This Week in Sacramento History March 19-25

March 19, 1925: George W. Lee of the Western States Gas and Electric Co. reports that improvements are under way for the Elk Grove lighting system. The company will spend $3,000 to upgrade the multiple circuit system to a series circuit configuration. The change will require new fixtures, wiring, power poles, plus a new transformer with an automatic switch and time clock.

Quote: "Only by the united and public support of the project can a repetition of the Seattle situation be averted for this city. Tacoma was once the larger of the two cities, but Seattle got deep water improvements, and today is ... ahead of Tacoma in every way." -- Herman Davis of the Sacramento Deep Water Commission, warning that Sacramento could lose out to Stockton

March 20, 1996: The Teamsters kick off a union organizing drive at the Packard Bell plant in Sacramento. The company laid off 250 full-time workers in January and 1,000 temporary workers in November. In February, one disgruntled laid-off employee returned to the plant and shot 50 bullets before a security guard subdued him.

Quote: "Critics say the ... tattoo removal program is a 'flashy thing that makes headlines.' The reality is that for gang members desiring to leave ... tattoos are akin to scarlet letters. All of the job-training skills that we can offer these individuals will be for naught if no one wants to hire them." --James Adamic in a letter backing Gov. Pete Wilson's proposal that the state pay for voluntary removal

March 21, 1907: Heavy rainstorms that hit the region have moved to the north, but most rail lines in and out of Sacramento are blocked by floodwater. Some people heading west have elected to travel by steamer to San Francisco.

Quote: "The prime source of all rottenness in San Francisco ... is private ownership of street railroads, gas and electric lighting, water supply and telephone service. So long as such utilities are left to private ownership, there will always be a strong inducement for corporations to seek control of political organizations and debauch public officials and judges." -- Bee editorial, commenting on probe into the alleged bribing of San Francisco officials by the Pacific States Telephone Co.

March 22, 1937: Easter Week festivities sponsored by The Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento Recreation Department begin with a gala pageant at the Oak Park Clubhouse. Capt. Billy Bunny is on hand to urge community donations of eggs and cash for the big Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday. The hunt is expected to attract 15,000 children who will participate in eight city parks.

Quote: "The Sacramento city government, in proposing to install parking meters, seems only to consider an increase in dollars for the city's coffers and not the purses of over 100,000 people who are now being taxed to the utmost." -- W.J.C., in a letter opposing the 5-cent parking fee, which the author says burdens the many housewives who shop for a family on a strict budget

March 23, 1968: Legislators in the state Assembly and Senate introduce resolutions calling on Congress to increase federal financing of the Sacramento Bank Protection Project. The resolutions say the $1.4 million annual appropriation is insufficient and want $2.2 million, but say this is barely adequate to address the problems on the levee system.

Quote: "I've come here because our great nation is deeply troubled and divided, divided by war and on race. We used to be the country that stood for decency and competency and justice, but now it seems that that has changed. " -- Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in Sacramento

March 24, 1921: The Sacramento Board of Education revokes a permit for use of the high school auditorium after learning the event would include a speech by Esther Friedman of the National Socialist Party, who is campaigning to have Eugene Debs, serving a sentence for violating the Espionage Act, released from prison.

Quote: "Let us punish the boy offender; let us show him we are outraged by his doings; let us make his punishment fit the crime; but ... let us study him -- not kill him. By studying him we may discover which is most to blame -- the instinct of a criminal or the influence of society." -- Assemblywoman Anna L. Saylor, in support of a bill that would ban capital punishment for individuals younger than 18

March 25, 1946: Officials at the Sacramento Libby, McNeill & Libby plant say they are ready to start processing spinach despite the American Federation of Labor Teamsters blockade. The union says it won't stop trucks driven by farmers but will take action against hired drivers. AFL wants exclusive bargaining rights in Northern California but is being challenged by the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Quote: "We have tried every way to obtain civilians for these jobs and have been unable to do so. We need laborers, warehousemen and clerk-typists desperately." -- Maj. George H. Melvin Jr., defending the use of German POWs in jobs at McClellan Field and the Sacramento Signal Depot