A caregiver’s love
Text and Photos by Lilly Fuentes-Joy
Claire and Luther Finley got the best Christmas gift ever when Bank of America renegotiated a deal that let the couple stay in their foreclosed house until Claire dies.
Claire has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is a form of Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Claire requires 24-hour care, has lost the use of her hands and feet, and her speech is now fading.
Through the Greater Sacramento’s Chapter of the ALS Association’s equipment loan closet, the couple was able to get a motorized wheelchair. Like most caregivers for the terminally ill, Luther manages all the stress and conflicts that coming along with his job, but he wants Claire to die with dignity. Every day, Luther smiles and talks to Claire lovingly, prepares meals, cleans her and runs errands. His only time away is when he walks their six dogs to a eucalyptus grove while another caregiver usually watches Claire.
View 7 photos »
Holiday Door Decorating Contest
Text by Lilly Fuentes-Joy
Capitol Weekly joined in the festivities last week with the Holiday Door Decorating Contest at the Capitol. I haven’t seen that much wrapping paper, Christmas lights, Scotch tape, glue and glitter in all my life. Legislators and staff got crafty, creative and competitive – just like on the House floor!
First place went to Room 4061, Sen. Negrete McLeod’s office.
Second place went to Room B-31A the Office of Travel, and 3rd place went to Room 4098, Assemblymember Cameron Smyth’s office. View 8 photos »
Tis the Season!
TEXT BY LILlY FUENTES-JOY
In Sacramento this week, tradition ruled with the 80th annual Capitol
Christmas Tree Lighting and the California Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring California notables. Crowds gathered in the cold to see 6-year-old Mikayla Jones of Visalia assist Gov. Brown, his wife Anne Gust Brown and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson
light the Capitol Christmas Tree. There were musical performances by the California Army National Guard, the governor’s own Bel Tempo Ringers, the Oakland School
for the Arts, and many more.
A star-studded red carpet was rolled out for the California Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. The honorees hailed from various fields including music, writing, science, sports and acting. Photographer Tia Gemmel captured some of the finest moments from the event View 9 photos »
Putting on the Ritz
Text and Photo by Lilly Fuentes-Joy
The glitz and glamour of Dancing with the Stars came to the Capitol in its own version, “Dancing with the Capitol Stars,” with journalists and politicians competing for the coveted Disco Ball trophy. The glittering event was held at the Crest Theatre – a perfect site, with its magnificently refurbished interior.
The Sacramento Press Club event, which was held to raise money for the journalism student scholarship fund, included ceremonies honoring L.A. Times columnist George Skelton who, among other thing, thanked his wife for reading all his articles.
With Fedora in hand, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg sang a spoof of Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life,” warbling that, “I deal with you guys Capitol Weekly, NPR and the Times....”
The competing dancers trained for two months with professional dancers on the tango, fox trot and waltz. The winner of the dance contest was Karen Skelton – George’s daughter and a nationally known communications strategist – who performed a flawless waltz. View 9 photos »
Text and Photos by Lilly Fuentes-Joy
I love classic American cars!
This past year I have been shooting
at classic car shows throughout Northern California and I’ve seen some vintage beauties. If you want to see these treasures in the flesh, check out the California Automobile Museum, whose collection includes American automobiles from the late 1890s through the 1980s. There are 250 classic cars, race cars, muscle cars, hot rods, turn-of-the-century bicycles, Studebaker wheel barrels and the car that belonged to Henry Ford’s wife.
One standout is the shapely and golden Marquis. Another, and one of the most innovative, is the 1971 Star Streak Motorhome built out of a 1971 Oldsmobile Toronado. It’s huge and the aluminum frame was built with anodized aluminum panels for the outer skin, which requires no paint.
The current exhibit, Wundercars, features German automobiles. These classic Euro beauties featured at the California Automobile
Museum are a timeless showcase of engineering, manufacturing,
and design innovations.
Ja, bitte! View 6 photos »
Text & PHOTOS by Malcolm Maclachlan
Like a lot of people, I’ve wondered what it would be like to own an electric car. And last week I got the chance, though not with a vehicle you’ll ever be able to buy.
BMW hooked me up with an all-electric Mini Cooper - or Mini E - for the week. But, according to the company, this was just a convenient car to turn electric to test out on some consumers and reporters. Two all-electric BMW models will be coming out over the next couple years.
First, the positive. This is an incredibly fun car to drive. It’s super zippy and responsive. The 0 to 60 time probably isn’t all that great - at least eight seconds. But the 30 to 60 is off-the-charts, and it handles incredibly well, making getting through urban streets and highway onramps a breeze.
I also hardly even used the brakes. There is a regenerative braking feature, like a Toyota Prius or other hybrid, but it kicks in the moment you take your foot off the gas. Even at high speeds you’ll quickly roll to a stop if you’re not pushing the pedal. Given how many accidents happen due to people falling asleep at the wheel, this seems like a feature that more cars should have. And, of course, it’s really cute - way cuter than my beat-up old 2001 Prius.
Now the more mixed - my little Prius is like a C-130 cargo plane compared to the Mini-E when it comes to cargo and passenger room. I actually found myself driving more, unable to combine errands because the little two-seat, no-real-trunk car can carry one passenger and little else. I also didn’t really trust the electrical system in my 1915 Craftsman house. Sure, it’s been upgraded, but I got the feeling if I plugged it in every circuit would flip. This is more a reflection on my house than the car, but it still reflects a wider issue of all the upgrades to both the grid and individual homes that will need to be done to support a large fleet. The new BMW electrics will be larger, with more cargo room and up to four adult passengers.
It’s also “mini” like Maurice Jones-Drew, not Lea Michele. As in, it’s pretty heavy for a car of its size. This helps it hug the road, but it’s not as efficient as it could be. The gas Minis are also not the gas sippers they could be, having chosen more power over greater efficiency (did I mention how fun it is to drive?). The battery comes with a 100-mile charge, but a full eight-hour work day was not quite enough to charge it up at the charging station provided in the garage at Park Tower.
My issues with the car, though, are really about personal design choices - I’m pretty much a “point A to point B” person who never really had a fetish for cars, though I can see how this one is really cool. For those who can afford this as a second car, this could be a great option. And given how inherently inefficient and prone to breakdown even hyper-modern internal combustion engines are, the Mini-E will be cheaper to operate than just about any car that uses gas. For myself, though, I think I’m going to wait for something combining lighter materials and a bit more room before I go the all-electric route. Those things could help eliminate the “range anxiety” that many people get driving electric cars - that, or allow for a smaller battery pack.
View 5 photos »
Text & PHOTOS by Malcolm Maclachlan
You can’t quite call it Chinese-American on Chinese-American violence, but the San Francisco mayor’s race has gotten rough - mainly between interim mayor Ed Lee and Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco. Yee was expected to be one of the leading candidates, if not a mild favorite, heading into the race.
But Lee has emerged as the front-runner to win a full term. The former
city administrator was elected by the city’s Board of Supervisors to finish out the final year of Gavin Newsom’s second term after he was elected Lt. Gov. Lee originally pledged not to run, but buoyed by support, much of it by becoming the first Asian American mayor of the city - with its huge Asian population and famed Chinatown - he changed his mind.
With apologies to the many other candidates - especially city attorney
Dennis Herrera, a longtime major player in SF politics in his own right - this race has largely been shaped by an increasing bitter rivalry between Lee and Yee. Here’s a little of that in pictures. View 6 photos »
Text and photos by Malcolm Maclachlan
One refrain repeatedly used in an attempt to discredit the Occupy
movement is that they “don’t know what they want” and “lack a
coherent message.” How they are any more or less coherent than any
other similarly large group of people yelling and holding signs (Tea Party, immigration, anti-war, etc), I’ve never really been able to wrap my head around.
But there is a way people debate in public all the time. Here’s some from the liberal end of the spectrum, as seen around downtown lately.
In the interest of equal time, Republicans and conservatives, please send in images of your favorite bumper stickers supporting your side. As soon as we get enough, we’ll run a page of those too (and I’ll shoot ‘em if I happen to
see them myself). Please email: Malcolm@capitolweekly.net.
And yes, the shark one I just kind of threw in there. View 6 photos »
Photos by Tia Gemmell
Text by Malcolm Maclachlan
The Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce held their 17th annual Perspectives conference on Sept. 23. Here's some shots of the latest crop of movers and shakers. View 6 photos »
Photos by Stephen Crowley, Stephen Crowley Photography
Text by Malcolm Maclachlan
Occupy Sacramento has occupied Cesar Chavez Park in downtown Sacramento for a week now.
The protest - which, as of last weekend, still seemed to include well over 100 people - is one of
scores popping up around the nation in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protest in New
It’s hard not to draw parallels between this movement on the left and the Tea Party protests that have
been going on for almost three years now. The Occupy crowds overall appear to be younger, poorer and
more racially diverse - but some of the outfits would work in either venue.
The movement has been accused on lacking a focus or any specific agenda or demands. Though, I’d
argue this is where the parallels with the Tea Party are the strongest. Both movements are comprised of
numerous organizations and thousands of people, though several Tea Party groups are obviously far more
organized at this point. And both movements have one of the prime motivations in common: anger at
President Obama, though for opposite reasons.
The Tea Party also includes numerous different people with many different demands - and sometimes
the demands of some members are in contradiction with demands of others in the movement. The
Tea Party people have pretty clearly stated they want less government spending, lower taxes, less regulation.
Many - but hardly all - are motivated by social issues like gay rights and abortion.
The Occupy movement, meanwhile, has been pretty clear about what they want: the exact opposite.
That is, higher taxes on corporations and the rich, greater financial regulation, and more government
spending on a social safety net. Many, but hardly all, are motivated by social issues.
In other words, one maps pretty closely with the conservative end of the Republican Party, while the
other includes large elements of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. So, besides Obama, I think they
have something else in common: extreme frustration with the two-party system.
And both sides bristle at the comparison. The Tea Party Express folks like to point out that the
Occupy people get arrested more, and the Occupy people say they get hassled by the police for no reason.
Any way, a big thank you to contributor Stephen Crowley for these shots (Stephen Crowley
Photography, email@example.com). View 4 photos »