The Men in Charge of Sacramento's Students -- and Their Future Plans for Educating Them

What do these two men have in common?

They're both pretty new to Sacramento (one came from Fresno, the other from Dallas).

They've both been on the job for less than a year.

They're in charge of managing thousands of students in the City of Sacramento, educating them from pre-K to Grade 14 and making them workforce-ready.

They've looked, listened and learned about the schools they run, and now they're ready to roll out their new initiatives for making public education in Sacramento better.

Come listen to Jorge Aguilar, Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District, and Michael Gutierrez, President of Sacramento City College, talk about what they've learned in their first year on the job, and how they're planning to school us going forward.

Go to the event details.

Sacramento Style: What Is It? Do We Have It Yet?

The movie Lady Bird brought a lot of attention to Sacramento. Soon after its release last fall, California's capital was written up as a travel destination in the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. So now that the spotlight is on us, have we arrived as a destination and place to visit/live/exist?

Listen to the podcast of our "Sacramento Style" discussion we held last month with some of Sacramento's taste-makers and trend-setters talking about what that style exactly is, or isn't in the city's fashion, decor, architecture, and how Sacramentans dress, decorate and live. Do we have a signature style yet, or are we still coming into our own?

This photo (thanks, Phoebe!) includes some of our stylish panelists, including (from left to right) Josie Lee of Rire Boutiques; Maritza Davis of Unseen Heroes and Display California; Ryan Brough of Sacramento Fashion Week; Phoebe Verkouw of the Dress Fiend blog and the Fabulous Thrift Tour; and Jake Favour of Romp Creative.  (It's a shame that Anthony Giannotti of Anthony's Barbershop and Bottle and Barlow, was seated too far left of Jake to be included in the photo, because his hairstyle rocked).

Listen to their great discussion -- podcast links and more info are here.

 

California Isn't So Cutting-Edge When It Comes to Electing Women

"I get calls from Washington DC and back East, saying to me, 'California must be so great for women to run for office,' because we have two great strong women US senators and the first woman Speaker of the House. But when you peel back the layers, you don’t see that," Rachel Michelin of  California Women Lead said last Wednesday at our latest "Policy and a Pint" event.

" I try to caution women to think that, while we’re so progressive, so cutting-edge, there’s still a lot of work to do in order to get equality and parity in elected offices across California."

Our podcast about "Women Running for Office" is up.

Listen to great discussion from Michelin, gubernatorial candidate Amanda Renteria (pictured here with one of our event attendees) Congressional candidate Regina Bateson, and Kula Koenig of BWOPA Sacramento as they talk about the challenges of women running in California, and what needs to be done to break the still-pretty-thick glass ceiling of gender parity in state politics.

There's not a dull moment in this 80-minute-long conversation, but you can refer to the "Podcast Play-by-Play" to go to specific parts of it.

How Will You Be Voting This Year on Housing Issues?

It's obvious that "affordable" and "housing" rarely go together in California. We're known for having some of the highest rental and housing prices in the U.S.

But some Californians are taking action by:
* fighting for more funding for affordable housing construction
* authoring laws that create higher-density housing and forces cities to meet their housing goals
* demanding rent control on apartment buildings, and demanding the repeal of a law that forbids it

And come November 6, you'll be voting on some of their actions, because there's going to be at least one affordable-housing measure on the state ballot, and possibly a rent-control measure on our local one in Sacramento.

 

We found this really good and detailed article on Urbanist LA - "25 Solutions From a Builder's Perspective to Fix the Californian Housing Crisis."  A Los Angeles-based developer who says "enough is enough" suggests things like:

* Allow 100% Residential Development on Commercially-Zoned Properties. "The City of Los Angeles is the only jurisdiction in the state that I know that allows 100 percent residential developments to be placed on most of their commercially zoned lots. This is a big part of the reason they are a major state leader in housing production. Most other jurisdictions ban residential outright and some allow for residential to be placed above the ground level."

* Stop Killing Housing By Delaying Approvals. " Many jurisdictions in California take three, four, or even five years to approve straightforward housing projects as a tactic to frustrate builders into giving up. By delaying projects this long, these jurisdictions are sending a clear message to future builders: “Do not come here”. Message received."

* Create New Zones for Missing Middle Housing. "We need all kinds of housing in the state. There are numerous problems with having half of housing coming from “mega-projects” sized fifty units and over. They are the most expensive housing type to construct and they take longer to construct than smaller projects. This is why most new apartments you see are luxury units . . . We don’t have to go from one-story homes to all seven-story apartment buildings with two levels of underground parking. There is housing called “missing middle”.

* Reform, Don't Repeal The Law That Bans Rent Control. " The Costa-Hawkins Act will never be repealed. The apartment lobby is too strong. If it were to be repealed, new apartment buildings would not be built in California. Multi-family residential development is some of the most expensive construction there is. . . There is room to reform Costa-Hawkins. Maybe rent control doesn’t start for 15, 20 or 25 years. Maybe older single-family homes should be rent controlled. Maybe annual rent increases at first can be more than the rate of inflation, but not unlimited. I would like to see an academic, not an activist, propose some solutions."

The developer calls out the University of California, CalPERS, city and county governments, among others, to help bring change for the better to the homebuilding process in this state.

It's a long read, but a good one -- especially this year when you'll be voting on housing reform.

This article, along with the podcast recording of our March 19 "Policy and a Pint: Affordable Housing on the Voting Ballot," will come in handy.

 

California and Washington D.C. Clash Over Immigration . . . What You Can Do To Make a Difference

Our latest "Food for Thought" conversation - How Immigration Issues Are Affecting California's Food Supply -  was a detailed, thoroughly honest, somewhat depressing conversation that also had some threads of hope.

With Washington D.C. now suing California over immigration law, this conversation will only continue. And there is a way you can keep this conversation going -- and make it more uplifting. Our panelists Bruce Rominger, Lety Valencia and Santana Diaz had these two suggestions about how Californians can help the "other" Californians we were discussing last night:

1) Support your local farmers: Buy as much local- and state-grown produce as possible, and fewer out-of-state and out-of-country crops. That keeps our CA farmers competitive with countries paying cheaper wages to workers overseas, and lets them hire the hands they need to grow and reap the crops -- especially labor-intensive crops like asparagus (which used to be a major crop here but rapidly disappearing) and strawberries.

2) Give money to a legal defense fund: Lety Valencia told us there are only 40 immigration lawyers currently working in the Central Valley (which has thousands of farmworkers who are undocumented), and not all of them take pro- or low-bono cases. That means many farmworkers needing help with their immigration status and citizenship are in limbo or leaving the state, because trying to navigate this legal system is tough enough when you're a legal resident.

Valencia's org, Faith in the Valley, started the Fresno Legal Defense Fund and when Fresno's City Council voted no on giving it public money, Faith raised seed funding from Sierra Health Foundation, Wells Fargo and the Latino Community Foundation. But you can help them fund more people's cases by donating to the Legal Defense Fund.

For more background on this important-and-still-trending  topic, listen to the podcast (iTunes or Soundcloud) of our "Food for Thought" event on immigration turmoil in the Central Valley, the World's Salad Bowl

And other organizations you can help with their funding for immigration-specific legal aid are:
* California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
* Immigrant Family Defense Fund
* Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services

 

We're Taking Over the New Sofia Theatre for a Saturday Night "Cocktail Conversation"

We're hosting our next event at the hottest venue in Sacramento - the Sofia, new home of the B Street Theatre. They're letting us take over the lobby on a Saturday night for our next "Food for Thought" discussion.

And this will truly be a "cocktail conversation" -- we'll be talking with Ryan Seng of Can Can Cocktails.

Seng served as head bartender at the Grange in the Citizen Hotel and created some of Sacramento's creative cocktails (bacon maple Manhattan, anyone?) for eight years before deciding to do something even more unusual -- create cocktails served out of a can.

He launched Can Can Cocktails, which mixes spirits and mixers in aluminum cans and are just as tasty as the ones he made at the bar, like Boar's Bourbon Root Beer (those two ingredients, plus angostura bitters) and White Linen (vodka with cucumber, elderflower and lemon).

Join us from 8-9 pm on Saturday, February 17, as we have a  mini "Food for Thought, " a 30-minute Q&A with one of the people who shaped and built Sacramento's craft cocktail scene, and is still doing so today.

This will be a great discussion for anyone interested in creating cocktails, creating a new business, or a combo of both. You get to take the mic and ask your own questions to Seng, and you can also try his drinks -- Sofia sells Can Can Cocktails at its bars.

NOTE:  This event is in the Sofia's lobby and is free for anyone to attend. It does NOT get you tickets to the 9 p.m. showing of "One Man, Two Guvnors." That is sold out . . . however, the Theatre does have a Wait List for the show, and you can call the Box Office at (916) 443-5300 to be added to it. (We've been told Wait List-ers actually do have a good chance of scoring tickets.)

 

Our 25th Event . . . and Our First Filmed for Television

We marked our first event of 2018, and our 25th-event milestone, by getting it put on film -- Capitol Weekly came with cameras to tape our Policy and a Pint discussion, "Sexual Harassment at the State Capitol," for its 99th episode of "Politics on Tap" (which airs on the California Channel on Comcast).

Watch the episode by clicking on the link above, or listen to our audio podcast of it, available both on iTunes and Soundcloud.

This is a great conversation about what is needed to make the efforts and actions of #MeToo, #TimesUp and #WeSaidEnough stick -- both at the State Capitol and in workplaces all around California.

Listen to "The Future of Downtown Sacramento"

John Dangberg, assistant city manager for Sacramento, had this to say about the Golden 1 Center, which opened a little over a year ago: "We've gone from a valuation of $22.5 million to well over $1 billion in value. " And with the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, Punch Bowl Social, TheBank_629J, and a bunch of new eateries on the 700 K block opening up, Dangberg only expects that valuation to rise.

Listen to Dangberg and our other panelists in the podcast recording of our "Future of Downtown Sacramento " discussion at the Crocker Art Museum talk about housing, parking, restoring historic buildings, revitalizing the riverfront, new modes of transportation, bringing in new jobs, and putting more arts and culture into downtown.

We broke the podcast down into specific parts (refer to our "Podcast Timeframe" to go to certain sections), but the whole discussion is a great way to learn more -- and get excited about -- the future of Downtown Sacramento. There's a lot in the works.

Our "Up and Coming" Holiday Party at the B Street Theatre - December 11

This Monday, the B Street Theatre Acting Company is letting loose one last time at their old theater -- and you can see most of them doing their final performance there for free.

Join us Monday 6:30 pm for the holiday party we're co-hosting with B Street Theatre, Metro EDGE, The Sacramento LGBT Community Center, the California Homeless Youth Project, and Sacramento County Young Democrats to celebrate the end of an era -- and also all the exciting new things happening in Sacramento now and into 2018.

Listen to readings of three original short plays, with some improv in between.

Admission is free, drinks are $3, and mixing with Sacramento's up-and-comers and young activists is plentiful.

Join us at the B Street Theatre to celebrate all of the young adults in our community who are involved in creating a better tomorrow for the Sacramento area.

 

Our "Swanky Saturday" Talk at B Street Theater

To celebrate #shopsmall, we're co-hosting a "Swanky Saturday" talk at B Street Theater with three of Sacramento's coolest small businesses.

We'll talk with the owners of Andy's Candy Apothecary , and Oblivion Coffee and Comics near the Capitol (they're both past winners of the "Calling All Dreamers" business-plan contest run by Downtown Sac) and Classy Hippie Tea in Oak Park about their businesses - why they took the plunge, how they think big, the pros and cons of doing business in Sacramento, and advice they'd give to other aspiring entrepreneurs who want to set up shop.

We'll be chatting in the Star Room of the B Street Theater before the 9 pm showing of "A Moving Day" (the LAST SHOW that will ever be held here before the crew moves to its posh new digs at the SOFIA on Capitol Avenue).

Our talk is free for anyone to attend -- grab a drink at the lobby beforehand -- but it will be even more of a Swanky Saturday on the Grid if you pair it with tickets to "A Moving Day."