Building Our Future

Blight’s All Right

If your passion is building houses for a living, as it is for Indie Capital’s Erica Cunningham, there are easier ways to do it.

Cunningham, who got into the business after buying and rehabbing her own rundown house in Oak Park and selling it for a profit, formed Indie Capital with her husband, Nate, about 15 years ago.

Good Neighbor Policy

We humans tend to resist change, especially when we fear it may lower our property values.

For those fortunate enough to own a home in a state rapidly making it too expensive for our children to buy one, change is coming whether we like it or not. California’s economy cannot sustain itself with a residential real estate market off limits to whole generations. We have to think differently about housing.

Change, For Sure

Even for people who refuse to wear masks or treat the coronavirus as the grave public health threat it is, one thing is certain: life will not be the same anytime soon.

No one can say when COVID-19 will stop flooding our hospitals, but we know cities such as Sacramento are changing even as we struggle through the pandemic.

Disasters like earthquakes, fires and floods tend to cause reconsideration. Some close friends of mine in Sonoma County are moving to Washington state after losing their Santa Rosa home in the 2017 wildfires and being evacuated several times since from their new place a few miles north.

Aggie Power

Despite legitimate concerns about gentrification, traffic and other potential downsides of big development projects, the plan to create Aggie Square at the UC Davis Medical Center campus is fantastic news.

Full disclosure: I worked for former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi when she first advanced a new innovation and research campus in Sacramento about five years ago. At that point the project seemed headed for the Downtown railyards.

Mayor Kevin Johnson offered the university free land behind the city’s historic train station. Johnson saw the campus as a compelling development anchor. But the idea never went anywhere.
Now, under Chancellor Gary May and Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the project has shifted to Stockton Boulevard around Second Avenue. Traffic at the medical center is already an issue, but it makes sense to build on existing investment and infrastructure. It’s wise to strengthen one of the region’s great assets.

Bad To Worse

An October column in The New York Times called attention to California’s “epidemic of homelessness that seems to defy all attempts to fix it.”

Clicking on a link in the text, readers were directed to a Los Angeles Times article headlined: “This was supposed to be the year for California’s homeless. Instead it’s a slow train wreck.”

All true, but don’t expect the dire observations to discourage Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who has invested more political capital on this issue than most California mayors.

Walls Stand Tall

Phil Serna, a local politician known for straight talk, was up to no good. He had just lied to an old friend and lured him Downtown under false pretenses.

All was soon forgiven, however, because the Sacramento County supervisor brought his pal, local saxophone virtuoso Danny Sandoval, to 10th Street and Jazz Alley for the surprise of a lifetime.

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