Crossing the line
According to The Sacramento Bee, black Sacramentans got roughly half of all jaywalking tickets in the city last year, despite comprising only 14 percent of the population. The information was released after cellphone video surfaced of an April 10 incident in which an officer tackled and punched Nandi Cain Jr., when he challenged the officer’s reasoning for stopping him. The Sacramento Police Department condemned its officer’s actions and denies any racial bias. Still, the department’s officers dispensed only 30 tickets in Midtown and 233 in North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights, which have more diverse populations. Wonder why?
After years of floundering, Sacramento Regional Transit has turned out of the red. Following eight months of “relentlessly optimizing business practices” (i.e. shedding positions, cutting services and raising prices), the bond credit rating service Moody’s upgraded RT from “negative” to “stable,” making it easier for RT to finance future projects. The transit agency, which currently employs 1,000 people, has also built up its emergency cash reserves to $6 million. And it should benefit somewhat from the $52 billion road repair plan recently passed by the state Legislature. Now, if only light-rail trains would widen those booth seats that force strangers to touch knees.
Starving for justice
From April 13 to May 1, people incarcerated at Riverside’s Robert Presley Detention Center will stage a hunger strike to demand an end to policies that “isolate prisoners and their families,” over-use solitary confinement, and “deny adequate hygiene and health resources,” according to a statement passed along by Californians United for a Responsible Budget. Advocates say unjust conditions could be eased by California’s Money Bail Reform Act of 2017, which would prevent overcrowding if passed, as more than 60 percent of all jail inmates are either awaiting trial or sentencing—which, uh, seems a bit high.
Childhood vaccinations are making a comeback. According to the California Department of Public Health, 96 percent of the state’s kindergarteners were fully vaccinated during the 2016-17 school year, 3 percent higher than the previous year, when measles and whooping cough outbreaks tore through classrooms and population centers like Disneyland. Getting shots isn’t fun, but it’s much better than watching a rash-covered child whoop up a lung.
On April 14, Kendrick Lamar ended the debate over who is the best rapper alive with the release of his fourth studio album, Damn. The Compton native raps with a vocal athleticism that’s as comfortable over head-ringing trap as acoustic indie-rock. He seamlessly pontificates upon everything from groupies to fascism with eloquent bluntness that grabs a listener by the lapels. Scorekeeper gets it if you’re not into hip-hop, but you don’t have to follow Italian opera to dig Andrea Bocelli, y’know?
Trump’s first strike
Citing his concern for the slaughtered children of Syria, President Donald Trump circumvented congressional approval and ordered his first airstrike against the civil war-ravaged nation this month. The April 6 strike— ostensibly in response to the horrific deployment of sarin gas on Syrian citizens, believed to have been ordered by Syrian President Bashar Assad—delivered 59 missiles to an airfield that was up and running a day later. Trump’s transparent attempt to project strength and compassion might have meant more if he didn’t already block Syrian refugees fleeing Assad’s barbarism from entering America. It was a PR stunt befitting the former game show host.
Falling prom star
After being turned down by a friend of his sister, Rio Americano junior Albert Ochoa did what any self-respecting promgoer might: start a viral campaign to enlist a date. And it worked. On April 8, Ochoa attended his school’s spring formal with reality TV star Kylie Jenner. Selfie-seeking pandemonium ensued over the famously famous 19-year-old. It was a far better showing than her older sister, Kendall, made in a tone-deaf commercial that implied civil unrest can be quenched by Pepsi. If only inequality was as easy to redress as the rep of a spurned high schooler.
A woman plummeted 60 feet from the Foresthill Bridge in Auburn this month, after she stepped out on the bridge’s girders so she could take a selfie. The woman is expected to survive, but the Placer County Sheriff’s Office scolded the illegal “trespassing” that led to her near-death. Posting the photo that was snapped right before the April 4 fall, the office also tweeted: “You can lose your life and none of that is worth a selfie!” There are safer ways to spiff up that Tinder profile.
Passed hockey puck
At the age of 90, legendary comedian Don Rickles died. A beyond-singular performer, Rickles enjoyed an unlimited license to mock, ribbing everyone from Frank Sinatra to Ronald Reagan to everyday audience members who loved him for it. “Mr. Nice Guy,” as he was known was hilariously caustic, but never cruel. There won’t be another like him. RIP, Mr. Potato Head.
For the second year running, Sacramento State University’s jazz groups snagged top honors at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival. Vocal jazz ensembles Vox Now and Sac State Jazz Singers placed first and second, respectively. Vox Now will perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September alongside legends like Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Groovy!