Sacramento’s Environmental Efforts

Significant environmentally-enhancing efforts have been made in Sacramento recently.  Trends in this are continuing with the proposed regulations of setting up a Conditional Exclusion for Chemically Treated Metal Shredder Residue.  It is hoped that additional rules will be put in place to put conditions in place to improve protection of environment health and safety.

An analysis was formulated by California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) on how human health is impacted by this, as well as metal shredding facilities and other matters pursuant to the environment.

An Environmental Justice Bureau has recently been set up in an attempt to enhance living environments for people and their families in Sacramento. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra is seeking to ensure environmental concerns are taken seriously and:

“compel businesses and government agencies to clean contaminated drinking water, reduce exposure to lead and other toxins and prevent illegal waste discharges in communities burdened disproportionately by pollution.”

Becerra pointed out:

“The harsh reality is that some communities in California — particularly low-income communities and communities of color — continue to bear the brunt of pollution from industrial development, poor land-use decisions, transportation, and trade corridors. Meeting the needs of these communities requires our focused attention.”

Working in America

Minimum wage in California is already impressive – $11.  But Chick-Fil-A in Sacramento wants to go a step further, not just in cash but also in recognition and job pride. Increasing its hourly wage for some workers to $17-18, as well as the provision of a more livable wage, this is also encouraging more commitment to advancement at work with the new title – hospitality professional.  According to operator and proprietor Eric Mason the company fosters positive relationships with its community, guests and team, and the starting point for that is the provision of a “livable wage” regardless of what the state decides. Even if it is challenging, Mason says, the community impact is worth it.

Meanwhile, May figures for the nationwide economy showed an additional223,000 jobs with a drop in unemployment to 3.8 percent, the lowest since 2000.

Sacramento’s Kindness to the Environment

Plans have been approved to provide a short stretch of road to cyclists next summer.  A pedestrian trail linking the Sacramento River Trail to Diestehorst Bridge and downtown would give far greater access to the cyclists of the area as well as those who enjoy walking.  And it would be good for the environment.

This has been very well received by members of the Shasta Wheelmen cycling group and would only result in a very slight inconvenience.  Some motorists are even supportive of the project since, according to Assistant Public Works Director Chuck Aukland the estimated additional time it would take from Quartz Hill and Benton to Eureka Way and Market Street would be “37 seconds.”

So it really does seem like a win-win.

Homelessness in Sacramento?

Initially Railroad Drive’s homeless triage shelter was set to close at the end of last month.  Now, however, monetary donations from a private foundation and Sutter Health are enabling it to stay open for a further three months.

Still, the question remains, what will happen then?  There is a chance of erecting three large “Sprung structures,” which will then become more permanent shelters for the region’s homeless community.

It still seems that homeless people are just being moved around the city from place to place.  They’ve been at City Hall, Central Library and Cesar Chavez Plaza to name but a few. There needs to be an increase in the stock of affordable housing as well as a focus on job creation and retraining.

For now though, there is another three  months for those who are battling homelessness in the area.

Strength of California’s Economy

Federal data has just reported that the economy in California is now larger than that of the UK, placing it in position #5 worldwide.  Today, GDP in California is more than $2.7 trillion having increased by a staggering $127 billion from 2016 to 2017.  The UK did not experience this kind of growth during this time frame and in fact encountered a slight loss.

According to California State University Channel Islands Economics Professor Sung Won Sohn:

“We have the entrepreneurial spirit in the state, and that attracts a lot of talent and money. And that’s why, despite high taxes and cumbersome government regulations, more people are coming into the state to join the parade.”

The main industries that contributed to growth were: fiscal services and real estate ($26bn), IT ($20bn), manufacturing ($10 bn).  Apart from agriculture, all sectors provided growth and GDP contributions.

Also of note is that the UK has 25 million more people than California but now has a smaller GDP.

Formidable Folsom!

Folsom is becoming known these days as one of Sacramento County’s most attractive communities to make home.  Thanks to Intel Corp a rather noteworthy site appeared in the sky via drones which then disappeared quickly thereafter.

Folsom has gone from old stone prison noteworthy to super cool tech noteworthy and residents were awe-struck by what some described as looking like a TV in the sky!  This “scene” was part of a practice that Intel Corp. often engages in Folsom.  As well, they featured in Sochi’s Winter Olympics and the 2018 Coachella Music Festival.

According to Roger Gaylord, a member of the Folsom Council:

 “I think it adds a certain level of innovation within the Sacramento Region. Intel is a great example of pushing the bar and pushing the limit on something that’s just out-of-the-box thinking.”

Moving on Out to Sacramento

When it comes to the Silicon Valley tech start-up revolution, of course people in the industry want to be in San Francisco where it seems to all be happening.  But when it starts becoming less viable financially other regions begin to look quite a lot more attractive. One of these is Sacramento.

Prices are so out of control in San Francisco that according to the U.S. Census, there was a higher number of people moving out than in.  The numbers just don’t make sense.  For what you pay in the Bay Area, you can get double the space in Sacramento County, 80 miles northeast of San Francisco.

As noted in a recent article in Mansion Global,

“The median price of a condo in San Francisco is now hovering around $1.176 million and it’s $1.6 million for a house, according to first quarter data from Paragon Real Estate Group. By contrast, the typical home in Sacramento selling for $1 million is a single-family house spanning about 4,500 square feet with four bedrooms and an office.”

Plus in general, the cost of living is 33% lower in Sacramento, CA than San Francisco, CA.


Enhancing Quality of Life in Sacramento

How do you go about enhancing your quality of life?  For 20-year-old Clay Stevens and 19-year-old Dylan Hill it’s simple: post signs up around the County with one question: “If you were given one year to live, how would you live it?” On the sign is the website: How Would You Live It, directing the public to an event on a documentary that is being shown at Crest Theatre on April 30.  They are trying to get people to “really just kind of take life and live it,” without sweating the small stuff. As well as enhancing people’s quality of life, Chris’s friends are trying to increase awareness about the importance of bone marrow donations which they did on another website by getting a further 10,000 individuals to join the bone marrow donor list.

On a smaller – but still important – level for making Sacramento a better place, a project is currently underway to clean up trash on the streets.  Given that the area has a large number of homeless, this is a continuing issue but this does not excuse the necessity to clean up our sidewalks.  Especially when one considers the consequences of not cleaning up and how that negatively impacts tourism, quality of life and even business.

Earlier this year a 6-month program called Better Way Anaheim was implemented in order to kill two birds with one stone as it were.  $60 gift cards (to be exchanged at grocery/department stores) were given to participating workers for every 5 hours they spent cleaning up city parks and painting trash cans.  Likewise, Downtown Streets Team provided funding for 25 homeless individuals to work four hours five days a week collecting trash around North Sacramento in return for gift cards for food/living expenses as well as housing assistance. This program was so popular that within less than 2 months there was already a waiting list of more than 12 people.

Both these cases are examples of taking bad and turning it into something good and having a positive impact on people’s quality of life.

Poor People’s Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign – a national event established back in 1967 by Martin Luther King Jr. – is on its way to Sacramento.  This is  now 5 decades after King’s assassination and the legacy is living on through the Campaign.  Steering committee member Faye Wilson Kennedy pointed out:

“You may be living a good life now but if your money, if your source of income dries up or your resources dry up, you’re going to have more in common with that person that’s homeless than you realize.”

Fascinatingly – and perhaps somewhat disappointingly – it seems that not much has changed since the project began 50 years ago.  As Northern California National Moral Revival of the Poor People’s Campaign’s Kevin Carter said:

“Back then, it was three pillars which were justice, jobs and equality. Now we have 4 pillars. What we’re talking about now is poverty, systemic racism, the war economy, and we’re talking about ecological devastation. While the local group has been around for several years, this is the first time it has connected with other civil rights groups on a national level.”

Another really important factor of the project is to try to get everyone in the community at large to realize that no-one is immune and everyone has their part to play.