Second guessing

Bumpy road ahead.

Bumpy road ahead.

Local business owners, city officials and residents peeled out of bed early this past Saturday for a 9 a.m. meeting on Midtown night life and the future of Second Saturday. Assembly hopeful Roger Dickinson, Police Capt. Dana Matthes, Councilman Steve Cohn—nearly every top city executive but the mayor himself turned out.

Residents wrote ideas on comment cards, and feedback ran the gamut, from complaining about late-night noise to even ratting out businesses that violate alcohol laws. Midtowners also asked the city to move Second Saturday from the evening to earlier in the day, from noon to 5 p.m.

But changing the event might prove difficult. Restaurant, bar and retail businesses draw good crowds on Friday and Saturday nights. And officials like Councilman Steve Cohn insist there is no connection between Second Saturday and the shooting that took Victor Hugo Perez Zavala’s life last month.

Residents, though, view alcohol, crime and vandalism as problems with one face. “Until the city acts on the recommendations to tighten and create the city laws and enforce them on these bars,” argued resident Vito Sgromo, “it would be another token gesture.” The next Second Saturday is October 9. (Nick Miller)

Water-board zing

Sacramento’s sanitation district may have to cut back on the ammonia it releases into the water. The district’s permit is up for renewal, and the state’s water board is considering asking for changes.

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District currently does not remove ammonia from wastewater discharges into the Sacramento River. Instead, the district is permitted to release high concentrations of ammonia—and count on the large size of the river to dilute it.

But the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued a draft permit that could require the SRCSD to reduce the amount of discharged ammonia. The SRCSD says the changes and upgrades to its treatment plant in Freeport would cost nearly $2 billion. It also has disagreed with studies linking the ammonia to environmental problems in the Delta.

Scientists argue that ammonia can cause algae to grow and lead to toxic water, particularly for fish. The Central Valley water board is expected to discuss the permit renewal in December. In the meantime, the public can file comments until October 8. (Hugh Biggar)

Bumpy road

Sacramento’s rough roads are costing local drivers $611 a year on average, according to a new report that lists the 20 worst roads in U.S. cities with populations of 500,000 or more.

Sacramento placed 14th on the list of roads in poor condition. Using Federal Highway Administration statistics from 2008, the report said 42 percent of area roads are in disrepair. Just 9 percent of Sacramento roads were listed as in good shape.

And area drivers won’t be driving out of the ditch any time soon. A federal program for long-term surface transportation is set to expire this December. The federal government also faces a $189 billion urban-road-maintenance shortfall through 2025. Read the report at (H.B.)