Showtime for John Saca


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His family has Sacramento in its DNA.  He went to Sacramento State.  His family’s “Filco” stores has been a part of Sacramento for decades.

He’s ambitious, a formative salesman and for a brief moment, he was the prince of Sacramento.

His project “The Towers on Capitol  Mall with two, fifty three story condominiums would have Image result for Northwest corner of 10th and j sacramento  changed the face of and quite possibly the image of  Sacramento.

 This massive  (500 million dollar) project would have been the most expensive in the city’s history.   In contrast, the Golden 1 Center was less than 600 million.  Before one support piling was shoved into the ground, one tower had completely sold out.    Financing for the project collapsed and CalPers reportedly the giant lot at 3rd and Capitol.

The collapse of the Capitol Tower, may have been a good thing for Saca. As the nations real estate market south, selling out the second tower and the rest of te complex would have been a challenge.   Less ambitious projects in midtown struggled for years.

In 2014, nearly seven years after the Capitol Towers project. John Saca said he would build the another Condominium/Hotel project at 10 the J Streets. “The Metropolitan” like the Capitol Towers project,  would be the largest and tallest building of its kind in the city .

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While this is John Saca’s vision for 10th and J Streets

This is what it looks like today

The block on J Street between 10 and 11 is arguably the worst block in downtown Sacramento.  As both sides of the street is filled with vacant boarded up buildings.

One side of the street is Saca’s property on the other side is the former Copenhagen Furniture Store and several other closed and boarded up stores. Copenhagen closed after a fire in the ninties and relocated across town.

Thirty to forty percent of first time visitors to Sacramento, travel down J street to the Convention Center or the Memorial Auditorium. Visitors staying at the popular Citizen Hotel pass by those empty boarded up buildings on route to the convention center.   Finally, after more the twenty years, the city has said enough to the owners of those properties.

Last week the City told Saca, he had until July to move forward with his project or he risks losing his rights to build on that site.   In other words, he would have to start over and reapply.

There are many of us rooting for John Saca, the local boy with a dream.

A former Sacramentian, now living in San Diego resently said about her home town.

 I think it’s safe to say Sacramento is the single most stagnant city on Earth. If New York City is “The City that Never Sleeps,” Sacramento is “The City that Only Gets Up When it Has To.”

Julianna Ress

The tallest single use condominium in Sacramento is the 14 floor Capitol Towers built in the sixes.    While there are several condo projects  on the drawing boards, none are under construction.  Including a smaller mixed used project on the site of  former Saca project at third and Capital.

The newest project atop the new Sawyer hotel adjacent to the Golden One Center has has sold more than half of the condominiums in less then four months.  The units are range in price from $600,000 to 4.1 million. The first homeowners should move in a few weeks

Other cities similar in size to Sacramento have several projects in the sky.  Our leaders in Sacramento, often get it wrong.   They propose expanding a convention center that has never been profitable.   Many cities planted seeds to get the first large projects off the ground.  They saw the benefits of bringing  empty nesters and the well healed back downtown.  Sacramento’s leadership isn’t quite there..

While is original vision did not come to fruition.   To his credit, Saca convinced quite few hundred people in a city with low aspirations. to share his vision.    That says a lot about his abilities as a salesman.

Despite his best efforts, he fouled out.  Locating a lender willing to take a risk on a large project could be daunting.

I am unashamedly a fan.   There are a quite of few of us ,who wants the local guy to put his signature on Sacramento’s bleak skyline.  To believe in Sacramento and people here.  But, everyone starts from START.  I hope he pushes ego aside and secure financing on a smaller project,say,  20 story condo on that site.

If he is the salesman he was in 2006, he will have his sky shattering building in the sky in few years.    The city will work with him, he still has few fans in high places in the city but they are waning.  The Sac Bee reports, neither he or a representative attended the zoning meeting last week  We are  often judged is by our actions.  Can he bring this project forward or is he man with dreams and renderings?

News At 11

CityFella

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LadyBird, LadyBird, LadyBird -(Miscellaneous Ramblings on a well received movie)


 

The little indi movie with the big voice shot in Sacramento* broke wide last weekend expanding to nearly 900 theaters in the US and Canada.

I was interested in Ladybird before I knew what it was.  I assumed it was a movie about the former first lady, Ladybird Johnson.

I’ve seen the movie twice.  Once with a fellow babyboomer and again last Tuesday with five girls who ranged in age , from 17 to 23.    With the one exception everyone has seen the movie before, one girl has seen the movie five times.

 It was interesting seeing the movie from their perspective. Initially I thought the appeal was seeing their hometown, but as I listened to their comments and reactions it was very interesting. the some of the scenes resonated with each lady differently.  There was one scene that moved all of us.  It happened at Terminal A.  Some of the ladies prepared themselves for the scene.  But I was the most surprised by my reaction. Our entire row was a lake of tears, five girls and the giant.  Thankfully they  had ample tissue.

Some of the girls want to see again next Tuesday.   I didn’t commit although they “DO” have the snacks.

  1. It’s a good thing it’s an independent film.  This coming of age film, is honest, and extremely intelligent,    The big studios would have ruined this gem, by adding cliques and touches to appeal to the masses.
  2. Who in the Hell is Saoirse Ronan. She is a fucking force as Ladybird.  The 23 year old has been nominated twice. A Best Supporting Actress nominee for Atonement, and a Best Actress nominee for Brooklyn.  Critics believe she is a shoo in for Ladybird.
  3. Speaking of Buzz there is Oscar buzz for Laurie Metcalf in what some are saying is her role of a lifetime as Ladybirds, hypercritical mother.  Her role is complex, she isn’t a monster, I believe Ladybird gives her oxygen even though she is carrying the entire world on her shoulders .
  4. This movie is the best reviewed movie of 2017.  Don’t take my word for it.  Simply Google “Ladybird” the movie.  The life force behind the movie is first time writer director and former Sacramento resident Greta Gerwig! There isn’t a villain here (sorry Hollywood) simply regular people.
  5. Sucks to be Greta Gerwig, hitting a home run the first time at bat. Expectations for the next film will be high.  There is a small part of me that she would use Sacramento in all her future films like Woody Allen who uses New York as his back drop.

 

CityFella

A series of bad decisions


TURKEYDAY 040

 

I’m in the Wally Mart parking lot . A man who looked like he was going to ask me for money, asked me for money saying he ” Keeps making a series of bad decisions which leaves him without money, like now!   I immediately reached into my pocket to give him money, but all I had was a twenty.  He smiled as he walked away.   As I was walking into the store, I wished I had five dollars to give him.  Who knows what bad decision he made to get him in today’s predicament, drugs, drink or like the rest of us a simple bad decision.

Its often fifty fifty, our decisions.  Will it work, its it a good idea?   Of course there are perfect individuals around us, these people are flawless and very judgmental of others.  These people are delusional and sometime dangerous (45) because some of them are in influential positions. Parents, teachers, members of the clergy who will demand perfection from others when they are flawed.  Damaging some innocents for decades.

I try to avoid perfect individuals. As I am flawed.  A broken egg is a broken egg, I will handle the next egg with special care.  There was a lesson there.   My prayer is to make new  mistakes and not repeating old ones.

Unlike perfect people, I am able to laugh at myself.  I’m human, my fall was stupid, I saw the banana on the ground and I stepped on it anyway.  Now my big ass is on the ground, and my lunch is paste.  NEXT!

The guy in the parking lot will haunt me for a while, but for a good reason.  With so much deceit in the world, the truth is often like a drop of rain in the desert.  It’s soo refreshing but it was only a drop.

CityFella

Big Man Rides @ 2017 Sacramento International Auto Show


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You asked for it and were back “Big Man Rides” and we’ve  invaded the 2017 International Auto Show, a great venue to see what fits a Big Man or plus woman.

Just as a reminder I stand 6.4 and weight over three hundred pounds(a big man!)

The Sacramento International Auto Show is a third tiered auto show.  Its not New York ,Detroit or Los Angeles No new or innovative models No unavailing’s. and many of the manufactures present were not staffed. which is unfortunate.   Missing in Action in Sacramento was Land Rover, Jaguar, Genesis,Mini, Volvo,Mercedes, Cadillac, and Tesla.

Also missing was some new models from Ford and Lincoln.  Ford new Ecosport SUV and the new for 2018 Ford Expedition and Lincoln’s Navigator was shut tight.  The New Buick Regal was missing .

The Good The Bad,  The Ugly and Surprises from the 2017 Sacramento International Auto show

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Crowd Pleasers

People waiting to sit in these vehicles 

1.  Lexus LC5000

2. Acura NSX

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3. Lincoln Continental

4. Chrysler Pacifica

 

For the second year in a row. More people wanted to test drive Fiat/Chrysler Vehicles *

People waiting in lines to test drive the Charger, Challenger, Chrysler 300,Pacifica and Durango

*However, there was no waiting for any of the Fiat’s

The Good

You get for what you pay for and Chevy, Ford and Toyota brought their A game!

America’s Three best selling car makes had professional representatives to answers any and all questions.  With tablets in hand, the representatives could direct show attendees to a dealership near their home.

 

Ford had a giant display and a drive simulator.  At Toyota,well dressed professionals were available to answer questions.  But the nod goes to Chevrolet, the representatives unlike Ford and Toyota were well spaced all over there floor readily available to answer questions about every Chevy on the floor.  I wish they would have featured the well received Bolt.

 

The Bad

White or Grey?

The worst exhibitor by an Elk Grove inch was the local dealer Niello .   The Audi/BMW dealership shared a room with Roseville Infinity.   None  of the vehicles  had power with made seat adjustments impossible.   Neither dealership staffed the exhibit (11am) no one was available to answer questions about these fifty to seventy thousand dollar vehicles.

 

The Ugly

 Alfa Romeo has returned to the american market after a 20 years absence.

These sexy beasts were left in the lots at Niello

 Someone at Niello,thought randomly placing a bland white Giulia with an Irish leaf on the Italian car near the Honda exhibit, was a good idea .

“Surprises” 

Honda introduced an all new Odyssey for 2018.  But if Sacramento is an indication, the year old Chrysler Pacifica was the clearly the crowd favorite.

 

 

Family Wars 

All new Honda Accord vs Toyota Camry

 

 

 

Both cars are handsome. Cost cutting is more evident in the Accord, it seems narrow. While the Camry has more front seat room, leg and width, the Accord has more rear leg room.  Camry’s Interior is absolutely un Camry, its sexy.  (did I say that?)

 

Lil Sleeper 2018 Honda Fit

 

I didn’t!    you might.  I was able to get in this tiny car and close the door.  That says a lot.   If your a big guy and not 6.4, this car may be worth a look.   Inside with the rear seats down is amazing.

 

Biggest Surprise

2018 Subaru Impreza 

Subaru?  The 2018 may not look much different than the 2017. However its all new on a new platform.  I was very surprised by the front leg room (Sorry Accord) and the room overall. The build quality is German like and for 2018 Subaru offers Apple car play and Android Auto.  When you factor in all wheel drive 38 on the highway and Subaru’s reputation for safety for less the 25K  and its good looking.   For singles and small families who occasionally travel to Tahoe or Reno.  This is da Stuff!

 

“No dark Interiors”

2018 Chevrolet Traverse

 

 

Clean lines, roomy, and no dark boring interiors

 

Volkswagen Up’s its the ante 

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2018 Tiguan

 

They may have a winner in the 3 row midsize SUV  The 2018 Atlas is extremely roomy.  My 6’1 friend sat in the third row and lived.

 

Takeways 

Room to Spare

Cars made by General Motors ( Buick Cadillac Chevrolet GMC)   Hyundai (Kia)  Volkswagen ( Audi Porsche Volkswagen) on average seem to have a bit more leg/ hip room then the other automakers

 

Interiors (Something other than Black) 

BMW  Hyundai (Kia)  Lexus  Volkswagen  General Motors

 

“Big Man Rides”

Were back, we will be testing cars beginning with The Chevy Bolt.

 

 

 

Policing: Its not just Black and White


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Tone

  1. a musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength. “the piano tone appears monochrome or lacking in warmth”

synonyms: timbre,sound,sound quality, voice, voice quality,color tonality “tone             of the tuba”

  1. the general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, situation,etc. “trust            her to lower the tone of the conversation”

synonyms: mood, air,spirit, feel ,sound,flavor, note, attitude, character, nature,              manner, temper;

 

The Tale of Two Communities

A large backyard barbecue, the crowd overflowing into the garage and the front yard. The homeowners are in their late forties.  Alcohol fueled aggression and loud talking resulted into a complaint call by someone in the neighborhood.   Two Sacramento County Sheriff Cars Arrived with lights flashing, a few minutes later a third car arrived.

One man in the garage is agitated by the presence of the officers. The homeowner and a women attempt  to calm him.  As they were talking to him, others ,seeing the flashing lights came out of the backyard.    As one family was leaving, an officer yelled at them and told to stand near the fence.   The women said they were going home.  Another women in the crowd screamed at the officer, ” they ani’t doing nothing why cant they go home? Another officer calmly asked  them to wait.    This irritated some  of the people watching.  Some of them said, the first officer had an attitude and was unnecessarily aggressive.  Within a couple of minutes other Sheriff cars appeared.    While some members of the party were quietly leaving,others were angrily talking to the officers.  One young man, fueled by alcohol began shouting at the officers and two officers restrained him. They eventually released him.   After 30 minutes, it was all over.

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In another community,  Homeowners in the mid fifties.  A wedding party went later than planned.  Late night alcohol fueled aggression and excessive noise party resulted into a complaint call by one of the neighbors.

My friend said their were no flashing lights as the police car arrived. The officer asked to speak to the homeowner.     There was a lot of loud music in the backyard.  As the officer passed me, he said good evening.   He and the owner asked people to quiet down in the backyard,the music was turned off.    One man, who could barely stand, swore at the officer. Another attendee, started yelling at a young man who was siting at a table threatening him.    As I was watching this unfold,another officer arrived, he was very pleasant and stood silently in the backyard  as the other officer unsuccessfully attempted to calm the yelling man down.    He then spoke to the out of control man, he wasn’t loud or threatening but he was firm.  It seemed to work.

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There is a different approach, a different tone used by officers in  lower income areas. Some of the officers are aggressive and often disrespectful to members of the community.  As a result, members of that community are often hostile to the officers.

There are some officers who are intimidated by people of color. Some are predisposed to believe they will face hostility in these neighborhoods.  Its not uncommon to see police officers with the guns drawn in these neighborhoods, in front of women and children.

If your a resident of an upper middle income neighborhoods, you cant relate to citizens in lower middle class neighborhood.   You may even assume  those people are predisposed to violence and perhaps the police are justified in their actions.

If you live in a low or middle income community. If you haven’t experienced an negative interaction with law enforcement, there is a good chance you’ve heard or know someone who has.

 Adding fuel to the mistrust of police officers are the constant reports of unarmed black ,latino and poor whites being shot and killed by the police.

There some white officers who fear or mistrust people of color.   The tone and body language is aggressive.  In Sacramento, the makeup of the police and sheriff departments do not reflect the community they serve.

  Also missing is education, people often fear the things and people they don’t understand.  Members of nearly all police department across the country. Could benefit from education about various minority groups.  For example, many groups, cultures, talk loudly and aggressively. For some, outside the culture may find this intimidating.

One would think with multi million dollar payouts to citizens.  Cities leaders would be actively looking for a solution.  But this isn’t happening.    Most cities are reactive, putting out destructive wild fires.   Community meeting are short lived, fading within months.

Change is difficult, our world is changing, a compromised is needed.  But the tone has to change. It is in the best interest of the cities to encourage and support ongoing dialogue bridging not only in law enforcement and the people they serve but cities leadership. As there are some elected officials who are out of touch with segments of their community.

EVERY member of law enforcement (not just department heads) should be required to attend an community meeting twice a year to meet interested citizens.  Public Notices of these meetings should be in all forms of  media to encourage participation.

Yes, there is a cost to this.  The City of Sacramento and other cities across the country pay over a billion dollars a year settling claims and the amount are increasing each year.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the country are struggling.  Some cities are struggling to recruit officers. Others are struggling to retain officers.  Many officers and police unions believe they’re being asked too much and  feel they are under attack.

The solution is daunting.

CityFella

SACTOautoPILOT: Is the Filet O’ Fish Fresh?


Two for Five

Not sure if the lady at the Northgate Macdonalds realized she was using her outer voice as she was standing in line.  She really likes, the Filet O’ Fish and thought she would get two of those.  Then she said ooh, “a quarter pounder with cheese”  

SHOWTIME!!!   I want a sprite, no orange, no a LARGE sprite.   I want two Filet O’ Fish , hey when did they bring the fish in?    Huh, said the cashier?  “When did they bring the fish in-is it fresh”  I don’t know, he said.   Okay, then I want one Filet O’ Fish and One Quarter Pounder with cheese.     Using MY inner voice, I wondered why she didn’t ask how fresh the beef was?

The Child of Truth!

A nicely dressed man standing in line at the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, was a bit dingetta. It was badd  Normally, when I encounter a dull breeze, I go to another line.  That wasn’t an option at this store.    Everyone behind him except one women diverted their noses.  A child about four or five squeezed through the line and as he passed the man held his nose and said ooh you stink!     

 

 

Old Sacramento Deserves More Than a Notion


 

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Sacramento’s Premier tourist destination is in need of more than occasional attention from the city.  The number of for rent signs seems to be increasing monthly.   On the weekends the area is bustling with tourist, in horse drawn carriages and filling the restaurants.  During the week there are few tourists and with fewer businesses  available. The biggest crime is there is  no compelling reasons for locals to visit.  Many of the existing businesses seem to be struggling, many have shorten their operating hours.

At one time Old Sacramento was an entertainment destination, with several night spots and restaurants.     When I moved here in the mid nineties one could hear live Jazz, rock and roll and blues as you walked through the alleys.  It was a destination for all ages.

Old Sac ,is the home of the Old Sacramento Dixieland Jazz Jubilee now Sacramento Music Festival bringing thousands to the area during the Memorial day weekend.  The event, sponsored by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society has drawn significantly smaller crowds in recent years and may benefit from hotel tax funds to pay for higher profile acts.

There was a time when there were several evening venues in Old Sac. Today, most of the evening venues are centered in mid-town, leaving a hole these venues attract a young demographic.  In fact, there is an absence of  venues for those older than forty in Sacramento.

Today old Sac is the home of Candy Stores, and Tattoo Parlors.  At night its a haven for teenagers who don’t have the spending capital to keep businesses afloat after dark.  The fast food chain Carl’s Jr closed a few years ago.

Abandoned

If you do not maintain a lawn or a building it will eventually fail

In many ways Sacramento is still a small town.  The city is more than one hundred square miles and it cant seem to focus on more than one area at time.   Old Sacramento has been dying for sometime. Ask any of the long time merchants.  City leaders have explored ideas and moved on to something other than Old Sacramento.

Mayor Steinberg said: “We need to brand this place as a vibrant part of the city experience,”  “I want to explore possibilities.”  

Vague discussions of waterfalls, rebranding and water for adult toes and barge concerts is a clear indication the city doesn’t get it.

Old Sac has many of the pieces in place.   The upper levels of some of the building with balconies could be converted meeting space, where weddings could be held year round. Those meeting/weddings would then support the hotels and restaurants in the area. Similar to Savannah Georgia and New Orleans French Quarter  The areas desperately needs one or two small chain hotels with meeting space.  With architecture that mimics the buildings in the area.   Add more live work lofts in the area and many of the buildings could host small concerts and events.

This historic area deserves more than an occasional idea or consultant.  It is where Sacramento began, where people traded gold on the waterfront.   For many it is the first impression of Sacramento.   As Fisherman’s Wharf is to San Francisco or Times Square is to New York.

For Old Sacramento to be successful. It must have dedicated city department with a consortium of merchants, property owners and qualified city staffers to help develop and maintain the area.

Old Sacramento deserves more than a notion

CityFella