Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York for nearly four years(a part time New Yorker). I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993.
Like many family we moved to Sacramento to own a home, I didn’t want to move to the burbs away from central city.
The biggest adjustment was the heat, the second were the people.
Unlike San Francisco, people are approachable here.
We settled in South Natomas, we liked the diversity, it seemed every other family was interracial like my own and there was a large gay presence and while we loved South Natomas , I found the rest of the city bland. There was little night life and every other restaurant was a chain. If I wanted to see people off the grid (people with blue spiked hair ) I had to go to midtown, the Alhambra Safeway was my late night office.
By 1994, I knew I had made a colossal mistake and I was clear, once my children became adults, it was back to San Francisco or New York.
But something happened,the city matured, today there are many options. Midtown and downtown have exploded. No longer do I go into a panic when a friend visits from out of town, today a lot of my friends are amazed… today I hear, “I didn’t know Sacramento had all this going on!
While the city is slowly becoming a true urban center. The city suffers from low self-esteem , locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. There is little pride here. Sacramentians often refer to their city as a cowtown.
Sacramento is a fantastic place, there is something for everyone. There are many larger cities who do not have our art scene. Theater is huge here, for slightly more than a movie ticket one can enjoy the magic of live theater. From Placerville, to Roseville, theater is alive. So is Ballet. Downtown and midtown is alive with dance clubs. Miles of bike trails, two rivers, outdoor recreation within minutes of the city.
I have always had an interest in politics. At 15, I was elected to the youth commission which its similar to the city council.. There was a time in this country when you could be drafted for the war at 18 and not allowed to vote. I protested against this and the Vietnam war . Campaigned for George Mc Govern precinct walked while I was in high school.
Ran and held office in college. Involved in many grass roots organizations, included one that limited the height of skyscrapers in San Francisco. If I lived in any city more than a week, I got Involved .
I have voted for candidates in the Green Party, voted Democratic and Republican. I could be called a conservative-middle of the road-liberal. (I wish people read more- people tend to quote TV and radio pundits often forgetting they are paid entertainment.)
In Sacramento, I was involved with Neighborhood Associations and various school districts as well as other city,county, and state organizations.
The City of Sacramento is in desperate need of a visionaries. Individuals who can see beyond downtown and the shiny building in other cities. The has most of the pieces to become a great city, what it doesn’t have is focus. The leaders have been complacent for the most part relying on state for employment of its citizens.
Much of the city’s attention has been on downtown. While Sacramento focus its attention on K Street and Arena, companies continue to bypass the city in favor of the burbs. First to Roseville, the Folsom and later to Rancho Cordova and now West Sacramento.
Many many years ago, there were visionaries, they planted the trees we now enjoy in midtown. They closely developed the old neighborhoods, Oak Park, Land Park and its great park,and McKinley Park in East Sacramento
Sacramento ranks near the bottom for business and repairing that very important link for business, to make the city more attractive to business doesn’t seem to be a priority for the city.
Sacramento ranked 21st out of 23 Western metropolitan areas in the latest rankings of small-business climates across the West.
On Numbers’ annual Western small-business rankings, which are based on a formula that considers factors such population growth, employment growth and local concentrations of small businesses. A small business is defined as any private-sector company with 99 or fewer employees.
Some city leaders believe a National Sports Franchise are key to making this city great. Millions has been spent on retaining the Sacramento Kings. Lost is the importance of an educated work force,i.e good schools and University’s.
The importance of business friendly environment, that makes business want to open in your city. New business bring revenue in the form of taxes. Revenue that could pay police and fire.
Before Arden Fair Mall, before Florin Mall, Sunrise Mall, and the Roseville Galleria, people lived downtown. So was retail. When the middle class left downtown for the burbs retail followed. When the middle class returns to downtown retail will follow. Not sure how or why that equation was missed.
Enter Visionary, John Saca. His planned twin 53 story condos on Capital Mall surprised the leaders. He knew there was a market in the capitol of the ninth largest economy in the world . One tower complete sold out. While construction costs killed the project. John Saca proved there was a market downtown.
Another Visionary, who have left his mark downtown is David Taylor. He and his team of associates brought entertainment to K Street. The entertainment venues* have brought new life on the once dark section.
Sacramento has the pieces ,what it need is leadership and visionaries to bring those pieces together to take this city of nearly a half million people to the next level .
The people of Sacramento
Its easy to have a negative view of your city if you never leave that city. There are many San Franciscans, New Yorkers and Parisians who have a negative view of their city . I leave the state of California every five weeks.
Back in 2006, Time magazine said Sacramento was the most integrated city in America.
Each time I return home I appreciate the diversity we have here. I smile when I see the different cultures and races merge.
In some cities the lines are firmly drawn, being the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time is deadly. There are few places beyond retail where people of different backgrounds come together.
There are issues here, misunderstandings and even hate. But not to the degree of most cities I have visited. Its not unusual to see many hues in social venues in Sacramento. Heterosexuals and Homosexuals coexists in Faces, a gay dance club.
For many who live within the city limits difference isn’t feared, its celebrated, the problem is, good or bad, for Sacramentians dont know it… Its simply normal here.
People are kind here and smile back when smile at and its the smiles that makes Sacramento my home.