A "Groundbreakers Q&A" with Sacramento's Art Mavens Liz Moe and Estella Sanchez

Liv Moe, founding director of Verge Center for the Arts, and Estella Sanchez, founder and executive director of Sol Collective, play big roles in shaping Sacramento’s arts scene, supporting and promoting local artists, and getting their efforts talked about in cultural circles around California and nationwide. They’re two major reasons why the Capitol City’s cultural scene is on fire, and why it has such a passionate community rooting it on.

Listen to this great conversation with Moe and Sanchez about the state of the arts in Sacramento, what they’re working on now, and what they want to happen so that the city’s artists get the support they need and the recognition they deserve.

Listen to "Bringing Economic Equality to the Neighborhoods that Need It"

After the Stephon Clark shooting put Sacramento in the national spotlight last year, one of the City’s big initiatives now is this: Come up with the right jobs strategy that boosts all of its neighborhoods, especially those with less-than average employment rates and high poverty.

So how will all that go down? What will the funding be spent on, and who and where is it benefiting? How can the City’s government, businesses, and nonprofits and turn these efforts into economic growth and good jobs that boost people’s incomes and improve the neighborhoods they live in?

We hosted a Pop-Up Panel discussion around these questions, “Getting Economic Growth to the Neighborhoods that Need It.,” with some California Groundbreakers who are giving their all to do just that.

They are (from left to right) Nicholas Haystings of Square Root Academy; Melissa Anguiano from the City of Sacramento’s Department of Economic Development; Tyrone Roderick Williams of Sacramento Promise Zone; Dianna Tremblay of ICA Fund Good Jobs in Oakland; and Mariah Lichtenstern of DiverseCity Ventures.

Listen to our podcast of this great discussion — and find out how you can help them with their efforts.

Groundbreakers Q&A with Sacramento's "First Couple" of Real Estate Development

We’re talking with some of Sacramento’s mightiest movers and shakers this year, people who are bringing changes, making waves and putting California’s capital on the map in bold font.

Our first “Groundbreakers Q&A” conversation of 2019 was with two of Sacramento’s most well-known groundbreakers — literally — who are building up new hot spots in the city (and just got married recently). Katherine Bardis and Bay Miry like to go into under-the-radar parts of town and revitalize them (Miry ‘s R Street Corridor and the 700 block of K Street; Bardis’s housing community, the Mill, on Lower Broadway). As Sacramento grows up — and upward — they’re two of the people responsible for what that growth will look like.

Listen to some of this great conversation we held at Ruhstaller in February as Bardis and Miry talk about:
* their favorite buildings in Sac (that are not theirs)
* the significance of specific projects they’ve worked on
* how they see the "Bay Area effect" and the impact of gentrification on Sacramento
* innovative projects elsewhere in the U.S. that they want to bring here

How You Gonna Vote on . . . .? Listen to our "Policy and a Pint: Midterm 2018" Podcasts to Figure it out!

Election 2018 is in full swing -- and now is the time to figure out how you're going to vote!

We’ve been holding discussions with panelists who, whether they are "for, " against" or "neutral," give us the straight talk on local/statewide propositions and races, and what it means if you vote yay or nay on each.

Listen to these “Policy and a Pint” podcasts before you mark your ballot. We’ve covered:

  • Proposition 1 - Bonds for affordable housing and veterans’ housing loans

  • Proposition 2 - Using the “millionaire’s tax” to create bonds that build housing for the homeless who need mental health services

  • Proposition 3 - The water bond

  • Proposition 5 - Changing property-tax assessments for certain homeowners who want to sell

  • Proposition 6 - Repealing of the 2017 gas tax

  • Proposition 10 - Making rent control laws easier to establish in California

  • Proposition 12 - Banning sales of meat and eggs from farm animals that live in cages smaller than a specific size

  • City of Sacramento’s Measure U - increasing the city’s sales tax, and making it permanent, in order to pay for city services and invest in other big-ticket items

And then, of course, be a good voter and submit your ballot!

Dem/Rep/Indie Face-Off: Trivia Night Showdown!

The November election is still a few months away, but that doesn't mean we should take a break from politics, right? Hot summer nights are perfect for facing off against people who have totally different political views from you, and showing them what's what and who's right!

Before we start up the Election 2018-focused discussions with panelists facing off against each other, we're doing a few "Faceoff Nights" this summer. We want to find out which one of California's political parties is the big winner when it comes to knowing trivial stuff about California, defining slang words, debating trite topics, and showing off top karaoke skills.

 

 

First off was our Face-off Trivia Night. Democrats, young Republicans, Greens, on-the-fence and undecided voters, and even the California National Party came to the Federalist in Midtown Sacramento and played Golden State Trivia: California geography, history, politics, pop culture and famous people.  Prizes for winning category winners came from Sacramento-proud businesses like Ruhstaller Beer, The Trade Coffee and Coworking, Yoga Seed Collective, Comedy Spot and Hornblower Cruises in Old Sacramento.

The winner: Team Tim, a group of guys with various political opinions.

The goal: Even though we may be of different political parties and views, we showed that Californians can still gather in the same room, get along, and have some fun.

Next up: Dem/Rep/Indie Face-Off Game Night, August 13 at CLARA Auditorium. Field a team, come on out to play some fun party games that will test your witty humor, debate skills and knowledge of California. The winners get prizes and bragging rights for being the funniest, wittiest, savviest registered voters around!

The Sound and The Fury: Listen to Sacramento's Music Makers

Our first event with live music  . . . and ideally the first of many.

We had local musicians Dirty Chops Brass Band (pictured) and Todd Morgan book-end our Pop-Up Panel on "The Sound and the Fury: Sacramento's Music Scene" with great live performances, to give the audience a sample of the great musicians living and playing in the capital city.

It's no Austin yet. Sacramento has done some good things for the music scene, but it still could do a lot more. Our great panelists -- local musicians, club owners, concert promoters -- give some great advice in this conversation we held at CLARA in Midtown Sacramento in June.

Listen to the podcast, which also features more music from Todd Morgan and the Element Brass Band.

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.

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

Podcast is on iTunes (uploaded May 25) and on Soundcloud

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.