Winnie Comstock-Carlson is the president and publisher of Comstock’s magazine. She launched the publication in 1989 and is still going strong.
A new page on a new calendar is always a time of optimism. The pages are blank and I wonder what I will have written on them by the time the year has run its course. But right now, I’d like to slow down and appreciate the year we just enjoyed.
We are all affected by untreated mental illness, whether we are taxpayers, business owners or a person struggling to help a family member cope.
“Farm to Fork” is not just an advertising slogan: It reflects a big part of the region’s identity, and that reputation is growing. Wine has become one of California’s most recognizable crops and production has grown tremendously over the last two decades. California is home to 4,700 wineries and produces more wine than any other U.S. state.
The first land to create the parkway was purchased in 1949. In 1961, Sacramento County adopted the Master Plan for the parkway as we know it now. Building out that plan took decades as it covers 4,800 acres with a modern bike trail, nine major parks, picnic areas and a nature center.
Infrastructure — roads, bridges and dams — is the backbone of any economy. Business can’t function without it. The Association of Civil Engineers estimates that nationally, defective or failing infrastructure will cost the average family $3,400 a year over the next decade.
If you are like me, you hate being stuck in traffic. But most of us don’t have a hired driver and public transportation isn’t always convenient.
Carmakers are working on what they think is a better idea — let the car do the driving. Autonomous vehicles sound very Jetson-like. But as futuristic as it sounds, many vehicles already on our streets rely on computers.
Clearly, Sacramento is home to a lot of artistic talent and our holiday traditions are brighter because of it. And we’ve been fortunate to have venues to host these performances. These aged facilities have served Sacramento well for a long time — perhaps too long.
I was getting more hesitant as the hours passed. Would I run into unsavory people? How crowded are we talking? And, being inherently conservative, I wondered about the cost.
I’m talking about my decision to take light rail for the first time … and doing so alone.
The effort to keep the Sacramento Kings in town showed what a community can do when everyone rallies around a cause. Now that the Golden 1 Center is opening and fans are coming downtown to enjoy the Kings, it’s bringing many people together again — perhaps too closely.
Across the country, generous donors contribute about $335 billion a year to support more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations, both large and small, according to recent surveys from Giving USA and the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
The best economic news in Sacramento lately is that jobs are back. A recent survey by the state’s Employment Development Department shows that the six-county Sacramento metro region has rebounded, gaining back jobs it lost during the recession — 25,000 in just the last year. But, while this is fantastic news, it’s not enough.
The Crystal Ice and Cold Storage building has been a part of midtown since a railroad spur line ran down the middle of R Street, servicing warehouses and distributors along the street that, at the time, was the center of Sacramento’s light industrial core. The plant sat unused since the mid-90s. Square and windowless, it was no architectural marvel. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Developer Mike Heller saw the inner personality of that bunker of a building.
For many companies, the post-holiday season often marks a return to business. But it’s not the time to forget about the nonprofit organizations that are so important to our community. They need our attention beyond the holidays and throughout the year.
It’s an unwritten but long-standing axiom in business: You can’t get to the top alone. You need a mentor in your corner who is older and wiser. As a young, aspiring publisher almost 27 years ago, I certainly had help from all around. The business owners with whom I spoke supported me with their wisdom, as they continue to do today. I’ve received guidance, know its value and am extremely grateful.
Make no mistake: The Capital Region boasts some of the nation’s finest colleges and universities. Many a regional leader is a proud alum of UC Davis or Sacramento State. Yet in 2015, it might behoove us to ask some scary questions: Does a 4-year college degree guarantee a good job? If so, can that good job be reconciled with the staggering debt that currently accompanies a college diploma.
Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of being one of about 30 “thought leaders” invited to a private performance by the Sacramento Ballet as they proved that, indeed, ballet is back.
It remains to be seen if GSAC, the Metro Chamber or the market itself will fill the void that SARTA’s shut-down has opened. While GSAC and its enigmatic new leader Barry Broome may bring more established firms (and more jobs) to the region, Sacramento isn’t big enough or rich enough to ignore the potential of smart, hungry tech innovators.
I’ve watched, listened and learned as the debate over Sacramento’s “strong mayor” initiative has progressed over the past several years. Like many people, I was surprised and a little disappointed when Kevin Johnson started advocating for the strong mayor form of government within months of election to his first term.
But this time it’s different.
Yes, the city, together with Union Pacific Railroad and Maloof Sports & Entertainment, commissioned a study to see if such a stadium would be feasible and whether it would be the economic kick-start Mayor Heather Fargo envisions for 240 acres of undeveloped property in the Richard Boulevard Redevelopment Project.
From April 2000:
I’ll tell you what brings a tear to my eye: when they sing the national anthem and it gets to the “Oh say can you see…” part, and I remember how we used to be able to see the beauty of the Sierra Nevada – and now on most days seeing the neon of the Esquire Plaza sign from the freeway requires squinting through the haze.
Our biggest flaw is not thinking big enough, not encouraging the visionaries who want to move us from where we are to where we could undoubtedly be.
Welcome to the premiere issue of Sacramento’s newest publication, Comstock’s.
During the past few weeks, many of us have been touched by the tributes to Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died in early December at the age of 95. He was a remarkable leader, with the ability to inspire people and move them toward a common goal.
The beginning of a new year is a natural time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. This year, my thoughts are on 2014 and beyond as I observe the emergence of a new generation of business and thought leaders.
We’re at it again. For the fourth time in five years, the political conversation in Sacramento is focused on whether to change the city’s governing framework from the current council/city-manager structure to a so-called strong mayor system that boosts the mayor’s authority.
I don’t think anyone can dispute the fact that local consumer demand is what drives the success of big-box stores. And, overall, I believe that success has brought more positives than negatives.
The so-called “gender dividend” seems to be in the news these days. Research, public officials and corporate leaders are all exploring how women could spur greater economic growth.
Aren’t women already a major part of our national economy?
The state of public education is never far from my mind.
Like most of you, I have been dismayed by our state’s declining support for public education. As support has waned, so has California’s educational ranking: We are now near the bottom on measures such as student/teacher ratios and per-pupil spending.
When I was a girl, a visit to downtown Sacramento was thrilling. It was a busy, bustling place with Weinstock’s (“Sacramento’s Finest Department Store”) at 12th and K streets marking the high point of any shopping expedition.
I’d like to see a downtown Sacramento that can meet or exceed those childhood memories, one that is no longer scarred by vacant buildings, low-budget retailers and grimy streets.
I am no fan of Measure U, the voter-approved sales tax that went into effect in April. New taxes are rarely the answer to economic malaise.
For as long as I can remember, I have been preaching the doctrine of regional cooperation. And, I think we have made some important steps in that direction.
I’m no Pollyanna when it comes to assessing our state’s problems, but I must admit I am weary of hearing endless complaints about California’s terrible business environment, its slow economic growth and its many disadvantages compared to states like Texas.
For the first time in at least a decade, we have good news regarding California’s colleges and universities.
Change doesn’t come easily to any organization. Those of us who manage companies know that all too well. Hardest of all is change forced from the outside.
As we begin a new year, few of us feel ready to break out party hats and celebrate the state of our economy.
In the weeks since the election, I have felt like a stranger in a foreign land. My own cherished beliefs about the benefits of balanced budgets, lower taxes and free enterprise don’t seem to be shared by a majority of my fellow citizens.
The Sacramento Kings started their new season last month with a surprising amount of fan and business support. Surprising, that is, given the infuriating behavior of the owners, the Maloof brothers, last April.
I remember a time when Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza was a thriving mall, a leader in the city’s retail sales and tax revenues. And, back in the 1970s, its design was up to date: many malls were self-contained, with no connection to surrounding streets.
Taxes are en vogue these days, and not just at the state level where Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing a sales and income tax ballot measure. Eight California cities already gained general tax increases from their residents in the June elections; several more cities and counties will attempt to follow suit in November.
Right now our region is in the dumps. We bemoan our high unemployment, our devastated city budgets, our beleaguered school systems. We look enviously at our neighbors to the south and west, whose economies are improving faster than ours.
The equation is easy to understand: A weak economy equals challenging business conditions equals reduced corporate support for nonprofits. Understandable, yes, but terribly unfortunate — and, I’m convinced, not particularly good business.
High-speed trains linking Northern and Southern California have been a point of contention for more than a decade. For some, such “bullet trains” are the ideal solution to growing transportation needs; for others, they represent a boondoggle with enormous economic risk.
Change at any level — personal, professional or civic — doesn’t come easily, and we frequently need an urgent situation to force change.
Several years ago, I wrote in these pages about my enthusiasm for the Buy Local campaigns popping up in communities from coast to coast. Cities like Portland and Philadelphia were building support and sales for their hometown businesses and especially for local retail and service firms.
When newly elected mayor Kevin Johnson proposed in 2008 a strong-mayor form of city government, the City Council soundly rejected the plan.
When it comes to the California public pension system, one thing is crystal clear: it absolutely must and will change. The question is when and how. Practically every expert who has analyzed the state’s pension figures uses the word “unsustainable” to describe the system.
Remember comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s famous catchphrase, “I don’t get no respect?”
I’ve lost count of just how many times during the past decade we have debated the how and where of building a new arena for the Sacramento Kings. Few doubt the team needs an upgraded home, but the high-pressure tactics of the Kings’ owners — who threatened to leave Sacramento unless they got the deal they wanted — alienated many.
Call it a recession, a realignment or a downturn. Whatever you call it, our current economy is experiencing convulsions most of us have not seen in our lifetimes. Our nation, our state and our region continue to suffer from a sputtering economy and painfully high unemployment.