Sacramento’s Alleys Offer Big Opportunities for Business Development

Like most cities, Sacramento is always looking for ways to bring in more revenue and entice visitors to stop in. That’s why some city planners are now pushing to build up Sacramento’s alleyways.

Sacramento has approximately 350 alleyways spanning 37 miles throughout the city. Many of these alleys are already decorated with murals and other such alluring scenery. The logic behind the move to develop these alleyways is that they’re already a draw due to their decorative nature. Adding businesses like small shops, restaurants, and cafes would do even more to boost commerce in the city.

In addition to building up the city’s alleyways, those behind the project are pushing to improve them by repaving streets and making landscaping enhancements. Currently, there is no public financing being proposed to fund this initiative. However, the city does have some wiggle room in its budget thanks to transportation funding that could potentially be allocated to the project. In fact, the alleyway development plans are actually being built into a long-term transportation project called Grid 2.0, which the Sacramento City Council expects to review come April. Additionally, local property owners might be willing to help fund improvements to the city’s alleyways if it means seeing an uptick in business or helping their investments gain in value.

Of course, this proposal comes with certain obstacles to overcome, including potential legal and property rights issues. Developing these alleys means increasing noise levels and foot traffic, which may be good for business owners but not so much for residents. In fact, Old Soul alley, one of the city’s most well-known alleyways, is known to be the subject of numerous complaints from locals who aren’t fans of the noise and crowds.

Still, the idea of turning Sacramento into a hip, romantic city full of winding alleyways with hidden gems carries a lot of appeal. The city began the practice of naming its various alleyways back in 2011. Naming the alleys was a process. Those tasked with assigning names had to take steps to follow established regulations for naming streets. In addition, approval for the alleys’ names was required from various agencies, including the Sacramento Police Department, the Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Postal Service. These agencies had to work together to integrate the new alleyway names while ensuring that the city didn’t run into any problems with duplication.

In the end, the city came up with a fairly easy-to-follow system: Each of the named alleys begins with the letter of the street it is directly south of. Furthermore, naming the alleys has made them more recognizable and easy to find. Some of the city’s most well-known alleys include Chinatown Alley, which runs through some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and Blues Alley, which runs through the northern part of the city.

If these alleys are indeed developed in the relatively near future, it will be interesting to see which emerge as the most popular and high-profile. Either way, building them up could do some very good things for Sacramento and those who live there.

Sacramento Hotels Are Doing Well


Sacramento is often hailed as one of California’s most historic and intriguing cities. Sacramento offers a wide range of activities and attractions for tourists, from the Capitol building to Sutter’s Fort. In fact, the city has an extensive parks system offering tourists a number of choices in recreation, as well as numerous landmarks that were once a major draw for visitors.

In spite of all this, Sacramento has struggled with tourism in recent years. Despite being the state’s capital, when it comes to visitor interest, Sacramento often takes a backseat to popular cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Furthermore, many visitors to California make the trip to visit the state’s well-known wine country rather than take in the history offered by the state’s capital. Additionally, the drought that continues to plague California on a whole has made some tourists wary of visiting the state.

Fortunately, there’s some encouraging news emerging on the Sacramento tourism front: It seems that the city’s hotels are starting to see an uptick in revenue. In fact, this trend is one that seems to have graced the majority of Northern California. As of August of 2015, Sacramento hotels are seeing an improvement in performance.

A big part of the reason has to do with cost. Hot cities like San Francisco are pricier not only as far as lodging goes, but on a whole. Sacramento, by contrast, is a more budget-friendly city to visit, and the fact that it offers many transportation options, from Light Rail to buses to Zipcar, makes getting around convenient and hassle-free.

According to recent data, Sacramento’s larger hotels saw occupancy rates rise to 76.3% in August of 2015, which indicates an increase from 75.5% as of August of last year. If you take a look at how much Sacramento hotels tend to charge, these numbers make even more sense. The average rate for a night’s stay at a Sacramento hotel in August of 2015 was just $112.45.

August’s average nightly rates are a bit higher than those clocked in for the previous eight months. In the months leading up to August of 2015, the average nightly rate was $111.72—not remarkably lower, but just a bit more cost-effective for hotel guests. The reason for the climb in August has to do with the fact that August is typically the height of tourism season in the area. In fact, it wasn’t just Sacramento whose hotels saw an increase in occupancy over the summer. The trend extended to other major cities like Monterey, San Francisco, Napa, and San Jose. Of those, San Francisco saw the highest occupancy rates at 92.8%, compared to 75.6% for Sacramento.

Clearly, this trend is good not just for Sacramento, but for California on a whole. In fact, improvements in occupancy rates over the past five years are prompting developers to build more hotels in the area. At least 16 hotels are currently being proposed or under construction, which means that come this time next year, visitors may have even more options from which to choose.

Recent American Hero and Sacramento Native Spencer Stone Stabbed

Lightning isn’t supposed to strike in the same place twice, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Sacramento native Spencer Stone. Stone, a U.S. Airman 1st Class, was involved in subduing a terrorist on a French train en route to Paris. He received recognition from both the French and U.S. President for his effort, along with his traveling companions. His thumb was nearly completely severed from his hand during the incident.

While you may believe one violent, random occurrence was enough, Stone was tragically stabbed outside of a Sacramento nightclub on October 8th. Sacramento police report the incident had nothing to do with terrorism or Stone’s previous involvement in the foiled terrorist attack. It seems he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or he jumped to the rescue of another unprotected innocent as he did a few months ago in France. While the facts remain vague, Stone recently was released from the hospital and continues his recovery at home from the latest attack.

What Happened Outside the Sacramento Nightclub?

Stone was stabbed four times a little after midnight on October 8th, where he and a group of friends had just left the Sacramento gay bar Badlands. He was stabbed in the back, the heart, the lung and the liver. His lung collapsed and he required open heart surgery to repair the internal damage.

Police believe the stabbing was the result of an argument that began inside the nightclub. As two groups left the nightclub, the verbal argument escalated until Stone was attacked. Some reports say he was coming to the defense of a 24-year-old woman in the company of the men who stabbed him. She was injured in the altercation as well. Originally, it was not known if Stone would survive the attack.

Suspects Still on the Loose

The two men involved in Stone’s stabbing appear to be of either Asian or Filipino descent and were seen leaving the scene in an older model Toyota Camry. The police have released two sketches of the assailants, but they remain at large. Stone is now on extended military leave from where he is stationed at Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento and recovers at home in California with the assistance of his mother and sister.

Stone’s Heroics in France

Back in August, Stone and two of his friends, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, were awarded France’s Legion d’Honneur – the country’s highest honor – after they tackled a gunman that opened fire on a passenger-filled train bound for Paris. Stone was the first to reach the gunman and bring him down, but the terrorist managed to nearly sever Stone’s thumb with a box cutter in the process. The Pentagon also recognized Stone for his heroics, awarding him the Airman’s Medal and the Purple Heart. The city of Sacramento also held a parade for all three brave men on September 11.

While all Americans are proud of Stone’s efforts, most agree that he has done his part in his short 23 years on earth and hope he heals and has a less eventful, safer future in store.


Governor Brown Signs to Die Legislation

In Sacramento last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed the state’s first right to die measure. During the signing ceremony, the 77 year old governor provided rare insight into his deliberations, and a reflection on terminal illness, his own religion, and self-determination. Brown, a lifelong Catholic and a former Jesuit seminarian, consulted doctors and a Catholic bishop before reaching his decision. He was also guided by his prior treatments for prostate cancer and melanoma. Before applying his signature, Brown commented “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill.

The decision capped a debate that dominated much of the legislature’s agenda in 2015. Lawmakers recounted personal experiences, along with those of friends and family members. Many turned to clergy and medical professions for advice to guide them during the decision making process.  “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” wrote Brown.

The push for right to die legislation in Sacramento was propelled by Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old Californian with terminal brain cancer. Maynard drew the attention of the local press when she decided to move to Oregon to end her life. Days before taking life ending medicine, Maynard told California legislators that terminally ill Californians should not have to “leave their home and community for peace of mind, to escape suffering and to plan for a gentle death.” Maynard’s family, including husband and mother, regularly testified at the Capitol and partook in committee hearings leading up to the bill’s passage. The Catholic Church and advocates for individuals with disabilities opposed the legislation. The groups targeted Catholic Hispanic lawmakers who could have provided the votes needed to stop the bill. Californians Against Assisted Suicide noted “As someone of wealth with access to the world’s best medical care, the governor’s background is very different than that of millions of Californians living in health care poverty without that same access. . . . “Adding this so-called ‘choice’ into our dysfunctional health care system will push people into cheaper lethal options.” In the end, however, supporters were able to corral enough legislators to push the legislation through the State Assembly.

Supporters of right to die legislation hope that Jerry Brown’s decision and passionate speech during the signing ceremony will spur a nationwide movement on the subject. Physicians in neighboring Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana can already prescribe life-ending medication to their patients under certain rare circumstances. The issue has certainly come a long way since 1999, when Doctor Jack Kevorkian was convicted of second degree murder stemming from the death of a patient with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The image of Kevorkian as the face of right to die legislation has given way to patients like Maynard that are simply looking for a more dignified way to end their lives on their own terms.

9 Worst Beaches in California

Because nothing says #FunInTheSun and #BeachVacation like wading around in a salty cesspool of human waste, bacteria, and shards of broken glass. Based on California’s annual water quality reports as well as visitor reports of nastiness, crowdedness, and general suckiness… these are the 9 all-time worst beaches in California:

1. Huntington Beach

This Orange County beach needs to be nixed off of your weekend getaway list. Unlucky beachgoers have reported diarrhea, stomach cramps, and other grody flu-like symptoms.

If you want to keep your lunch down, Huntington Beach is not an oceanside picnic spot you want to visit.

2. Cowell Beach

Santa Cruz’s Cowell Beach made the second worst beach in the state of California. The water quality has been so alarmingly bad that beach advisories have closed the beaches due to overall disgustingness several times over the many years of its illustriously gross history.

Most beachgoers just have to worry about things like sunburns or tan lines. Human specific bacteria found in the water and sand is just one of the many dangers at Cowell Beach.

“Human fecal sources were linked to corroded sewer pipes and faulty storm drain infrastructure.” Ew.

Resolving the problem will cost money. But it seems that without the investment, the problem is only going to get worse. Even if we have to all go and take out title loans to get the money, it might be worth it.

3. Doheny State Beach

If 90% of Dana Point’s Doheny State Beach has been exposed to sewage, mercury, and a cornucopia of trash and garbage, how is it still one of the most popular state beaches in California?!

It’s been voted California’s dirtiest beach several times in recent years. People don’t let even their dogs swim there. Really- nothing should be swimming there. How could even a fish swim there through all the garbage flotsam at Doheny State Beach.

4. Cabrillo Beach

“After more than $20 million invested in improving water quality at Cabrillo’s enclosed beach, it is still violating fecal bacteria TMDL limits.”

Even after all that time and money was sunk into San Pedro’s Cabrillo Beach, it still consistently earns an F grade on the water and beach cleanliness reports. There’s just too much human excrement. Pack up your beach towels, kids… unless you really want to sink your toes into the fecally-contaminated sand.

5. Mother’s Beach

This Marina del Rey beach staple is naturally shaped to be one of the worst beaches in California. It’s not entirely humankind’s fault for this one.

Mother’s Beach doesn’t get enough water circulation or wave action to properly clean itself naturally, turning it into a kind of inlet for junk to float up into and ruin your ocean kayak trip. The spilled oil and trash that collects there has even discolored the sand, making it dangerous for living things to come into direct contact with.

Mother’s Beach is just a whole oceanside stretch of NOPE.

6. Avalon Harbor

Avalon Harbor in Avalon, California is consistently voted as one of the worst beaches in the U.S. There are more than 5 monitoring locations scattered across Avalon Harbor, and none of them have ever scored higher than a D grade. Yikes.

Avalon Harbor has the distinction of being the most polluted beach in the state of California. Congratulations, Avalon. You’re the posterchild of beach nastiness. Steer clear, beachgoers.

7. Clam Beach County Park

The Clam Beach County Park in California’s Humboldt County is among the few beaches in California that allows you to camp along the shoreline. But why would you ever want to?

Named for the razor clams that dot the beach (ouch), people regularly bring their dogs camping with them. Not only do they and their canine friends limp home with sliced up toesies, they’ve successfully contributed to further polluting Clam Beach County Park with their bacteria.

“Potential bacteria sources include onsite sewage treatment systems, wildlife, domestic animals, and vegetation,” according to quality reports. With every living thing treating Clam Beach County Park as their personal toilet, it’s no wonder is one of the worst beaches in California.

8. Capitola Beach

Capitola Beach in Capitola, California has won itself an F grade for water quality throughout the recent years. If you’re planning on going there for a weekend of sunshine and frolicking in the waves, you might want to reconsider… unless you’re a fan of mercury, human waste, and general refuse and trash.

It’s a popular beach for surfers, tourists, and water sport enthusiasts. So basically everyone has covered in in filth and now it’s been rendered as one of the worst beaches. Way to go, humanity. This is why we can’t have nice things.

9. Santa Monica Pier

The famous Santa Monica Pier is a no-brainer for any California who knows anything about beaches. Only tourists go there, and that’s because they don’t know any better.

Although the Santa Monica Pier Beach has made efforts to clean up their act, it was consistently featured on lists of the most polluted beaches in California up until the mid-2000s. But don’t be fooled- it’s still vile.

Why? Just too many people and no way to keep up with the levels of garbage they generate from the tourist trap that is Santa Monica Pier. All the junk from on the pier itself makes its way into the water below, and then washes back up onto the thousands of people lounging on the beach. No, thank you.

These Beaches Are Gross, End of Story

Some readers may protest; “Oh, no no no– I’ve been to X Beach! It’s NICE there!” But do really know what you’re soaking in when you Instagram your beach day at these 9 worst beaches in California? Trust the science and stick to cleaner beaches.