August 27, 2009
Breathless in Sacramento
The nattering nabobs of negativism are predictably upset by Matsui's plan for a telephone town hall. Maybe they're worried their message won't get through if they have to play 'telephone' and talk to staff or other voters. At least Barney is Frank enough to tell them the government is not their mom and they should show some leadership.
I think she just wants to save a lot of taxpayers money that would be needed to pay for security to protect sensible people who want to have a constructive conversation from the adrenaline-addicted kindergarten dropouts we have all seen way too much of on TV.
More hyperventilating was also reported between the mayor and the city attorney, more time and energy wasted on this strong-mayor restructuring distraction. Joe Serna showed us you don't need to change the rules to be a strong mayor. You just need to know how to do grassroots community organizing.
Last night's workshop about putting motor vehicles back on K Street raised more questions than it answered, which is not a bad thing at this stage of the process. But the idea of spending $2 million and up on rearranging the furniture can't be the most cost-effective way to spend the money. K Street will never be like it was, because back then there were no malls in the valley. And there also wasn't so much stuff already so available in thrift stores and garage sales. We are swimming in stuff, so more retail is not a good candidate for economic redevelopment.
Converting some storefronts to residential would put more eyes on the street, and 24/7, not just a few minutes here and there. Stop expecting state workers to spend their money on K Street; even post-furlough they won't stop being a cautious bunch, self-selected for a safe working life.
How about opening a hospitality storefront in one of the empty buildings the city owns and doesn't know what to do with? Instead of acting like people who are homeless or ride Greyhound are no longer members of the human race, how about providing some kind of community center, staffed by volunteers, where everyone from tourists to kids can get the information and networking that responds to their needs and desires.
We have plenty of stuff, plenty of square footage that's fallow. Instead of tilling again and again, let's plant some seeds and water them. It's the relationships between people that make a community; the buildings are just a place to get out of the rain and put your stuff.