Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Capitol Park groundskeepers have stopped watering the lawn to conserve water in the state’s drought. Park trees, many with historical significance, are still being watered.

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  • By the numbers

    With the exception of those in San Francisco, workers in California’s largest cities are mostly laggards in walking or bicycling to their jobs, a new Census Bureau report shows. Nationally, the bureau’s American Community Survey found, 5 percent of workers walk to their jobsites and 1 percent use bicycles. Portland’s workers, at 6.1 percent, are the bicycle champs, followed by those in Minneapolis at 4.1 percent and San Franciscans at 3.4 percent, tied with Seattle’s workers.

    – Dan Walters

The Buzz: Drought hits Capitol Park

Published: Friday, May. 9, 2014 - 10:31 pm

Following drought policy,

Capitol Park grass is brown

The lush grass that normally carpets downtown Sacramento’s Capitol Park is turning into a blotchy green-and-brown rug this spring because state officials have decided not to water the lawn.

“What we’re trying to do is set an example in our front yard for people to follow in their front yards,” said Brian Ferguson, spokesman for the Department of General Services. The department handles grounds maintenance for the park and other state-owned properties.

Parts of the lawn will continue to grow because crews will still water nearly 1,000 trees on the grounds via a complex underground irrigation system that hydrates roots and minimizes runoff.

Many of the trees date back to the earliest days of California’s statehood and carry historical significance, said Les Strike, a General Services manager who oversees maintenance of the 40-acre park.

“We can replace the grass,” he said. “The trees can’t be replaced,”

The drought prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to order conservation measures throughout state government, but he doesn’t solely control park maintenance. The Legislature also must sign off on the policy.

– Jon Ortiz

Worth repeating

“We’re trying to keep our constituents safe on their streets and in their neighborhoods.”

SEN. MARK LENO, San Francisco Democrat, pitching his bill to require kill switches on cellphones as a way to reduce theft

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