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OH, YEAH THAT: Well, what a week. What can I say? I literally walked a cumulative 15 miles this week covering the protests (including to/from the Nooner global headquarters). Last night I went to bed around 9:30 and woke up around 7. That's waking up 2-3 hours later than normal, without waking up in the night.
Legislative staff are off today while non-exempt state employees under the Local 1000 contract have a "floating holiday" since Cesar Chavez Day is tomorrow, a Saturday. If it was on a Sunday, employees would be off on Monday. Instead, it basically becomes an additional vacation day to take during the calendar year. How is that not confusing?
On my morning walk around Southside Park, there was a stream of state employees from the parking lot under the W-X, so many are working today.
THE PROTESTS: At 4:30 yesterday, I thought that the confrontational period of the Stephon Clark protests was over, but clearly there was still steam in the kettle. A much smaller group had gathered at the Sacramento District Attorney's office with the usual chants. While one speaker told the mixed race media representative to go home if they weren't chanting along, clearly they wanted us there.
At around 3:45, they moved over to the federal courthouse on I Street. Upon arrival, they were met with Department of Homeland Security court officers, who quickly disappeared after their presence was known. Prophylactically, the CHP had many cruisers sitting at the freeway on-ramps a block away, but protestors never approached.
Shortly thereafter, I Street--closed during the march to the courthouse--was re-opened by Sac PD, leading protestors back into the street to block traffic heading toward the freeway. Then, Stevante showed up. As I posted on Facebook:
Stevante Clark, brother of #StephonClark: "Get out of the street. Stay away from the arena . . . Let these commuters get home to their families, something my brother will never be able to do [tearfully]." As media, I can't show emotion, but I was holding back tears. I really thought that was the turning point--instead, people got stranded downtown as light rail to Watt/I-80 park-n-ride was blocked for more than 1.5 hours.
From jumping on Mayor Steinberg's desk two days ago, he told protestors today "I love Mayor Steinberg" and walked with him at the funeral.
Stephante is healing, and that's what Steinberg told the media in saying that he forgave him for his actions in the council chamber, but wouldn't tolerate by others in the future.
You would think that if anybody could persuade the protestors, it would be the passionate and blunt Stevante. Instead, a leader said "We're going to find an intersection where we can make our message known. Whose streets? Our streets!" (a regular chant)
So, we had a two-hour shutdown of I-J-I whack-a-mole game where protestors moved from one street to another after one was shut down by police a block away, cars were turned around and exasperated bus and light rail passengers got off their mode of transportation. I don't know what the commuters on the I-80/Watt light rail did, as many who live to the east in Roseville and the foothills go to the park-and-ride station to avoid downtown parking costs (state employees do have to pay for parking). That's a long Uber/Lyft ride and there were lots of Uber/Lyfts/taxis stuck in the protest gridlock.
I saw no violence. There were a couple of pushes on "either side." I guy jumped on a car's hood, but there was no damage and other protestors got him away from the situation. It's a 90-10 situation, with the vast majority following the "rules"--no property damage and no physical violence.
I'm writing chronologically this morning as information comes in, so there may be conflicting information. The lower, the more reliable. As Wolf would say "CNN Broken News: This just in..." There will be a March for Action tomorrow at noon starting at Cesar Chavez Plaza (park) at 9th and J. This was the organized one referenced earlier this week by former Kings players and hometown guy Matt Barnes. It wouldn't be a surprise if Kings and Warriors players show up (teams for whom Barnes played) hours before their showdown on the hardwood at 7pm at Golden 1--a beautiful arena now surrounded by ugly fencing and perimeter ticket checks.
The route is unclear, although downtown is generally quiet at that time on a Saturday. I guess my doctor asked me to walk a few more miles.
Anyway, for those of you who are Sacramento commuters, I hope you read yesterday's Nooner. I had no idea what would happen, but it turns out that I guessed exactly right.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Kristina Brown, Austin Heyworth, and Ashley Martinez!
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