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Jake Castro: Geometric Art

Today, we are spotlighting local Sacramento artist Jake Castro. He is a muralist, who has been creating amazing pieces for 12 to 14 years, as well as doing laser cut work. Originally from Chicago, he moved to Sacramento for its small-town vibe and the local artist community. He has his own brand and sells some of his works in local farmers markets and festivals. His style is very geometric, with different shapes and hard edges with unique designs.  His work has been featured in shows in Sacramento and Chicago, such as Wide Open Walls. In his spare time, he loves exploring local breweries and cycling around town. His most recent work is on the corner of S and 9th on the building of 1st Corporate Solutions.

If you want to check out more of his art, make sure to check out his website and follow him on his social media.

Website: https://www.jakecastro1.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jake.castro.7393

Instagram: @Jakecastro1

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 Horst Leissl: A Hulking Piece of Sacramento History

Horst Leissl: A Hulking Piece of Sacramento History

By Corey Rodda

A larger-than-life painting of the Incredible Hulk seemingly breaking though the container wall of a water tower on Riverside Boulevard made quite a civic splash back in the 1970s.

The artist who gave trompe l'oeil reality to the Riverside Water Treatment Plant landmark was the late Horst “Hank” Leissl, who had paid homage to his son’s favorite comic book character.

Painted in 1976, the big green guy in action lasted four years longer than the six months of its commission, thanks to the efforts of three preteen girls who protested the city’s plan to sandblast it into oblivion.

“I was in kindergarten going to Crocker Riverside Elementary,” recalled James Peyton, who has digitized Horst’s work in "The Art of Horst Leissl. " (https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/).

“I would see that water tower on Riverside, and when you are a little kid obsessed with Spiderman and Hulk – it was this amazing thing that you had never seen before. You knew that it was something that was not supposed to be there.”

Horst’s very public art enchanted Sacramento residents from 1974 into the late 1980s. He had no problem with the short lifespan of his works.

“All my stuff is temporary,” Horst told the Sacramento Bee in 1984. “That doesn't bother me. There is room for temporary as well as permanent art.”

 The Sacramento Fly, by Horst Liessl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

The Sacramento Fly, by Horst Liessl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Other notable installations created by Horst include the Sacramento Fly, a 12-foot-by-18 foot cardboard fly on the Alhambra water tower and Hand Laundry which consisted of a series of giant inflated hands that were suspended under the XY freeway overpass. 

He also painted dada juxtapositions of Sacramento landmarks in an exhibit dubbed "Sacramento Dreamscapes," and satirized dessert culture with his "Incredible Edibles" -- ceramic-sculpted confection creations titled "Lobster-Chiffon Cake," "Bambi's Revenge" and "Seagull Chiffon Island." On one of the cake sculptures, plastic hands and feet are so precisely arranged that at first glance, they look like puffs of icing.

Horst’s grandfather, a traveling dentist, taught him how to bake.

Horst, who would create a cake called “A Gift From Nice” that looked like a basket with fruit tumbling from it, often baked for his son, Niko.

“He was very loving, but not in a super affectionate hug and kissing way,” Niko said. “He was very German."

“He was an awesome dad,“ his son added. "I learned a lot from him. As a kid, I was doing small animations. He taught me that being an artist is a skilled craft. You can be a Sunday painter or you can really be a trained artist.”

 Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

“He was an original,” his wife Julia said. “He thought about things and he felt things and there was nothing that he couldn’t do once he put his mind to it. I’ve never met anyone like him.”

“I really believe he was a genius,” she added.

In 1987, Horst suffered a stroke, followed by another a few years later. After his second stroke, he lost his ability to speak. Julia cared for him as his health declined. As his fine motor skills deteriorated, he turned to collage to channel his creativity.

The artist died in 1991, at the age of 61.

“He just faded in the end so in a way it wasn’t a surprise,” Niko said. “It wasn't a shock, you knew it was coming. That’s a better way.”

Horst was fastidious about his life's work, which he cultivated after nearly flunking out of school because of poor eyesight. To him, art was a trade that he could capitalize on.

“I think what made him so unique was that he was a European and he went through the war and it was a terrible thing for him,” Julia said. “He was a dadaist and he was a surrealist. He loved that school of art, the absurd. Going through the war, he saw how absurd things were and that is what gave him a unique background for his art.”

 Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1933, Horst's parents never married and he never met his father, who died fighting near the Eastern Front during War World II. He escaped being drafted into the Hitler Youth Corps after being judged too weak to join their Aryan ranks.

“He had a maternal grandfather who was very good to him,” Niko said. “He had a farm. When they were bombing Augsburg, they sent all of the kids away. He told us about the camps -- he encountered a lot of deprivation at the children’s camp.”

When he was 19, Horst moved to Redwood City, Calif., to live with his Aunt Paula, who had emigrated there from Germany. She had been working as a nurse in South America, where she fell in love with an American.

In the United States, Horst earned his citizenship and set about working toward a career as a commercial artist. He enrolled at Cooper Union College in New York City, where he majored in graphic design. As a student, he lived on a shoestring budget and a scant diet, including occasional bowls of “ketchup soup” at the automats.

His studies were cut short when he was drafted for a peacetime army and stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He participated in the army as a graphic designer, tasked with curating the Old Fort Bliss Replica Cultural Museum which showcases the history of the fort, built in 1815.

“He wasn’t the most physically fit guy so he used his arts background to become the curator,” Niko said.

 Horst Leissl himself working on a painting. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Horst Leissl himself working on a painting. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

After his service, he ran his own business, Graphic Arts Studio, for five years in El Paso until he moved to San Francisco to join the Steadman, Cooper and Busse advertising firm as a production manager.

Horst was introduced to his wife Julia by a Maurice Read, a mutual friend, at an art gallery opening in Old Sacramento. She was pouring champagne. 

“They locked eyes and the next thing I knew that they had gotten married -- and then they got divorced and got back together,” Read said.

After they wed, Horst and Julia abandoned their careers to open Kiosko, a European-themed restaurant near Lake Chapela, Mexico, an hour south of Gaudalajara. They scouted the restaurant’s location by driving through Mexico in a Volkswagen van with son Niko, then a toddler.

The couple would shutter Kiosko after three years and return to California. They eventually moved to Sacramento in 1974 so Horst could immerse himself more fully in also his artwork and also to be near Julia’s family.

“We came back and he had a lot of friends here” Julia said. “We thought it would be the most comfortable place to be.”

To pay the bills, Horst freelanced and taught commercial art and film at Sacramento City College. He created a quarterly magazine for Blue Diamond, the nut people, called "Almond Facts."

 

“He hated being part of the rat race,” Niko said.

Horst worked closely with the City of Sacramento to create community installations, including a time capsule to be opened in 2073. He interviewed everyday Sacramento residents about how they felt about their home and their predictions for what it will be like in 100 years.

The artist also took pains -- some humorous -- to explain the rationale behind his works. A pamphlet distributed to his collaborators on the Sacramento Fly on the Alhambra Blvd water tower quotes Edgar Watson Howe, a magazine publisher and novelist: “Put cream and sugar on a fly, and it tastes very much like a black raspberry.”

 Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

Original painting by Horst Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

“The fly gestated over years and geographic miles and hatched in Sacramento because of its fertile climate,” Horst added.

He came up with the idea to make the fly while he, Julia and Niko were staying at a vacation spot in Mexico overrun with flies.

“He would sit with his fly swatter and his book – [making a]  clunmpf clumpf [noise as he swatted the flies],” Julia said.

 The Hulk by Horse Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

The Hulk by Horse Leissl. Credit to https://theartofhorstliessl.weebly.com/

“We would see things and they would be normal and he would see it and turn it around and find something in it that would be unique,” she added.

“Horst took art and turned it around and turned it around inside out,” Julia said. “That’s what he was about turning things inside out and backwards.”

Read praises Horst as "the most underrated artist I know.”

“His art was very eclectic and he would do whatever he wanted to,” said Read, who pointed to one of Horst’s more famous paintings, this one depicting Arden Way. 

"He left out all the buildings and only had the billboards and signs,” Read elaborated. "The political statement was that we are a society overwhelmed by billboards," ruining the beauty of communities.

Niko believes that his father’s artwork is particularly relevant in this day and age and is ripe for a revival.

“I think that there is potential for his artwork to experience a renaissance,” Niko said. “One of the great things about my father is that he was a part of the futurist society. He was really ahead of time in a lot of his arts and concepts and now it comes around again.”

"There is a whole new generation that would be interested in his ideas,“ he added.  "He would have loved the internet. He loved technology.”

Peyton noted there was a small movement to access city funds to reintroduce the Hulk painting  to the water tower. However, currently the big green guy’s place on the Riverside landmark remains a distant memory.

The Land Park Harlequins: Taking the Ball and Running With It!

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The Land Park Harlequins: Taking the Ball and Running With It!

By Katie Rubin

Have you ever meet a family that makes you think “Oh, this is what loving, supportive, emotionally engaged family feels like.”  I recently had that thought and felt that way while hanging with the Popp family in their gorgeous Land Park pad.

Papa Popp, Curtis, in addition to running his own Architecture and Interiors Firm, Popp Littrell Architecture and Interiors (plarch.com), also manages a collection of more than 25, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s “antique” analog cars.  Oh, and no big deal but he and his daughter, Olivia, also happen to have started a wildly successful competetive girls Rugby team in Sacramento.

 Susan and Curtis Popp

Susan and Curtis Popp

2 years ago, after having played Rugby with the boys team, The Land Park Motley, (cuz she’s an incredible badass), Olivia realized it would be fun to play on a girl’s team.  Realizing none of the local girl’s teams were anywhere near them, the Popps decided, “Heck, why don’t we just start a team of our own?”  (They didn’t say heck.  That was me.)

And so they did. 

 The Land Park Harlequins logo

The Land Park Harlequins logo

That’s how the Popp’s roll, you see.  They see an opportunity, or a potential for something new to come into existence, and they pounce, innovate and expand.  Here’s what I mean:

I asked Curtis what inspires him to keep running The Harlequins, his daughter’s now 4th in the Nation-ranked Rugby team, two years after its inception.  “I actually get really emotional when I talk about it,” he begins.  “It started just really pragmatically.  Olivia wanted to play and I thought she’d like it, and that maybe it would help her get a leg up on getting into college more affordably.  But now, it’s turned into something much much bigger…  One of our girls has just been offered scholarships to Dartmouth, Brown, and Bowdin.  And she was a need-based kid.  She’s crazy smart and has a 4.5, but it was Rugby that got her the scholarship offers.”

The Popp’s pet project, in other words, has become a legitimate service organization that allows financially at need students to consider applying to schools they more than likely wouldn’t have approached otherwise.

The Popp family home is a 1940’s Art Moderne masterpiece, filled with some of the most vibrant, stimulating, modern art this writer has seen outside of a museum.  Oh and speaking of museums, not only was Olivia Popp recently scouted and then recruited by the Youth Rugby Olympics team (that’s right, The Olympics) she also recently skipped over to New York City to attend the New York Times Academy where she learned how to curate Art Exhibits in Manhattan.  So.  No big deal.

Eventually, I learn that Susan Popp is, in her own words, “the mainstream one in the family…  I round out all the creativity in the house with some left brained ways of thinking.”

“Oh, ok, so you’re not an artsy type?”  I ask.  “No,” she tells me.  “I’m a Nurse in the Cardiac Surgery Wing of Mercy Hospital, so, all of this architecture and creativity was new to me when I started dating Curtis”

So let’s recap.  In the Popp family, we’ve got a Cardiac Surgery RN.  No big deal.

A 16 year-old Olympic Athlete.  Whatever.

And a Successful Design Master/Car Collector/Rugby Team Builder.  Laaaaame.

Oh, and their 14 year-old son, Fletcher asked for a Leaf Blower for Christmas so he could make some mad cash in his free time.  So.  He’s clearly good for nothing and heading nowhere.  (Big, fat, exaggerated eye roll.) 

I feel more accomplished and impressive just hanging out with the freaking Popps.

I ask Olivia and Curtis one final question:  “Why Rugby?”

Curtis answers first.

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“Rugby is a phsycially demanding game on the field.  But it’s also the most community-minded, corgial, gentlemanly sport I know of.  At the end of every game, the two team captains shake hands, and thank each other.  Then the home team cooks a meal for the visiting team, and we all sit down and eat together.  That’s Rugby.

“Yeah.  I’d have to echo what my Dad is saying,” Olivia pipes in.  “My friends who play other sports are always bagging on their coaches.  And their coaches are always so down on their players.  Our coach, Naki Hopoi, is always so positive and supportive.  When his Dad died, our entire team went to his funeral.  We had never met him before.  But we went.  To support our coach.  ‘Cuz we really have each other’s backs on the field and off.  That’s Rugby.

So.  If you’re looking for something productive, inspiring, healthy and communal for your daughter to do, or if you’d just like your kids to get to hang out with some incredible people, maybe consdier girl’s Rugby.  It just might rock your world.

For information about becoming a part of The Land Park Harlequins Rugby Team and Family, please email Curtis Popp at curtis@plarch.com.

You can also find The Land Park Harlequins on Facebook at facebook.com/goharlequins, on Instagram @lpharlequins, and on Twitter @LPHRFC. You can also go to their website, www.goharlequins.com

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Bringing Color and Form to Fair Oaks

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Bringing Color and Form to Fair Oaks

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By Elizabeth Stephens

“Tupos” can be translated from Greek to mean impression or form, which is an apt word for the expressive style of Patricia Mills, resident painter at Old Town Fair Oaks' newest art gallery.  At Studio Tupos one can view some of Mills’s artwork from several recent series, as well as purchase prints, cards and paintings.

 Join Patricia at Studio Tupos on December 2nd directly following the Christmas in the Village festivities for wine tasting from 7pm-9pm. 10149 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, CA. See you there!

Join Patricia at Studio Tupos on December 2nd directly following the Christmas in the Village festivities for wine tasting from 7pm-9pm. 10149 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, CA. See you there!

Pat’s love for art spans a lifetime. As a child growing up in Kansas Pat drew interiors of houses; she experimented with watercolors and went on to pursue art as an undergrad at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. However, it wasn't until 2000 when her children were all grown that Mills decided to make it a profession. She started attending graduate school at Sacramento State, where at the time CSUS had the Over-60 program and you could attend for only one dollar a semester. Later she would spend a month painting in France fine tuning her creative voice.


Pat draws inspiration from a variety of sources, and strives to pay respect to the subjects of her art. Some of the biggest pieces currently on display at Studio Tupos are part of a series of paintings called Catching Shadows based on the photography of Edward Curtis, famous for his black and white portraits of native people at the turn of the century. Curtis touched Mills with his photography. “[It was] the starkness of it. And the sadness of their images,” she says when asked what drew her to these pictures in particular. It is her hope that these paintings will give the subjects in the images a new life, and an opportunity for audiences to see them in a different way.


No doubt many would agree she has achieved this goal. The face of a Mojave girl greets visitors entering the gallery, inviting them to come in and learn more about her story through the painting. The Mojave girl in particular was an emotional challenge for Pat. “This girl was about 15 when her photo was taken. And I was painting her and painting her and she was staring at me and I was staring at her and I just broke into tears. I called [my husband] Bill and I said, ‘I can not do this.’ She was staring me down.”


Also on display are a pair of paintings depicting the damage done by Irma and Harvey, two of the hurricanes that hit the United States and the Caribbean earlier this year. Ever upbeat and positive in message, Patricia felt compelled however to depict these images in response because “that’s all that was left.” 

Mills uses acrylics for much of her paintings. However, she doesn’t restrict herself when it comes to art, and uses a variety of mediums in order to achieve the effect she desires. These have included house paint, enamel paint, and tea. She has even used a tie dying method with canvas. Currently, Pat is preparing for a new series of maps of imagined places, and plans to age them by burning, scratching, and rubbing dirt into them.

“I’m curious to see what my maps are going to be like,” she says with excitement.

  Horizon of the Future  - acrylic on canvas   "Edward Curtis entitled his photograph "Vanishing Race". Taking exception to this title, I named my painting  Horizon of the Future . The original painting is in a private collection.   --Patricia Mills

Horizon of the Future - acrylic on canvas

"Edward Curtis entitled his photograph "Vanishing Race". Taking exception to this title, I named my painting Horizon of the Future. The original painting is in a private collection.

--Patricia Mills


Pat’s paintings have gained attention near and far. One of her paintings, “Horizon of the Future”, won an Award of Excellence at the California State Fair. This painting is also based on an Edward Curtis photograph, which is entitled “Vanishing Race.” Pat decided to change the title to one that suggests a much more hopeful future. Another painting of hers called “Torch of Memory”, which is of her husband winning the gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, hangs on permanent display at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. "I Am Your Chief" is a large work done in collaboration with Michael Rowden de Portola and won the Juror's Award at the California State Fair in Sacramento. It was purchased for the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate Center.

Studio Tupos is open three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11am-4pm or by appointment. Pat will most likely be painting in the back with the help of assistant Christine Louen assisting in the front of the gallery. In the future Pat hopes to host a variety of events, including holiday events and watercolor painting classes. Upcoming is a wine tasting this December 2nd immediately following the Christmas in the Village festivities in Old Town Fair Oaks! Come kick off the holiday season at Studio Tupos!

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Keeping a Keen Eye on Sacramento's Real Estate Investment Scene

Keeping a Keen Eye on Sacramento's Real Estate Investment Scene

 RaymondManagement.net

RaymondManagement.net

Sacramento's feverish pace continues. The second quarter proved to be a success by most metrics. Positive rent growth, low vacancy rates, and improved unemployment rates. 

  519 T St . New construction managed by Raymond Management

519 T St. New construction managed by Raymond Management

Q2 posted impressive Annual Rent Growth Rates (9.04%) & incredibly low vacancy rates (3.6%).  Sacramento "out performed" the North Bay & East Bay markets by both metrics.  The average apartment rent in Sacramento is $1,487, which represents a 8.8 increase from this time last year. 

The unemployment rate in Sacramento dropped to 4.8% in June, which was a .2% improvement from Q1, and a healthy improvement from a year before at 5.4%.  The job growth outlook remains strong as approximately 13,000 new jobs were added since mid 2016. 

Take a drive through Midtown / Downtown Sacramento and you'll notice what appears to be a never-ending chain of new construction.  New mixed use projects, new parking structures, new SFR product, and the highly anticipated Downtown Commons (DOCO) area which includes the newly opened Sawyer Hotel.  Sacramento currently has over 2,400 units (residential) under construction. So far in 2017, over 300 units have been completed and introduced to the market with an additional 1000 units estimated to be completed by the end of the year. 

As national rent rates begin to flatten out, Sacramento is in an interesting position.

Sacramento continues to draw massive media attention for Bay Area transplants, record level growth, new employment opportunities, and an undeniable sense that a new identity is being formed. The market's appetite for quality product (either new or heavily remodeled) is strong. Tenants are excited & willing to pay for quality product, amenities, and expect great service.

  • email: dan@raymondmanagement.net
  • phone: (888) 623-4480
  • fax: (415) 873-1300
  • office: 2012 P Street, Suite 201, Sacramento, CA 95811
  1325 18th St .  Fully renovated apartment building managed by Raymond Management

1325 18th St.  Fully renovated apartment building managed by Raymond Management

Olympian Billy Mills on running, racism, and reaching unity through understanding

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Olympian Billy Mills on running, racism, and reaching unity through understanding

As a young man studying at the University of Kansas, Billy Mills pursued a dream: to run in order to heal a broken soul. Billy lost his mother at age 8 and his father at age 12. Growing up within his Oglala Lakota community on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota he remembered his father telling him that he had broken wings. As a means to remedy this, his father encouraged Billy to try sports. After years of training through passion and hard work, he went on to compete in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games as an underdog, unranked in the United States, although he had the 8th fastest time in the world. It was here he was able to defy expectations and in the final lap of the 10,000 meter race pull ahead of the the rest to win gold for the United States, the only American in Olympic history to have ever done so in this category.

Billy later went on to help found Running Strong for American Indian Youth along with Eugene Krizek, a foundation dedicated to helping provide resources and hope to native communities around the country both on and off reservations. Today he is the foundation's spokesperson, and on Saturday, October 7 he will be speaking about his inspirational win at the All Nations Run 3k and 5k in Shingle Springs, CA. The event is being hosted by the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians and the Shingle Springs Health & Wellness Center with proceeds from the event benefitting the Running Strong Foundation.

 Michael Glascock (left) and Billy Mills (right). Michael has attended the All Nations Run in previous years, and here he proudly shows off the gold medal he won in the "Best Striped Shirt" category. Click  here  to register for Saturday's race!

Michael Glascock (left) and Billy Mills (right). Michael has attended the All Nations Run in previous years, and here he proudly shows off the gold medal he won in the "Best Striped Shirt" category. Click here to register for Saturday's race!

Prior to the Running Strong Foundation and his Olympic career however, Billy found himself ready to commit suicide. “I wasn't ready for the racism in America,” he explained during an interview we had at his home one recent Friday afternoon. As a runner at his University, Billy says he was often asked to step out of the shot during group photo shoots. He quickly realized it was due to his Lakota heritage, adding yet another instance of racism for him to grapple with. “The third time I'm asked to get out of a photo, I broke. I'm on the verge of suicide.” But before he could, a voice that sounded like his father’s said, “Don't,” explaining if he kept going, someday he would have “wings of an eagle.” So Billy kept going with the confidence that he had been given “the ability not to win a gold medal, but to win a gold medal to heal a broken soul.” This became his dream. After marrying his wife Pat, serving as an officer in the Marines, and years of training hard, he saw this dream come to fruition during the Tokyo games. Mills says that there was a point during the final 95 meters of the run where he saw the embroidered image of an eagle on a German runner’s racing singlet, and was able to recall his father's words and know that he was going to win—even if he didn't get to the finish line first.

“I healed a broken soul, and in the process I won a gold medal. That moment was a gift and I wanted to give back.”

Winning did not end racism towards Mills and other members of his community however, and is still a presence felt by the hundreds of Native communities across the country. Billy says he has received death threats in the past, and can count 8 different occasions in recent years where people have used the term “prairie n***er” against him. He also makes clear that these are not isolated instances—Native Americans are regularly the victims of hateful rhetoric, and this particularly impacts Native youth. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, suicide is the second leading cause of death behind accidental death for Native youth ages 8 to 24, and there are much higher rates of suicidal behavior by youth reported in indigenous communities than any other racialized group.

 Pat (center, left) and Billy Mills (center, right) march in 2004 alongside Running Strong and other organizations to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo by  Bill Koplitz

Pat (center, left) and Billy Mills (center, right) march in 2004 alongside Running Strong and other organizations to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo by Bill Koplitz

“We have a beautiful country, and we've done wonderful things throughout the world,” says Mills. Still, events unfolding around our country today both frustrate and sadden him. “How far back are we going to go? Do we go back to the Doctrine of Discovery? Do we go back to Manifest Destiny? I think one of the moves that might happen if things continue the way they are, [is that] Congress with a stroke of a pen can totally eliminate the treaty rights that have been fought for. And tribal nations [own] 5-35% of the last known natural resources in America. We own it, but we don't control it.”

“We have US senators, US Congregational representatives elected to represent state sovereignties making decisions on tribal sovereignty. Therein lies the conflict. It would be like the senators from California, the congregational representatives from California making decisions for the constituency in South Dakota. So fundamental change there is going to be difficult.”

Mills points to the Doctrine of Discovery (tying into Manifest Destiny, which relies on the the belief that the land on which what many call the United States currently exists was a gift to European settlers from God) as one of the fundamental principles used time and time again to justify ugly events from our country's past and present. He also stresses that he is not attacking Christianity by saying this, stating that people were merely able to manipulate Christianity for their own benefit. From the taking of indigenous lands to the genocide of native people throughout history, as well as broken treaties, slavery, Jim Crow, the use of the racial epithet “redskin” for a football team name, and the many examples of systematic racism that persist today, Billy believes that the fundamental lack of education and reflection on the dark realities of how the United States came to be prevents us from healing and moving forward together in unison.

For example, Mills offers a different way of looking at current NFL protests. As a veteran of the Marines and someone who has heard the national anthem in a sports arena, he understands the beautiful feeling of pride that can occur when one hears the anthem. Nevertheless, hearing it played also reminds him of all the work that is left to be done in our country. “The third stanza of our national anthem. You know what it says? It excludes people in bondage. So our national anthem is for everybody except the people in bondage, and in bondage at that point was the free Black person, the slave, and the Indian, so our national anthem today excludes them. That's the basis of the issue today and we don't talk about it. I would have every high school, every college, every business corporation discussing it. Just take it line by line and discuss it.” The third stanza he is making reference to here is a lesser known part of the national anthem, as we typically only sing the first stanza. You can read the anthem in its entirety here. The last sentence in the third stanza reads as follows:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In Mills's opinion, what we need to be focusing on here in the United States is education on these issues that impact people's lives on a daily basis. Some Americans have an understanding of these laws and their histories, while the majority do not. On Mills's part, he says he had a lot of learning to do before he reached the understanding of them that he carries today. During the 2008 US presidential elections Billy was reading multiple books a week in an effort to educate himself fully on the systems at play. He would ask friends from around the world, including Olympians, scholars, and other members of the global community, about their own unique perspectives. It was clear to him they received a better education on subjects such as the Doctrine of Discovery than the majority of Americans seem to have, so he valued their views. “They would ask me, 'have you studied your own history?' And I would say, 'yes'. Then I'd come back and start studying more to understand where they were coming from.”

 Billy Mills (left) competes with friend and fellow runner Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia (right) in the 1964 10K race. Gammoudi took home the silver medal. Photo by the  Associated Press

Billy Mills (left) competes with friend and fellow runner Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia (right) in the 1964 10K race. Gammoudi took home the silver medal. Photo by the Associated Press

In all, Billy seems hopeful about our future, so long as we take the time to understand how our paths led us here. As the child of a mother who was a quarter Lakota, and a father who was three quarters Lakota, he has seen life through a lens of intersectionality. “I started putting all that together—why I came so close to suicide. I know what is is to be broken, and yet, the other half of me on occasion was offered what is being called white privilege. And the only way I can describe white privilege is a very innocent, very positive, confident righteousness. [It is having an] expectation of what you can do, and not realizing the roadblocks that are removed for you.” Mills told a story about ordering lunch at a restaurant with a corporal friend while he was in the Marines. Yet when it came time to eat, the corporal, who was also African American, was told he would have to eat in the kitchen. Billy followed him into the kitchen to eat with him, but after asking Billy to leave, and Billy refusing, both were told to leave and they took their food elsewhere. “I have to count on him, he has to count on me, in case of war. We have to understand one another.” At the same time, Mills understood he could not escape the rampant racism towards people of color in the United States. As a youth he knew he would never be afforded the American Dream, and realizes today that the only reason he achieved it was through a successful running career.

 Billy Mills's 1964 Olympic Medal, alongside other running memorabilia from over the years. Use of this photograph courtesy of Dominic Mills, Billy's grandson and current medal owner. 

Billy Mills's 1964 Olympic Medal, alongside other running memorabilia from over the years. Use of this photograph courtesy of Dominic Mills, Billy's grandson and current medal owner. 

Through running, Billy healed himself. When asked why he chose running, Mills laughed and said it was a process of elimination. He tried rodeo (“That hurt,” he smiled). Later he tried boxing, and he also played basketball but ended up scoring 2 points for the wrong team. Running he was good at, and it carried him through difficult times.

Near the end of the interview Billy's wife Pat came out to sit with us. An accomplished painter, Pat and Billy have been married for over 50 years. When Billy realized he had won gold in Tokyo, the first person he asked to see was her. Some playful banter ensued between the two about how they first met. Both remembered it a bit differently—it's clear they've had this discussion several times before. One can tell however that neither of them really care about coming up with an answer so much as remembering a long and happy life together with their four daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  

Today, Mills works alongside the Running Strong Foundation, giving speeches like the one he will be giving this Saturday at the All Nations Run in the hopes of inspiring people to strive for their full potential. Billy Mills's story is one of exemplary courage and perseverance. Yet he needed help and guidance, and while he realizes this same level of courage and perseverance lives within the hearts and souls of Native youth everywhere, Mills has recognized that many of them also need the opportunity to receive a hope similar to that which he has been given by his family and culture.   

When Billy went to find the German runner after the race to tell him how the eagle on his singlet had inspired him to win, he found that there wasn't one anywhere on their uniform. “It was simply a perception.” A perception that helped bring him the wings of an eagle.

 

The best way to hear Billy Mills's story in its entirety about his inspirational 1964 Tokyo win is by attending the All Nations Run this Saturday, October 7th. This family friendly run will feature a 3k and 5k, which you are welcome to walk or run. Obstacles and Halloween costumes will be a fun and optional part of the event, and prizes will be given for the best costume! A BBQ lunch after the run will be held where Billy will speak. Pre-registration includes a race shirt, medal, and lunch, but race day registration is available also, with shirts and medals being available while supplies last.

 

TIME:

     10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

LOCATION:

     Shingle Springs Rancheria's Event Field

     Shingle Springs Dr & Lincoln Hwy & US-50

     California 95682

PRE-REGISTRATION:

     $20 General/Adult (18 years and older)

     $10 Student and Children (12 and under)

     $5 Participant's Guest, Lunch Only

RACE DAY REGISTRATION

     $25 General/Adult (18 years and older)

     $15 Student and Children (12 and under)

     $5 Participant's Guest, Lunch Only

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Keeping "Slow Food" Alive in Sacramento

Keeping "Slow Food" Alive in Sacramento

Keeping “Slow Food” Alive in Sacramento

By Katie Rubin | Photography by Zephyr McIntyre

 

“Really nice restaurants are like heavy bicycles with really soft tires.  They take a lot to get going and require a lot of speed to keep them stable.”  

Ed Roehr should know as he is the visionary chef behind 14th Street’s classy and cozy Bakery and Coffee Shop, Yellowbill, and the industrial-chic, ever popular, mid-town hotspot, Magpie.  

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And that’s just what Mr. Roehr is committed to doing; riding the bicycles of his restaurants as long and as hard as it takes to give Sacramento the fresh, whole, real foods he believes it truly deserves.

“Magpie is a Farm-to-Table restaurant,” says Roehr.  “I’ve always been interested in bringing the real food of our region straight to the plate…  The thing is, when people think the hand-made croissant we make with whole flour and real butter is the same as the frozen croissant you’re getting at [any chain coffee shop], that’s when we’re in trouble as a culture and a community, I think.”  

 Ed Roehr, owner of Yellowbill Bakery and Coffee Shop.

Ed Roehr, owner of Yellowbill Bakery and Coffee Shop.

Ed would love to simply focus on his greatest passion: making amazing food for people, but because we, the people, don’t really know the difference between a frozen baked good, and one of his homemade gems (I just ate one- holy God, they’re incredible), he is often forced to spend a lot of time and energy, like any small business owner, educating the public about the value of his product, and telling a story that compels folks to listen.  

In recent years, Roehr has become an avid spokesperson for the Slow-Food movement, pioneered by Carlo Petrini in Italy.  First formed in protest of the building of a McDonald’s on a popular square in Italy, the Slow Food Movement stands as a proponent of the pleasure and the enjoyment of life.

Sitting down for a home-made meal, at a real dining room table, with one’s family and friends is the best way to “hold things together,” as Ed says, in a time when we are constantly being torn in a thousand directions with busy-ness, options, and endless distractions.

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Uncertain at first as to the value and validity of the slow food movement’s aims, Roehr found himself “buying in” emotionally while on a family trip to Italy.  

“I was sitting there in this plaza, watching my son run around one evening during this massive meal the whole community was sharing, and I thought ‘There are 30,000 people in this area, and not one of those people is going to force his kids to eat nuggets in the backseat of the car tonight.”

And that’s when it hit him.  

“Just because we have so much abundance in America, doesn’t mean we have to spend all our time running…  Running from place to place and from experience to experience.  People are so hungry for change and variety.  We just want something new to happen to us.  We want to be entertained by our food.”

And while the food at Magpie is certain to entertain if not dazzle your taste buds, Ed finds himself longing for the brilliant simplicity of places like Caffe Rosso in Venice.  

“During the daytime,” Ed says,  “they make cappuccino and macchiato and croissants.  And in the evening, they make little sandwiches, and a spritz with Aperol.  And that’s it.  When I went there when I was 23 years old, they made those things.  And when I went back recently at age 40-something, it’s the same thing.  300-500 people a day go there.  There are tables outside, and everyone looks happy.  The woman who was the barista there when I was 23 is still there.  She’s the manager now.  Now, in America, we might call that stagnation, but I call it something simple that works.”

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So.  If you and your family could use some simplicity, some time together and some incredible real, whole food, head over to Yellowbill in the morning, and Magpie in the evening for a little taste of the delectable slow food movement.  Ed’s restaurants aren’t a small cafe in Italy.  But they’re infused with at least as much heart, passion and commitment.  

And hey.  Maybe take your time getting there.  Because really, at the end of the day, what’s the rush?

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Binchoyaki: Little Space, Big Taste

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Binchoyaki: Little Space, Big Taste

By Jamie Worrall

Today you’ll find a much smaller Japantown here in Sacramento compared to what stood pre-WWII. It was relocated in 1957 after bulldozers and the Sacramento City Council moved forward with The Capitol Mall project and, in the process, uprooted our once-bustling 6-square-block Japanese community. These days, along 10th Street in Midtown Sacramento, mostly between T and W, a small cluster of Japanese owned businesses include Osaka-Ya, Sakura Gifts, June’s Cafe, and a new favorite-- Binchoyaki. This new eatery and small bar has caught the attention of many, including Michael Glascock who came in after noticing how crowded it was inside and then soon after reading about their chart-topping Duck Ramen plate in the Sacramento Bee. Learning that a Pocket-Greenhaven native, Craig Takehara and his wife Tokiko Sawada are behind Binchoyaki made him all the more proud of their success and we were eager to spread the word!

Binchoyaki is an Izakaya-style dining experience, or what in Japan would be your go-to after work gastropub where you meet up with friends or co-workers after a long day. Everything here is moderately portioned, but a plate or two per round of drinks should keep you more than satisfied. Binchoyaki seeks to be a Northern California bent on an Izakaya, so while it most definitely keeps Japanese beer on tap, and the authentic Binchotan (maple charcoal) is fired up on the smokeless grill, at the same time they are not afraid to throw some soul music on the speaker system and use French or European influences in a dish. Plus, they are using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, which here in our farm-to-fork capital is very much appreciated. The food is delicious and the sense of shared experience is too.

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Here in Sacto we have great Japanese food, but admittedly, mostly sushi. At Binchoyaki you get more eclectic Japanese offerings, ordered either from their grill menu, which burns between 1000-1500 degrees, or from their kitchen menu. If you need help ordering, Faith, our super knowledgable server, offers suggestions and answer questions about the dishes, happy to share methods, ingredients, and history when asked. You’ll also get a little insight into the preparation of your food watching the barbecues just on the other side of the low bar being expertly fanned while the various skewers of meats and veggies are flipped, added, and removed, some after 30 seconds and others not for 20 minutes. It would take a minimum of 6 months, Craig later estimated, to become merely a proficient Sumiyaki chef using those high-heat binchotan charcoals.

Owners Craig, originally from Sacramento, and Toki who is from the LA area, have been in “the industry” since even before the two met at the California School of Culinary Arts. In high-school Craig worked at Oto’s Maket on Freeport Boulevard as a fishmonger, butcher, and deli manager. Both Craig and Toki have culinary degrees, impressive resumes, and years of experience which give them a great depth and breadth of understanding in Japanese cuisine. After meeting 16 years ago they continued gaining experience in various fine dining restaurants, large hotels, and clubs, even serving celebrities such as Tom Cruise among others. Their lifestyle changed, however, in 2009 when they moved to Sacramento to start a family.  After having been headhunted to open 300-seat restaurants, world travel, and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, he is happy here in Sacramento with his comparatively smaller locale. The goal is now to bring alive a variety of food and culture that has not been available to Sacramentans since the disappearance of a prosperous Japantown. And we are happy they have!

 Binchoyaki is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm with Dinner from 4pm-10pm. They are open late on Friday and Saturday until Midnight!

Binchoyaki is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm with Dinner from 4pm-10pm. They are open late on Friday and Saturday until Midnight!

For Craig, one of the greatest revelations after having been in business for almost a year here in Sacramento is how supportive other restaurants and managers from other places have been. “This is my first restaurant; my first time around,” muses Craig, “And it’s nice to have a group of people in Sacramento where not everything is competition.” He recognizes that our cultural identity here is different from that of the Bay Area, and that of LA, and believes in helping Sacramento create great food, whatever the variety, with a strong sense of camaraderie. At Binchoyaki, the expert ownership and the importance placed on countless tiny details amount to a concept as bold and basic as “Good food made well”, which, when it comes down to it, is as authentic here on the corner of 10th and W as it is novel.

 

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A Duke, A Prince, A Year In Review

A Duke, A Prince, A Year In Review

By Alisa Chatham Sakowitz

In like a lion, out like a lamb?  

Not really.  Last year came in like a lion and went out like a bull.  An old-fashioned Market bull.  2017 seems to be off to a kinder and gentler start but 2016 wasn’t actually all that bad in the Markets. Culturally speaking – it was a different story.  

While the Markets started 2016 off with the worst start to a year in Market history 1, we also saw the loss of pop icons such as music legends David Bowie, Glenn Frey (The Eagles), actor Alan Rickman (among the best bad guys of all time from the “Die Hard” series of movies to Harry Potter’s Professor Snape), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, author Harper Lee and former First Lady, Nancy Reagan.  2016 seemed not to be shaping up very well.

Markets were down 11% 2 by February 11th, 2016.  Oil traded under $30 per barrel and the world economy seemed perched on a precipice.  The lion roared in and scared away all the lambs.  (We could say the bear growled in but, technically, in Market-speak, the indexes need to be down over 20% for the decline to be called a true bear.  That and, around here, we don’t want to invoke old Ursus unless we have to.)  

After the sun came out and Markets began to reverse course, the loss of those who contributed to our society’s enrichment continued.  Patty Duke and Debbie Reynolds.  Prince and Merle Haggard.  Gene Wilder who kept his illness a secret from the world because he never wanted to mar a child’s memory of him with a picture of anything other than happiness.  Fidel Castro and Eli Wiesel.  Carrie Fisher.  Arnold Palmer.  

All of this caused us to really think hard about the good things that happened in 2016.  As it happens, the Markets and the economy are among the brightest spots.  From the lows of February 11th through the last trading day of the year on December 30th 3 the Market returned 22.4%.  That qualifies as a verifiable bull!  Not many, if any, of the experts were predicting that kind of an outcome but the Markets 4 hit a record high, wages rose and unemployment was at the lowest levels seen in 9 years5.  

It can’t always be all about markets and the economy, so what else happened in 2016 that we can point to as a positive?  Well, astronomers discovered evidence of a 9th planet.  World hunger was at its lowest levels in 25 years and the Giant Panda was officially removed from the Endangered Species list6.  

The roller coaster ride of 2016 is another reminder of why we stay invested, why we allocate assets across different types of investments and why we utilize the thinking of different experts.  The Market is a great purveyor of surprise and this year only cements the need to stay focused on the positive.  One never knows when the bull will buck his head up!  


Commentary written by Alisa Chatham Sakowitz, Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation, offer, or recommendation to purchase or sell a security. S&P 500 Index is a market index which focuses on large-cap segments of the U.S. equities market.  Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. 2017-34472 Exp 1/18

  1.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-set-for-triple-digit-drop-as-oil-breaks-under-30-2016-01-15
  2. http://us.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500  (supplemented with First Data information)
  3. As measured by the S&P 500 Index
  4. As measured by the S&P 500 Index
  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/12/21/16-good-news-stories-of-2016/?utm_term=.102d779a0b84
  6. https://qz.com/865623/99-good-things-that-happened-in-2016-from-ebola-leaving-west-africa-to-saving-the-mantees/

Game, Set, Match... Double Match!!

By Nicky Park with Jamie Worrall

It seems like everyone I know right now is talking about or thinking about buying a home! Apparently the market is “hot”, whatever that means. Recently I got a chance to sit down with Matthew Cole who is a branch manager at Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Company and came out with an actual viable game plan thanks to a 1% down conventional loan product called the Double Match Grant Program.

First, here’s a little more about Matthew:

His favorite part of the job is helping people who thought they could not buy a home. (Well, that’s me!) As Matt called us “buyers who have a tough time saving money”. I appreciate the empathy, because in addition to the crazy rents in midtown and my school loan payments and of course LIFE, I can’t put away as much as I’d like to.

How can a branch manager in finance be so sympathetic? He’s been there. Matt and his wife Fallyn have four children, (one a newborn!) two dogs and a cat. He’s a master at striking a balance between investing in the future (whether that be saving for an additional college fund or saving for a big professional expense at the office) and living in the moment. “We do a lot of things as a family,” Matt says, and he truly believes that an active life does not have to be incompatible with one’s financial goals and homeownership.

Here’s where the Conventional Double Match Mortgage comes in. If you qualify you can get a conventional home loan and only have to put 1% down. The remainder of the 3% down payment will come in the form of a grant that doesn’t need to be repaid to anyone ever! Depending on the location of the home being purchased there may not even be any income limits as to who can qualify for the program. I’m a first time home buyer but second and third-time home-buyers are welcome to this party as well!

Yes, there are other programs that might be a better fit for others with a large savings account, but I am not one who has 20% of the purchase price just tucked away. If you don’t want to be “house poor” let Guaranteed Rate help you “keep money in your pocket” as Matt puts it.

Matt has been doing the mortgage (and family) gig for fifteen years now, and sees patterns and shifts in the market that I have just begun to take interest in, so I appreciate his experience. From what I hear, Sacramento has some seriously low inventory, and interest rates that might go up as the market changes under a new administration. All in all, Matthew Cole knows his stuff, and he is here to help!

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal

By Corey Rodda 

    The trendy neighborhood of Oak Park has eye candy for anyone to behold — antique mansions, line houses and knotted sycamore trees make up North Oak Park where Old Soul Co., Naked Coffee, Oak Park Brewery, the Oakland grown La Venadita Taqueria and the Brickhouse Art Gallery have started to attract hipsters and investors. Further south, Central and South Oak Park offer a neighborhood oasis where the stars shine bright at night and palm trees climb to soaring heights.  

 Valentine's Day cards lovingly made by Wellspring guests are on sale at the McGeorge School of Law. Proceeds go to Wellspring's Art of Being program which offers art therapy, crafts, sewing classes and a weekly make-it and take-it craft club to every woman in the Sacramento community free of charge.

Valentine's Day cards lovingly made by Wellspring guests are on sale at the McGeorge School of Law. Proceeds go to Wellspring's Art of Being program which offers art therapy, crafts, sewing classes and a weekly make-it and take-it craft club to every woman in the Sacramento community free of charge.

    But, beneath all the glitz and glamour of Oak Park is an urban community in transition and Wellspring Women’s Center, tucked away behind the Broadway Triangle in an antique pink-painted firehouse, has seen it all. A black panther shoot-out once occurred at the old Firehouse which is now known to long time Oak Park residents as a community gathering spot that has offered women and children a haven from the auspices of poverty since 1987.  

 Fresh cut flowers donated by Relles Florist adorn every breakfast table at Wellspring Women's Center. They are part of Wellspring's mission to serve it's guests in an atmosphere of "hospitality, dignity and love."

Fresh cut flowers donated by Relles Florist adorn every breakfast table at Wellspring Women's Center. They are part of Wellspring's mission to serve it's guests in an atmosphere of "hospitality, dignity and love."

    Each weekday morning, Wellspring serves a nutritious breakfast to about 200 women and children in an atmosphere of hospitality, dignity and love.  As well, the Center offers social work services, art therapy, sewing classes, chiropractic services and dispenses diapers, sanitary pads and hygiene products. 

    Wellspring was founded nearly thirty years ago by Sister Catherine Connell and Sister Claire Graham who set out to create a breakfast spot that was clean, bright and beautiful where women could come to value themselves through the experience of being valued by others.

    In the Center’s salad days, Sister Claire and Sister Catherine would clean guests homes after they closed Wellspring for the day. While on their house visits, they took stock of what the guests needed and started to offer them diapers, sanitary pads, hygiene products and greeting cards.

    Reliant solely on private funding, the Center requests no qualifying information from its guests before they can access its services. Over the past thirty years, Wellspring has evolved to serve it’s guests’ needs.

      Fresh cut flowers and tablecloths adorn every table and the center’s walls pop with art and photographs. An old fire pole near the center’s kitchen has been transformed into a sculpture crafted out of pastel flower coffee filters. 

 The center occupied other storefronts before moving to its current location and has operated out of this historic firehouse in North Oak Park since the mid-90s.  A black panther shoot out once occurred from the Firehouse's hose tower. 

The center occupied other storefronts before moving to its current location and has operated out of this historic firehouse in North Oak Park since the mid-90s.  A black panther shoot out once occurred from the Firehouse's hose tower. 

    Wellspring serves as a social gathering spot — a place where isolated seniors, women with mental illness, mothers and grandmothers can listen to each others stories and be a part of each others lives.  Seasonal celebrations supply guests with fond memories to earmark the passage of time. And birthday gifts and bassinets given to new mothers reveal to guests that they are loved and honored. In the children’s corner where supervised playtime is offered during breakfast hours, children are exposed to guests and volunteers who shower them in compassion even if their home-life is fraught with dysfunction. 

    The breakfast spot is a beacon of radical acceptance — no guests are ever banned from Wellspring and for some women, Wellspring is their only access point for food and shelter.  Wellspring embraces those who are most marginalized and creates an environment where everyone no matter race, creed, class or background is blanketed in compassion, support and love. Wellspring is a model of community revitalization and proof that we heal together. Perhaps the Center’s most profound impact is giving its guests reason to wake up in the morning. 

 Wellspring, currently dressed up for Valentine's Day, is decorated for every holiday and provides its guests with celebrations to look forward to each season.

Wellspring, currently dressed up for Valentine's Day, is decorated for every holiday and provides its guests with celebrations to look forward to each season.

        To learn more about Wellspring please visit the Center’s website and read Tales from the Heart of Wellspring: Stories Collected and Shared at Wellspring

~Corey Rodda is a marketing consultant who is passionate about social justice. She happily resides in Oak Park, Sacramento.

Hello 95819 Friends!

Hello 95819 Friends!

Here's a look at 2016 in 95819!

--By Michael Glascock

This graph clearly illustrates with oh-so-vibrant colors a truly far from vibrant market for buyers. Though active listings have increased in the last 30 days, the desire and demand to live in 95819 outweighs the opportunity.

Graph #2 offers a grand perspective on price per square foot. This only goes to show what happens when inventory dwindles...

This glacial perspective shows truly how much of a seller's market it is in 95819!!! Six months of inventory is considered an even market... and here we are looking at just over two-thirds of a month! If you are living in the 95819... things are more than fine.

***Should you have any further questions or desire any more colorful and informative charts and graphs, feel free to contact me at any time. I'm never to busy for your referrals!***
Onward & Upward,
Michael

A Look at '16 in the 95818

A Look at '16 in the 95818

Hello to our dear friends, clients, livers and lovers of all that is 95818! Here is a year of data for your perusing pleasure. Should you have any questions regarding these graphs, or any other market inquiries please don't hesitate to reach out. That's what we are here for!

This first graph clearly shows that there's not much out there for buyers to choose from. It's an extremely light inventory!

Graph 2 only further supports the case of heavy rains and light listings!

Graph 3 shows if you list it... it won't last!!! Only going to show...

THIS IS THE TIME! BE A PART OF IT!

NEW YEAR 411 IN THE 95822

Hello to our dear friends, clients, livers and lovers of all that is 95822!

Here's a look at '16 in '17 in the 95822. Should you have any questions regarding these graphs,  any other sales or value information don't hesitate to reach out. That's what we are here for! See you in the 95822!

Onward & Upward,

Michael

Graph 1 shows us it's a game of follow the "lister".

Graph 2 shows pretty close to perfect on the sale price. If you list it, they'll not only come... they will pay!

And then Graph 3 supports the reason why... IT'S A SELLER'S MARKET!

The Art of Giving

The Art of Giving

By Jamie Worrall

Friday, November 17th was National Adoption Awareness Day, and so, at the suggestion of our friends at Heart Gallery I stopped by the California State Capitol building  to listen as name after name after name of the 33,000 children currently in the California foster care system were spoken for. As the flyer for this annual event states, “Each year we pause our busy lives long enough to speak the names of thousands of California children who are waiting in foster care for a family that will love them and let them stay.” To get through the huge stack of names of California’s fostered youth this year took approximately six consecutive hours!

Behind the podium where each public official, legislative staff, adoptive/foster parent, or youth advocate stood to “give a voice to the voiceless” there were large portraits of Duivan age 7, Violet age 10, and brothers Carmelo age 9 and Xavier age 12. These full color, larger than life images were able to lend bright beautiful young faces to this somber event. These adorable little boys and girls are only identifiable by first name due to court order, but are available for adoption here in Sacramento county. The hope is, that one image may catch the eye of a prospective adoptive parent… or perhaps a sponsor, or a volunteer. The more visibility these children are given the greater the chance for them to “strike gold” or find their forever home.

Heart Gallery is a nonprofit here in Sacramento founded by Rosemary Papa in 2005, who together with Stephanie Lynch and Terry Kessler were inspired by the success of similar programs in New MexicoNew York City, and now in almost 100 other cities and regions throughout the United States. Heart Gallery and their volunteers photograph adoptable foster children with the same dignity and respect that professional photographers would give to a celebrity so that it truly captures the spirit and personality of each individual child. Otherwise, in the state’s adoption catalogues, adoptable children are represented by tiny snapshots and not given the space nor time to be unique. However, if you’ve ever believed in the power of a simple act of caring or the importance of art and color to inspire change, take a look at these photographs.

Heart Gallery has no brick and mortar location in which to display these hopeful faces. Current president Mary Tarro, with the help of two fellow officers, an active board and supportive friends-of-the-board work to fund and produce a dozen or so portraits each year which are professionally printed and mounted. From there the next task is to prominently display the portraits to increase awareness. And as we say in real estate it’s all about location, location, location! In this case visibility and a well-informed public ultimately lead to a greater percentage of successful adoptions. The stats speak for themselves. The Sacramento county kids who have been featured in our Heart Gallery so far total 160.  73 have since been adopted and these are exclusively children considered “harder to place” simply because they are older, members of a sibling group or have special needs.

If you are at all interested in becoming an adoptive parent in Sacramento County please get involved! There are adoption resources available or of course if you are interested in fostering or sponsoring but don’t know where to start check out the “contact us” page and let Heart Gallery help point you in the right direction!

There are also multiple events each year including the Spring Brunch, which is a great event to attend if you are interested in eating while getting to know more! It takes place at Plates Cafe Restaurant in May. Contact the Heart Gallery at 916.217.1552 to stay in the know! And at the very least, if this cause is a cause you believe in, please share via social media!!!

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The Merlin of $$

By Danny Ponder

Rates are up!  The mortgage rate jump seems to be holding and not coming back down.  Pre-qualifying rates for clients before the elections were in the mid 3’s and now in the low 4’s making a payment for a $300,000 loan increase roughly $130 monthly.  Some clients who pre-qualified in October are now looking at lesser priced homes due to the rate and payment increase.  Rates have been historically low due to government intervention bond buying programs and global economic events.  The shift has begun.  All indicators are showing a strengthening US economy with translates to future higher mortgage rates.  It’s not all doom and gloom or the end of the world, we are still in a low rate environment and opportunities will always be available to the well informed.

We have been through these cycles before and watch for lending products to adjust accordingly to accommodate the lending markets.  Not to say we will go back to the days of stated income or negative amortizing loans but you may see hybrid loan products with fixed and adjustable terms become more popular.  Talks of privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may also see the end of the most popular lending product, the 30 year fixed loan.

Published reports regarding appreciation in the local Sacramento and surrounding markets are projecting values to increase between 5%-7% in 2017.  Great news for sellers, but what about the buyers?  With interest rates on the rise, this could put some buyers on the side lines or require more money for down payment.  It all comes down to affordability.  Affordability is the sweet spot where rates, values and buyers meet.  If we see housing appreciation and rates increase, then the affordability index will shift to the negative.  The lagging component locally is job growth and higher wages.  Timing is imperative if entering the housing market or considering to sell.  Now more than ever, you need to work closely with your trusted real estate advisors.

A Peek inside!

A Peek inside!

So you want to do a remodel?

By Geoff Black

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit OCD. After living in our home for 10 years, we finally decided to take the plunge and remodel our kitchen….(area). So I threw myself into the project. I had no clue what I wanted. I just knew we hated our kitchen from the day we bought our home. And I had no idea how to go about doing it. I was off to a great start!

Luckily I have a Black Belt in internet research (OCD comes in handy sometimes). So I opened a Houzz account and proceeded to ooh and aaah over all the beautiful photos. Photos that don’t include a price tag remotely close to reality. Lesson number one, make sure you’re realistic with the cost. I looked and looked for months. About the time I was well over the legal limit for a middle aged guy looking at kitchen cabinet details, hardware, faucets, nuanced floor stains, wall colors and appliances, I finally had a general idea what I wanted. Ran it all by the Mrs. and she shot it all down. Back to the drawing board, repeat several times, and eventually settled on the majority of the “look and feel” ideas. Note to all husbands about to embark on a construction project: No matter what, you can never have enough cabinets, a big enough island, counter space or enough cold storage.

 Before...

Before...

 Before...

Before...

So I solicited my friends and started calling their contractors. The good ones who returned the call said “yeah you need an architect or an engineer and a designer”. I hadn’t expected that expense, apparently nobody does. It’s okay, they refer to this as a “soft cost” so I guess it’s not like real money. Fast forward 6-WEEKS after my first call to 3 designers, one called back. And we whipped through the design inside of 2-weeks. Because as I mentioned, I’m a bit OCD and I’d already drawn out the majority of the layout, cabinet proportions and counters (about 50 times) while I was hunting/waiting for a designer. 6 weeks later we received our finished plans. Pro-Tip, if you hire a designer/architect or just an engineer, get several (like 10) copies of your plans. Everyone wants a copy and nobody will return them. Our designer did a good job and I would suggest everyone hires one for any project involving re-configuring a space. It ended up being worth every penny in gained space and logistics. However, a “Kitchen Designer” does not necessarily mean they will help with color and finishes. That’s typically an Interior Designer. So be prepared to hire another person unless you know exactly what you want.

I’d been chatting with a few contractors and had a good idea of who I wanted to work with. I’d also pre-selected every single finish material, fitting, door, knob, faucet, finish, color, sink, hinge, cabinet makeup….everything. You name it, I had it nailed down. Why did I do that? Because I wanted a total bid that was as accurate as possible. My biggest fear was to simply run out of money. Or realize I could not afford the remodel I set out to do. I felt the key was to go with whomever I could plainly communicate with and of course, trust. Unfortunately that contractor’s bid was so vague, I mean really vague. As in a bracket of 50% total price deviation. Which I found very frustrating since I had already selected and therefore had pricing on all of the finishes. So I hired Contractor #4 who was new in town and just finished an incredible home for a friend of mine. We could communicate and he understood the aesthetic I wanted. Which is a big deal. And his attention to detail and zero tolerance for poor workmanship sealed the decision. As a bonus, the job site was cleaned up daily. I’d finally found someone else who shared my disdain for clutter!

I also struck gold with the cabinet company. I called several, and because everyone is so busy, only a few returned the call. I ultimately settled on a company whom a client of mine had used and gave a glowing endorsement (he’s OCD too). Many projects are run with the contractor as the go-between with the cabinet designer. Personally I cannot fathom spending that kind of money (cabinets are expensive) for something where the durability and the ergonomics are extremely important. The cabinets are the primary feature of how your kitchen will function. And having a middle person relaying the information and the risk of compromised information just wouldn’t work for me. Once again I wanted to know exactly what I was spending 10’s of thousands of dollars for. Also, I wanted to nail down the cabinet cost before we embarked. Not all cabinets are created equal. Sure there are a few primary construction makeups. But the fit, install, finish, material all make a difference in the look and feel and final price. I didn’t go with the cheapest company out there, I went with the company I trusted to deliver exactly what they promised. And they certainly did! 

I had not been involved in a construction project before so this was my official hazing. I’ll spare you all the details and just offer a few highlights. The project was finished within 3-weeks of the projected timeline, including a lengthy detour to reinstall the hardwood flooring because everything was pre-selected. There weren’t any hold ups while we agonized over any decisions. I’ve found this is where many projects get derailed. Because of extensive research and knowledge of pricing, the job was done within 3% of the original estimate.

My biggest tip to give anyone is research like crazy. And shop like crazy. Not necessarily for the “best deal out there”. But just so you know exactly what you are paying for. When was the last time you chose a pocket door track? Yeah me neither. Most people wouldn’t care. But I learned I wanted one that would last a lifetime and has a soft-close feature that my kids couldn’t destroy. I knew I wanted that door to be a solid door to suppress noise from the laundry room, I knew I wanted the interior walls insulated to suppress noise further. One quote for a pocket door track was $550 for a far inferior track. Simply because that’s all one local retailer carried. I ended up purchasing a superior one for $300. Another example is when we removed the fireplace someone had inexplicably installed in the kitchen and we replaced it with a 10ft door for more light. The pricing variance for the same construction, aluminum clad exterior door, was absolutely staggering. Not just a little. For example, I requested 3 quotes for the same exact spec/brand door and received quotes that were up to 45% apart. Not the install. Just the door itself.

Most people aren’t interested in this kind of detail, unfortunately I’m not able to just waive my arms and say “yeah I’d like a white kitchen in this space, let me know how it turns out”. For those who can do that, I envy you a little bit.   

Dan Hines & Scott Raymond Know Their Stuff!

Dan Hines & Scott Raymond Know Their Stuff!

Sacramento is experiencing the strongest rental market it has seen in years!

By Dan Hines & Scott Raymond

 It is definitely a good time to be a landlord investor in Sacramento, not so much if you are a tenant.   According to Axiometrics, a leading real estate research firm, Sacramento is in the top five nationally in some very respectful statistics including year over year percentage rent growth, lowest vacancy rates, highest tenant demand and lowest new construction of units coming on line.   In fact, Axiometrics reports that Sacramento has now realized eight consecutive months as the market with the highest rent growth in the nation.

 The Downtown / Midtown market in particular is the hottest of all submarkets in Sacramento boasting an average vacancy rate of 4.1% and average Asking Rent for Class A properties of $2,245.   With very little new construction, some of the brand new marquis projects such as 16 Powerhouse, Legado De Ravel and Eviva have experienced overwhelming demand and record rents.   16 Powerhouse, as an example, reached 100% occupancy within just a few months of opening and has average rents of over $3,000 and $2.89 psf.

 It’s not just the brand new projects that are benefiting either   Many older properties throughout Downtown / Midtown which have undergone substantial remodels are being rewarded by tenants with record level rents never seen before for older projects.   Properties such as The Q and The Elan are two such properties.   Both properties, managed by Raymond Management, originally built in the 60's and 70's had over $1M spent on them and underwent a significant transformation.   Rents went from $700 to $800 per month on average for one bedroom units to between $1,400 to $1,600.  

 At this time, the market shows no sign of letting up.  There is just too much demand for too little supply.  You can credit much of this to the explosive job growth in the health care industry, government and the education sectors.   In fact, at Raymond Management we estimate that at least 40% of our new tenants are transferring in from out of the area to take jobs within our market.  REIS, another research firm, predicts this tenant demand and to continue putting upward pressure on rents through 2020.   Sacramento, it seems, is finally turning the corner and becoming a very desirable region for employment and lifestyle, and consequently, a legitimate market for real estate investors for the foreseeable future.

 www.raymondmanagement.net

www.raymondmanagement.net

CONTACT US

  • (888) 623-4480
  • (415) 873-1300
  • 2012 P Street, Suite 201, Sacramento, CA 95811

Post Election Note

Post Election Note

What does a “close race” mean?

By Alisa Chatham Sakowitz

In this case, it means that either party had a genuine and significant chance of actually winning.  Apparently world markets had once again become quite comfortable with a specific outcome. 

While the shock to Democrats last night was palpable, the shock to world markets could be quantified.  Index futures – which trade around the clock – topped their Brexit volatility and their post September 11th response last night with declines of nearly 900 points for the Dow.  What did we wake up to this morning?  Dow futures were still down about 200 points before the US Markets opened today.  What do we have as I write this?  The Market is up.  The Dow is trading up about 140 points.

Market responses seem to mimic this election cycle: full of violent ups and downs.  Last night’s futures response was pretty clearly a renewed Brexit fear – traders did not want to get caught twice within a five month time frame by surprise outcomes so they bolted for the exits.  This caused significant downdrafts in stocks around the world, oil, the US Dollar and an upswing in Treasury bonds.  We are in precisely the opposite position this morning – stocks are up, oil is flat to down slightly and Treasury rates are up this morning, meaning that bond prices are trading down a bit in value. 

How do we interpret this?  This appears to be no different than most election cycles – there is a knee-jerk reaction to an outcome and then reality settles in as the Markets return focus to normal valuation metrics: prospects for the economy, corporate earnings, inflation, etc. 

Nothing has fundamentally changed overnight.  The uncertainty of the outcome is now behind us and the job of governing is now on the forefront.  While presidents from both sides of the aisle like to claim responsibility for positive market outcomes, capital markets are truly independent and non-partisan.  Without dramatic, material interference in those markets, that will not change.  Markets will continue to focus on profitability and growth prospects. 

Inflation and interest rates can impact profitability and growth prospects.  That’s our next big news event as we head into the last months of 2016…what will the Fed do at their December meeting?  The market has priced in an increase in the Federal Funds Rate but change and the news cycle are our only true constants!

As always, we maintain our long term, diversified approach to investing.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to be in touch. 

May this season be treating you and your families well.

Alisa C. Sakowitz

Financial Advisor

Park Avenue Securities LLC., Pacific Advisors

20 Bicentennial Circle, Suite 100 

Sacramento, CA 95826

P. 916.379.0200 Ext 7241 FAX 916.379.0800

Pacific Advisors, LLC.  Park Avenue Securities, LLC.

Registered Representative & Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC (PAS) 20 Bicentennial Circle, Suite 100 Sacramento, CA  95826 916-379-0200 Securities products/services and advisory services offered through PAS, a Broker-Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA, SIPC. PAS is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY.  Insurance Products offered through One Pacific Financial & Insurance Solutions LLC, DBA of Pacific Advisors, Inc. Pacific Advisors, Inc. is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Guardian. Pacific Advisors LLC. Pacific Advisors LLC is not a Registered Investment Advisor.  CA Insurance License #0C75476

 

This material contains the current opinions of the author, but not necessarily those of Guardian or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice. Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends are based on current market conditions. We believe the information provided here is reliable but should not be assumed to be accurate or complete.  References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation, offer or recommendation to purchase or sell a security.  This material is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. Dow Jones Industrial Average is a widely used indicator of the overall condition of the stock market, a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue chip stocks, primarily industrials, but also includes financial, leisure and other service oriented firms. Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. 2016-31420 Exp 12/16

Donkeys versus Elephants – What does this election cycle mean for Markets?

Donkeys versus Elephants – What does this election cycle mean for Markets?

By Alisa Chatham Sakowitz

Don’t get nervous!  We aren’t going to weigh in... just share a few thoughts about what this election year might mean for the Markets.  

There are encyclopedic volumes worth of articles about the effect that presidential elections have on Markets and there is a lot of curiosity about it. The factors are nearly endless but they’ve all been studied: what happens in a first year of the cycle, the second year and on, whether the elected president is a Republican or Democrat, which party dominates the Senate or the House and all of these combined.  Just looking at the numbers, the Market’s performance tends to lag in election years versus all the others.  According to Sam Stovall, US Equity Strategist at S&P Capital IQ, the fourth year of the presidential election cycle since 1948 averages an increase of 6.1% versus 8.8% in all years. This does not include dividends.1 There’s probably one easy explanation for that – and you may notice a theme – the Market does not like uncertainty.  

Those who participate in the Markets are so desperate to find patterns in Market behavior that there is even a Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor.  The theory was put forth in the 1970s and states that if a team from the AFC wins, the Market (as measured by the S&P 500)2 will decline.  If a team from the NFC won the big game, the Market would increase.  The theory had never been wrong until right around the time it was pointed out.  It has been correct about 80% of the time.  

What we do know with certainty is that the Market reacts to daily inputs.  Some days it reacts to comments from politicians.  Some days it ignores them completely.  Even when we see temporary effects from comments made or actions taken, those effects tend to dissipate pretty quickly.  There do not seem to be any permanent or long standing effects on the Markets from elections or politics.  

Looking at the total return from each four year period from 1936 through 2004, the returns are virtually neck and neck during Republican and Democrat administrations.  The average return of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) under a Democratic administration was 29.14% over four years.  The average return of the DJIA during the same period of time under a Republican administration was 31.22% over four years.3 2008 is being excluded from many analysis because of the dramatic recession that came to light in that election year and 2016 is just a bit shy of being one for the books.  

DJIA Price Return 4 Years after Election

DJIA Price Return 4 Years after Election

It is a constant quest to see if the Market will divulge some reliable pattern.Whether it’s based on politics or the Super Bowl or anything else, statisticians and strategists are always digging through more and more complex combinations of data to see if there is some predictability buried deep down in the depths of stock market performance.  The short answer is, there doesn't appear to be.  

There are no reliable patterns in Market behavior, as it relates to elections, and as Leonard Koppett demonstrated with the Super Bowl Indicator, some theories work until they suddenly just don’t work anymore.  So, what are investors to do in the midst of all the election hubbub?  Remember that politics tends to have a fleeting effect on Markets.  Invest in a diversified portfolio that meets your risk tolerance and needs.  Also, we should keep in mind that we are all Americans.  Donkey or Elephant, we are all Americans.  

1 Market Watch, “2016 Predictions: What presidential election years mean for stocks”, Watts, Dec 29th 2015.

2 Wikipedia, Super bowl Indicator

3 SEI, Commentary “Presidential Elections and the Stock Market”, Oct 24th 2008.

 

Alisa Chatham Sakowitz has been a Financial Advisor for over 17 years. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. After a long career with Morgan Stanley, Alisa joined her family in their advisory practice at Park Avenue Securities. She lives in Sacramento with her husband who is a photographer, their two young sons and a Great Pyrenees named Sprocket. Their lives are happily full of work and play.

 

This material contains the current opinions of the author, but not necessarily those of Guardian or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice. Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends are based on current market conditions. We believe the information provided here is reliable but should not be assumed to be accurate or complete.  References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation, offer or recommendation to purchase or sell a security.  This material is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. Tables are for illustrative purposes and are not intended to suggest a particular course of action or represent the performance of any particular financial product or security. Dow Jones Industrial Average is a widely used indicator of the overall condition of the stock market, a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue chip stocks, primarily industrials, but also includes financial, leisure and other service oriented firms. Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. #2016-30275 Exp. 10/18

 

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