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Old 06-04-2012, 02:52 PM
8,631 posts, read 16,419,691 times
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That's not too uncommon--the last time the central city was this interesting was during the early 1990s, also an economic recession. During boom times, speculation becomes more important than actually opening businesses--people go for the big exciting trend instead of what drives their personal passion. In down economic times, with fewer hot trends to hop onto, people are a little more free to follow their dreams--and often landlords are willing to take a risk on a local business or drop their rents to make them accessible to a more economically marginal but culturally valuable use.

Local politicians don't have much motivation for economic development other than the construction business because the construction industry is the industry that gets them elected and re-elected. Small business isn't as flashy as big corporate headquarters, but they are a stronger foundation for a local economy--the money from a small business is more likely to stay in the community, and as an aggregate they create more local jobs. Plus, small businesses sometimes turn into big ones!
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:39 PM
Location: El Dorado Hills, CA
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Originally Posted by ryuns View Post
Meanwhile, Sacramento city suffers in a feedback loop where everyone who has the money decides to take off and find a nice gated community for themselves and their tax dollars and their well-educated kids and caring parents (which certainly has more to do with making a good school than tax dollars). And we the city fund public transit all the way to the edge of the city limits because no other municipalities want to foot the bill (or want to keep "those people" out of their neighborhood, if some cases).

I'm not so much about the gated community, but having access to good schools is important. I seem to remember Wburg saying that is something Sac really needs to fix. More families would remain in the city if the schools were better. They can find great K-5 schools, but the middle and high schools are for the most part not so great. I'm just not willing to pay for private schools in the city when my tax dollars pay for great schools in the suburbs.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:18 PM
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I'm definitely not disagreeing with you. (And sorry about the gated community snark.)

I'm only, well, complaining, I guess. Problems in schools can very quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as every parent with the money and inclination to do so (who, not coincidentally, tend to have high-performing kids) quickly leaves the ailing school district with more and more kids whose parents don't have the money or desire to relocate to Roseville or Davis. No offense to people who do that--a lot of the parents I work with at a State job (reasonably well-paid engineers and supervisors) move out to just those spots, predominately for their kids. The city as a whole would probably be better if they'd stay here (help make the schools better, contribute to the tax base, spend less time and money commuting, etc), but they're all making what they think is the best decision for them and their kids.

(And that's not to say that Sac schools doesn't need to get their act together--surely they do, though I don't know enough to speak to specifics.)
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:44 PM
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Eh, my cousin just got a full ride to UC Berkeley on an engineering scholarship based on an education he got at Sacramento public schools, so I figure they ain't that bad. And it isn't so much what your taxes pay for in the suburbs as what they don't pay for, like public transit and social services and homeless shelters, which gets passed on to city taxpayers (on the basis that homelessness and mental illness don't happen in the suburbs) so, in effect, city residents are subsidizing the suburban communities. As to how to solve that, in my opinion we have to start taxing the suburbs for this stuff. I realize I'm going to start a dogpile by saying that, but I don't want NinaN misrepresenting what I'm saying.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:52 PM
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I don't have plans for kids yet, so I haven't ever done the research to determine what part of success is good school (or the opportunities provided by good schools) vs just having involved, caring parents. I can't tell if the schools are bad. Where I live, my only exposure to the school system is through neighboring parents who are super involved and seem happy. I know I got a great education from a school that was lousy by a lot of the indicators (API scores, # of students qualifying for free lunch) but where I could easily seek out great teachers, inspiring coaches (cross country, FTW) and plenty of AP classes (went to UCSB with a scholarship and enough units to start as a sophomore).
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cb73 View Post
I assume if you go into the outlying "new" areas, maybe things have improved? I'm sure if you go to the "nice" areas, things are humming right along.
Not really--vacant storefronts abound out here too.
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Country Club Plaza isn't in the city of Sacramento.

Country Club Plaza Mall ~ Sacramento's Shopping Experience!

"Country Club Plaza is ideally located between I-80 and Hwy 50 at Watt Avenue and El Camino, the dominant retail intersection of central Sacramento. "

"Country Club Plaza
2310 Watt Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95825"
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:07 PM
Location: Vallejo
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That's not in the city of Sacramento. So, yeah...
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:45 PM
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Country Club Plaza is in unincorporated Sacramento County but well outside the city limits. In a lot of the "uncity" you can just address it "Sacramento" and a letter will go to the right place--I have known people who actually thouight they lived in Saacramento and then went to vote for mayor or city council, then discovered they weren't on their ballot. Sacramento is surrounded byu a lot of suburbs that are outside the city but haven't formed their own city--some call it the "uncity." Country Club is actually kind of central in the greater Sacramento region--downtown Sacramento is actually on the far western edge of the city, and the population runs to the east into the foothills.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cb73 View Post

But for the "regular" parts of Sacramento--where people who make maybe $40,000 or less live--Sacramento just looks horrible. Empty storefronts, no upkeep to stores that are still open, and it seems like 100 thrift stores have popped up in the last few years. My neighborhood grocery store, that had been in business for at least 50 years, shut down last month.

Is there hope for the "regular" part of Sacramento? Or are we destined to go downhill and become the poor part of town.
The short answer is that Sacramento County is most likely to be the less prosperous part of the region.

Caltrans does long term socio-economic forecasting by county. Real per capita incomes in Sacramento County are less than real per capita incomes in California and real incomes are expected to grow faster at the state level than in Sacramento County.


In Placer County real per capita incomes are currently higher than the average for the state but the average income for the state is expected to equal and then pass the average income in Placer County some time around 2035.


Average real per capita incomes are currently higher in El Dorado County and they are forecasted to stay higher the state average real per capita income for Caltrans relevant forecasting period.


In short incomes in Placer County and El Dorado County are expected to be higher than in Sacramento County.

Underlying all of this is the real estate cycle. In theory old buildings can be kept up and maintained at such a high level so that they are as good or better than new buildings. The White House was burned down by the English in 1814, but its been very well maintained since then. But it takes a lot of time money and effort to keep an old building in as good of repair as a brand new building. With a building as historically significant as the Whitehouse, the government ponies up the money to keep the building in tip top shape.

But most other older buildings are not kept up at such a high level. As buildings age, stuff wares out and not everything is equally well maintained. Some people will only spend money to keep a building habitable, but not in tip top shape. Maybe they fix the leaks in the bathroom, but they don't remodel the kitchen or replace the carpet. As neighborhoods age, the proportion of buildings that are not well kept up often increases, that allows less affluent people to move into the neighborhood and these subsequent residents may not have incomes as high as the original residents of the neighborhood and can't afford to spend as much on maintenance. That accelerates the deterioration of the neighborhood. As this process occurs the demographics of the neighborhood change. Some of the owner occupants may depart the neighborhood and turn more of the housing stock into rentals. School test scores can fall. Neighborhoods can fall apart pretty quickly. A lot of South Natomas was built out in the mid 1980's early 90's. Antelope was built out at about the same time. Neither neighborhood has aged well.

The big national chains tend to make many of their leasing decisions based upon the demographics of the neighborhood the store is to be located. As south Sacramento got less affluent it no longer had enough residents who would shop at old Weinstocks, and Pennys, so the Florin mall lost several of its original anchors.

In this region local governments are pretty dependent on sale tax reciepts, when those fall, then the local government has less money to pay for maintaining streets and road and providing other government services. But as the city gets poor the demand for government services often goes up. Because their are more gang members in the City of Sacramento than in Folsom, the City of Sacramento has to come up with money to spend on that, so they have less resources to fund say building new bike bridges.

But no city or community stays brand new for ever. While a significant part of the housing stock in Roseville, Rocklin and Folsom is fairly new right now. There is a pretty good chance that in 40 years from now that those cities will have a lot more neighborhoods that are relatively less affluent than they are now and there will be some newer area like say Cameron Park or Loomis that is where the wealthier folks are moving to for the same reasons that people are currently moving to Roseville, Rocklin and Folsom.

At the same time, not every neighborhood in an older city or community will be completely blighted. Some may even get nicer. As the housing stock in the city of Sacramento aged, East Sac, Land Park and Curtis Park basically held up pretty well. There are like the Pocket Area, Sierra Oaks, Willhaggen and Arden Park that seem on that same trajectory. These are neighborhoods that seem to be getting older without getting worse. In those neighborhoods, there is a critical mass of people who continue to spend money to fix up and remodel the housing stock. That is the real sign of the health of the neighborhood. Are people fixing it up or just moving away?

There are also older neighborhoods that manage to get better. There was a time when Old Sacramento was Sacramento's skid row. The previous economic purpose of the neighborhood had become functionally obsolete. The Sacramento region had stop relying on the river as the primary means of getting goods and services from out of the area. That role had been taken over by trucks moving goods along the interstate. So instead of the area being the river port for the area, it was re-purposed into a tourist trap. Thirty years ago historic Roseville was Roseville's skid row. It was was where you went to get a tattoo, had lots of biker bars and hotels for hobos. The neighborhood is by no means perfect today , but it is much better than it was. If there is a neighborhood that I think is probably poised for a comeback its probably the riverfront area of West Sac. The area around the ballpark used to be full of mostly empty warehouses and and abandoned grain elevator they have gotten rid of that dreck.

So while I think the overall trend for Sacramento County probably is less bright than say the trend for either Placer or El Dorado Counties, I am not saying that I think every community in Sacramento County is destined to turn into another Meadowview/Oak Park/Del Paso Heights either. There are going to be plenty of neighborhoods that will get worse. Some that will hold up pretty well and some that will get better.

There is also a certain amount of luck involved in how communities turned out. When Elk Grove was planning for all of its growth, it had an Apple Factory and a JVC factory in its city limits. I have often wondered if Elk Grove had kept both of those employers and if either Folsom lost Intel would Folsom be some sort of place still known mainly for its Prison and would we think of Elk Grove as some sort of knowledge work hub. I mean a big reason that the schools in Folsom are good is that they are filled with the children of the engineers working at Intel. A big reason that I have my doubts about Elk Grove is that it built a bunch of housing without really building an employment base.
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