Sacramento Book Review publishers moving to Midtown

Meredith Greene tipped me that 1776 Productions, publishers of the San Francisco Book Review and the Sacramento Book Review (and one in Portland as well) are moving their headquarters to Midtown. According to co-publisher Ross Rojek, the move could start as early as next week.

“We’re looking forward to living and working in Sacramento,” Rojek told me. “Particularly having an office in Midtown near so many good restaurants and things to do after work.”

1776 also created GoLocalApps, a framework that helps small businesses roll out apps for iDevices. It’s good to hear about a business actually moving to Sacramento in this economic climate!

Good work, if you can get it runs a story about how there will now be “Fewer police on Sacramento streets” because of, well you know, the economy.

Data collected from the Bureau of Justice statistics shows: In 2007, the national average for city police to residents ratio was 2.3 officers for every 1,000 residents. By comparison, after this most recent layoff, Sacramento has 659 sworn officers – giving the city about 1.45 sworn officers to every 1,000 residents. That’s nearly 2/3 the 2007 national average.

Now, they’re are not saying you should go commit a crime now, but they are positioned to tell you “I told you so” if you did. Or, am I missing the point of this story? You have a 25 million dollar budget deficit. You have to cut jobs, right? Or, maybe salaries?

Then, I hop over to where I learn that “Sac Metro’s new chief played role in Vallejo bankruptcy” which is another clever headline. Continue reading “Good work, if you can get it”

America is again hungry for a good steak

From the Sacramento Business Journal

So it’s been a tough climb back for Florin Towne Centre – as well as shopping centers old and new throughout the region – but deals are gradually trickling in. The latest lease for Florin Towne Centre is a Sizzler restaurant, which a couple weeks ago committed to taking a pad space between Starbucks and the building that houses Verizon and U.S. Bank.

I really have no idea what makes a restaurant chain successful. Just when you think you’ve found one you like and is always busy, it shuts its doors.

The Florin Sizzler, which will employ 100 to 120 workers, will be one of the first locations built with Sizzler’s latest design. Sizzler’s corporate office announced this week that it is starting to expand again with corporate-owned and franchisee-owned locations, and will soon open its first new restaurant in more than three years. “America is again hungry for a good steak,” is how the eatery’s promotional materials put it.

Can’t wait for Sac-eats’s review (the new old school says “s’s” by the way).

Westfield Downtown Mall: Not as Bleak as You Remember It

Sacramento’s downtown mall has struggled the last five or six years. Maybe the toughest blow came when Hard Rock Cafe closed and the giant plastic guitar came down. I still snuck over there yesterday for quick shopping for a birthday gift, because, well, it’s downtown and that’s convenient if you work downtown.

It’s actually not as bad as it used to be. Vacancies on the first floor are about five percent, and maybe 35 percent on the second floor. Still, an improvement. Foot traffic looks pretty good. And the cinema, Macys, and River City Brewing Company remain as anchors on the mall’s west side. The Doubleday bookstore has been gone for a few years, which sucks (bookstores are generally great places to shop for hard-to-shop-for people). But still there are signs of life sneaking back into the mall.

The cavernous 24 Hour gym is even undergoing an expansion (and hopefully renovation) that will take it to the second floor on the mall’s east entrance.

Back in February, a team of urban planners recommended restructuring the mall into an open mixed-use area for retail, housing and workspace. I really see the virtue in that. Right now, its frontage looks more like a fortress than a market, buttressed against growing national trends that favor outdoor malls or “lifestyle centers.” Open it up if Westfield wants to front the money.

Full disclosure, I sit on the board for Sacramento’s redevelopment agency, which has some jurisdiction with streetscape improvements and tenant attraction in the area. My comments shouldn’t be taken as representing any city officials other than yours truly.

In the meantime, a slow rebound in the mall’s current structure appears to be picking up steam. That funky exotic antique store is gone, where I almost bought a samurai sword once. But if trends continue, something better will come along.

Sacramento is the biggest loser

When not social networking, apparently Sacramento enjoys cutting jobs.

The Sacramento region topped job losses in the nation for the last year, according to new figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ninety-three metros suffered declines, and 13 were unchanged. The Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville metro area lost 14,500 nonfarm jobs from January 2010 to January 2011. Atlanta and Las Vegas came next, with respective declines of 12,300 and 9,500.

Nonfarm? Why the face? Man, how can Stockton do us like this?

I’m Moe Greene

This story from Sacto 9-1-1 made me chuckle as I can’t believe the movies this guy was pirating.

A Sacramento man pleaded guilty today in federal court to felony copyright infringement in a case involving the pirating of DVDs…His inventory for sale or rental included unauthorized copies of Hollywood movies such as “The Godfather” and “Indiana Jones”, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Really? You are going to do time for Indiana Jones? And people are still pirating DVDs? And selling/renting them in stores?

According to court documents, Yan Akhumov, 45, of Sacramento, distributed unauthorized copies of copyrighted motion pictures in Music Land stores that he controlled in Rancho Cordova, West Sacramento, Citrus Heights and North Highlands.

Ah, why didn’t you say so. Carry on.

Sacramento Gas Prices

We're beating the USA!

As gas prices are back in the news (blaming Obama? get out!), here’s a reminder about

There many tips out there for saving money on gas, here are a few I enjoyed.

  • Avoid stops. If approaching a red light, see if you can slow down enough to avoid having to actually stop (because you reach the light after it is green). Speeding up from 5 or 10 miles per hour will be easier on the gas than starting from full stop.
  • Anticipate the stop signs and lights. Look far ahead; get to know your usual routes. You can let up on the gas earlier. Coasting to a stop will save the gasoline you would otherwise use maintaining your speed longer. If it just gets you to the end of a line of cars at a red light or a stop sign a few seconds later, it won’t add any time to your trip. Ditto for coasting to lose speed before a highway off-ramp: if it means you catch up with that truck halfway around the curve instead of at the beginning, you haven’t lost any time. In many cities, if you know the streets well, you can time the lights and maintain the appropriate speed to hit all green lights. Usually this is about 35 to 40 MPH.
  • Limit your driving (now that’s a concept!). This article includes ideas such as carpooling, combining trips and taking the first parking spot you find.

I wish folks would adhere to these tips regardless of gas prices. I hate that I get passed aggressively by folks when I try to coast into a stop sign or light.

While we’re talking about it, what do Sacramento drivers do that irritate you?

If you’re illiterate, don’t read this post

This one is a little too easy to pick on, but what the hell.

But some of the unemployed job seekers say they are facing a new challenge as some companies aren’t even considering applicants who are currently unemployed. Some companies have even gone as far as posting signs, stating you must have a job just to fill out an application.

I guess they are going with the old theory that you need to have a girlfriend in order to find a girlfriend? That it takes one girl to find you attractive in order for another girl to think you’re dreamy? It’s actually not that wacky if you break it down.

Some employers admit they believe the unemployed have lost their skills or workers who are currently employed, are better qualified.

It’s simple. Whoever returns the bike is obviously the person who stole it. So they don’t deserve any reward!

McDonald’s sued for marketing to children

Jackie Chiles - Attorney at Law

I am not sure what to make of this article about a Sacramento mother who, along with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is part of a lawsuit against McDonald’s to get them stop using toys to market meals to young children.

Monet Parham said she is upset that her children request McDonald’s food after seeing the company’s ads.

My son requested an Apple iPad for Christmas, should I sue Apple for making them so darn handy? I mean, 9.7 inches of Bejeweled goodness. I am not made of wood you know.

They claim McDonald’s decision to markets its meals directly to young children violates several consumer protection laws because it exploits a child’s vulnerability.

A child’s vulnerability? To play with toys and crave French fries? How about the cereal aisle at the supermarket? The positioning of those sugary-sweet-teeth-rotters exploits a child’s vulnerability to not see anything above 4 feet, right?

Continue reading “McDonald’s sued for marketing to children”