People

Surprise! Employees Like the Way Their Bosses Handle the Pandemic

Surprise! Employees Like the Way Their Bosses Handle the Pandemic

Since I’ve always believed an unwritten requirement for most jobs is “Griping, as needed or assigned,” I was surprised to learn from a recent national survey that almost 70 percent of employees in the western part of the country are “very satisfied” with how their companies have been responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. With another 26 percent saying they’re “somewhat satisfied,” that makes nearly 96 percent tickled pink or at least lavender-blush pink.

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Readers from Across the State, Country and Ocean Discuss De-Isolation Plans

Readers from Across the State, Country and Ocean Discuss De-Isolation Plans

As you know, some people in some parts of the planet, country, state, county, city and perhaps your own home, are on the verge of de-isolating and/or losing their collective minds.

While I prefer to think of it as going on a closely guarded parole, I asked some faithful readers of The Goldman State—all of whom happen to be dear friends of some duration and all of whom happen to be women (some male responses are coming in)—to share their views on what they’ve missed most during their house arrests and what they hope to plunge back into. Mindfully, natch.

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Northern California Jazz Chanteuse Valerie V Drops a CD

Northern California Jazz Chanteuse Valerie V Drops a CD

If you’ve heard that jazz is a vanished art form, you haven’t heard, “IntimateLee,” the new CD from singer Valerie V and her one-man/multi-piece band Chet Chwalik.

Recorded live at the Midtown Vanguard Jazz series in Sacramento, the album—available at her website, valsvocals.com—features 11 songs from the Great American Songbook (a never-disputed descriptor, by the way), interpreted syllable by syllable in V’s singular, surprisingly versatile voice. That voice can be sultry, childlike, husky and teasing, sometimes within a few bars of the same song.

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Tim Comstock’s “Shout-Out to Shut-ins”

Tim Comstock’s “Shout-Out to Shut-ins”

To give you an instant impression of Tim Comstock—who, in his early 70s, is writing one of the most youthfully anarchic, frequently distributed screeds about this prolonged period of sheltering at home—here’s what he says when I ask him if he considers his “Shout-Out to Shut-ins” a column or a blog:

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Steve Heath Has Been the Go-To-Guy for Nonprofits for Decades

Steve Heath Has Been the Go-To-Guy for Nonprofits for Decades

While Steve Heath has held a number of top administrative jobs in nonprofits and healthcare, he says that collecting the broken baseball bats of the great San Francisco Giants first baseman Willie McCovey and other baseball luminaries remains his career highlight. He did this when he was 11.

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Breaking News: Pandemic Restrictions Aren’t Restricted Enough!

Breaking News: Pandemic Restrictions Aren’t Restricted Enough!

Hey, what about getting haircuts during this international lockdown? wonders faithful reader Jim Drennan.

For the 15 years prior to his retirement from KCRA-TV News, Jim had been the NBC affiliate’s assignment editor here in the capital, though his background in TV goes much farther back. In an email he sent me the other day, he said, “I would imagine that most barber shops are closed since there’s no way you can give someone a haircut while maintaining that sacred social distance.”

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Golden Pacific Bank is Helping Small-Business Owners Navigate Rough Seas

Golden Pacific Bank is Helping Small-Business Owners Navigate Rough Seas

The unflappable Virginia Varela admits that she feels “a little as if were in a war zone and that I need to be at the helm.”

Varela’s ship is Golden Pacific Bank, where she’s been president and chief executive officer for seven years. The war zone she and her tram are navigating is the sea of shoals and icebergs caused by the corona virus, threatening the economic floatability of small businesses, which Golden Pacific specializes in.

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The ‘R’ Word Redefined for the Isolation Age

The ‘R’ Word Redefined for the Isolation Age

I think the definition of the word “retire” should be “to get weary again.”

The difference would be that this time around, you’d be getting weary of doing things you actually enjoy, not working at a job you finally got to leave.

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A Former Librarian Writes a Landmark Book on a Land Preservation Icon

A Former Librarian Writes a Landmark Book on a Land Preservation Icon

If we can accept a Midwest archaeologist named Henry “Indiana” Jones as an action hero, then we can certainly do the same for a former California librarian named Elizabeth “Betsy” Austin.

Austin has just written “Grand Canyon to Hearst Ranch: One Woman’s Fight to Save Land in the American West,” an incident-filled biography of Harriett Hunt Burgess, who spent 40 years attempting, with great success, to conserve hundreds of thousands of acres. Without Burgess’s efforts, it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that the Lake Tahoe region and huge swaths of California’s coastline might have been paved over to make room for office campuses, housing communities and industry.

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Salinas Focus: Tim Ryan Is a “Servant Leader”

Salinas Focus: Tim Ryan Is a “Servant Leader”

While Tim Ryan could be a problem child if he played in a school orchestra—because he prefers tooting everyone’s horn but his own—as the Superintendent of the Santa Rita Union School District in the picturesque, diverse city of Salinas in Monterey County, he may be just what students, teachers, principals and staff need: a leader who leads “not from above but from below, helping lift up the people who do the real work,” he says.

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Dead and Earning It! A Post-Mortem on Some Post-Moolah

A well-meaning acquaintance recently sent me an article showing how much the estates of famous deceased writers and artists continue to earn each year. In response, I asked if she were suggesting that death might be a good career move for me.

She became very annoyed and did the email equivalent of slamming down her phone. (No, I can’t explain that gag, either. But I think you may know what I mean.)

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The “Sugar High” Gets Re-Debunked. To Which I Say, “Bunk!”

In 1994, medical science definitively debunked the notion that children can contract “sugar highs” from having cake, cookies, ice cream and soda at a birthday party, or as mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks, or for after-dinner dessert, or as pre-bedtime nibbles.

Incidentally, what I just described is the daily menu seven-year-olds, if they were precociously licensed dietitians, would create for their patients.

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What Are A Jew’s Dues?

What Are A Jew’s Dues?

Had I not invited Dr. Marion Leff to lunch, where we talked about the Jewish Federation of Sacramento (and other Jewish federations throughout the state and country), I wouldn’t have learned the following:

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An Art Show Like No Other to Honor a One-of-a-Kind Gallery Owner

An Art Show Like No Other to Honor a One-of-a-Kind Gallery Owner

The art of Michael Himovitz’s life was art itself.

He was known throughout California and the creative cosmos in general for his uncanny eye in spotting talent that he nurtured—sometimes like a mother hen, sometimes with tough love. He ruled over an eponymous downtown Sacramento, second-floor gallery, which eventually moved to an under-appreciated part of the capital, Del Paso Heights, and even for a brief while established a second beachhead in an upscale suburban enclave, Pavilions Shopping Center, which he told me, in his distinctive cigarette growl, he “hated, hated hated!” (He amplified that by saying he didn’t think “middle-aged couples climbing out of their Lexuses wearing matching, ironed jogging suits are my demographic.”)

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Take This Job And Love It!

Take This Job And Love It!

Even in the go-go jobs economy of California, and in particular the prolifically hiring Sacramento, many employees are still what I call Glummy Bears.

That’s according to a recent study conducted by Robert Half, the worldwide staffing firm. It reports 63 percent of company executives it surveyed said that “worker turnover has increased in the past three years, with lost productivity (29 percent), new hire training (26 percent), and recruiting (25 percent) being the costliest aspects when employees leave.”

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It May Be High Nunes for Devin

It May Be High Nunes for Devin

Today’s column may seem pitched to our Fresno readership (a really nice person, by the way) but it concerns more than the Central Valley or even all of California. This is about the entire country and the chance voters (and donors) have to not only set a precedent but also to put someone in office who knows whereof he speaks when it comes to healthcare, water, immigrants and small business.

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Kirky Memories

Kirky Memories

I’d like to say it was quite a coincidence that I was watching “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” at the exact moment one of its stars, Kirk Douglas, died at 103 years old a couple of weeks ago. And I really was watching it, at that precise time. But since I watch it at least three times a year, I’m not sure this qualifies as a coincidence.

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All In The Family

All In The Family

“We’re like family here!” is the second most popular cliché I hear when writing about a company’s culture. (The all-time champion remains, “We believe in giving back to the community.” This always sounds to me as though the company is admitting to having burglarized something from the community at one time.)

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