This Week in Sacramento History Aug. 20-26

Aug. 20, 1991: Gov. Pete Wilson says he'll veto any legislation that would move up the California primary from June to March. He has no problem giving the state more influence in presidential elections but believes an early state primary could disrupt the current reapportionment process required by the 1990 census.

Quote: "Beyond watching and waiting, the West must speak with one clear voice on the desired course in the Soviet Union: toward democracy and more freedom of choice for the Soviet peoples." -- Bee editorial, lamenting the coup by communist hard-liners who ousted President Mikhail Gorbachev from power

Aug. 21, 1880: The U.S. War Department has authorized the construction of a snag boat to help clear the Sacramento River. Generally the craft will be a stern-wheeler about 135 feet long and draw about 16 inches of water. It will include two steam capstans and a mast 50 feet high and 2 feet in diameter.

The new freight depot on Front Street, between I and J streets, has begun to receive and deliver Eastern shipments. It's expected that the depot will be fully operational next week. Work to demolish that portion of the old depot, between J and K streets, began this morning.

Aug. 22, 1952: The California Public Health Department reports that nearly 500 Californians have contracted encephalitis this summer. Some 30 people have died from the disease, which was first observed in the lower San Joaquin Valley, but then spread to the northern San Joaquin and lower Sacramento valleys as the summer wore on. Officials say this is the worst outbreak of sleeping sickness in the state's history.

Quote: "Without water we will be in a heck of a fix. Let us be diligent in taking care of our future water supply." -- Sacramento City Councilman Roy J. Nielsen, asking the city manager for a report on the adequacy of the city's water system and its ability to meet the future needs of a fast-growing population

Aug. 23, 1930: The Pan-American Reciprocal Trade Conference opens tomorrow in Sacramento aimed at stimulating the exchange of products between California and Central and South America. About 100 foreign delegates are expected after concluding a 1,000-mile tour of the state that began in Los Angeles.

Quote: "No man, no country can live unto itself alone. We must visit with each other, if we are to gain the breadth of vision possible for the citizens of enlightened countries... if we are to benefit mutually from the exchange of commodities and ideas." -- Gov. C.C. Young, in a welcoming letter to Pan-American Trade Conference delegates

Aug. 24, 1911: Delegates representing several Sacramento civic organizations leave the Hotel Sacramento to attend the Alameda Good Roads Convention. The group is traveling a route proposed for a state highway linking the capital with the Bay Area: Sacramento to the lower end of Grand Island, then by ferry to Antioch and on to Oakland.

Quote: "The world needs women's influence in public affairs, and women need the influence of a larger world, a larger responsibility, than they have been allowed to feel." -- Sen. Charles W. Bell, writing in support of Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 8, giving California women the right to vote in state and local elections

Aug. 25, 1944: Members of the Sacramento City and County Tavern Owners Association agree to close all bars on the day the war ends in Europe to discourage riotous celebrations on "V Day." The group also votes to pass on to consumers the new federal excise tax: about two cents on most liquor and one cent on wine.

Quote: "If every community in the United States would follow Sacramento's pattern in preparation for the postwar period, there would be no unemployment problem to solve." -- Chauncey Tramutolo, special assistant to the U.S. postmaster general, who is touring the nation to assess economic challenges after the war

Aug. 26, 1921: Arthur Dudley of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce says his organization will monitor hotels and rooming houses for price-gouging during the upcoming State Fair, Sept. 3 to 11. The three largest hotels are not the problem, he observes. It's the smaller ones where owners have been known to double, even triple, rates.

Quote: "If policemen be permitted to levy toll on the earnings of prostitutes they become worse than the parasitic pimps. For not only does the officer degrade himself, but he also violates his oath, betrays the faith reposed on him and brings reproach upon the community." -- Bee editorial, urging the grand jury to look into police taking bribes from or blackmailing prostitutes