Demolition of the downtown mall and the creation of a state-of-the-art arena and beautiful public space are underway. The remake of the 700 block of K street is moving forward, Township 9 continues to make progress, and the discussions involving the downtown railyard are real and promising. A vibrant core is critical to our long-term success, and for the first time in my thirty-four years of living in Sacramento, I believe we finally have a critical mass of essential pieces in places to create a sustainable downtown economy.
The question then becomes: what should Sacramento's leadership focus on to build upon this momentum, ensure the investments made in our urban core are leveraged, and that those benefits are felt city-wide?
To accomplish those goals, there are four ares on which I hope that the council will focus on over the next four years.
We need a vision for our future with lofty but obtainable goals that we can all rally around. Our elected leadership, business community, employee associations and neighborhood groups must all be pulling in the same direction. This vision should focus on a sound budget and improved quality of life for all Sacramento residents.
We must focus on the needs of our neighborhoods, specifically in terms of public safety and economic development. Safety should be approached from two angles:
First, the city will continue to hire patrol officers, and reestablish speciality units including the gang and traffic units. Additionally, communities should continue to claim ownership of their neighborhoods, including further developing strong neighborhood association, creating neighborhood watches, and expanding the range of community events.
I was heartened to see over 250 people come out to our Movie Night in Oak Park, and am looking forward to visiting all of the neighborhoods participating in National Night OUt parties in District 5 next week.
Neighborhood economic development must also be a priority. On recent trips to Seattle and Portland, I had the opportunity to examine their revitalized neighborhoods and meet with economic development representatives. What I saw was exciting, and I think we have much to learn from their examples.
Here in Sacramento, the Franklin Boulevard Business Association is leading the way, by developing a local economic plan. I look forward to working on implementation of their excellent ideas.
Truly addressing our homeless challenges will say much about the quality and compassion of our city. Councilmembers Hansen, Cohn and I have spearheaded a city initiative that invests in research-based practices to mitigate the problem. We must continue along this path.
Finally, as we think about our sustainability, we have to pay attention to our leadership, beginning with a citywide infrastructure to support our young people, then focusing on a leadership ladder that begins in high school and connects such groups as Metro Edge, Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program, and the American Leadership Forum, so we can build our capacity for long-term leadership and success.
There is so much to do, and it is easy to get off course. However, I believe that if we strategically choose a few items to focus on as our next steps, following our downtown revitalization, we will ensure a community that our children will want to live in.
In addition to his council duties, Jay works as an independent consultant and policy advisor on education reform and youth policy and strategies.