The Sacramento Convention Center: Bad Money


Image result for new sacramento convention center

 

An Old Updated Joke

A man walks into a Pet Store he is immediately drawn to the sounds of a parakeet.  Who resides in this large elaborate cage.   It was love at first sight, he had to have the bird.

The price was unimportant, he buys the bird and a small cage.

Arriving home, he clears a special place in the center of the room for the cage.   He was excitedly awaiting for the bird to sing..  But the bird sat in silence on its perch.  Hours passed. Perhaps it was the new surroundings?  After a few hours the owner, thought the bird would be happier if the cage was similar to the cage in the pet store.   

So he grabbed his keys and drove to the pet store and bought the large elaborate cage that was on display at the store.  Even in it’s familiar surroundings the bird remained silent.   He returned to pet store with his cell phone and at great expense bought every item in the cage and with his cell phone he took a picture so he could correctly stage the cage.    Within minutes the cage looked exactly like the one in the store and yet the bird didn’t sing.     So the owner walked away from the cage and left the bird alone.   After a few hours, the owner was exasperated and screamed at the bird.   I have given you everything, why wont you SING!  The bird slowly opened its mouth and said, FOOD!

_______________________________________________________________

In mid seventies, The City of Sacramento opened the Convention Center.  Leaders said the Center would generate millions of dollars for the city.   Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned, the center was losing money.  Some believed a hotel of size, near the center would help generate business.

In 1988, the Hyatt Regency opened, it would be the largest hotel in the city with 503 rooms. The City of Sacramento subsidized the project.

Andy Plescia, deputy executive director of the city/county agency refers to as “a $13.3-million investment that’ll return about $28.5 million to local government within the decade.”  Those returns will come in the form of tax revenues, a lease-back parking arrangement involving the city government, the city/county agency and the developers, and from expected land sale profits (under the terms of the 55-year ground-site lease, developers may opt to buy the property outright after the ninth year). Sam Burns, director of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, thinks the Hyatt Regency will help attract another 25,000 convention delegates a year and generate $1 million in room tax for the city and $25 million for the local economy.

Once again, with the new hotel the convention center didn’t come close to generating those ambitious numbers for the city.   The good news the city did eventually make a profit after the hotel was sold.

In the nineties, the money losing center was expanded again.  Operators said, the  convention center was too small and not competitive with other centers.  According to”Eye on Sacramento” the City loaned the Center 7.5 million to cover negative cash flows.

 Convention center operators said the center said it needed another component to become profitable. The twenty five story Sheraton Grand opened 2001 across the street from the center.  With all the expansions and additions, what the center needs was CUSTOMERS.

*In the last 17 years, the Center has lost an astounding $268 million taxpayers dollars!  $51 million in the last three years!

At 87% Sacramento currently spends nearly twice as much of its hotel taxes on the Convention Center than other cities. (The average is 45%) San Francisco’s spends 11%.

The Sacramento Convention Center is Sacramento’s “White Elephant”. Despite all the additions remains a drain on the city.    With 87% of the hotel taxes going to the city, Sacramento has virtually no funds to promote tourism.

Eye on Sacramento says:  City staff  presented the council with a staff report that relied heavily on the city’s primary convention center consultant ,the firm of Conventions, Sports and Leisure International (CS&L).  City staff cherry-picked data and findings from the CS&L study, but failed miserably to provide council members with crucial findings in the CS&L study that clearly states that an expansion of the Convention Center is not needed nor justified  given market conditions.

In short, the city council was mislead by its staff into believing that its principal conventions center consultant was solidly in favor of the proposed expansion,when, in fact, it was opposed to it.

If this is true, then there are larger issues in City Hall.  

The Vote to expand the center last December was unanimous!   Mayor and council members approved Two hundred forty million dollars to expand the Convention Center.  Which included adding a large ballroom to the plans .  The convention center will be closed for 18 months so work can be done quicker than initially planned and to renovate the Community Center Theater. 

The city reiterated that its general fund will not be used to pay off the debt.  That’s far from the truth.  If the convention center is unable to make its payments, the city has to cover the shortfall.

From the renderings, the new center and theater will be beautiful.  Mayor Steinberg said: We are going to have a convention center and a community center theater that is equal to the vision of our great city.   

Sacramento is a great city, over five hundred thousand people live within its boundaries.  Like any other city Sacramento has many other needs.  Cities build convention centers to generate income for the city.

As a business model ,the Sacramento Convention Center is a poor investment with little or no benefit to the majority of its citizens.  If the Convention Center was operated by a private entity, the owners would have longed walked away from the project.

It is no secret, The Sacramento Convention Center is a drain on the city and yet those charged with expenditures in the city unanimously approved spending 240 million dollars towards upgrading and expanding something that had never worked.    In a city who’s budget is already at its limits due to increased pension costs.   

City leaders often get it wrong. If they have one in Anaheim, we want one too.  Prestige at any cost to the city.  It doesn’t have to make sense, as long as we get one, just reach into the bottomless taxpayer cookie jar.    The Sacramento Convention Center is a forty year old joke, that’s not funny.  They’ve done everything imaginable to make it competitive with other convention centers in the state, and based on its history, it will be state of the art and has everything except CLIENTS.

CityFella

*Eye on Sacramento

Advertisements

End of the line for Sac’s Riverfront Street Car ?


The Trump administration isn’t keen on Public Transportation.  The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is not distributing money earmarked  for public transit.  Many projects in cities across the nation including Sacratomatoville are waiting for federal funding have hit Trumps Wall      Nearly 2 billion dollars is on hold.   Construction has already begun in some cities awaiting funding to complete the projects.

The FTA says the reason the projects haven’t received funding is because they aren’t yet ready. The Transportation Department hasn’t set a specific date when the funds will be released.   Many communities are hesitant to complain because it could result from in future delays.

In 2015, the astute citizens of Sacramento rejected the ridiculous  ( measure B ) 4.4mile street car line between West Sacramento and Midtown called the Riverfront Street Car Project.   The 100 million dollar line duplicates existing bus routes operated by Yolo County and Regional Transit.

Image result for crazy town gif

 Undaunted by the defeat, Council Member Steve Hansen and company went looking for extra funding for the project.   Shortly after the election he told the Bee  “We have identified all but $30 million of the funding we need, and we will work to find that $30 million.”

Did they? 

One of the challenges for Sacramento and a few other cities is funding. Transit agencies have to round up funding for the rest of the project, get agreements with contractors and other third parties, develop cost estimates and prove that they can manage a project of its scope. Then the FTA reviews the projects and rates them. Projects must earn a “medium” rating to obtain funding. To qualify for  Trump dollars, cities need to secure all of its non-federal funding first.    Sacramento hasn’t, as a result the project is in jeopardy.

 According to Eye on Sacramento, The California Transportation Commission provided 25 million dollars and the 30 million dollar rejected by the voters?  May come from the Cap and Trade funds.

Where did the money come to work on the project, thus far?

 

Image result for questions gif

 

These desperate times for supporters of Downtown Riverfront Street Car Project.  Failure to meet all the requirements could mean the end of the line.   Last December, the group representing  the Downtown  Riverfront Street car requested for 3.5 million dollars in Proposition A1 funds from the cash strapped Sacramento Regional Transit District.

Proposition 1A (High Speed Rail Act 2008)  bond proceeds are to made available for capital projects on other passenger rail lines to provide connectivity to the high-speed train system and for capacity enhancements and safety improvements to those lines.

RT’s  Board of Directors denied the request. It would consider releasing the 3.5 million dollars after the Federal Transportation District approved the project.

The issue for RT is if the street car financing isn’t nailed down, those fund may not be available for other projects.  The Street Car project was an agenda item at last weeks RT meeting.

News at 11

 

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for crazy town gif

 

Street Cars: Trump Delays funding on Sacramento’s next White Elephant


Image result for white elephant

white elephant (def)  a possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.

 

 2015, Supporters of  Sacramento’s measure B told us.  Sacramento would  benefit all our neighborhoods by improving mobility between midtown, downtown, and West Sacramento with an affordable transit system that is authentically Sacramento.   Measure B would improve our economy. Streetcars create a vibrant local economy, which means more small businesses and more jobs in downtown and midtown.  The streetcar project will help create 12,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in economic development over 20 years and will allow seniors, students, visitors, workers, and central city residents to go car-free.

Those opposed to Measure B said, the streetcar project would operate at an enormous annual loss. Ticket sales are expected to cover about 20% of cost of operation; the other 80% will require a subsidy.  The shortfall will likely come from the City’s General Fund, reducing local services such as parks, bike lanes, street repairs, the homeless, and police.  It runs on, or near, the same Streets served by existing light rail and buses.

November 2015: Measure B, didn’t receive the required ( two thirds) required to pass the tax increase.

Despite its failure, Mayor Steinberg and other city leaders continued to press on. The voter rejected project received funding from the state and a 100 million dollar  commitment from Congress.  The Riverfront streetcar project grew in size, from 3.3 miles to 4.4 miles ending at West Sacramento’s City Hall.

The arguments against the project in 2015, continues to be true in 2018.  The proposed route continue to be served by buses and light rail.   While there are more housing along the routes, no one has identified need.

What we do know!

If completed, the route will require a subsidy.   Regional Transit, is looking for riders.

In the last 12 months, Regional Transit has seen more than 2 million fewer bus and light-rail trips compared to the year before, a 10 percent loss. That adds up to a more than $800,000 deficit in fare revenue.  The hope was the Golden 1 Center would attract more customers, but a year after opening and a year after rate hikes, RT just isn’t seeing the impact (CBS Sacramento January 2018)

Nearly four years ago, Regional Transit opened the Green Line from Downtown to Richards Boulevard (Township 9)   Today the line carries fewer than estimated 200 passengers a day is a drain on RT.

Sacramento along with Albuquerque, Dallas, El Paso, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Orange County, Reno, Seattle, Gary,Indiana, St. Petersburg ,Florida and Tempe Arizona.  Recently learned, the funds approved by Congress in March is being held up by President Trump’s Federal Transit Administration.

Thank you, Donald?

It isn’t clear why the Trump’s administration halted transportation funding. If his administration re evaluated the methods used for cities to qualify for funding, then this is a positive move for tax payers.   If the project is completely funded, Sacramento’s Riverfront  street car line will be a financial drain on Sacramento and the cities served by RT on day one.

Its only taxpayer money, the project doesn’t have to make fiscal sense.  Fiscal independent studies aren’t important, history or profitability isn’t important (Sacramento Convention Center) If Des Moines have one, well our city should have one too.

CityFella

Legal Chinese Discrimination in Sacramento


 

Related image

The Story is the same, individuals immigrating to the United States with the hope of having a better life.

Immigrants from China were unique, unlike other groups where families immigrated to the United States most of the Chinese immigrants were single males.  They were considered cheap labor, because these workers didn’t utilize hospitals and schools.  Chinese workers were often sought out because they would work for less.   At one point in California, Chinese men represented nearly a quarter of all wage earners in the state.

Some people believed Chinese workers  were taking jobs from white people.  Starting in the mid 1880’s there were laws created to exclude Chinese immigrants.  Communities throughout the west created statutes designed to drive out Chinese immigrants.   In 1882, President Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, this law prevented  immigration of Chinese laborers.

Shortly after the law passed some citizens took matters into their own hand to drive out Chinese immigrants.  Hundreds of Chinese were killed throughout the west.   The goal was to intimidate the Chinese so that they would return to China. With the law intact, many employers illegally hired Chinese workers.

In Sacramento, mysterious fires were set in Chinatown to drive them away.  Local newspapers wrote stories suggesting the Chinese brought disease to Sacramento.  Sacramento’s Chinatown was located on I Street between 2nd to Sixth Street.  The city was mostly successful in dismantling  Chinatown.  The Railyard covers most of what was  Chinatown.

Chinese immigrants played a major role in developing the Western United States, from the Intercontinental Railroad to Sacramento Valley Levees.   The Exclusion Act was remained law until its repeal in 1943.

This was an ugly period in America.  Lets hope we’ve learned from it.

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

Sex under the Capitol Dome: State Senator Tony Mendoza resigns


 

 

Related image

The Me Too\We Said Enough movement is rocking the Golden Dome of California’s State Capitol. Last October a letter circulated by lobbyists, female lawmakers and legislative staff members and some political consultants cited a pervasive culture of harassment in the capitol.  Sexual harassment is common and sexual assaults have taken place in the Capitol.

While some staffers have come forward, many are still afraid to name to harassers as others experienced retaliation after filing formal complaints with the Legislature. 

Unlike state employees and your employer, legislative workers have no civil service protection.

Bills to provide them with whistle blower protection against retaliation has died in the Legislature four years in a row.

Under a new process instituted this year, the Assembly Rules Committee refers complaints deemed valid to an independent law firm — legislators say they believe that will speed the process of assisting victims.

Ten allegations of sexual harassment are pending before the Assembly, according to Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office.

A wave in the dome is in motion and slowly building strength.

_____________________________

Image result for raul bocanegra

In November, Los Angeles Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra resigned after six women came forward with stories of aggressive attacks by Bocanegra dating back nearly 10 years.  In 2009, Bocanegra  had been disciplined by the Legislature following allegations that he had groped a fellow legislative staffer. In 2010, he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at the MIX Nightclub in Sacramento. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-bocanegra-accusation-harassment-20171120-story.html

______________________________

Related image

A week later, Assemblyman Matt Dababneh representing Woodland Hills resigned. After Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez came forward.   Lopez claimed in 2016, Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh followed her into a bathroom in Las Vegas, masturbated in front of her and urged her to touch him.

Another woman, Jessica Yas Barker, alleged that Dababneh routinely spoke of his sexual exploits and made disparaging comments about women while she worked as his subordinate office from June 2009 until December 2010.  Dababneh said, both allegations are false.

In an interview Dababneh said,”My stepping down isn’t out of guilt or out of fear. It’s out of an idea that I think it’s time for me to move on to new opportunities”

______________________________________________

Image result for pending gif

Image result for cristina garcia

Allegations are growing for Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia from Bell Gardens.  Garcia is one of the faces of the #MeToo movement in government.  Garcia, who is currently on a voluntary unpaid leave of absence as the Assembly investigate the charges.

In 2014, Daniel Fierro told POLITICO as a 25-year-old staffer to Assemblyman Ian Calderon, he was groped by Garcia. He said she cornered him alone after the annual Assembly softball game in Sacramento as he attempted to clean up the dugout. Fierro, who said Garcia appeared inebriated, said she began stroking his back, then squeezed his buttocks and attempted to touch his crotch before he extricated himself and quickly left.

Fierro is not the only one claiming improper advances by Garcia. A prominent Sacramento lobbyist says she also accosted him in May 2017, when she cornered him, made a graphic sexual proposal, and tried to grab his crotch at a political fundraiser. He spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals.

The lobbyist, who represents a major industry association, said that Garcia appeared to have been drinking heavily at a fundraiser hosted by Governor Jerry Brown for state Senator Josh Newman at the de Veres bar in Sacramento. He said he was heading out the door in part to avoid the assemblywoman — who had been increasingly “flirtatious” and had called him on a few occasions before for late night drinks which he repeatedly declined.  She spotted him and said,“Where are you going?” the lobbyist said.

“She came back and was whispering real close and I could smell the booze and see she was pretty far gone,’’ he said. “She looked at me for a second and said, “I’ve set a goal for myself to fuck you.”

At that point, Garcia “stepped in front of me and reaches out and is grabbing for my crotch,’’ he said. That was “the line in the sand,” according to the lobbyist, and he stopped her. “I was four inches from her, eyeball to eyeball — and I said, ‘That ain’t gonna happen.’”

But his account of the groping incident was corroborated by another high profile political operative in Sacramento, who declined to be named for publication. She said at the time the lobbyist was both angered and “humiliated” by the encounter, and disturbed that his sexual rejection of Garcia could have implications for his industry.

Both she — and the lobbyist — believe it may already have.

The Cristina Garcia sexual-harassment scandal expanded when J. David Kernick then a field representative to Garcia,  engaged in a night of heavy drinking and urged about a half-dozen staffers to play spin the bottle, the game in which players end up kissing.

Garcia “was seemingly not critical of [Kernick’s] work until after he questioned the appropriateness of her suggestion that after a fundraiser at a whiskey bar that [he] sit on the floor of her hotel room and play spin the bottle,”

In  his complaint to the State Fair Housing and Employment. Kernick said that after “protesting this sexual harassment,” he was written up for insubordination and fired. Kernick said the write-up prevented him from finding another job in politics.

____________________________

 

 

Image result for tony mendoza

Yesterday, Democratic State Senator Tony Mendoza representing Los Angeles resigned hours before a possible vote to expel him .

Senator Mendoza’s has denied the accusations made by six women and said the investigation was unfair, illegal and racially motivated.  He say’s he intends to sue.

The Attorneys conducting the investigation concluded that Senator Mendoza “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as offering a 19-year-old intern alcohol in a hotel suite at a Democratic event, suggesting a young woman in a Senate fellowship take a vacation with him and rent a room in his house, and asking several women about their romantic lives.

The investigation found that Mendoza likely engaged in unwanted “flirtatious or sexually suggestive” behavior with six women, including four subordinates, a lobbyist and a young woman in a fellowship with another lawmaker.

He is the third California lawmaker to resign over sexual misconduct allegations since the #MeToo movement erupted nationally last fall, leading millions of women to share their experiences on social media.

The events surrounding the 46 year old married Senator sounds more like “Dynasty” than the Real Housewives.   

Three of Mendoza’s aids were fired after meeting with  the Senate Rules Committee staff and detailed allegations that Mendoza engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior with his district director Ava Perez.
Multiple sources told The Sacramento Bee that Mendoza,  invited the young woman back to his place to review resumes, including hers, on the night of a party at the Mix Nightclub Downtown. The woman, Ana Perez worked as a fellow in his office through a prestigious Sacramento State program that places graduates in legislative offices for 11 months
At least two of his aides complained about the way Mendoza’s district director, Perez treated them. One questioned why she was even working for the Senate given her felony record for lying to a grand jury to cover up campaign finance fraud in Commerce, sources said.
Mendoza has repeatedly denied firing the aids for complaining.  As for Perez and her criminal background, he believes in second chances.  As for the outstead aids, they are silenced by confidentially agreements.  Its not uncommon for aids to sign such agreements.

I’m leaving, but not QUIETLY!

In a Richard Nixon-esk exit.   Mendoza went after the leader of the Senate and former roomate  Kevin de Leon in his resignation letter.

“Its clean that de Leon will not rest until he has my head on a platter to convince the MeeToo movement of his sincerity in supporting the cause.

He wrote, that he wasn’t able to see the evidence against him and was ordered to remain silent about the allegations. He said he couldn’t get a fair hearing with so many of his fellow Democrats running for higher office and thinking about their own political futures.   He called the Senate’s process farcical and  “more likely than not” was a low standard of proof that didn’t merit a penalty as high as expulsion.
He said, he might run for his seat in the fall

 

_________________________

Related image

Hear the stories, plan your defense,see the letter Click on the link below

 https://www.wesaidenough.com/home

 

 

 

Greed: Sacramento


 

Image result for apartments in sacramento

If your a renter in Sacramento, you more than a bit worried these days.  The rumors are true.  Rents  are on the rise in a big way.  Not in small increments but several hundred dollars a month.   Gia lived in her Pocket area apartment with her daughter for 15 years, re-signing her lease was a simple formality until last October. Her landlord would only agree to a month to month lease.   Her rent increased $150.00 a month and by December it was raised from $1220 a month to $1445.    She is currently in the process of moving to Woodland, her new landlord agreed to a one year lease.

There are many Gia’s in Sacramento, many are worried.   In many cities, with rent control or rent stabilization, landlords are only permitted to raise the rent significantly if there are major capital improvements, otherwise they are limited to a percentage.

Sacramento, isn’t Santa Monica, San Francisco or New York.  There are no laws preventing rent gouging, allowing landlords to increase rents to the moon and beyond.

Gia isn’t out of her old apartment, 15 years is quite a challenge.   She loved her old apartment, it was a 10 minute drive to her job in Elk Grove.   On this day she is bitter and angry. As she cleared her dining room, her landlord moved in new counter tops, new linoleum and a new dishwasher,something she asked for five years ago, she says its more than a slap in the face .

Its clear, there are people who can afford sixteen hundred dollars for a one bedroom apartment.  New apartments are opening in midtown every month with new tenants paying upward of $2300 a month.  Between 2016 and 2017 Sacramento had the highest year over year rent increases than any city in the nation.

These rent increases have displaced many Sacramentians and is contributing to the cities homeless population.  Throughtout the city, owners are increasing rent by 40% and higher, adding no more than a can of paint. Simply because they can. Welcome to the new gold rush. Greed: Sacramento.

 

CityFella

 

 

 

2018 Women’s March Sacramento : The Cap is off the bottle and will NOT be replaced


2018WomensMarchsac (17)

 

Signs of the times

 

January 20, 2017, the nation was stunned.  Donald Trump, a man accused by several women of sexual misconduct was now President of the United States . The signs a year ago was about women’s health, the uncertainty about the ACA, and anger and frustration about the new president.

2017

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

   20,000 Participants

2018

In 2018, the theme is Women taking control.  Women empowering other women to run for office.  Voting, registering other women  and making a real difference in this years midterm elections.   If you listened, and read the signs.  There wasn’t an endorsement of a political party.  But the overall message was vote!! There where many men supporting  “MeToo”  movement

2018WomensMarchsac (8)

 

 

 

2018WomensMarchsac

 

 

2018WomensMarchsac (4)

 

2018womensmatch (4)

 

 

2018womensmatch (6)

36,000 Participants