The suburbs have long served as a symbol of opportunity in California, where families could realize the ‘American Dream’ of homeownership, expansive lawns and ample parking. But for many, suburban growth has instead been synonymous with racial and economic segregation, nightmare commutes and environmental degradation.
City planners and private developers in Sacramento envision a downtown shopping and entertainment hub pulsing with revenue and pedestrians. The mind’s eye replaces vagrants with decorative park benches and rundown storefronts with shiny new facades. And rather than dispersing at sundown, restaurant patrons and theatergoers would linger into the wee hours.
As California struggles to meet the rising housing demands and address the state’s policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Capital Region is positioned to look to the suburbs for answers. This means farewell to the bedroom communities and hello to vibrant communities on the outskirts of the urban core.
Phil Isenberg, a longtime environmental advocate and former Sacramento mayor and state assemblyman, will lead the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force. We sat down with him recently to talk about the state’s efforts to bring its water system into the 21st century.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to add millions in new spending on programs to help former inmates stay out of jail—a proposal generating bipartisan praise because of concern they are returning to prison in large numbers. But some say it still isn’t enough.
For centuries, the biggest environmental concern for most California water users was how to squeeze every last drop from nature. While a wet year might shift concerns to flood control, grab-as-grab-can gusto came back almost as soon as the waters receded. But that was then. Today, environmental concerns are center stage in the state’s ongoing effort to reform its water system.
Comstock’s chats with Cyrus Abhar, city manager of Rancho Cordova, about growth in the rapidly developing suburb.
Yuba County officials knew they couldn’t rely on federal money to improve their levees. Historically, the federal government has provided the bulk of money for flood protection, but it can take 10 to 20 years to receive it. So Yuba County, a mostly agricultural county of nearly 73,000 people 30 miles north of Sacramento, developed a plan to fund levee improvements itself.
When an earthquake struck Napa Valley in August 2014, destroying homes and businesses, injuring 200 people and killing one, residents rallied to support their neighbors, donating almost $11 million to the Napa Valley Community Foundation.
Even in the best economy, employers fight a financial tug of war with the people who work for them. One side wants more pay and benefits while the other side wants to trim costs. When the economy takes a nose dive, though, the tug of war can get a lot rougher. State and local government jobs are getting much of the attention in Sacramento this year as furloughs and layoffs have increased tension with workers. But Sacramento’s private sector has seen temperatures rise, too.