The Sacramento Waterfront

Sacramento Waterfront. Photo courtesy Nan Fry

The Old Sacramento waterfront will be getting an upgrade. Ideas on how to update the area have been submitted by professionals as well as the public.

This hybrid process—when both the public and professionals submit proposals—is a unique one. According to Carlos Eliason, a creative specialist in the city, the process has generated a lot of positive attention.

“We have a lot of new ideas, and energy and momentum are starting to build up,” Eliason said. “We want people to think of Old Sac as a place where emotion and imagination can combine … and this is kind of where it starts.”

In January, five professional design team were invited to submit proposals for the riverfront. The public was also invited to submit designs, and a children’s design competition was launched.

Voting is open to the public. The children’s competition will offer several prizes of $100, and the winning proposal can win up to $6,000.

Plans for a California Community

Natomas, a community in northwestern Sacramento, is the last area of Sacramento that isn’t fully developed.

This may be about to change, since there are plans to build on fields just southeast of Sacramento International Airport.

The new community could be home to 25,000 people. The plans feature an urban-style community that includes residential and commercial buildings. Early designs include 10,000 dwelling units and retail space that equals the size of five malls.

Concerned citizens are protesting the development, worried that it will affect traffic while threatening wildlife and increasing pollution.

Teacher Shortage in California

California is an expensive state to live in, and this may be causing problems in public schools.

Due to the high cost of living, many teachers can’t afford to live in California. In 15 California counties, mortgage payments on a typical home would cost nearly half a teacher’s salary.

In many areas of California, the median home price is over a million dollars. This cost is unaffordable to most teachers. In some counties, mortgage costs may actually equal a teacher’s entire annual salary.

California is suffering from a teacher shortage, and this may explain why. Other industries that pay mid-to-low range salaries may also struggle to retain employees in California.

From California to…Texas?

Many companies have relocated from California to Texas in the past few years. The drawbacks of running a California-based business include hefty taxes, numerous regulations and the high cost-of-living.

In contrast, Texas is a less expensive, but thriving state, and offers plenty of space for companies.

Key companies that have moved to Texas in the past few years include Toyota, who opened their North American headquarters in Plano. McKesson, the largest US pharmaceutical distributor, moved from San Franciso to Irving, TX. Other companies that have moved from California to Texas include Jamba Juice, Jacobs Engineering, Kubota Tractor and Pegasus Foods.

The effect on the California economy depends on many variables, including if other companies take the place of those that move.

Women on Corporate Boards in California

A new law, Senate Bill 826, is changing the way businesses are run.

This law requires that publicly traded companies headquartered in California have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, boards with five directors will have to include two women, and boards with six or more directors will have to include three women. Non-compliancy can result in fines as steep as $100,000.

California is the first US state to mandate gender diversity. This law affects businesses of all sizes, as many companies have all male boards.

Moving to California?

According to a new study, fewer people are moving to California than are moving out.

The United Van Lines’ 42nd Annual National Movers Study shows that 54.5 percent of people moved out of California, while only 45.6 percent of movers relocated to the state.

Most people who moved to California did so for a job, the study showed. On a national level, the state ranked 39th for inbound migration.

Deterrents to moving to California include the high cost of living.

Fur Trapping in California: Is it Legal?

Assemblywoman Laurena Gonzalez submitted a bill that would prohibit the state from issuing fur trapping licenses.

Last year, the state of California issue 133 fur trapping licenses, which generated $15,000 in revenue for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

However, Gonzalez states that the cost of managing the trapping program is far higher than this amount and is therefore effectively subsidized by taxpayer’s dollars.

Although California has a long history of fur trapping—the California Fur Rush actually pre-dated the Gold Rush– the state is now considering a bill that will ban the sale of fur state-wide. Many policy-makers feel that the commercialization of animal fur is a cruel practice that should be banned.

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.