any movie actor would likely tell you that's not easy. But Danny and Mary “have good patter,” as Danny blurts when she demurs on his first dinner invitation.

It's about as solid a cast as one could expect. The extraordinary Plummer is perfect as the aging, wise, longtime manager. Cannavale, who bold me over with his small part but expansive character in Woody Allen's recent gem, Blue Jasmine, does some scene stealing of his own.

Then there are those familiar John Lennon songs swinging by that the Beatle sings on the soundtrack, using lyrics that seem to have been magically written after Fogelman finished the script. Imagine that!

Copyright © 2015 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

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Chew's Reviews - While We're Young

By Gary Chew | April 3, 23015

Opens Friday

No doubt Woody Allen's later films --- especially Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris --- are way too passé. At least, that's what younger moviegoers say. I for one, think that if Woody Allen had done the new film called While We're Young, it would also be considered not in vogue because the Woodster is going on 85.

Actually, Woody didn't do While We're Young, Noah Baumbach did, who is about four decades younger than Woody. So with Baumbach's latest effort just rolling out, you know that without even seeing it there's lots of social media action and usage thereof. That's what makes Baumbach's movie seem so fresh. But it is so influenced by Woody Allen's decades of film making it's not even funny.

Well actually, While We're Young is really funny, but it's also very much like a Woody Allen movie. For me that is good. Woody's stories put to film are never out of date. What's not classic about sexual tension between two lovers; or less often in a Woody Allen movie, the tension between a man and his wife. And how many times have you seen a movie by Mr. Allen that doesn't address the foibles of the upper-middle class with its sense of entitlement as it climbs the ladder thereof? Probably never. All of that is here in Baumbach's While We're Young.

Our hero in Young is even into film making just like Allen and Baumbach. Except that Baumbach's character is a documentarian, not one who grinds out ironic full length features about playing sexual tag in New York's canyons of steel. Ben Stiller is the hero: he's Josh. His wife; that's right ... his wife is Cornelia. Naomi Watts got that part. And she can do “funny.”

Living their lives in those canyons of steel, Josh and Cornelia happen onto Jamie and Darby. They're played, respectively, by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. The foursome is nigh onto awesome.

Not so awesome,” however, is more the emotion spun into the minds of the older couple. Josh and Cornelia are slipping toward that “OMG, were too far into our 40s for good measure” time of life. Jamie and Darby are totally cool; both twenty-somethings. The Driver/Seyfried combination caused me to opine that this hip, fictitious couple might resemble those real life people called Noah Baumbach and his lady, Sacramento native Greta Gerwig. Aha, Frances Ha.

Josh --- but slightly less on Cornelia's part --- would kill to be as cool, connected and in touch with that which is existentially locked into an entitled man's daily routine. If you're having trouble with the concept of entitlement, just think: Jesse Eisenberg and the character he plays way too often.

There are plenty of set ups for all this “wannabeing” by Josh and Cornelia to get quite humorous, as Baumbach would have --- and Woody as well. But Woody's trip would not be nearly so techie.

A favorite of mine from way back, Charlies Grodin, plays Cornelia's successful father, Leslie. Grodin is great. The other guy showing up in While We're Young who generated chuckles in my gullet is a man I've seen in concert at least three or four times with two other people. The trio was known as Peter, Paul and Mary. Yes, Peter (“Puff, The Magic Dragon”) Yarrow is a low key riot as a stodgy man called Ira Mandelstam. That character's name was the first laugh Yarrow gave me.

Ira Mandelstam also sounds like he could just as easily be the great uncle of Alvy Singer. Enjoy.

Copyright © 2015 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

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Intern or Chief of Staff? Mayor Davis' Introduction Practice Not Illegal, But Misleading

April 9, 2015 |

At his March 27, 2015 State of the City Address, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis made the usual acknowledgements in his opening remarks, with one noteworthy mention. That was for his intern, Teresa Rodriguez.
Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis.

While the mention of his intern was not unusual - after all each council member is allocated one part-time intern if they choose - how the Mayor referred to her was of interest. Rather than calling Rodriguez an intern or assistant,  Davis referred to her as his Chief of Staff.     

The term Chief of Staff connotes several different thing. While the title for people of a certain age conjures images of President Nixon's Chief of Staff H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, more typically it connotes a person who heads a large staff of employees, typically for a high level politician or private sector executive.

To clarify that matter, a public information request was made to the City of Elk Grove to see if the Mayor did have a Chief of Staff as he suggested, and if so a job description for the position. According to information released yesterday, Rodriguez' position is that of an intern.

The document, titled "Consultant Contract for Teresa Rodriguez Intern to Mayor Gary Davis," outlines Rodriguez' pay, terms of the agreement, and legal status for the position. Among other things the contract shows the rate of pay to be $12 an hour not to exceed $8,064 through December 31, 2015, and that Rodriguez' work as Davis' intern is that as a contractor, and not an employee.

According to the contract, the "consultant shall provide administrative serves to City Councilmember ("Mayor") Gary Davis ("Gary Davis")." Nowhere in the document is the intern or consultant position referred to or described as a Chief of Staff, nor does it indicate the position has staff members of the City or Mayor reporting to her.

When asked why he refers to his intern as a Chief of Staff, Davis said the amount of work Rodriguez does for him far exceeds the typical definition of an intern.

"Technically, she is an Intern," Davis acknowledged in an email response. "From my perspective, Chief of Staff is her merited title."  

Although bestowing the title of Chief of Staff on an intern is questionable, there appears to be no labor laws that would put the City of Elk Grove at risk.

That question was posted to Attorney Mark Van Brussel (SB#80777), a partner with Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger. A leading California employer labor law firm, Van Brussell's works in the firm's Sacramento office.

From a legal view, Davis' introduction of Rodriguez as a Chief of Staff generally does not put the City at any practical legal risk should she sue the City in the future. Van Brussel said the introduction did not imply any contract with the City, and if a law were filed based on that, it would likely fail.

While the introduction of Rodriguez does not expose the City to any employment consequences, Van Brussel's said from a practical standpoint, the practice can have negative effects. He noted it could cause resentment with city employees and other interns, and as a matter of public policy, it is a questionable practice on Davis' behalf.

"It is misleading, it hurts the integrity of the Mayor," he added.  


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Mandatory Vaccination Bill Passes California Senate Committee

Written By EGN on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | 18:55

April 8, 2015 |

A bill that would require mandatory vaccination of all children attending California schools got past its first legialtive hurdle this afternoon when it cleared a California Senate Committee.

Authored by Senators Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) Senate Bill 277 would strip the personal belief exemption that currently allows parents to opt their child out of vaccines in our schools. It  passed by the Senate Health Committee today on a vote of 6 to 2.

“As a pediatrician and a father myself, I respect the very personal decisions that parents have to make for their children every day,” Pan said. “But I’ve personally witnessed the suffering caused by vaccine-preventable diseases, and all children deserve to be safe at school. The personal belief exemption is now putting other school children and people in our community in danger.”

The personal belief exemption came into light earlier this year when a Corte Madera father sought changes to the personal belief exemption to protect his son who was fighting Leukemia and unable to be vaccinated. Because of this, his immunity was lowered and susceptible to a wide variety of communicable diseases.   

Although the bill passed its first hurdle, it wasn't accomplished without significant opposition. Among the most visible opponents of the bill are Robert Kennedy Jr. who in earlier comments compared compulsory vaccination to a holocaust.

Kennedy has been vocal in his opinion that vaccinations are directly linked to autism. Currently there are about 13,000 children in California schools who have opted out of vaccination on the personal belief exemption.

If SB 277 becomes law, California will join thirty-two other states that don’t allow parents to opt out of vaccination requirements using a personal belief exemption. 


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Help Your Community - Join the Elk Grove Food Bank Monthly Giving Club

April 8, 2015 |

Most people have probably heard the saying "giving knows no season." Like many charitable organizations, this applies to the Elk Grove Food Bank Services.

Like many groups, the EGFBS receives large monetary and food contributions during the Thanksgiving through Christmas Holiday season. While that help is always welcome, the needs of the clients served by the EGFBS is year-round.

To address this year round need, the Elk Grove Community Connection, with the full support of the EGFBS, has launched a community-wide effort dubbed the "Elk Grove Food Bank Services Monthly Giving Club."

The idea is simple - sign up to make a monthly donation that will be directly paid to the EGFBS. By doing this, the EGFBS can ensure it will have year round funding to meet the needs of people in our community. 

To donate, simply click this link and fill out the information. 

Any individual or business that would like a personalized invitation card to distribute to their personal network, (similar to the ad posted in the right column of this site) contact Elk Grove Community Connection's Connie Conley via email at connie4eg @ frontiernet.net

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