Garbage in …

Ay yi yi. Another year, another barrage of ugly revelations about the Twin Rivers Unified School District. It used to be SN&R would get nasty letters whenever we asked why the district seemed so messed up. Not so much anymore.

Last week’s Sacramento grand-jury report on TRUSD is a near bottomless list of abuses by people who really ought to be gone. The Twin Rivers Police Department in particular comes off as a very unfunny version of the Keystone Kops: ticketing and towing cars to gin up revenue, “jumping calls” to actual police agencies and just generally harassing citizens.

All together now: Shut it down. Just contract out to a real police department. It’s cheaper. It’s safer. It’s less embarrassing. And the grand jury won’t be up in your business every year.

Also fun, the grand jury’s report blasting the city of Sacramento for its garbage contract, locking us into the highest trash pick-up rates in the county. The jurors faulted city staff for not seeking competitive bids and failing to do proper financial analysis of the contract. Mostly all too late now. Though Bites was curious about the finding that “lobbying by immediate past city managers was problematic for some city staff,” and a recommendation that there be some sort of prohibition against that sort of lobbying in the future. To which Bites says, “Wait, what?”

Last week brought good news that sports programs in Sac city schools will be back next year, after being eliminated in some pretty brutal budget cuts.

None too soon, which is good, since Nibbles would almost certainly fall in with some sort of no-good hipster fixie gang if not for basketball. It cost about $1 million to bring sports back.

Coincidentally, that’s about the same amount of cutting the Sacramento City Unified School District did earlier this year beyond what was actually needed. The school board approved $28.9 million in cuts. The actual shortfall turned out to be $27.9 million.

SCUSD teachers, hit hard again this year with layoffs, agreed to give up somewhere around $5 million to $6 million in concessions (mostly furlough days and increases to health-insurance copays). Problem is, they don’t know really what the money is being used for.

“We asked for it to bring back jobs,” and stave off increases in class size, says Scott Smith, president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association.

“We are disappointed that the district has not yet used these concessions to bring back our members and lower class sizes.”

Meanwhile, the union has gone ahead and filed a lawsuit against the district’s “skipping” policy, which protected the jobs of teachers at Superintendent Jonathan Raymond’s special priority schools while allowing teachers with more seniority, but who worked at lower-priority schools, to get the ax.

Hey, remember Arnold Schwarzenegger? He was sort of a Republican and governor of California for a while?

Back in 2007, Schwarzenegger was still governor, and health-care reform was a really big thing in the statehouse. Everybody had their own ideas. You had Sheila Kuehl pushing her single-payer health-care bill. Sigh.

Schwarzenegger had his own plan, which hinged on something called the “individual mandate.” It was kind of like the Massachusetts plan, crafted by another Republican governor. Who was that guy again?

Democrats and labor groups didn’t care for the individual mandate. Said the government shouldn’t force you to buy insurance. Silly Democrats. Statehouse Republicans didn’t like the individual mandate, either, but they really didn’t like the employer mandates. They don’t much like anything, do they? Anyway, the whole socialist plot unraveled, of course, which is a good thing, because it’s impossible to spell Schwarzeneggercare.