This Week: Stockton's bankruptcy trial begins today

Published: Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 - 6:19 am

Stockton's bankruptcy trial begins today

The city of Stockton goes on trial today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento in a case with major implications for cities and public employees.

In a four-day trial, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein will decide if the city should be allowed to seek refuge from its creditors in Chapter 9 bankruptcy. When the city filed in June, it was the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation's history.

Stockton officials say bankruptcy was a drastic but necessary step. Services were slashed and the city had run out of money to pay its bills.

The city's creditors, including the Wall Street firms that insured its bonds, have challenged Stockton's right to keep making annual pension payments of $29 million to CalPERS at the expense of meeting its other obligations.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System argues that cities have to make their payments to the pension fund, no matter what. If Stockton stopped paying Cal-PERS, its pension plan would likely be terminated. Employees and retirees would be placed in a special CalPERS fund and would likely see their benefits reduced.

– Mary Lynne Vellinga

Dress sale to raise money for WEAVE

Ten dollars for a frock worthy of the red carpet? You can pick one up Wednesday at Sacramento's first "Now That's a Dress" fundraiser for WEAVE, or Women Escaping a Violent Environment. All donated dresses – regardless of their labels – will be sold for $10. The sale takes place at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1209 L St.

Behind the news: Beth Hassett, WEAVE's executive director, said the fundraiser will support the agency's domestic violence and sexual assault programs. Staffers at pop radio station NOW 100.5 FM (KZZO) conceived of the event, she said. Women have been dropping off donations of new or slightly used formal, cocktail, prom and other dresses at Dimple Records stores.

Info: www.weaveinc.org

Co-op to screen 'American Meat'

The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op is to host a 6:30 p.m. screening Friday of "American Meat," which bills itself as a "pro-farmer look at chicken, hog and cattle production for America." A reviewer for Food Safety News says the movie is "less polemic" than other food industry documentaries.

Behind the news: The co-op invites viewers to consider the "omnivore's dilemma": Can one eat meat and be an environmentalist? The $5 screening will be at 1914 Alhambra Blvd.

Info: www.sacfoodcoop.com

IN THE NEWS

Family center opens at Fair Oaks Library

On Saturday, when all other Sacramento Public Library locations are closed because of staff furloughs, the Fair Oaks Library, 1101 Fair Oaks Blvd., will hold a noon celebration for its new Families and Books Center. A renovated children's room will house a colorful play space, room for youngsters to explore age-appropriate books, child-friendly book bins, and iPads with literacy applications. The 2 1/2-hour celebration will include a cake cutting, refreshments, a musical performance and craft activities.

Info: Call (916) 264-2920 or visit www.saclibrary.org

AROUND TOWN

Workshop teaches mushroom dyeing

The Sacramento Weavers and Spinners Guild is sponsoring a workshop Tuesday on how to use mushrooms to create color dyes at the Shepard Garden and Art Center in McKinley Park, 3330 McKinley Blvd. in Sacramento. The workshop, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., costs $3 and is led by Rachelle Giffen and Ken Gribble.

Info: www.sacweavespin.org

Old city cemetery tour tailored for kids

The Old City Cemetery Committee is offering a free kids' tour Saturday of Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery at Broadway and Riverside Boulevard. The 10 a.m. tour, designed for children in the fourth grade and up, promises tales of the "pioneers, trappers, railroad men, society women, heroes and villains" of Sacramento's past.

Info: www.oldcitycemetery.com

Easter to come a day early in Elk Grove

The Cosumnes Community Services District is sponsoring an Easter egg hunt, pancake breakfast and carnival with rides and games from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Elk Grove Regional Park, 9950 Elk Grove Florin Road. Admission is $5 in advance; $7 at door; $1 for children under age 2. Cost of carnival games varies.

Info: www.yourcsd.com

or call (916) 405-5600

FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Gala to raise money for bicycle advocates

Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, who promote biking and cycling safety in the region, will hold their Velo Ball, the organization's largest fundraiser of the year, at the Elks Tower's Penthouse Lounge, 921 11th St. in Sacramento, on Saturday. The 5:30 p.m. gala is $50 per person, or $75 per person for those attending the VIP party that starts at 5 p.m.

Info and tickets: www.sacbike.org/veloball or call (916) 444-6600

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