I have spent a considerable amount of time in my monthly messages talking about my priorities around the importance of economic development, ending homelessness and supporting our youth.
For Sacramento to become the successful city we all desire, we will have to wrestle with a multitude of issues, large and small, controversial and not. My hope is that over the next year or so, we can begin courageous conversations about these topics and start answering a series of questions, some of which are posed below. Here are five topics; I’m interested to know your thoughts on what issues we should be discussing, and what your priorities are to address them.
1. Meaningful Action & Discussion on Diversity and Equity. Sacramento is one of the most diverse cities in the nation. The City is working to diversify its own workforce so that it better reflects the community, and that there is equitable pay for the same work. How do we go beyond simply talking about tolerance, use our diversity as an asset, and have it lead to a better quality of life? What meaningful actions will bring people together? How do we ensure equitable investment of resources, equitable treatment, and equitable returns for all?
2. Transportation. Regional Transit has shown great improvement in its service, safety and cleanliness over the last three years, has piloted a number of free ride days, is cutting fares for youth, and yet it is still losing riders. SacRT is conducting a ‘Route Optimization Study’ this year to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its bus routes. What else can RT do to increase ridership and how can we afford any increases in service to serve our communities where it's needed the most?
3. Housing. Housing costs in Sacramento are skyrocketing, we have a 2% vacancy rate, and we have been constructing less than 10% of the new housing that forecasts say we need. We have no ongoing source of funding to build more affordable housing. Gentrification is a challenge that no one in the nation has met – can Sacramento? How do we ensure people have the ability to stay in their homes, and that the homes that we do have are safe and affordable? How do we house our most vulnerable, including those experiencing homelessness?
4. Legalization of Cannabis. With the passage of local laws to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, and transportation of cannabis, I believe this will enhance public safety, public health, and bring significant revenues to the City over time. Are we doing the right thing here? What are we missing?
5. Ongoing Prosperity for All. This is one of the most exciting times in Sacramento’s history. As the City looks toward the future, how do make sure that everyone prospers and no one is left behind?
What am I missing? I would love to engage in these complicated conversations, and I'm happy to work with you to find best way to do that - and maybe even get to solutions.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
In addition to his council duties, Jay works as an independent consultant and policy advisor on education reform and youth policy and strategies.