People & Places

Writers’ picks

The Fountains at Roseville are the best that wet can get.

The Fountains at Roseville are the best that wet can get.

Photo By Kyle Monk

Best response to brass bull testicles

Darrell Steinberg
Just in case someone sends you a pair of brass bull testicles (along with the implied suggestion that you “grow a pair”), current Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg demonstrated exactly how an adult behaves in such a situation. Just send ’em back, and get on with your work. Some politicians choose to play the clown in difficult financial times, even when stupid political posturing and hypermasculine gestures exacerbate the crises of the most vulnerable citizens of the state. Why, it’s as if they think this is a Hollywood back lot instead of the state capital! Steinberg resisted the urge to one-up the sophomoric prankster in the governor’s chair. (We might have sent him a brass brain.) May we all grow up to be like that.

Best place to make a stand

Sacramento Delta
Make no mistake, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fully intends to have plans in place to build a peripheral canal in the Sacramento Delta before he leaves office next year. Bully for him! He’ll be moving back to Southern California, the same place a large chunk of the Sacramento River’s water will go if the canal is approved. If you value local farming, touring and recreation—not to mention the environmental well-being of the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas—now is the time to make a stand. Visit for more information.
From Sacramento, drive south on Freeport Boulevard/Highway 160. You can’t miss it. R.V.S.

Best local Twitter feed

Sacramento-based Internet celeb Rob Cockerham takes the awesome oddity that is and does it up Twitter style. Cockerham’s “about me” section says “I’m amazed by the simplest things,” and that philosophy rings true here. In a Twitterverse littered with such banalities as lunch selections and favorite songs lyrics, Cockerham’s seemingly random tweets are fresh and fun absurdities. Examples: “I wanted to try cash 4 clunkers, but my Taurus won’t fit in the postage-paid envelope”; “I guess NASA traded channels with Fox, because I just finished watching two hours of So You Think You Can Fix the Heat Shield?”; and “If a hot entomologist claims to be a nymphomaniac, get clarification.” R.L.

Best city employee to hassle

Maurice Chaney
When the city breaks its own water-conservation rules by soaking muni golf courses in 100-plus-degree weather, who has to deliver the city’s lame excuses to smartass SN&R bloggers? Why, it’s media specialist Maurice Chaney, of course! Whether its rounding up lists of city subsidies to downtown developers for SN&R reporters or cajoling reclusive bureaucrats into giving interviews, Chaney always comes through. He’s hardly the only public servant we make unreasonable demands of, but this year Chaney deserves special recognition. Way to take one for the team!

Best guy who knows beans

Lucky Rodrigues
Every morning for almost two years, I’ve enjoyed Old Soul Co. coffee brewed from beans roasted by Sacramento’s master roaster, Lucky Rodrigues. Rodrigues has appeared in these pages before, but words never can communicate the fervor he brings to the roasting process, which usually takes place weekday mornings at Old Soul’s Handle District location. Rodrigues is there, hiding by the roaster, hooking me up with the best Ethiopian Sidamo or Guatemalan Antigua this side of the Northern Hemisphere. How do I know? Well, I’ve been caffeinated enough to get pulled over three times this year on my way from Old Soul to SN&R, but smooth enough to get out of all three tickets. Talk about lucky.
1716 L Street in the rear alley, (916) 443-7685, N.M.

Best large-scale recycling

Globe Mills
What do you do with an abandoned, defunct 100-year-old granary most folks considered an eyesore at best? Well, if you’re local architect Michael Frank Malinowski, you recycle it into one of the coolest residential buildings in Sacramento. Here you’ll find real loft spaces, energy-efficient accouterments and easy access to public transportation. It just goes to show the past is never past.
1131 C Street, (916) 443-1462, R.V.S.

Don’t get caught in Old City Cemetery after dark—unless you’re on a guided nighttime tour.

Photo By Kyle Monk

Best ready-for-prime-time candidate

Anthony Woods, candidate for 10th Congressional District
This guy is so perfect that one writer said his résumé could have been written by Aaron Sorkin for The West Wing. We agree. We always hope our best and brightest will decide on public service, but can’t help being surprised when it happens. The African-American son of a single working mother, Anthony Woods graduated from West Point, served two tours in Iraq and earned a graduate degree in public administration. Now he’s running for Congress as a Democrat to replace Ellen Tauscher, who’s been appointed to a position in the Obama administration. He’s young, he’s smart, he’s brave, he’s good-looking … and did we mention he’s gay? He’s so honest that when they asked, he told. What more do you want from a leader? K.M.

Best abandoned structure

The tank house on Franklin Boulevard
There are so many cool busted-up, abandoned and historic buildings in Sacramento. This year’s winner is the tank house on Franklin Boulevard. As the name suggests, this wooden tower held part of the neighborhood’s water supply in the days before electricity came along and made it possible to pump water without relying entirely on gravity. Development proposals for the property have come and gone, but the tank remains. Still, it’s not listed by the city as a historic structure, so it probably won’t be here forever.
4100 block of Franklin Boulevard. C.G.

Best election race to watch

Sacramento City Council, District 1
There will be many great political contests in Sacramento next year. There’s the strong-mayor question, an Assembly race with three strong progressives vying to represent Sacramento and a county sheriff’s race with some strong (and frankly, just plain odd) personalities at work. But we’re going to pick Councilman Ray Tretheway’s re-election bid in District 1, covering downtown Sacramento and North and South Natomas, as the race to watch. It’s rare that anyone takes on an incumbent in this town, rarer still to take one out. But since former Mayor Heather Fargo got outspent, outgunned and outhustled last year, anything is possible. Early on, it looks like Natomas Unified School District school board member Lisa Kaplan might just take Tretheway’s lunch money. Natomas politics being what they are, this one should be entertaining right up until June 8.

Best museum to do time in

Folsom Prison Museum
This is the best museum around, and you don’t even have to shoot a man just to watch him die to get in on the fun! The Retired Correctional Peace Officers Museum at Folsom State Prison encompasses the tumultuous but fascinating history of the prison, including a collection of confiscated weapons and contraband from inmates, as well as a cell replica for visitors to see what it’s really like to stay behind bars. The gift shop has plenty of items for your favorite Johnny Cash fan or just your favorite ex-convict.
312 Third Road, Represa; (916) 985-2561, ext. 4589; J.D.

Best ground to stamp on away from your stamping grounds

The floor inside Bloom Coffee & Tea
In a solitary shopping center floating in a parched strip of Roseville wasteland, there exists the loveliest floor to skim one’s soles on. Truthfully, you couldn’t have done it before this January. That’s when the brothers Elia (Luke, 21, and Jake, 18) installed it themselves in their new cafe, Bloom Coffee & Tea. The beautifully imperfect floor is made from planks of wood from shipping pallets, which surround a rectangular center of concrete. The repurposed materials are as impressive as the young co-owners’ ambition and the quality of their artisanal brews. With weekly cuppings, live music, home-brewing classes and monthly art shows, this is the best place in Roseville to hang out.
1485 Eureka Road, Suite 100, Roseville; (916) 773-2332; S.S.

Best new church in Midtown

Midtown Friends Community
There’s a bunch of “church planting” going on in the area, but usually we hear about the latest megachurch (you know, the one with the awesome sound system and Starbucks coffee?). But the newest church in Midtown represents a fairly small denomination. Midtown Friends Community is affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church Southwest, and the bottom line on this Christian denomination is its adherence to the Letter of James: “Faith without works is dead.” It seeks to feed the hungry, free the enslaved, comfort the sick and make art. This ain’t your missionary aunt’s church. Its first big event was a “peace fair” in Fremont Park, and assisting Food Not Bombs is a regular part of its Sundays. Give it a try. It’s about as far from “mega” anything as you can get.
1812 J Street, Suite 16; (916) 761-4260; K.M.


Pop quiz

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in Sacramento?
“I broke into the rail station taking pictures of abandoned buildings. I’m not stopping there. I’ve only been here a month.”
—Lisa Stubenrauch, Lakewood, N.J., now Sacramento


Best place to sleep in public

Regional Transit
I’m a hardworking woman, but I’m also prone to staying up until ungodly hours of the morning watching YouTube videos of cats playing musical instruments. After becoming accustomed to sleeping on every available surface in college, it’s always startling to come back to Sacramento and find that flopping down on the nearest patch of storefront lawn for a quick power nap isn’t considered socially acceptable. My solution? Public transportation. Sure, you run the risk of strangers giving you a grope or two, but little soothes a poor tired soul like the rattle-and-jerk of a Regional Transit train lurching down the hill between 16th and 23rd streets. Just make sure to keep your valuables firmly wedged between you and the window. K.J.

Best mass hypnosis

Fountains at Roseville
Shoppers and diners at the recently built Fountains at Roseville gather around its namesake centerpiece like moths to a flame. Colored lights and varied water patterns bring patrons to the fountain in the middle of the plaza for hours at a time. There are also musical water shows performed every half-hour with carefully coordinated water choreography. The cool mist is plentiful, leading to frequent sightings of people in swimsuits looking to beat the heat without paying water-park prices. Forget buying tickets to a movie or bumming around a bowling alley: The fountain offers high-quality entertainment without draining your wallet.
1013 Galleria Boulevard, Roseville; L.H.

Photo By

Best walk among the dead

Old City Cemetery
Not afraid of things that go bump in the night? We can’t guarantee you’ll come face to wispy-face with a dearly departed, but the Old City Cemetery’s tours are a great way to acquaint yourself with the spirits who may lurk among us. Cemetery guides and volunteers host regular tours, but our favorites are the nighttime treks, such as the upcoming Lantern Tour. On Friday, October 23, and Saturday, October 24, walk with the undead—er, costumed docents—and hear tales of the cemetery’s noteworthy occupants. Bring your flashlight and a willingness to believe in things that go “boo.”
1000 Broadway, (916) 448-0811, R.L.