By John Flynn
Arts and recreation
A study released on June 12 by Valley Vision and Sacramento State found local residents overwhelmingly ranked parks and recreation trails as the No. 1 amenity that influences their quality of life. From the report: “A majority of people across most demographics would pay $21-$30 annually in increased taxes to support local cultural, art, or natural amenities.” On a similar note, on June 15 Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced the “Arts Capital” program that will invest $1 million split between the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and the Creative Economy Pilot Program for neighborhood-based arts, food, and technology projects. The city now will also allow busking. Who’s ready for some acoustic guitar covers?
A mother brown bear and her three cubs broke into a woman’s home in Kern County on May 15. The woman tried banging pots to shoo the bears off. The mother bear responded with a nonlethal swipe. Fortunately, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was able to trap the bear family safely. In such situations, the mother usually would have been euthanized and her cubs rehabilitated. But in an unprecedented move, the bears have gone to live in the Oakland Zoo’s new 56-acre California Trail exhibit—perhaps the best response to a difficult situation.
Don’t feed the ducks
On June 16, the city finished renovations on the McKinley Park pond. The press release asks that visitors refrain from feeding the ducks so they don’t become reliant, “domestic pets.” On that note, bread doesn’t provide proper nutrients for ducks, and when it rots in the water it feeds algae, which make the pond mucky. The pond is currently muddy, but that will clear as the soil sinks in—just like Scorekeeper’s realization that his treasured childhood memories involved wrecking his local natural ecosystem.
Killer cop acquitted
In St. Paul, Minn., a jury acquitted Jeronimo Yanez, the police officer who pulled over Philando Castile for a broken taillight, then shot him seven times in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter. Castile’s girlfriend documented the aftermath on Facebook Live, which was viewed by more than 2.5 million people within 24 hours. Castile’s mother, Valerie, said, “The system in this country continues to fail black people and will continue to fail us.”
Amazon—a company worth more than Walmart, Target and Costco combined—purchased Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion on June 16. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the second-richest man in the world, also owns the Washington Post, investments in Uber, Airbnb and Twitter, and a startup space travel company. Oh, and he got more than 10 million people to put speakers in their homes that are always listening. Probably nothing to worry about.