East Sacramento Improvement Association

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East Sacramento Improvement Association


ESIA and it's Board Members

The East Sacramento Improvement Association (ESIA) is Sacramento's oldest and largest neighborhood association. ESIA was formed in 1958 to protect, maintain, and improve the unique blend of residential and commercial features of East Sacramento by representing the neighborhood at the City Planning Commission and City Council. The Association is well known for the Sidney Pope Memorial Orchid and Onion Awards. The awards annually recognize the best and worst of East Sacramento. ESIA is co-founder and sponsor of the popular Pops in the Parks concert series.


CYRIL SHAH, President
Cyril grew up in Sacramento and has lived in East Sacramento since 2000. He is Commissioner and past Chairman of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Commission. Cyril is on the Board of the Community Services Planning Council and Sacramento Heritage Inc. Cyril is a Senior Fellow at the American Leadership Forum, and he is a graduate of the City Management Academy and the City Planning Academy. Cyril is Managing Director of The Shah Group, dedicated to comprehensive wealth management. His interests include sports, film, politics, food and wine. Cyril lives in East Sacramento with his wife Stephenie and their daughter, Juliet.

TRICIA STEVENS, Vice President
Tricia has been an East Sacramento resident for 12 years and has served on the Board for 3 years. She is a principal planner for the County of Sacramento. She greatly enjoys McKinley Park for jogging and the American River Parkway for biking. She is currently responsible for the ESIA newsletter.

PAUL NOBLE, Secretary
Paul Noble recently retired from Sacramento State, where he spent 36 years as a Professor of Chemistry and more recently as Associate VP for Academic Affairs. He has been a member of the ESIA Board of Directors for the last year and a half, serving as the Secretary. He and his wife, Lillie, have been residents of East Sacramento for 25 years

Daniel is a native Californian, a Sacramento resident since 1985 and an East Sac resident since 2000. Daniel has managed legal offices for the past 20 years and currently works for the State of California, Department of Mental Health's Office of Legal Services. Daniel and his wife Lisa enjoy entertaining at their home, cruise vacations, weekend drives in their sports car, and trying to keep their wine cellar stocked

JIM COLLINS, Board Member (Past President)
Jim Collins is an IT Support Specialist for the City of Sacramento. He has been on the Board since 1988 and has served two terms as President. Jim and his wife are native Sacranemtans and have lived in East Sac for over thirty years.

ANN HAMEL, Board Member
Ann grew up in Sacramento and has lived in East Sacramento with her husband Matthew since 2006. She has been employed with the County of Sacramento for the last 17 years as a Criminalist at the Laboratory of Forensic Services. Ann's interests include kayaking, snow skiing, and wine tasting with friends. She looks forward to getting involved in the neighborhood and serving on the board of the association.

MIKE GUNBY, Board Member (Past-President)
East Sacramento resident for 18 years, Principal Land Planner with PG&E, East Sacramento Little League coach, Council District 3 representation on the American River Parkway Update Committee, David Lubin Garden Tour volunteer for 10 years, ESIA board member for 10 years. Mike and his wife Karen have two kids Colleen and Graham.

IONE BOCCERI, Past Secretary Emeritus
Ione is a fourth generation Californian and has lived in East Sac since 1944. She was educated in the public schools in Woodland and U C Berkeley. She is a charter member of ESIA and has served as its secretary since the late 1970¡¦s. Her professional career was spent managing medical offices and laboratories. She retired from Hoffmann LaRoche in 1983. Ione has also served on the Board of Directors of the Shephard Garden & Art Center as Secretary. World traveling has always been an important part of Ione's life; there is always a plane or cruise ticket on her desk for her next trip.

George has been a resident in East Sacramento since 1966. In 1967 along with his brother-in-law opened Camellia City TV and Video store on the corner of McKinley Blvd and 36th Street. The business involved sales of televisions and repairs along with antenna installations. In 1972, the store was moved to J Street between 37th and 38th street and the business expanded to sales of appliances, alarm systems, installations of background music for commercial business as well as a private cable company until it was sold in the year of 1985. Since then he has been involved in commercial real estate development and property management. George enjoys camping and barbeques with his family.

KNIGHT SMART IV, Board member
Knight has lived in East Sac since 1977; an ESIA member since 1987 and a Board member for the past 10 years. Knight is a past president of Kiwanis and a member of the East Sac/Midtown Kiwanis Club. Knight¡¦s California roots pre-date the gold rush and he is a member of the Sacramento Pioneers Association. He has served on the Pops in the Park committee for over 10 years and was a foreman in the construction and now maintenance of the McKinley playground. Knight is an insurance broker. He owns and manages a Farmers Insurance Agency.



The East Sacramento Improvement Association (ESIA) is Sacramento’s oldest and largest neighborhood association. ESIA was formed in 1958 to protect, maintain, and improve the unique blend of residential and commercial features of East Sacramento by representing the neighborhood at the City Planning Commission and City Council. The Association is well known for the Sidney Pope Memorial Orchid and Onion Awards. The awards annually recognize the best and worst of East Sacramento. ESIA is co-founder and sponsor of the popular Pops in the Parks concert series. The Association also provides seasonal decorations for McKinley Park’s duck island.

ESIA meets bi-monthly, and the dues are $10 per year. The Association is a non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer-led organization with an 11-member board of directors. To find out more, please check out our website at www.neighborhoodlink.com/sacramento/eastsac. It has our newsletter with all the latest information on East Sac issues and a calendar of important events.

HOW DO YOU JOIN? Send your name, address, and email address with $10 dues to: ESIA, P.O. Box 19147, Sacramento, CA 95819. If you would like more information call Jim Collins, ESIA President, at 457-6329 or e-mail him at collins2@surewest.net.


Stopped Centrage and it’s 26 story skyscrapers
Started the East Sacramento neighborhood watch patrol
Decorates the McKinley Park Duck Pond & Rose Garden throughout the year
Stopped the old Rosemont restaurant from becoming a “gambling casino”
Stopped the Elvas/Richards Connector which would have added 25,000 cars per day on Elvas Avenue
Persuaded City Council to adopt a new law to prevent "high-rise" buildings in East Sacramento
Stopped Taco Bell from expanding on two different occasions
Stopped fraternity and sorority houses in the neighborhood
Organized the “Graffiti Busters” to remove graffiti in East Sacramento
Supported rezoning of H & J Streets to establish more residential zoning
Persuaded Mercy Hospital to build their parking garage and install 25 feet of landscaping around the hospital
Sponsors the Pops in the Park celebrations
Stopped the Turn Verein Hall from commercially expanding into the neighborhood
Persuaded Mercy Hospital to reduce the height of Mercy McMahon Terrace at 39th & J from 6 stories to 2 and 1/2 stories
Rezoned the Alhambra corridor to preserve its architectural uniqueness and to limit building height
Prevented East Lawn from building 3 story offices on the cemetery grounds
Persuaded the City to install stop signs on M Street
Supports reducing and slowing traffic on H Street without closing it
Working to resolve the noise caused by low flying airplanes landing and taking off at Metro Airport
Presents annual Orchid & Onion Awards to recognize the “good and bad” in East Sacramento

The area bounded by R Street, Alhambra Blvd, A Street, Elvas Ave, and the railroad tracks beyond 65th Street over to R Street.

Any person who lives or has a business in East Sacramento may join. There are over 600 members.

Send the following information with $10 dues to: ESIA, P.O. Box 19147, Sacramento, Ca 95819.

Name: Address:
Zip: Home Telephone:
Work Telephone:
E-mail Address:



Membership Form - Print & Mail
Archived Newsletters


About our association


A Little History of ESIA

Were you aware that the East Sacramento Improvement association was founded and incorporated 50 years ago in 1958? Glenn and Sidney Pope and Kay Lobner were among the founding and charter members. They saw a need to preserve and protect the character of East Sacramento. I do not think that even they envisioned that the Association would be so successful and still growing strong in the year 2008.

It was Mercy Hospital and it's expansion plans that galvanized the neighborhood into action in 1957 and 1958. Mercy wanted to expand much further into the neighborhood than the present hospital footprint; ESIA successfully headed it off. However, we were not able to prevent the removal of a half dozen beautiful Victorians along J Street near 39th. The parking lot and medical building replaced them. Mercy's attempt years later to build the Mercy McMahon senior apartments as a 6-story building was stopped. They ultimately built the 2 and ½ story building that sits there now. Can you imagine what a 6-story building would have looked? Ugh!

Over the years the Association developed an outstanding reputation of successfully defending East Sacramento from inappropriate development. One City manager told Sidney Pope that because of the Association's efforts, East Sacramento did not evolve into something that looks like Watt Ave. An article in the Sacramento Bee in 1987 described the decision making process that the 3M Corporation went through when they decided to relocate. 3M indicated that the final persuader was the charm of the tree-lined streets and the established neighborhoods of East Sacramento. They reminded them of their own Midwestern neighborhoods.

In the 1970's and 80's Sacramento only had a few neighborhood organizations and the East Sacramento Improvement association was often asked to help other neighborhoods form their own neighborhood associations.

Over the years ESIA has tackled both big and small issues in defense of the neighborhood. You probably were not aware that the new owners of the old Rosemont Restaurant (now Andiamo's) wanted to convert it into a huge card room! Or that East Lawn Cemetery wanted to develop 3 story office buildings on their grounds. The biggest effort was to stop the city¡¦s proposal to connect Elvas to Richards Blvd in 1987. This would have added additional 25,000 cars per day on to Elvas Ave. If this had gone through the traffic on Elvas and surrounding streets would probably be closer to an additional 50,000 cars today! Right on the heels of this major effort came the Association's successful battle to head off the Centrage development and its proposed 26 story skyscrapers.

The Association, however, does more than just oppose projects that would be detrimental to the neighborhood. In 1978 long time ESIA member Marilyn Mahoney suggested that the Association recognize people and businesses that have made positive and negative contributions to the neighborhood. Thus was born the Sydney Pope Memorial Orchid and Onion Awards that have been given annually ever since. The Association led the efforts to rezone the Alhambra corridor preserve its architectural uniqueness and to limit building height. This took several years of committee meetings before the laws were changed. But the results were worth it. Thanks to these efforts the new Rite-Aid and the new Trader Joe¡¦s will have some architectural similarities and Alhambra Blvd will never become a Watt Ave ¡§look-alike¡¨. The Association was the first to form a graffiti patrol under the able leadership of Katherine Travers-Cohn. We are a charter supporter of the area¡¦s Pops in the Parks concerts, provide seasonal decorations for McKinley Park¡¦s Duck Island, and are charter supporters of the establishment of an East Sac Room in the Clunie Clubhouse to serve as a permanent place to display East Sac¡¦s history. (It was ESIA members Cindy Collins and Steve Cohn who originally came up with the idea) We even have a web site!

Well, Sidney, Glenn, and Kay, thanks for having the foresight to form this wonderful association. We have such a strong history for being the best and the oldest, that I am sure we will be still going strong well into the 22nd Century!

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Membership Form - print & mail
Become a Member online
Archived Newsletters

Sidney Pope Memorial ORCHID & ONION AWARD Recipients

The East Sacramento Improvement Association recognizes businesses or people for their positive contributions to East Sacramento with Orchid awards and we want to encourage improvement with our Onion awards for those who have a negative impact on the quality of life in East Sacramento. The first Orchid & Onion awards were given in June, 1978. Here is a look at the Orchids and Onions awarded in the last 24 years.

Orchids:41st Street July 4th Parade(50th anniversary); J Street Trolley restaurant (has been torn down and replaced by medical bldg @ 3800 J St);Walker’s Liquor Store @ 38th J (Has been torn down and replaced by the Ear, Nose, and Throat medical bldg);Butler’s Uniform Store @ 56th H; Nadya Andrews (For her service on the City Planning Commission); and Les Frink (City traffic Engineer). Onion awards: Mercy Hospital ( For removing several victorian homes so they could expand the hospital)


Orchids: Sutter Lawn Tennis Club ( 60th anniversary); East Sacramento Action Committee ( Irene Stone led the battle to stop Sutter Hospital from re-zoning & expanding); and Lloyd Connelly, City Councilman. Onions: El Dorado Grammar School(for lack of maintenance and need for new paint); Sidewalk Pizza (For tall weeds and lack of landscaping)


Orchid awards: Franke’s Pharmacy & Knott’s Pharmacy (The last 2 old fashioned drug store soda fountains in Sacramento-now gone); Archie’s hardware @ 56th & J (now closed); Frank Johnson (for moving 2 east Sac bungalows onto 2 vacant lots at 3400 & 3408 M Street. Onion awards: the 2 vacant gas stations at 51st and 48th & Folsom Blvd; and Assemblyman Leroy Greene(for anti-neighborhood legislation).


Orchid awards: Gary Little & Jim McGinnis (For renovating the corner @ 34th Folsom); Dreyfuss & Blackford Bldg @ 35th Folsom. Onion Award: Camellia Shopping Center (for the ugliest parking lot in Sacramento)


Orchid awards: Victorian @ 5347 Folsom; Sacramento Valley Orthopedic Center @ 1273 32nd Street. Onion awards: Winchell’s Doughnut Shop @ 37th/J (A real mess: litter and landscaping - since replaced by Subway sandwich shop).


Orchid awards: Rosemont Grill ( 50th anniversary); Sidney Pope (President & co-founder of ESIA). Onion awards: None


Orchid awards: Sacramento Ear, Nose & Throat Center @ 3810 J Street( Built on Walker liquor store site-old Safeway site). Onion award: Andrews Body Shop @ 51st Folsom (Since torn down & replaced by lovely new HRA funded apts).


Orchid awards: Fran & Roy Yermol ( landscaping H St. underpass); Mark-Gaddy Seed Co.( helped Fran & Roy landscape - have since moved). Onion awards: Camellia Shopping Center (Two-time loser).


Orchid awards: Phillips Bakery and New Phillips Bakery (60 years ). Onion award: Almost New Car Lot @ 51st Folsom (3rd winner for this corner).


Orchid awards: The Rest Stop @ 35th Folsom; Elvas Medical Plaza @ 5340 Elvas Ave. Onion awards: Jim Bloodgood, City traffic Engineer (for proposing and supporting the Elvas/Richards connector);Medical Bldg @ 3800 J (replaced the J St Trolley)(For lack of landscaping, setbacks, and size).


Orchid awards: Sacred Heart Church; and City Planning Department staff. Onion awards: Medclinic @ Alhambra & N Street; and Larry’s Comfort Shoes @ 4801 Folsom.


Orchid awards: Old Alhambra Market @1100 Alhambra Blvd; Doug Pope, City Councilman. Onion awards:Sacramento Glass Works @ 34th Street( in rear)(Toxic mess on property)(They have since moved!)


Orchid awards: Rust Florist @ 5215 Onion awards: Safeway @ Alhambra /J (Ugly parking lot and no landscaping,currently being renovated).


Orchid awards: Cindy Leathers (For developing East Lawn Playground). Onion awards: Lamda Chi Alpha Fratrnity @ 5286 J( The fraternity moved out).


Orchid awards: Rick McWilliam (15 years president & vp of ESIA); Firehouse #4 @ 3145 Granada Way (Oldest fire statiuon in the City); Steve Cohn (president ESIA & Stop Centrage effort); Dane Henas Design (For designing ESIA’s beautiful logo). Onion award: City of Sacramento Traffic Department.

Orchid awards: Harrison’s Cyclery/Alfred Anderson ( 90 and still working!!)(Now O''Neil''s Family Cyclery @ 3200 Folsom).
Onion award: Express Furniture @ 5110 Folsom ( 4th winner on this corner)


Orchid awards: Lucky’s @ 48th /J; ESIA graffitti Busters led by Katherine Travers-Cohn. Onion award: Quality Market @ 51st Folsom. (this old empty market was finally rennovated and re-opened in 1997; 5th loser at this corner)


Orchid awards: City Public Works Dept ( Landscaping J Street median near CSUS)Onion awards: Camellia Shopping Center (3 time loser!!!);Taco Bell ( a bad neighbor who tried to expand, and move down Folsom Blvd )


Orchid awards: Fran & Roy Yermol ( 2 – time winner !!!!!)Onion awards: Auto-quick Automotive @ 30th /E Street (moved out!!)


Orchid awards: Folsom Blvd Apartments @ 4921 Folsom Blvd (City Redevelopment Agency apartments). Onion awards:Folsom Blvd strip mall @ 48th –51st /Folsom ( 5 time winner for
this corner!!!!! Perhaps some day something will be done .)


Orchid awards: Affleck Pharmacy @ 5301 F Street (for being the oldest operating pharmacy in Sacramento-77 years and 25 years East Sacramento); Brillhart Shell @ 5730 Folsom Blvd (East Sac''s last remaining full service gas station and they provide great service). Onion awards: C & H Paint @ 3201 Folsom Blvd (This bldg is dull and uninviting and they have green concrete instead of grass!)and Ione Bocceri for over 20 years of outstanding srvice on the ESIA board of directos as Secretary.

Orchid awards: Quality Market at 51st & Folsom for significantly remodeling the site and Corti Bros Market @ 5810 Folsom Blvd for their long term quaity service to the neighborhood. The Onion Award went to CalTrans for their very ugly property at 65th Street Expressway and Folsom Blvd.


The Orchid award went to The East Sacramento Art Garage @ 34th & Folsom Blvd for converting a automobile repair shop into a wonderful are gallery . The Onion award went to the City Depts of Public Works and Neighborhood Planning for leasing the greenspace across from Shakey's for $1 to a developer (owner of Shakey's) and advovating to replace the greenspce with a commercial mini mall.


The Orchid award went to the East Sac Village @ 56th & Elvas for its creative and contempory new development. The Onion Award went to the Sacramento Board of Supervisors for locating a program to treat mentally disturbed felons one block from McKinley Park.

The Orchid Award was renamed this year to honor Sidney Pope and her life long efforts to preserve and maintain East Sacramento as a great place to live. This is the first year for the Sidney Pope Award. The recipient of the Sidney pope Award was
COFFEE WORKS at 3418 Folsom Blvd: The Coffee Works replaced an ugly very uninteresting building with a bright, architecturally interesting one. It has great coffee, friendly staff, and displays the work of local artists. It deserves the Sidney Pope Award. The Onion Award went to EXPRESS FURNITURE & APPLIANCE at 5116 Folsom Blvd: This store has the record for the most consecutive “going out of business” and “clearance” sales in the city; try every day. It often has furniture in the parking lot and windows completely covered with unattractive and amateurish advertising. Seeing is believing. It deserves an Onion.

The Sidney pope Award went to Randy Butler. Randy started his shoe repair business in East sacramento in 1942, expanded itto include uniforms and sold it in 1966. He is 95 years youg and continues to "work" in the store. Randy is an East Sac institution. The Onion went to Camillia Cleanerson Folsom Blvd.
The 2004 recipient of the Sidney Pope Award was Selland’s Market @ 53rd & H Street. It was a very close vote with Trader Joe’s, Room & Company (4765 J Street) and Salon Cuvee (4601 H Street). Congratulations!!!! The runaway winner of the Onion Award was Cigarettes & More @ 5615 Folsom Blvd. We hope this provides some incentive to clean things up.

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