Sacramento officials finally test lead contamination around city-owned gun range

SN&R broke story about contaminated Mangan gun range five months earlier

A closed city of Sacramento gun range is nasty with poisonous lead, but the surrounding play areas and community pool of nearby Mangan Park received a cleaner bill of health, according to the results of a lead contamination study released Friday evening.

The “limited lead risk assessment” from Entek Consulting Group Inc. was conducted April 13—12 days after Councilman Jay Schenirer requested the study after reading Sacramento Bee coverage about potentially unsafe levels of lead at the James G. Mangan Rifle and Pistol Range, located in his district.

Schenirer must not read SN&R, as this paper broke the exact same story (“Get out the lead” by Raheem F. Hosseini; SN&R News; August 20, 2015) several months ago. (His office didn’t return a request for comment.)

Despite lead dust flare-ups dating back to 2006, the city-owned range to the south was closed just this past Christmas Eve, following a complaint to the city auditor’s whistleblower hotline late last year.

The public health reasons for closing the range remained secret, even to those who operated it, until SN&R published its story that August.

Yet, it would be another five months until elected leaders reacted, even though they knew full well of the hazardous contamination issues at the gun range.

Shortly before SN&R’s story, City Auditor Jorge Oseguera briefed Mayor Kevin Johnson, Vice Mayor Allen Warren and Councilman Rick Jennings of his findings during a public committee meeting. The elected representatives asked no questions and requested no further investigation about the lead dangers to the surrounding community.

Since the Bee’s coverage, the mayor’s office has contacted Oseguera, who said in an email that he found it “curious … that the other media outlets, despite having in essence the same info as you received back in August 2015, waited to report out on this until now.”

Hey, sometimes it pays to be the big, bad daily.