The last time I was in Sacramento was when I moved, so it’s been since June 2010.
There are definitely some things that I miss. I love living where I am now where it’s rural and quiet and calm. I don’t ever miss hearing helicopters and sirens like I did every night for the first 30 years of my life. That was the most surprising thing that I noticed when I moved to Austin. I thought those were just the noises that you hear in every large city, but then I moved to Austin and it was quiet and I realized that what I was used to in Sacramento was not normal. (Other than the LBJ Library, I don’t miss a single thing from my one miserable year in Austin, by the way)
Maybe I should just answer your question and get back to what I do miss about Sacramento.
Of course, I miss the weather. The weather here in Missouri is exponentially better than it was in Austin, but there’s nothing better than those summer nights in Sacramento where the temperature drops down to 65 degrees even though it was 105 during the day and that beautiful Delta breeze comes off of the river. Once I moved out of Sacramento (and California overall, really), I realized that I took the great weather for granted since I had lived there all my life.
I miss Capitol Park. I loved taking a book and just chilling somewhere in Capitol Park under one of the scores of various species of trees planted in the park because so many trees from around the world can thrive in Sacramento’s climate. Or just walked around Capitol Park after catching dinner somewhere downtown. I really miss getting a nice cigar from Rodney’s or the tobacco shop on Front Street in Old Sac, and enjoying it while walking and talking with a friend along the palm-lined sidewalks surrounding the Capitol. Or strolling through Capitol Park with a girl, looking at the monuments and the orange trees, and showing her where, if you stand just right, you can peek into the Governor’s first-floor corner office and sometimes see the Governor sitting at his desk.
I miss Round Table Pizza and Pizza Guys. There’s a 40% chance that I’ll move back to Sacramento just because I can’t live much longer without having Round Table or, if I don’t want to spend as much money, Pizza Guys. I can’t believe Round Table isn’t a national chain. The rest of this country is missing out. If everyone had Round Table Pizza, we would all be happy and prosperous and there would be peace in the Middle East.
I miss having a nice, stiff drink and lounging around like a gentleman in the bar in the lobby of the Sheraton Grand. Or having a pricey, tasty margarita in the bar of the Delta King. Or having a lot of cheap, tasty margaritas at Chevy’s on the River.
I miss Time Tested Books on 21st Street in Midtown and the piles of used books at the Book Nook on Madison Avenue where I found some real treasures over the years.
I miss going to Sacramento Kings games and lunch at the Esquire Grill. I miss being so close to San Francisco and the coast as well as Reno, Tahoe, and the Sierra.
I miss living within walking distance of a Trader Joe’s. I miss Temple Coffee House on 9th Street, and I’m pissed because they waited until I moved and then opened a new location in my old neighborhood!
There are probably some more things, but those are what I think about from time-to-time. Except for both Round Table Pizza and Pizza Guys, which I usually think about for an average of no less than three hours each day. Despite the things that I miss, I’m still very happy to be where I am and doing what I am doing. The only time I consider moving back to Sacramento is when I want pizza, so I think that’s a good sign.
Shit, now I’m hungry.
This is really local to Northern California and totally non-Presidential, so people are going to hate that I answer it, but too bad. It’s a subject that interests me as someone who lived in Northern California for the first 30 years of my life.
Now, I did move to Austin last summer, so I may be a bit out of touch on some of the latest news and issues.
With the Kings, I definitely think that the land swap deal at Cal Expo (site of the California State Fair) was far too complex. If anybody here knows anything about Sacramento, too, an arena at Cal Expo would be a traffic nightmare. The State Fair is a nightmare for traffic on the Cap City Freeway and that’s only two weeks per year. Forty-one Kings games each year would really cause some trouble over there. I didn’t like the idea of an arena at Cal Expo.
Ideally, they would build an arena downtown at the railyards, but that’s been beaten into the ground so much over the years that I can’t see how it can ever actually get done now. The people of Sacramento screwed themselves with the Kings by voting down the ballot initiative for the arena in 2008. That was a chance to step up and show that we were serious about keeping the Kings and it was defeated handily. That whole initiative campaign was badly ran, too. I don’t think most people understood it very well.
Like I said, I’ve been out of Sacramento since last year, so I don’t know what the discussion is now. I would assume downtown because that’s where the City has always pushed for a new arena and I don’t think the Maloofs wanted anything in Natomas again. I never had a problem with a new arena in Natomas, but I don’t own the team and I’m not the Mayor of the city. I also wondered why they never looked into building an arena at the former McClellan Air Force Base. That seems like a perfect place for an arena — easily accessible, plenty of land, and I would assume that the chemicals have been largely cleaned up since the AFB has been closed for years now.
As for the other Northern California teams, I was surprised when the Giants got Pac Bell, too, because it’s stunning that the 49ers haven’t been able to get themselves a new stadium. I thought that the A’s had a good deal with the proposed Fremont ballpark, but I would not be surprised to see them in San Jose.
I can’t see the Raiders and 49ers ever sharing a stadium. The Raiders won’t get anything from local governments unless Al Davis puts down the stakes and commits to the Bay Area. You never know when the Raiders are going to pack up and move back to L.A. I know the Warriors play in the NBA’s oldest arena, but didn’t they renovate the Oracle Arena pretty nicely a few years back. That’s a great place to catch a basketball game. I’d hate to see them move across the Bay because the atmosphere in that arena is pretty special when the Warriors fans get into it.
Swinging back to the Kings and Sacramento, this is their chance to save the team and, really, save the city. Sacramento has always been on the edge of being a major league city. It has the population — it’s a far bigger city than most people realize, but the Kings give them that identification as a “major league” city. If the Kings moved, Sacramento isn’t going to get another major league sports team. This is its one chance. We know that the city can support the team — they did it through some really terrible years, and they did it during the Webber/Divac/Peja glory years. But building a new arena is a must. And not just for the Kings, either. ARCO Arena (I refuse to call it by its new name ) is the site of some great memories for me, but it is outdated and a downtown arena would certainly revitalize what could be a really cool downtown area if it actually stayed open past 5 PM on weekdays. Mayor Johnson — who I didn’t think much of during his campaign or throughout the first part of his term — really stepped up, so this will be his legacy, too. I don’t know — I actually feel pretty confident about it, though. I think Sacramento will come through. If not, it’s not the Maloofs; Sacramento will have only itself to blame.