Paragary’s Stockton subsidy

Sacramento’s not the only Central California city struggling with redevelopment in the urban core. The city of Stockton has made Randy Paragary, one of Sacramento’s highest-profile restaurateurs, a deal he can’t refuse, but the plan has residents fuming. Paragary expects to open a fancy restaurant on the bottom floor of the newly renovated six-story Hotel Stockton in 2007, but according to the Stockton Record, “the city would pay $2.5 million to build the restaurant and would not collect rent from Paragary until 2012.” The Hotel Stockton was recently renovated as a mixed-use project. Its top four floors now house 156 small units for low-income residents. The bottom floor is reserved for a Paragary’s restaurant and for retail. Local restaurant owners complain that they weren’t offered that kind of deal, and residents grumble that other city improvements, like Stockton’s roads, could use the city’s help more than a successful private business. There’s also a bit of rancor over the fact that Paragary’s restaurants are often pricey—probably too pricey for the low-income residents on the property. But Sacramentans might find the financial details a bit familiar; Paragary’s Restaurant Group received similar subsidies from the city of Sacramento to build the Esquire Grill.

—Chrisanne Beckner

Unabomber reprise

EBayers salivating at the prospect of bidding on the possessions and true-crime memorabilia of Ted Kaczynski—including the world-famous Unabomber Manifesto— likely will now have to wait until next year for the auction, if it happens at all. In August, U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to put most of Kaczynski’s possessions on the auction block (see “Sale of the century,” SN&R News, August 17), but Kaczynski’s attorney, John Balazs, has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the order. “We have an appeal, and we’ve asked to stay the sale of the property pending the appeal, and the government has agreed to the stay,” Balazs explained.

In previous court proceedings in the property dispute, the 9th Circuit expressed outrage that Sacramento assistant U.S. attorney Ana Maria Martel did not adequately represent the rights of Kaczynski’s victims, and the appellate court appointed a separate attorney to represent them. Balazs said that the attorney for the victims had yet to indicate whether the victims intended to object to the stay of the property sale. If they do, further court hearings will be required in Sacramento before the case moves up the ladder to the 9th Circuit, where briefs in the case are currently due in November.

—Stephen James

Class and place

California has the ninth-highest median income in America—$53,629—for 2005 based on a report released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau. But the state ranks near the bottom in terms of the number of people without health insurance: 18.8 percent are uninsured. Almost 16 percent of the population has no health insurance, but only four states ranked worse in terms of numbers of uninsured: Texas (24.6 percent), New Mexico (21.2 percent), Florida (19.6 percent) and Oklahoma (19.5 percent). The report included information on income and poverty. Some 4.7 million Californians, or 13.3 percent, live below poverty level. That’s close to the national average. While those percentages grow to 13.6 percent in Sacramento County and 15.7 percent in Yolo County, the poverty picture brightens considerably in nearby El Dorado County (7.7 percent) and Placer County (5.5 percent). Not surprisingly, median incomes vary accordingly. The median income—half are higher, and half are lower—in El Dorado is $63,147; in Placer County, it’s $62,080. Sacramento and Yolo counties posted similar median incomes, $51,793 and $50,157 respectively. Information for some local cities was part of the report. Median incomes are high, and poverty levels are relatively low in Roseville ($74,875 and 4.6 percent) and Folsom ($78,317 and 4.1 percent). Figures for Sacramento ($44,867 and 19.2 percent) and Elk Grove ($82,784 and 2.8 percent) reveal the extreme class divisions of the area.

—Nancy Brands Ward