Sunday, March 06, 2011


Sacramento’s alleged civic leaders, as usual, are failing to come up with any kind of constructive ideas aimed at revitalizing general growth and improvement for the quality of life in our city.

Since a lot of people seem to sit around complaining a lot about what they perceive as the city’s shortcomings without any kind of suggestion as to improve things, I feel compelled to offer some thoughts of my own. It’s inevitable that some folks will not pay attention to what I have to say, or will vehemently disagree with my opinions, or simply look down their nose at me.

Well, fuck ‘em.

Regardless, I’m going to offer my two cents anyway. Ready? Here we go.


I’m not really trying to pretend that I care either way if the Kings leave Sacramento or not, but gee, so many people with barely any real life whatsoever seem to be scared and disturbed by the prospect of the team pulling up stakes. It’s heart wrenching to witness. I’d better try to help.

This team has pretty much been a gypsy band for practically the entire total span of its existence. Back in the 1920’s, when the now-Kings were started up as a semi-pro company sponsored team, they were the Rochester Seagrams, which is appropriate because they’ve been stumbling across the U.S.A. from town to town in a drunken stupor ever since.

That’s the big problem here. They’re nobody’s team. They landed in Sacramento pretty much as a bargaining chip for part of a land rezoning scheme, and once the Natomas prairie was properly exploited, they were sold to a buncha out of town rich kids who washed down Carl’s Jr. burgers with a 24 year old bottle of French Bordeaux while a ballot measure was pushed (and voted down) to build them a new arena.

It’s time to start over, and I mean over.

First of all, let’s actually hope that the Kings get the fuck out of town. Once that’s done, the biggest mistake would be to try to get some other failing pro sports franchise to relocate to Sacramento. So that’s where the New Orleans Hornets come in.

Currently, the NBA owns the Hornets because the previous owners couldn’t get their shit together and had to sell the team to the league. They’re not faring too badly this season, with a decent home record, but they’re a disaster as a franchise, and therefore as a business.

Here's my suggestion. I put forth that Sacramento should push for a plan which sounds like something bordering on insanity, but hear me out. If anyone in this city with the money and ability is truly interested in keeping NBA ball in the area, here’s what should be done.

Approach the league and propose two things:

1. Dissolve the New Orleans Hornets franchise, and
2. Grant Sacramento the right to a brand new expansion team.

If this sounds rather pointless and illogical to some, let me explain my reasoning. On one level, we can have a team that is clearly made and grown in Sacramento, not some beat up jalopy that’s gotten into wrecks in other parts of the country. The new team’s local residents, and therefore potential new fans, can get involved in the naming and team colors and anything else that the new owners and anyone who is interested can think of and create a general good feeling of knowing that they are supporters of a truly hometown team from the beginning. I could care less about this type of stuff myself, but what the hell, I can see how it could be fun to go see a game occasionally or, who knows, maybe even riot with a rabid mob downtown after winning a league championship someday.

On another level, I also feel that starting from scratch could work out well in the long run. There would be the added benefit of an expansion draft where experienced players can be picked from other teams around the league. (It didn’t fare too badly for the Charlotte Bobcats, and by the way, the Bobcats picked Gerald Wallace off the Kings, who in turn became the Bobcats’ first All-Star, then was recently traded for three players and two draft picks.) Sure, expansion teams tend to suck for a while, but at least we’d have a true home team, and I’m thinking that the odds of a future NBA championship, as well as any (slim) chance of a new arena in the foreseeable future soon, would be much more closer to reality than the FUBAR franchise currently stinking up the Sacramento area.

There. I made a suggestion about the plight of the future of pro sports in this city. Now, here’s what I feel is a much more important one…


One of the oldest and most popular complaints about Sacramento is that its only saving grace is being conveniently located between the Bay Area and the Tahoe/Reno region. And we have never tried to use this as a serious selling point because… why?

Sacramento is the perfect area for the creative mind exactly because it is not an excessively problematic (and therefore not overly distracting) large metropolitan area, and to fortify that atmosphere, the median quality of life is actually quite enjoyable, especially compared to other parts of the country, or the world for that matter. Businesses (at the startup level and also those that are established and successful) which are seeking a new home would be stupid to overlook Sacramento as a potential base of operations. It will be a sad future for those of us still living here if this city becomes a stagnant pool of government jobs, with the mere alternative of retail and service work rounding out the employment picture and not much else. Various technical, professional and even manufacturing outfits could thrive here and some businesses of these types already are taking advantage of the area, though not nearly as much as should be.

By all means, this city’s leaders and shapers need to do everything possible to develop the “walkable workable neighborhood” concept. I consider myself very lucky to be working and living within a variety of available goods and services, not to mention decent restaurant and entertainment options and such, without needing to use an automobile or even a bicycle in most cases. I feel like part of a dying breed, and that is, quite frankly, a goddamned shame. An urban environment of that level should be pursued and developed into the norm, not written off as merely an anomaly that is perceived to be long extinct.

Most importantly, Sacramento needs to stop trying to be like other cities, or to be more accurate, avoid the tendency to beg, borrow and steal from the socio-cultural elements of other places. San Francisco did not copy Boston and Los Angeles did not rip off New York just like Boston did not co-opt London nor did New York schlep off in Amsterdam’s footsteps. All of these great cities have their own stories and shaped their own unique personalities and destinies.

People don’t flock to these places because they are reminded of someplace else, or there’s a really cool sports team in town, or there’s a bar with paid employees in mermaid costumes swimming around in a tank and winking at you as you drink. They move there and live there and love it in these cities because it makes them feel alive, somewhat accomplished and mostly satisfied, even hopeful, if not even entirely successful. There’s opportunity and energy and most importantly, a genuine heart to each city.

Sacramentans, ask yourselves: what is here that is unique and of superior quality and value, that we can celebrate as ours? It is all around us already, and has been all along. We just need to learn to recognize it.

There are so many wonderful people and places in and near Sacramento. I’m not going to play favorites at this moment by naming any of them specifically. I can tell you that, even for a deranged loner and part time hermit, I do feel fortunate to be living in this city. There are qualities here that aren’t the same, much less exist at all, in many other places out there. Sacramentans, for the most part, should feel somewhat thankful on a general level that they somehow ended up settling here, regardless of reason or circumstance.

If you want Sacramento to be a great place to live, make sure that it becomes a meaningful and enjoyable experience for the most part to live here. To do this, we have to be a city chiefly of thinkers and doers, and encourage the passive perpetually unsatisfied full time spectators, conformist clones and confused complainers to get in the game or step back.

If we do this, we will only attract like-minded people to want to be a part of the action.

And we can do it with or without a bunch of millionaires tossing a rubber ball through a hoop somewhere in town for 40 days a year.

That’s how the best and brightest of the cities of history grow and succeed. So let’s finally grow up and build an original city together.