I’ve only been “active” in city affairs for about three years, a relatively short amount of time when compared to my podcast brothers. During that period, I’d like to think that I’ve built a tiny reputation for speaking my mind and demanding accountability. But I couldn’t live with myself if I was only a naysayer, poking public officials in the proverbial eye just for my own entertainment purposes. Actually, I’ve come to this juncture quite organically, through civic participation and hundreds of hours of volunteerism. And you know what? I think I’ve earned the right to complain.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up around 5 am or so, load the bed of my pickup truck with some of my own gardening tools, make enough coffee for 50 people, and head to my neighborhood park to facilitate the 8th clean-up event in Tahoe Park in 2 years. I started these volunteer events to ensure that while the city’s parks department continues to dwindle, our playgrounds, baseball fields, jogging paths, and tree canopies don’t suffer. But besides the incredible work that the residents of Tahoe Park accomplish during these events, the day serves as a lighting rod for which friends, strangers, and neighbors can gravitate to as a common cause. By working together, these Sacramento residents prove that not only do they care about their community, but that they’re ready to break a sweat and get dirty to prove it. That’s love, baby.
But also it makes me extremely critical about the choices made at City Hall and what programs receive funding at which ones don’t. While the parks budget was getting slashed to ribbons, hundred’s of thousands of dollars were wasted on the colossal failure that was the Downtown arena. You can’t tell me “we don’t have the cash.” That’s a disingenuous fallacy. What we have is a disconnect between those who dole out the money to pay for city services and those who devote their Saturday mornings to work for free as part of an effort of take up the slack.
I grew up in Meadowview, on the corner of 64th Ave and 15th Street. As a child, I understood what it was like to not have much. We weren’t poor, but every little thing we did have came about through hard work and sacrifice. I had a job from the time I could pull weeds from the cracks in the sidewalk, and from there I started cleaning homes and offices in Land Park when I was 10. You’d be surprised how frugal you become when you’re getting paid $5 an hour to clean windows during the hot Sacramento summers. Often as a child and while at work, I’d daydream about what I would do if I had the money to afford to buy the structured that I cleaned. I guess it was all those years of busting my butt to help my family keep the roof over our heads that made me appreciate the value of a dollar.
Any who, before this rant goes any further off the rails, I just want to reaffirm that I’m ready and willing to be a part of the solution in Sacramento, I’m not just another curmudgeon who distrusts the government. I guess I just want to be able trust the people who are selected to lead but I remain very skeptical when the hollow sound bites I hear on the news are used to justify the general malaise we seem to be stuck in right now in this city. Encourage small business growth, foster the emerging local food culture, strengthen the ability for artists to hone their crafts right here in town, and give our young people the option to spend their time doing things that are safe and fun and keep them out of trouble. Once you got all those things covered, feel free to start tackling those big projects like new arenas, okay? Anyone else feel me?