Category Archives: Pat Lynch

East Sacramento Preservation—Year End Photo Gallery and Annual Report

East Sacramento Preservation wishes all our members and friends a Happy New Year. After more than two years working to help the neighborhood oppose McKinley Village, 2015 was a time to return to our roots. Below is a brief summary of what we’ve been up to this year and some plans for next year.

Our popular Speaker Series hosted three outstanding presenters with unique talents and deep historical understanding of Sacramento.

Paula Peper–Historian and author of several books about our beautiful park neighborhoods and trees

Bill Burg–State Historian, author and Sacramento trolley history expert

Wes Green–design genius and owner of Twigs Floral Design

When ESP’s Judy McClaver started to volunteer at McKinley Pond three years ago she never imagined that she would become an award winning neighborhood icon. Her efforts have forced the city to address the issues at the pond. ESP supports her and the cadre of pond volunteers’ incredible dedication and hard work. She serves on the city pond committee and worked daily to clean and preserve the pond. (City Parks denied her use of the boat, so her garbage patrol and island work are curtailed.) However, park maintenance has stepped up and is now keeping trash cans empty on regular basis and the City reportedly has hired a pond maintenance company starting Jan 2016. We’ve set aside a portion of funds to donate to the rehab effort, once the city is able to create a workable plan. (At the end of this article is Judy’s “pondlife” list. Amazing what we have in the city!)

This year’s National Night Out was a packed bonanza. SWAT, canine, car patrol, bike patrol, fire, politicals—they all came, as did the neighborhood. It was a party.

Essays, provocative and informative, tackled East Sac issues with humor and insight. Our most popular essays were Airbnb, Pond Update, Exact Spot, Insist on TreesNo Permit, Illegal Building Draws East Sac Neighbors’ Ire.

ESP has joined multiple neighborhood associations in the effort to preserve Sacramento’s tree canopy. We are cosigners on numerous comments and letters to the city and support the healthy preservation of our canopy. We also promoted the retention of snag habitats, whenever it is safe to do so.

When the city sends us information, we share it. From parking, palm pruning, to events and meetings, we send it your way. When neighbors ask for help with city issues, we step up.

ESP supported the Ethics and Transparency movement led by the League of Women Voters and Eye on Sacramento. We stand firm with Eye on Sacramento and know there is much more to be done. However, we offer kudos to both groups for their work.

ESP featured Nextdoor in an article on the web site. The fun of this was that we drove to San Francisco and visited the start up. What a great group of innovators.

For more than seven years East Sacramento Preservation has been the pour and clean up team at Pops in the Park at East Portal. In 2016 we’re helping out at East Portal and Bertha Henschel Parks. If you’d like to pour with the team, send us an email!

Supporting SCUSD and school events is a pleasure. We post and spread the word about fundraisers, events and surveys.

Locals send us information about community events, farmers’ market, volunteer days, health and safety, river danger issues and individual efforts. We post all that come our way.

Traffic is an on-going concern in East Sacramento and our flag program on 33th and H is in its third year. Although flag theft makes the effort a little tricky, we know this is a great safety benefit to the community. ESP also distributes the Drive Like Your Kids Live Here Signs.

33rd and H Streets

33rd and H Streets






East Sacramento Preservation, Inc. is proud to support the designation of the Maple Avenue/38th Street Historical District that has been presented to the City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director. We should hear soon how the city will act on the application. These two blocks of 38th Street between J Street and Folsom Boulevard are a showcase of early 20th Century residential structures and the history of their occupants is long and important to the development of Sacramento. Many of the original occupants were captains of industry that have left a legacy of contributions to the city.

We are hopeful that this first historical district in East Sacramento will lead to other deserving portions and individual structures in the neighborhood being similarly designated. This is essential so that these resources are not lost to the speculative fever that is currently resulting in the wanton destruction of the residential fabric and character that helps make this community special.

News for 2016

An ESP High School Scholarship is under discussion. Our student board member, Emiliano Gómez, will be leading the study.

In the coming year we will work to improve the web site set up and delivery system. We love all feedback, positive and negative, and have read all your comments.

Our popular speaker series will continue with new and exciting speakers.

Please consider year-end donations to ESP. We’re an East Sacramento charity that works in your neighborhood. We spend money in no other place. All donations or membership will go to our established programs and is 100% tax deductible. All ESP community workers, writers, project organizers, forum and speaker series participants are non-paid volunteers.

Judy’s Pondlife List


Black-crowned night herons

Wood ducks


Canada geese

Greater White fronted geese

Cackling geese





Barn owls


Bush tits

Robins and other common Sacramento birds

Miscellaneous migrating birds

All the domestic ducks and geese were relocated by Judy to help preserve the pond and protect wildlife’s health.


Turtles—99% are red-eared sliders











And, of course, the ubiquitous, squirrel (most are Fox Squirrels with a few Grays)

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Our once verdant lawns crisp under the sun. Brown is the new green, we say bravely, and we comply with the latest regulations. On our block we can water twice a day, twice a week, Wednesdays and Sundays, before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. We’re all in this together, I think, as I dig a little dam around my poor, thirsty blue hydrangea which sits on a slope, and like a certain unfortunate relative, never gets enough to drink. Some suggest I replace the hydrangea with a drought-tolerant plant. But I know drought-tolerant is a euphemism for cactus, and a cactus is a dry, spikey, over-cooked thing that puts you in mind of scorpions and desiccated cow skulls.

No, the hydrangea must live. So must the small green wall of shaded plants under the eaves. I aim the water accordingly. The new rules say there must be no runoff onto the sidewalks, even if the runoff seeps into the parched roots of the berm trees. Also, no “ponding,” in case you think those little puddles that bubble up in dips are ok. The paper says city enforcers may begin night patrols. This is crazy, I think; responsible citizens don’t need to be policed for water hoarding. We’re not living in a dusty, 1956 MGM western where the townsfolk turn on one another for sneaking extra buckets from the well.

Then I take an evening walk and note that one lawn on a rather grand house is still a deep, rich green. What gives? This is a big lawn too, not a pocket-handkerchief like mine. Now I become one of the townsfolk, squinting suspiciously up and down the streets. The lawn is real grass, not synthetic turf. How can it remain green? I want answers, but am not about to call the water cops because 1) squealers are lowlife sidewinders, and 2) squealing might to stir up a mob of brown-lawn vigilantes to come with pitchforks and fright the children of the miscreants who live in the green-lawn mini-mansion.

My sister, Eileen, who lives on my block, gets a warning ticket from the water patrol. Some of her sprinkling spilled onto the sidewalk. She can pay a fine or take a Water Conservation Workshop class. We’re shocked that Eileen got busted. She was May Queen. She’s a good citizen: she keeps her property up, pays her taxes, picks up after her dog (even in the alleys), and her lawn is an appropriately withering splotch of misery. Nonetheless—busted. She opts to go to the class so she can learn something and have the fine waived. She attends an hour long Power Point and the City rep says the fines are not intended to generate revenue but rather to inspire cooperation with the new usage rules. Here are the fines: First notice-no fine; Second notice-$50.00 fine (waived if you attend workshop); Third notice-$200.00 fine; Fourth notice-$1,000 fine.

She learns, and educates us. We’re in a Stage 11 Water Contingency Plan and have to reduce use by 20% at the very least. If you request it, the city will make a “water-wise house call” on you. A city rep will walk through your house, help set your sprinklers, give you free water-saving equipment like low-flow showerheads, and will let you know if you qualify for rebates. All you have to do is go to or call 311 (also the snitch line) and request a visit. During the class Eileen received a bucket to catch faucet water wasted while waiting for it to heat up, a shower timer, and a hose sprayer attachment. This is a pretty good deal and the City site is filled with useful suggestions like retrofitting toilets and washing machines. I had no idea how urgent and multi-faceted smart drought management could be, and how vital that we get on board.

Time for another evening stroll. Now I head straight for the expansive lawn. It remains illicit green. I grouse with some confederates. “It’s really a kind of outrage,” says one. “Get a rope,” I add, to fan the furor. “Get a hose,” says Eileen, and we appreciate the irony of stringing up the offenders by their own tool of wrong-doing. But we don’t call 311 and rat them out.

Late Wednesday night I go out to water. The street is dark and cooling. The next-door neighbor’s sprinklers go on. I water carefully, giving the crusty earth a light first dose it can absorb without runoff, then return to replenish it. Someone darts through the dark down the street. I call Eileen to alert her. She says maybe it’s a Ninja Waterer. This is a dramatic notion, a Ninja Waterer dressed in burglar black, leaping from plant to plant, squirting them from a portable tank carried on the Ninja’s back. Maybe soon there’ll be hundreds of Ninja Waterers in East Sac, stealthy, limber, outlaw plant heroes, rescuing the frail and the wilted. Urban Greenpeace. The nutty romance of this appeals, but the reality of our predicament is sobering. This drought is bad. The Governor says we have to conserve in every way, and even “may not stay in the shower as long as we like.”

If you trim your daily shower to five minutes you’ll save 12.5 gallons. If you turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and washing hands—ten gallons saved per day. And if you do laundry once a week in one full load you’ll save ten to fifteen gallons. It’s a drag, but it’s doable. A cousin in Missouri says people there think it’s remarkable that Californians voted to tax themselves out of their economic travails, so I guess we’re also remarkable enough shorten our long, delicious, inefficient showers.

Another evening walk. This time the rich green lawn has beginning patches of pale yellow. Aha. I hope nobody finked on them. I hope they got the message on their own.

The City calls our baked, browning, yellowing lawns gold. “Gold is the new green,” the City proclaims.

City, listen. Thank you for the many good services you render, but our lawns are not gold. Please don’t prettify reality. Our lawns are faded yellow, brown, scraggly and bleached of beauty. You know this is true, City, so say so. I’ll tell you what’s gold. Water. Liquid Gold. Some are praying for it, some hoarding it, some trying to steal it, some in court over it, and before long some will be doing rain dances for it. Most of us will hang on, scale back our use, share the burden and yearn for El Nino. It sprinkled one humid afternoon and I put a pot in the back yard to catch a few drops. All I got was mist. It’s hard to pour mist on hydrangeas. It’s going to be a long, wicked summer.

 Pat Lynch




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