Saturday, May 25, 2013
Currently, on-street parking in downtown Sacramento is almost entirely free after 6 PM and all day Sundays. Many portions of downtown have 1-2 hour free parking, while others have meters. There are some limited exceptions: Old Sacramento charges until 8 PM for street parking every day, and the blocks around Wells Fargo Pavilion/Music Circus are either time-limited or metered until 10 PM. The meters run later because of evening events--metering hours downtown around an arena would have to change, for the same reasons.
In other words, it's a prestige purchase, like designer clothing or a luxury car. If you can afford designer clothing or a luxury car, they are fun but unnecessary things that you can show off, and maybe make a positive impression on people who are impressed by fancy material things. But if your job doesn't pay enough to make the payments and your other expenses, buying a Lexus isn't a good idea--if the payments are so high you can't afford rent and food, you won't impress the cool kids on the block sleeping in the back of your Lexus after you get evicted. Intangibles are, by definition, intangible. You can't eat them, you can't use them to keep the lights on in libraries, repair roads, or hire more police.
And, last time I checked, the city of Sacramento was already cutting those other amenities--libraries, roads, trash pickup, parks, police, fire and so on. This project is being sold as a way to generate revenue, so judging it as a revenue generator is absolutely a fair comparison. And if it doesn't measure up, it doesn't deserve our support.
Maverick, it isn't the location that is the problem--it is the financing.
The two sources I used were posted with the story--the term sheet, and a 2006 parking study. How else do you explain a tripling of revenue with a reduced number of parking spaces?
Right now, the revenue that comes from on-street parking after 6 PM is ZERO. The only way to make any more money from evening on-street parking is to extend parking hours to cover the hours of arena events...otherwise the city is giving away half of their parking supply for free. That would mean city lots, only about 5000 spots after we give almost 4000 to Burkle, have to generate five times as much revenue as they do now.
And I'd rather jam a fork in my eyeball than run for public office.
Councilmember Fong didn't hold a workshop on this issue because I'm sure he was just as in the dark as you on the process until the term sheet was revealed--on a Saturday night, before a city holiday, meaning nobody could even ask questions of city staff until today...and, in what I'm sure is an amazing coincidence, the city website went down yesterday, limiting public access to the term sheet.
Cities limit what can be done with private property all the time--it is the basic principle of zoning. Under the new city parking code passed last year, there are no parking requirements for any new property constructed in Sacramento's central business district--and uses like parking lots are identified by the general plan as less-than-optimal uses for downtown land.
As to how we'll pay for a new arena in 25 years? I have no idea...that's one of the many things not addressed by this term sheet. Including, just for starters, where is JMA (the main property owner of Downtown Plaza) in all this? Are they giving the land away for free? Are other property owners on the arena footprint (like Macy's) equally amenable? Or are they partners in the deal--and if so, how much money are they demanding, or how much are they adding? We simply don't know, it was left out of the term sheet, and the questions have not even been asked, let alone answered.
Assuming that it happens (still an open question) the arena would take the place of about half of the mall, presumably the eastern half (although I have heard other reports that the Burkle team wants to put it on the western half, where Macy's, the movie theaters, and Holiday Inn are located.)
The deal includes several lots on or about K Street (the 800 K and Bel-Vue properties, 4th and J) that are owned by the city that would be transferred to the ownership group for their cash value, about $40 million of the $258 million city portion.
Street lighting costs money (it usually requires a tax assessment of property owners) and typically a majority of property owners in an area proposed for street lighting have to agree to pay an assessment for the lighting to be installed. Absentee landlords don't like spending money. 90% of the central city is rental, so there are a lot of absentee landlords--the voices of the renters in their apartments don't count. Homeowners get outvoted by a wide margin, so except for a few places where some deal was worked out (tradeoffs for Sutter or other developments, CDBG funds for lights on J Street, BIDs or residents willing to pay for individual SMUD poles) much of the central city remains pretty dark.
The fish is in the toaster!
The bathrooms are ventilated, and the planning director is asking them to put in aome sort of climate control other than passive ventilation too.
The owners of certain establishments were highly praised in public comment by an opponent of this project at an earlier meeting.
Sounds like some great ideas--and it's basically what the neighbors are asking for. Midtown Business Association and the Downtown Partnership have addressed some of these issues, but they have a tough time putting pressure on member businesses that resist these measures. Police and ABC are stretched paper-thin, they don't have the resources to do more.
Midtown Business Association's "Clean and Safe" subcommittee meets once a month at the MBA offices on J Street--they might want to hear your suggestions! www.mbasac.com is their website with contact info.
Actually, there were more people living in the central city in 1992 than there are now--we have lost about 2000 people in the past 20 years. But we have more visitors, especially at night, than we did 20 years ago.
I moved here about the same time you moved out, and while the central city is far from "gentrified" (thank goodness!) it has generally gotten more prosperous. When I moved here there were still meth labs in Midtown, Alkali/Mansion Flat was a lot more no-go, and Southside Park was still pretty dangerous during the day, let alone at night. Downtown had more SRO hotels, and J Street was still a hooker's crawl near what is now a Starbuck's. Homes that were boarded up or run-down back then are fixed up and occupied today.
For a long time, things have gotten safer. That's why the wave of violence and robberies that seems to have risen over the past few months is so alarming--those of us who have seen things get better here have no desire to return to the "bad old days."
Up until last year, there was a volunteer group called the Lavender Angels who helped patrol the streets around the club districts, but they appear to have fallen by the wayside. Do you think there is interest in a similar organization taking up where they left off?
The fight over Centrage happened when I was still in college, before I moved to Sacramento, so I'm not all that familiar with it. What exactly did I supposedly want?
Curmudgeon: This parcel was located in between the city dump and a busy railroad line in the 1950s. Not until a decade or so later was it also located next to a highway, all of which make it just a little less than desirable for infill. But it was an orchard ten years ago!
Now hold on a second...Jessica, are you claiming that the people concerned about the effects of bars and nightlife downtown are the ones responsible for these attacks? Or that wanting a safe neighborhood is somehow equated with being anti-gay, or violent?
There are more people in the suburbs suburbs than downtown, Jessica. And bars are a major factor in the problem if they are operated by irresponsible people and the city does little to contain them. They don't have to be a problem--but they have become one, both in the people they attract and the assumption that nobody living downtown has any right to complain.
I don't think these folks live anywhere near downtown--they come here to get into fights.
It was purchased by someone who wanted to develop it. But it's still perfectly viable as farmland, in the solely physical sense, it was only abandoned as a farm because the developer doesn't want to be a farmer. In the fiscal sense, that's another matter. Turning farmland into suburbs is very profitable--that's what makes this "greenfield" development rather than "infill."
Well, if you want to get technical about it, those who were deinstitutionalized often became homeless because there was no longer sufficient affordable housing after the losses attributable to redevelopment. Many moved into what little was available, a shrinking supply of SRO hotels and boarding houses, prior to that point traditional housing for entry-level workers and single adults. These housing forms became de facto social service centers (totally lacking in services) and less desirable for working people. You're right in that it was not the only cause, but it was the major identifiable cause.
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