2018: Economy in Review

2019 began with good economic news in California: 24,500 jobs were added as the year ended in December 2018.

The state added 24,500 net new positions for a total of approximately 17.28 million jobs, according to the California Employment Development Department.

California’s gains were widespread, with the expansion of nine out of eleven industries. Leisure and hospitality added the most jobs, reflecting the Golden State’s historic allure as a tourist destination, particularly during the cold winter months.

Tourism has been growing and has steadily increased over the past eight years. Los Angeles County alone hosted an estimated fifty million visitors in 2018. This impressive statistic reflects a 3.1% improvement over 2017’s total.

A Sad Farewell for Lego Lovers

In very sorry news for all of us Lego lovers, the Lego store at the Arden Fair mall has closed. The famous building blocks will be replaced by sexier ware, as Victoria’s Secret’s offshoot Pink is taking over the space. Pink is already in the mall but will be moving to this new location.

Now, the closest Lego location will be at the Galleria in Roseville. Incidentally, if you want to see some amazing Lego designs, Sacramento native David Tracy is showing his designs in an exhibit called “Bricking Bad” in Rancho Cordova. You can see his display at the Mills Station Arts and Culture Center until January 12.

Employee Money Sharing

According to Rafael Jimenez Rivera, GM at Hook and Ladder, the way tips are dispersed among workers is unfair.  He said:

“The system is broken. It’s a flawed system that needs to be corrected.  We feel that the best way to do that is to include the kitchen staff.”

As such, from next year, all kitchen workers will be pulled into the tips that are given to bartenders and servers.  This follows the budget bill passed by Congress earlier in 2018, permitting restaurants in some states (California being one example) to pool tips with kitchen staff.

So from 2019 2.5 percent of the tip will be added to the bill exclusively for kitchen staff.  Regular tip from customers will be split between all workers which is likely to provide a 10-15% pay hike for kitchen staff.

Celebrating Christmas in Sacramento


Marking its 10th anniversary Macy’s light show, the Downtown Commons (DOCO) is once again giving revelers a real treat this Christmas.  Getting into the holiday spirit check out the party mood on K Street (between Front and 2nd Street) and the best part?  It’s free!

So  make your way over to the Old Sacramento Waterfront, spanning eight blocks across downtown.  Even if you don’t get there Christmas time, it’s a great place to visit any time of the year, featuring more than 100 businesses independently operated at different hours of the day.  Restaurants and other entertainment are also offered.

For example the museums there provide a wonderful history lesson and the setting is the California Gold Rush and Transcontinental Railroad.  Plus, within this theme, the streets there become Gold Rush Days every Labor Day Weekend, reminiscent of 1849 Old Sacramento Waterfront.

So even if you miss the Christmas festivities, go back in time and take a wagon ride, participate in a gunfight and look at living history characters.

Sacramento Infrastructure Enhancements

The Waterfront

Currently, Sacramento is in the final stages of selecting a company to redesign its waterfront in both look and feel in an attempt to change the entire feel of this area.  The ultimate goal is to transform it into a“national destination,” similar to the ones that can be seen in Kentucky, Louisville and Texas.

Meanwhile, over in Roseville’s Westfield Galleria a lot is happening with the arrival soon of a legal store,edible cookie dough store Dough by the Spoon, Peet’s Coffee (to replace the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant) and Indochino Inc. (a store selling $500 and less custom-made men’s suits).

And at the end of last month the first food hall in Sacramento opened with The Bank. The Bank is over 100 years old and features circular vault doors,elegant light fixtures, gilded ceilings and more to transform one back in time.  This 30,000 square foot building will soon be home to 10 food vendors, 3 bars, 68 self-service taps, 2 private lounges and 18 TV screens.

Crocker Park Excitement

fun run

When a 6 year old boy has juvenile arthritis and raises money for the condition, one has to take notice that’s exactly what Carmichael’s very own Jeremy Kelley did and through this, he has –and continues – to be a huge inspiration to others.

Given that over 300,000 US kids have had a juvenile arthritis diagnosis, trying to find a cure for this is a worthy cause.  As such, the 5k race and fun run held yesterday at Crocker Park – the Jingle Bell Run – was a quite exceptional event.  As well as getting a medal, Kelley left the day with a real sense of achievement.

His mother said it did so much for him, relating:

“He started running around like crazy, the previous six months seemed like a bad dream. We couldn’t believe we had Jeremy back.”

The family is now in management mode and Jaime is an activist and mentor at the Arthritis Foundation.

Sutter Hospital’s New Technology

Thanks to some new technology from Apple, parents in Sacramento are able to monitor their babies in the ICU from their homes.  Instead of the stress and strain of trying to juggle a family, a job and a newborn stuck in Sutter Memorial’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, there is now an Angel Eye Camera that facilitates daily life.

According to NICU Nursing Director at the hospital, Christina Walsh, the camera is placed over the baby, providing parents with the opportunity to “check in and look at their baby almost anytime they want to.”

The only thing the parents need is a smartphone.  Once they download the app, they can watch their baby wherever they are.  And the cameras that are over the babies have been made possible due to the generosity of the Norah Foundation which was established by the parents of the girl who passed away in the NICU at Sutter.  Ultimately it is hoped that every NICU bed will be fitted with one of these cameras.

Another way iPhone is assisting in a knowledge increase for patients was with its Health app iOS 11.3 beta rollout launched in January of this year.  The goal was to offer patients a central location where they could look at their medical information from many hospitals and clinics and pass that on to caregivers when necessary.


California: Next Step

Even though right now California’s economy is thriving, caution must be employed.  According to Governor Jerry Brown, there is likely to be “an inevitable downturn” of which his Sacramento successor must be aware.  At the recent Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research forum held last week, he warned:

“Don’t be too exuberant. Get everybody ready. The economy is a cycle, and right now we’re at the peak. But you can’t be at the peak forever.”

There has been much change in California in Brown’s time of serving (he served twice in the 1970s and 80s and twice in this decade), with a population expansion today reaching 40 million.  That of course will heavily impact the region, most particularly in housing and environment.

In other words with more people comes a change in the way we live, Brown said at the forum entitled What’s Next for California.

Sales Tax

In a recent attempt to increase sales tax in Sacramento, Measure U (which renews a half-cent sales tax and adds another half-cent tax, while rendering the total amount, concretizing the total) was passed.  Over half of voters (55.6%) in the city said yes to the hike in tax to 8.75 percent.

Of this, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said:

“We’ll do it right. We’ll do it in a thorough way and we’ll do it in a way that will make people say ‘Wow, they really meant what they said.’…Measure U is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest real resources in building a modern economy in Sacramento that includes everyone.”

The change in law will come into affect on April 1 and the extra money will be used to basic necessary services such as fire, police, funding for affordable housing and neighborhood projects.