Rock Festival in Parkway

This festival, as reported by KCRA News, is an excellent legitimate—and profitable—use of the Parkway in an area too often degraded by the illegitimate use by illegal homeless camping and the destruction through fires and pollution resulting from that; plus, the Festival folks pretty much clean up after themselves.

An excerpt.

Thousands of rock fans packed into Discovery Park for day one of the Aftershock Festival Saturday.


Aftershock Festival hosts 23,000 per day in sold-out weekend show

Festival rents Discovery Park for $70,000, spends $2 million in community, organizers said.

Festival back at Discovery Park because of traffic woes at Gibson Ranch in 2015

“It’s awesome. Discovery Park is beautiful, and you know, who wouldn’t want to play here. Downtown Sacramento is where it’s at,” said Brandon Mendenhall, member of the band The Mendenhall Experiment, who performed Saturday night.

This is the fifth year for the rock festival, and the first year back at Discovery Park after hosting it at Gibson Ranch last year.

“We couldn’t overcome the traffic problems. It’s a beautiful park, it had a bigger capacity there, and it was a great neighborhood, but we have a saying that your experience starts and stops with parking,” said Danny Hayes, CEO of Danny Wimmer Presents and organizer of the music festival.

With parking plus shuttles from Sleep Train this year, fans say getting to aftershock was a breeze.

“I like this location a lot better. It’s really accessible (and) it’s right off the freeway,” attendee Shawn Samboceti said.

One resident we met at the park, who didn’t want to be on camera, raised concerns about a private event using a public space for a concert of this scale.

Event organizers lease the park every year from the county for $70,000 per weekend.

“We pay for the park, we pay the park rangers, we hire the police, we hire the bartenders (and) we spend over $2 million in the community supporting this festival,” Hayes said.

Posted in Economy

War On Suburban Communities

It is a war that has been going on for a very long time, especially in California, but, thankfully, suburban communities are still where the vast majority of people prefer to live and raise their families.

This article by Joel Kotkin examines the situation.

An excerpt.

Politicians, housing advocates, planners and developers often blame the NIMBY — “not in my backyard” — lobby for the state’s housing crisis. And it’s true that some locals overreact with unrealistic growth limits that cut off any new housing supply and have blocked reasonable ways to boost supply.

But the biggest impediment to solving our housing crisis lies not principally with neighbors protecting their local neighborhoods, but rather with central governments determined to limit, and make ever more expensive, single-family housing. Economist Issi Romem notes that, based on the past, “failing to expand cities [to allow sprawl] will come at a cost” to the housing market.

A density-only policy tends to raise prices, turning California into the burial ground for the aspirations of the young and minorities. This reflects an utter disregard for most people’s preferences for a single-family home — including millennials, particularly as they enter their 30s.

In California, these policies are pushed as penance for climate change, although analyses from McKinsey & Company and others suggest that the connection between “sprawl” and global warming is dubious at best, and could be could be mitigated much more cost-effectively through increased work at home, tough fuel standards and the dispersion of employment.

Of course, cities and regions should be able to produce high-density housing which appeals to many younger people, particularly before they get married or have children. The small minority who prefer to live that way later in life should be accommodated on a market basis.

But density is not an effective way to reduce housing costs in a metropolitan area. Multifamily urban housing, notes Portland State University economist Gerard Mildner, costs far more to build than single-family homes. For example, the median cost for a room in major metropolitan areas is more than $100 more expensive near the urban core than it is on the periphery.

The case for NIMBYism

When people move to a neighborhood, they essentially make assumptions about its future shape. This can be achieved by zoning, albeit sometimes too strictly, but also in Houston’s more market-oriented system, which allows for neighborhood covenants and has spawned migration to a plethora of planned communities.

This is not a petty concern. For most people, their house remains their most critical asset. Yet, our clerical government pays little attention to the concerns of the middle class, and is all too happy to undermine long-standing local democratic processes on these issues.

Some density advocates suggest that their assault on zoning reflects market-oriented principles but rarely extend this laissez-faire approach to peripheral development, the most effective path to lower land and house prices. Under current circumstances, such limited libertarianism leaves middle-income people no protection against either Gov. Jerry Brown’s “coercive state” or their speculator allies.

In my old neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, few locals looked upon the creation of ever larger apartments in the area a boon, but rather as a source of increased congestion that strained sewers, water mains, roads and other infrastructure. Yet, in Los Angeles, where “infill” developers tend to also fill the coffers of politicians, our neighborhood did not stand a chance of opposing densification schemes.

NIMBYs are generally stronger in wealthy (and often bluish) places such as Beverly Hills, Palo Alto, Davis, Napa and San Rafael. The anti-forced-density campaign is also getting stronger in already dense places like San Francisco and has engendered an anti-density initiative on the ballot next spring in Los Angeles.

What kind of California do we want?

Ultimately, the question remains over what urban form we wish to bequeath to future generations. Ours is increasingly dominated by renters shoved into smaller spaces and paying ever more for less. California now has the lowest homeownership rate among the top 10 states for people between the ages of 25 and 34. Not surprisingly, the group leaving the state most is those between 35 and 44, a period that coincides with both family formation and home buying.

Forced densification, and the ban on peripheral building, is particularly harmful to the prospects for minorities. Metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have rates of homeownership among Latinos and African Americans well below the national average, even further below such liberally oriented places as Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta.

Posted in demographics

Haven for Hope National Model

We discovered this program a couple years ago and immediately adopted it as the best long term solution for Sacramento’s homelessness problem, as are many others, as this article from KGW News reports.

An excerpt.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — As Western Washington wrestles with how to help the area’s homeless population, one Texas city serves as a model for other cities around the country.

About 250 cities have come to visit Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas.

It’s a “one-stop shop” campus that’s dedicated to helping Bexar County’s homeless.

There are 30 agencies on its 22-acre campus. The services include housing, food, job training, child care and even kennels for pets, among other services. Mental health and addiction treatment is done across the street at the Restoration Center.

“All of the resources that a homeless person could need, if he or she is motivated, is centrally located right there,” said graduate Sam Lott, 52.

Help from a billionaire

The campus isn’t cheap.

It cost $101 million to build. Haven says 60 percent of that came from private donations.

“The business community initially wasn’t excited about helping to the homeless,” recalled billionaire Bill Greehey, former CEO of Valero, who’s credited with being the driving force behind getting the idea off the ground. “You really have to be committed and stay on message and eventually we got them won over,” he said.

Greehey says a series of local news stories about homelessness a decade ago inspired his philanthropic passion project.

“When I watched this program on TV, I had never seen the face of a homeless person before,” he said

Greehey estimated he’s personally donated $20 million of his own money to the project.

“I’m not through giving at Haven for Hope, but yes, this is the best investment I’ve ever made,” he said.

Posted in Homelessness

Philanthropy Helping America

As this article—an excerpt from a newly published book—from Philanthropy Roundtable reports, the help is considerable.

An excerpt.

Philanthropy is a very big part of what makes America America.

Start with the brute numbers: Our nonprofit sector now employs 11 percent of the U.S. workforce. It will contribute around 6 percent of GDP in 2015 (up from 3 percent in 1960). And this doesn’t take into account volunteering—the equivalent of an additional 5-10 million full-time employees (depending on how you count), labor worth hundreds of billions of dollars per year.

America’s fabled “military-industrial complex” is often used as a classic example of a formidable industry. Well guess what? The nonprofit sector passed the national-defense sector in size way back in 1993.

And philanthropy’s importance stretches far beyond economics. Each year, seven out of ten Americans donate to at least one charitable cause. Contributions are from two to 20 times higher in the U.S. than in other countries of comparable wealth and modernity. Private giving is a deeply engrained part of our culture—a font of human creativity and crucial source of new solutions to problems. Voluntary efforts to repair social weaknesses, enrich our culture, and strengthen community life have long been a hallmark of our country.

Yet, somehow, there exists no definitive resource that chronicles our philanthropy and puts it in a context where it can be fully appreciated. Until now. The Philanthropy Roundtable decided that the great American undertakings of private giving and voluntarism deserve a worthy standard reference. So we created an entirely new work. It helps readers understand the potency of philanthropic institutions, explains their influence on our daily lives, and profiles some of the fascinating men and women who have given creatively to improve our country in thousands of ways.

The Almanac of American Philanthropy, released in January, will appeal to everyday citizens, donors, charity workers, journalists, national leaders, and culture and history buffs. It offers an authoritative collection of major achievements of U.S. philanthropy, lively profiles of the nation’s greatest givers (large and small), and useful compilations of the most important ideas, statistics, polls, literature, quotations, and thinking on this quintessentially American topic.

The facts, stories, and history contained in the Almanac will fill gaping practical and intellectual holes in our self-awareness. And in this special issue of ­Philanthropy you’ll get a detailed preview. The pages that follow present a rich, illustrated introduction not only to this important new book, but to the vital institution of philanthropy itself.

Posted in Nonprofit Management

Parkway Fire #37

As reported by SacFire Twitter, Thursday, October 13.

An excerpt.

Vegetation fire, mile marker 5 in the American River Parkway. Crews arriving onscene now.

Posted in Parkway Fires

Parkway Attack, Worst Avoided

As reported by KCRA.

An excerpt.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —A Sacramento State student managed to get away from her attacker after a man hit her on the head and nearly dragged her into some bushes near the campus, according to Sac State police.

The woman was walking on the bike path about 11:45 a.m. Thursday along the American River after leaving Sacramento State when a man rode by her on a bicycle just west of the Howe Avenue overpass, police said.

The man came back walking toward her and told the woman to come to him. When she refused, the man grabbed her and hit her in the head, according to investigators.

The man tried to drag the woman into nearby bushes, but she was able to break free and run away, officers said.

The victim was treated for injuries at a hospital and was released.

Police said the man is described as 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, in his mid-40s with a muscular build, short black hair and no facial hair. He was wearing a dark-colored, loose-fitting tank top and dark pants.

Anyone with information about this incident or anything similar is asked to call the Sacramento State Police Department at 916-278-6000.

Posted in Public Safety

Environmental Trade Offs

An excellent post from Pacific Legal Foundation’s blog.

An excerpt.

Our friend Brian Seasholes of the Reason Foundation has an article on on one of the oft overlooked environmental benefits of fracking: preserving open space as habitat for wildlife. He ends the article with a point that applies far beyond fracking and highlights one of the most important shortcomings in most environmental law.

“Life involves trade-offs, and decisions often have unintended consequences.”

As Milton Friedman famously put it: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Although the costs of public policies may not always be obvious, they’re there if you look hard enough.

Fracking is a good example of that fact. Although environmentalists often decry fracking for potential impacts to groundwater–claims for which an EPA study found very little support–it has several demonstrable environmental (not to mention economic) benefits. By lowering the cost of natural gas, it has shifted energy production to a fuel that produces lower emissions of pollutants and carbon dioxide. It also, as Brian documents, provides the financial means for struggling farmers, ranchers, and other rural property owners to maintain their property as open space and habitat for wildlife.

This isn’t unique to fracking, of course. Most environmental questions–whether special interest groups want to admit it or not–involve trade-offs. And environmental policies often have unintended consequences, especially when the trade-offs aren’t candidly acknowledged and considered.

Protecting species, for instance, can be quite costly, by reducing economic development, restricting people’s property rights, and impacting communities in profound ways. How we protect endangered species has a huge impact on these trade-offs and the unintended consequences.

The command-and-control approach of the Endangered Species Act’s strict take prohibition has immense costs. It unfairly deprives property owners of their rights to use their land without compensation. It has made it more difficult for communities to protect playgrounds, airports, and cemeteries from species’ maleffects. And it threatens innocent people with jail time if they accidentally run afoul of the broad prohibition by, for instance, getting too near a protected animal or “capturing” it to protect it from a predator.

By failing to account for these trade-offs, the Endangered Species Act also has severe unintended consequences. It places immense burdens on–in other words, punishes–property owners who have maintained their land in a condition that is suitable habitat for disappearing species. Facing such strong disincentives, why would property owners pursue the thankless task of preserving habitat on their lands? It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out that this could be why less than 2% of listed species have recovered in the 40 years since the Endangered Species Act was enacted.

Posted in Environmentalism