Sacramento State recently received its largest cash donation in history from former Sleep Train owner Dale Carlsen. The $6 million donation was made in support of a new innovation and entrepreneurship center on campus.
After the announcement, Carlsen said: “Right now at Sacramento State and in our region, this is a transformative time. This is the time to grow more entrepreneurs, grow more businesses, grow more jobs in our area, and this is the way to do it. We have to do it through innovation. We’ve got to do it through creativity.”
“The old-school way doesn’t do it anymore” he added. “Changing the mindset at the campus will change the mindset in the region.”
The Dale and Katy Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will include classes and a curriculum from UC Berkley, and will take place in the library’s multimedia room. The university is looking for the right executive director to take over the project and build an appropriate program.
“Our vision is to provide the tools, resources and guidance to achieve it,” Carlsen said.
Sacramento resident Dre Day has been working to help the homeless in the city for three years. He does not run a non-profit, but collects donations and visits people with the help of his family and friends.
Sacramento is pushing ahead a plan to move its homeless off of the streets and into a full-service temporary housing facility. Over the last two years, local homelessness has increased 30%. Sacramento City Councilman Allen Warren has been working toward a solution for months, and calls the current situation “a crisis.”
Mayor Darrell Steinberg added: “This is not just a sobering report, this is a damning report.”
Warren believes action is required now. “Let’s try and get as much done as we can while we’re here,” he says. “Why be complacent?”
His goal is to establish a full-service facility with restrooms, showers and some social services such as medical care. The cost for the project is estimated at $200,000-$300,000, and may not succeed in its mission.
“Is it a risk worth taking?” asks Warren. “Absolutely.”
He intends to move ahead as soon as the end of the summer.
Old Sacramento may be getting a $15 million revamp thanks to riverfront project manager Richard Rich’s plans to boost tourism and local business in the area. In an effort to make a new name for the historic district, Rich proposed a wide range of improvements at a recent City Council meeting, with everything from a new Ferris Wheel or other landmark to upping local artistry and encouraging a new startup scene amongst the upper floors of old buildings.
Rich’s vision extends beyond just flashy cosmetic improvements. He stated that he hopes to draw attention to Old Sacramento’s entertainment scene as well as its historical position by restructuring the pedestrian experience, mainly by fixing up the K Street pedestrian tunnel under Interstate 5 and turning it into a dramatic, interactive light show. He also hopes to draw visitors of the California State Railroad Museum into the district by enhancing access to the River, adding barges and building a themed waterpark to entertain both locals and tourists.
Downtown Sacramento Partnership executive director Michael Ault believes Rich’s plans “would be a great addition to Old Sacramento and would enhance the entire city.” It will also boost local businesses and attract new companies to the area, doing wonders for the city.
In December of last year, Darrel Steinberg was officially sworn in as the new Mayor of Sacramento. He is the city’s 56th Mayor. He was elected for this post in June of last year and boasts a history of local politics. A Democrat, Steinberg was leader of the California State Senate’s majority party between 2008 and 2014 as well as the California Senate President pro Tempore. Prior to that he was a California State Assembly member (from 1998 to 2004) and even earlier, a member of the Sacramento City Council (a position he took on in 1992 for the duration of six years).
Sacramento contractors who are trying to get the job of installing water meters in the area are about to feel some healthy competition. Of course price is always going to be a huge issue (whoever comes up with a lower price will certainly get considered) but it seems that this is not the only thing the Sacramento City Council is requesting of its contractors. Now, they want customer service and local hiring too.
In terms of policy there has been a change. While it used to be that the lowest bidder would automatically receive the contract, now that has been changed and in its stead what has been created is a “pool of pre-qualified companies that would win contracts based in part on subjective criteria, such as customer satisfaction.” According to a recent Sacramento Bee article by Cathy Locke, the three main areas to be considered are now therefore: pricing, qualifications of the contractor and performance-based criteria. The reason for the change is to enable the city to “award contracts to qualified contractors and repeat the process multiple times if the contractor performs well and within budget.”
Perhaps this capitalist move is in line with Sacramento City Council’s recent move of relinquishing some of its power “voting to allow residents the chance to enact a new commission with authority to redraw the city’s embattled political districts.” In November, voters will be able to approve the commission regarding the shift of new independent resdistricting commission. According to District 4 Councilman Steve Hansen, “the new commission makes the redistricting process truly independent. It gives the voters a reason to feel that the issue has truly been taken out of the hands of the elected officials.”
Sacramento is up for Mayoral and Council elections. The last Mayor – Anne Rudin – was elected to only a part time position back in 2000 (which thankfully was changed to full time two years later). But the situation of a part-time council remains and this is a time when almost every other city in California finally has a full-time staff.
Even though there are around 5,700 Sacramento city employees, a mere 9 of these are elected and able to make substantial decisions about the city’s future, one being the Mayor. The other eight are city council members. It’s even worse though as since they are viewed as part-time employees, their salaries reflect that and hence they have to have other jobs to make a full salary. Indeed, their salaries are lower than some parking lot supervisors who are paid by the same city!
Meanwhile, at a recent Sacramento City Council meeting, members of the community piled in to voice their opinions on police reform, putting forward their recommendations. Addressing the Community Policing Commission’s Accountability Ad Hoc committee, subject matters raised included: an increase in foot patrols (with a reduction in vehicle patrols), increasing communication between police and community on their protocols and encouraging offices to explain to bystanders what transpired in an incident they just witnessed.
These matters will be put to the Sacramento City Council and Mayor and thereafter possibly tell the city manager to guide the police department in the changes based on community input.
Already for the last few years, Tanishq Abraham has been in the limelight in Sacramento for being a child prodigy, at 13, making national news for being accepted as a UC Davis student. But now it seems his sister Tiara is getting in on the act as well.
Tiara Abraham – Tanishq’s 12-year-old sister – can not only sing in five different languages but is also one of the youngest (if not THE youngest) students at American River College. Thus her invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall – having beaten hundreds of others in an international singing contest – might not have come as much of a surprise to her family!
Indeed, according to Wikipedia: “Tanishq and his sister Tiara are the youngest South Asians (by ethnicity) to join Mensa and among the youngest Americans in Mensa. To join Mensa, one needs to score in or above the 98 percentile on a Mensa-approved standardized IQ test. Tanishq scored 99.9 percentile and Tiara scored 99 percentile on the test.”
Carmela Smith is not just a talented successful millennial living in Sacramento. She also makes it a point to give back; and as such takes a key role in community affairs. A member of the Greater Sacramento Urban League’s Young Professionals (GSULYP), Smith also just finished her terms as Chief of Staff for the National Urban League’s Young Professionals. At the end of the day, Smith explains: “I like seeing and helping other people get credit for what they do.”
The GSULYP is focused on empowerment for the people of Sacramento. Thus, topics covered include: education, youth empowerment, economic empowerment, health, enhancement of quality of life, civic engagement empowerment, civil rights and racial justice empowerment.
Maribela Cruz has proven that you don’t have to be an adult to participate in helping those less fortunate than yourselves in Sacramento. She may only be 10 but she was on a mission earlier this month to feed and clothe the needy. On Valentine’s Day, she worked with Clothing and Food for Everyone (CAFFE), collecting backpacks for the homeless. She could probably teacher the older generation a thing or two about social media as well since she posted on Twitter and Pinterest for her campaign to make this happen. As well, she publicized her goal the old fashioned way – going door-to-door to get backpacks. She wanted to get 75 and she ended up with 83 so there’s someone who knows how to really give back to the community. CAFFE President, Armando Flores pointed out the importance of what she did for everyone. She said: “For them to see who’s in our world, the people who live in our world who sometimes we don’t notice that we don’t pay attention to.”
No matter what one’s age or even their own social standing, these two cases prove there is always help to be given to the community. There is so much appreciation from the receivers that the givers often feel like they were the receivers too.