The Impact of Street Art in Sacramento

Wide Open Walls (WOW) is set to make a big splash in Sacramento, literally.

Scheduled for August 10-20, WOW is the official name for Sacramento's annual mural festival, now in its second year. During those 11 days, 50 artists from 12 countries will be painting 40 individual surfaces, from back-street alleys on the Grid to silos and water towers in the suburbs. Read more in the Sacramento News & Review's special section about the fest.

Street art is a big deal around the globe. And us with being the capital of the (currently) 5th largest economy in the world, is it our time to join the ranks of international cities known for their colorful, vibrant street-art scenes and communities? If so, what should those look like? What images should be on those walls? Who decides what they should be and where they should go? And how do the non-painters of us living here figure into creating a world-class street-art scene in Sacramento?

We're hosting a panel focused on Wide Open Walls on August 9,  the evening before the festival officially starts. Details and registration info are on the Event page.

Podcast for Our First "Food for Thought" Discussion

We've started a new series called "Food for Thought," in-depth conversations with groundbreakers who run farms, restaurants, breweries and bars around California and are shaking up how we eat and drink - and the way we think about food and drink.

Kicking it off is a discussion from July 6 with two well-known Sacramento restaurateurs -- Andrea Lepore of Hot Italian, and N'Gina and Ian Kavookjian of South. While one restaurant focuses on pizza and the other on down-home Southern cooking, the three owners share a common trait: they wanted to serve food they've since childhood that is rooted in their cultural heritage. They're also now branching out into different, new-to-them areas (a Jewish deli and the Food Factory business incubator for Lepore, the Quinn vintage retail shop and an "urban country club" called the Good Saint for the Kavookjians).

In our latest podcast, hear them talk about how they got started, where they're going now, what food means to them, and how they want to change up Sacramento with their restaurants and future endeavors.

And read these writeups in the Sacramento Business Journal about their latest projects:

* Andrea's Food Factory business incubator

* The Kavookjians' Good Saint "urban country club."

 

(Photo by Rich Beckermeyer)

Kicking Off Our "Food for Thought" Series

We got a write-up in the Sacramento Business Journal about our new "Food for Thought" series, a monthly discussion with Groundbreakers who manage California's restaurants, farms, bars, breweries, wineries, etc., and are shaking up how we eat and drink -- and the way we think about food and drink.

Writer Mark Anderson sums up what we plan to do very well.

Our Quartet of Housing Podcasts Is Ready For Listening

We just finished up our four-part event series that we titled "California's Crazy Housing Market." We covered everything from rent control and NIMBY-ism to how a bill that Governor Ronald Reagan signed back in 1970 is the major reason for how California builds its housing today.

A lot of it was depressing - 70 percent of Californians can't afford the media home price here - but there was one common, hopeful thread that linked all four panel discussion: Change won't come from the top down, it will come from individual homeowners and renters who band together to demand change in how housing is built, priced and offered to residents.

Listen to one, two or all four podcaststo get the details about the state of California housing:

Part 1: Why Are Housing Costs So Damn High

Part 2: Is "Affordable Housing" an Oxymoron Here?

Part 3: The Good and the Bad of Gentrification

Part 4: Time to Reform the California Environmental Quality Act?

 

Podcast Is Up: How We're Handling Dam Repairs, Flood COntrol and Fixes to Our Water Infrastructure

After the epic winter of 2017, there's enough water to keep reservoirs and rivers -- drought-dry just a few months ago -- swollen for months to come. But that means plenty of flood watches and flood alerts. And then winter, a.k.a. rainy season, is not that far away. So how are our dams and levees holding up to handle all that?

Listen to the podcast of our May 24 "Policy and a Pint" panel talk about California's water infrastructure. Pur great group of panelists tell us about the state of our aging levees and crumbling dams (it's not just Oroville we need to focus on); how (or if) they can be repaired; how much will that all cost; and who's supposed to pay that particular water bill.

Listen to the entire 1 hr, 37 min. podcast, or scroll down to the"Podcast Timeframe" section to listen to certain topics and specific segments.

We held it in the basement of Graciano's Speakeasy, a former governor's mansion/grocery store/brothel/Prohibition speakeasy in Old Sacramento. The basement is at the level where our city used to stand before the Great Flood of 1862, the biggest in California's recorded history, made officials use a lot of packed dirt to raise the buildings a minimum of 14 feet. It's te perfect place to have a pint and talk about flood control.

 

 

CEQA Reform: Time to Change the Law That Affects All Housing Here?

So what the hell is this CEQA, you ask? This story from Orange County Register reporter Jeff Collins breaks it down into simple, easy- to-understand facts and terminology. Read it and you'll have a really good sense of what we'll be covering this Wednesday evening at Graciano's Speakeasy in Old Sacrameno. Panel discussion starts at 6:30 pm -- see the details on our Events Calendar.

Podcast: The Good and The Bad of Gentrification

Sacramento is on Realtor.com's list of the Top 10 U.S. cities that are gentrifying the fastest. And while our median housing price increase in the last 15 years jumped by more than 100 percent, we're apparently only 26.5 percent gentrified. What's going to happen in the next few years?

Listen to the podcast recording of our panel "The Good and The Bad of Gentrification," the third of our four-part discussion series "California's Crazy Housing Market."

Next up: CEQA reform - wonky but relevant to everyone living in California.

Help for Nonprofits that Need to Get the Word Out (Like Us)

As a fledgling nonprofit, we need help in spreading the word and getting more of you to come to our events.

Any other nonprofits in the same boat, join us at this cool-looking (and free) workshop on March 31, 8 am - 2 pm, in the Auditorium at CLARA - E. Claire Raley Studios for Performing Arts.

RSVP here to attend.

Thanks to CA Groundbreakers advisory board member Rachel Smith and her company FSB Core Strategies for creating this event and helping us nonprofits out. And Happy Birthday.

A Group Named BARF Is Calling Out "Build, Baby, Build" in the Bay Area

Sonja Trauss is a great example of a California Groundbreaker. As founder of the Bay Area Renters Foundation (fondly known as BARF), she's got a motto of "Build, Baby, Build" in the Bay Area, advocating for any type of housing to be built, as long as it's built tall, high-density -- and soon. A former lawyer who makes BARF her full-time job, she recently hired a lawyer to sue the East Bay city of Lafayette for switching a high-density development to single-family homes instead.

Read this great New York Times profile of Trauss and BARF. And come to the Brickhouse Gallery on Wednesday to meet her -- after her court date in Lafayette, she's taking the Amtrak up here to be on our "Affordable Housing as Oxymoron in California" panel.