An old joke and Downtown Sacramento

By CityFella

Man walks by pet store and decides to come in.

Once inside, he falls in love with a Parakeet who is singing in a large elaborate cage.

The salesman says, he can talk too.    “Polly want a cracker? and the bird says cracker?

This brings a big smile from the man and he  buys the parakeet and a small cage and takes them home.

Once home, the parakeet sits quietly in the cage.

The man is a little disappointed but figures the parakeet is adjusting to its new surroundings.

Next morning, the man find the bird listless so he returns to the pet store and buys the same cage  the bird lived in the store.

He places the bird in the cage and the bird  is unresponsive, so he goes back to the store and buys all the furnishings that was in the cage. a bird bath , a bell, a large elaborate perch, an indoor light and a mirror.

The bird is still unresponsive.

Frustrated, the man, yells at the bird.  I have done EVERYTHING for you .  Why wont you sing!  Why wont you speak.

The bird steady’s himself and say’s food!

Downtown where all the lights are bright

There was a time in America, downtown was the hub, the center, a place when everyone went.   In  Sacramento,the majority of the jobs and the majority of city’s population lived in and around downtown.  Its where everyone shopped or watched a movie.  The Railyards was the city’s largest employer. Migrant farm workers lived and worked a few of miles from the city’s elite.

Then families began leaving downtown for the suburbs where they could purchase a larger home for considerably less…  They were followed by retail,and business .  The exodus to the suburbs wasn’t just a Sacramento phenomenon it was happening all over the country.

In 1974, Sears Roebucks moved into the(then) tallest building in the world, in Chicago.  20 years later, the company sold the building and moved to the suburbs (Hoffman Estates, Illinois)  JC  Penney, moved from  New York to Plano Texas. Ford Motor Company moved form Detroit to Dearborn Michigan.

Professional Sports moved to the suburbs, near the freeways.  The Detroit Pistons, play in Auburn Hills for years the LA Lakers played in Inglewood.    The New York Giants and Jet’s play in New Jersey and beginning next year the San Francisco 49ers’ will play in Santa Clara, nearly on hour away from San Francisco.

In the 50’s and 60.s downtown Sacramento was the employment center of county.  Today, more people work in suburb of Rancho Cordova than downtown.   In the 50.’s nearly half of the city’s population lived downtown.  Today the population in the downtown district is the smallest in the city.

There is a disconnect at City Hall.   Leaders aren’t willing or unable to correct the cities business climate.  For more than 10 years Sacramento has ranked at or near the bottom of every national business index.   Business prefers Sacramento’s suburbs to the city.

Subsidy’s on the east end of K Street has brought some excitement on the weekends. However during the weekdays it is a ghost town.  Retail and business continue to leave downtown. After 7pm its possible to walk two or three blocks without seeing a single business open.  The city has changed the lighting on K Street,  Removed cars, added cars, removed the music system.  It is rumored,the city has spent nearly a half a billion dollars to restore downtown.   Most most of the tax dollars have been ineffective, from the Convention Center to upgrades on K Street.

A Lesson from Oakland  

For decades, Downtown Oakland was a ghost town.   By the 1990’s over 80% of Oakland retail outlets where closed.  There were few restaurants and the unsavory’s ruled the streets.   The population of the city was shrinking.

Oakland mayor Jerry Brown and his predecessor Elihu Harris’s public policy of supporting downtown housing development in the area defined as the Central Business District. Mayor Brown successfully attracted over a billion dollars in investment to downtown.  He wanted to bring additional 10,000 residents downtown.

Today, the city has added thousands of jobs downtown.There are more than 10,000 new residence downtown. Downtown Oakland is midst of a  renaissance there is new housing  on either side of the city. The 2800 seat Fox Theater closed in 1966, was renovated and re-opened in 2009.   It is the center of rapidly growing entertainment district with restaurants,opening monthly.

Somewhere on K Street

The downtown core needs business to expand.  Business attracts people with a disposable income.   Retail will follow that  population (FOOD)

Some leaders in Sacramento are believe a new arena will jump start development downtown.    They believe the Arena will  not only attract  new business downtown, it will bring more people downtown.   Arenas are typically dark most days and in most cities do not generate business when they are dark .(closed)


(Petula Clark)

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go downtown
When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtownJust listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your caresSo go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
No finer place for sure, downtown
Everything’s waiting for youDon’t hang around and let your problems surround you
There are movie shows downtown
Maybe you know some little places to go to
Where they never close downtownJust listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova
You’ll be dancing with ’em too before the night is over
Happy again
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your caresSo go downtown
Where all the lights are bright, downtown
Waiting for you tonight, downtown
You’re gonna be alright now, downtownDowntown
DowntownAnd you may find somebody kind to help and understand you
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along
So maybe I’ll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares

So go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
Don’t wait a minute more, downtown
Everything is waiting for you, downtown

Downtown (downtown)
Downtown (downtown)
Downtown (downtown)
Downtown (downtown)



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