Shit, P. J. O’Rourke’s Anacostia Special (in the Olympic sense) actually did live there, not something I’d personally recommend, but at least he had a home in which to be arrested for penny-ante drug dealing, I think it was. My problem, of course, is that I don’t.
Once again, I’m mainly concerned about the civic angle. I’ve mostly stopped following Humboldt County and Eureka city politics, and I’m hardly ever over there these days. I’m dead set on voting next month, and I don’t care to vote again in a county where I don’t live and don’t much care to return when I could instead vote somewhere where I, uh, kind of live, I guess. I have an eye on the voter registration deadline, and I should be able to come up with something accurate to put down on the affidavit by then, so I don’t want to whine about this at length right now.
The bizarre thing is that if I’d just signed the fucking registration affidavit in 2014 I’d have been a Rancho Cordova voter since then, not just a resident. But by God I do NOT live by the light rail station in Rancho. I’m fine with the DMV believing this, but I have no attachment to that fucking shithole. It’s cursed. It is not home. Some dumbass group of city fathers lopped off a cluster of slums and incorporated them as an independent city. Great thinking there, guys.
Think about how fucked up South Sacramento would be if it were the independent City of Meadowview. Imagine all the shit between the railroad tracks and the American River being its own city. That’s what Rancho is. If the dipshits running it actually have a tax base in Mather Field and the constellation of office parks scattered around it, they’re doing jack shit with the money. Forget street trees; these fucking derelicts won’t even pick up trash off the sidewalks. The light rail fare inspector who vented to me a few weeks ago was right: Zinfandel really is a shithole. The city’s officials can blame RT all they want for not keeping its light rail stations clean; they’ve still got some of the filthiest stations in the system in their city, and this reflects terribly on their government, too. I really don’t care to try to steward that crap as a voting constituent, let alone pay for it.
Right there we have a pretty serious regional problem. Letting the sidewalks around a quarter of the stations in the rapid transit system inevitably aggravates traffic regionwide. There’s a hilariously intractable pile of trash across the street from the eastbound platform at 8th and O; it’s a beautiful neighborhood otherwise, but there’s this fucking bed of junk and filth spreading from the gutter onto the sidewalk, or maybe from the sidewalk into the gutter, no identifiable point of origin or outskirts anywhere in the mess, sometimes surrounded by a community of transients, a number of these too disabled to get back into their wheelchairs when they fall out onto the sidewalk, others sleeping on their knocked-over bicycles, and I can’t recall a time since at least March when this patch has looked adequately clean. It’s not that this stuff may be someone’s property; from time to time the larger, more identifiable items, the ones someone might actually value, disappear, but no one has yet cleaned up the underlying foundation of stray trash, which looks like a mix of newsprint and fig Newtons. Nobody is going to come back to fucking claim any of that shit.
Zinfandel is worse than that because it has a similar, although more distributed, trash problem and is, as that fare inspector said, a real shithole at the neighborhood level. Swanston features big holes in the fence along the Union Pacific right of way that transients and other downmarket pedestrians use to cross the UP tracks away, surrounded by no trespassing signs, to avoid going maybe a quarter mile out of the way over the Arden Way overpass. Operation Lifesaver, baby. The trespassers have a point, though: there was $519 million available to build the downtown arena, but there isn’t the million or so that it should take to build a user-friendly pedestrian overpass over a heavy rail line with a 79 mph passenger speed limit and significant freight traffic. These are among the ones whose lives matter less. Seriously, if we grant them class, there’ll be less of it left over for ourselves.
This is why I’m so eager to splash into the voter pool and vex the assholes who run this regime. My plants deserve better than them, and so do the rest of Sacramento’s citizens.
What’s happening in Midtown is not legitimate. The fancy old-line neighborhoods–Land Park, Pocket, East Sac–seem to be real communities. Their prosperity may come at a cost to poorer neighborhoods, but at least they aren’t all a bunch of wankers. Midtown has historically, even within the past decade, been a dump by comparison, and parts of it still are. There are plenty of blocks that needed renovations and some that still do. Too much of it was left to slumlords who would defer maintenance until the end of time if no one bought them out or seized their properties.
The problem is that this entire project is being run by sleazeballs who know only gentrification. They’re incapable of neighborhood beautification in the local constituents’ interests, let alone public housing campaigns to do to the slumlords what BFI did to the mob garbage collection rackets. They refuse to do a damn thing until they’ve been allowed to jack rents through the roof and bring in a designer replacement population capable of withstanding the rent inflation they’ve deliberately caused. CADA, which I criticized at length a few years ago, is a scam to misappropriate public funds for this gentrification campaign. In class terms, it’s basically a nigger be out by sundown sign.
Every influence-peddling shithead involved in American gentrification campaigns would express horror and scandal at the language at the thought of being construed as a racist, and mostly likely at the language that I just used, but I stand by it. The racist door-blocking punk who called me fat cracka on the light rail is less of a bigot than any of these creeps. He held the train up for a minute, but he doesn’t deny anyone housing. He doesn’t socioeconomically reengineer entire neighborhoods on behalf of the restaurant lobby. He isn’t in bed with scum-of-the-earth developers. All I need of that motherfucker is for him to get off the train before I have to get on the emergency intercom with the driver. What Sacramento needs from its leaders is the good government that it is not about to get.
This is a once laid-back city that is turning into Brazil right before our eyes, if we care to look. Several thousand people are living in tents down by the river, on sidewalks, in their cars, and Loaves and Fishes has an annual budget of just about 1% of what it cost to build the downtown arena to be pretty much the only charity adequately feeding or housing any of them. The painfully obvious priority of the city government is to expedite the urban loft rehousing of useless affluent assholes so that they can go barhopping without paying Uber fare back to outer Folsom. They’ve now got those stupid eight-seater peddle surreys for drunks rolling around on public streets downtown a block away from sidewalks where people sleep in clothes they’ve been wearing for days on end, soaked in their own sweat and piss.
It’s Sodom, and not in a sexy way. If this shit is sustainable, we deserve our damnation for tolerating it. At the macro level, it absolutely is not sustainable, but it’s also at the macro level that the subsidies needed to keep all this gross immorality going, to fund the necessary staffing and logistics, become possible. When conservatives of rural sensibilities complain about urban decadence and waste, this right here is it. The blame so often gets projected onto bureaucracies, public employees and their unions, and urban infrastructure. We get to hear angry denunciations of plans to strip Americans of their God-given liberties and force them to take light rail to their government office jobs. But the operation of a number of state government headquarters for agencies serving a population of forty million in a capital region of a million or so isn’t decadent, and a three-spur light rail system is certainly less decadent and wasteful than a freeway and thoroughfare network that gets clogged several hours a day every weekday. I doubt most of the assholes riding around on the beer surreys would mind if the light rail and bus systems shut down; they’d still have Uber. If the City or County of Sacramento ever does to the ride-hailing apps what Austin briefly did, though, these fuckers will raise a hideous fit.
These asshats are why everybody hate the Millennials. Between the beer surrey fuckheads in the gentrified urban drinking districts and the permanent hipster trust-fund wastrels in Portland and Williamsburg, there’s plenty to ridicule, even despise. What I will say for the all-day coffeehouse dipshits is that many of them are really just trying to quietly cope with mood disorders in the context of a secular trashing of the labor and housing markets, and they absolutely are not the only ones having such difficulty. Resenting them for having the resources to adequately manage their own activities of daily living and come out into the public sphere without ending up stewing in their own piss next to the light rail station because they’re unemployed is wrongheaded. We need to fucking level this shit up, not down. The beer surrey twats are something worse. They appear employed; the unemployed are rarely so socially engaged or outgoing, and I can speak to the stigma they face from painful experience. These don’t look like unfortunate fuckups floundering through life; they look like aggressive, successful yuppies marking their territory.
Criticism of this shitty crowd doesn’t magically become invalid or hateful just because it comes from a position of cultural conservatism. We’re wise to ask why in the hell government policy is comprehensively catering to a bunch of decadent, spendthrift, childless twits who have no obvious skills of any use and make a public joke of their drinking problems. It’s appropriate to ask who the fuck is funding this Fall of Rome horseshit and whether this has anything to do with the shortage of public funding for social, medical, and psychiatric services. The other day a homeless guy broke into the Governor’s Mansion in a futile effort to flag down the Highway Patrol to shoot the mountain lion that was growling at him from inside a dumpster. He didn’t find the Chippies, and a good Samaritan ended up driving him to the emergency room to treat an arm injury that he sustained when he jumped out of a window, but the Highway Patrol tracked him down two days later and arrested him for trespassing. Dude was flamingly out of his mind, and he admitted that on second thought, given his mental health history, there probably wasn’t a cougar. Then again, it wasn’t until after the KCRA reporter who interviewed him mentioned this that I thought it over and realized that, no shit, cougars don’t go dumpster-diving like raccoons.
Again, a police squad got paid above-market wages to belatedly arrest and jail a well-meaning mentally ill guy for trying to flag them down during an emergency he sincerely perceived, because he thought they were the good guys with guns, and a few blocks away a bunch of willful derelicts are being subsidized to get trashed and ride around in a goddamn boardwalk surrey with a boom box. These fuckers absolutely are being subsidized; I guarantee it. They do not have the skills to support themselves in any normal sense. It’s unlikely that many of them are state workers, because the state offices are basically staffed by Folsom Republicans. The only large clusters of nongovernmental yuppie jobs in the Sacramento urban core that can’t be held by absolute dipshits are in the hospitals, and healthcare in the United States is a huge subsidy dumpster. Hell, this is too charitable; doctors and nurses need only worm their way into administration to get their dipshit on with impunity, and I may or may not be a fool to assume that there are competency standards on the floors.
I don’t know what the fuck these people do for a living that lets them afford Midtown rent, but I wouldn’t assume that most of it is reputable or useful, and neither would I assume that none of them are getting grants from the Bank of Mom and Dad. What’s going on, Randall? For starters, these, too, are White. Don’t look at me like that; it ain’t me that bought that set of pint glasses. Remember, I turn the radio off for the pledge drives. Also keep in mind that I actually know how economies work, as in who’s actually making or running anything that anyone needs and not just vomiting bullshit onto every surface where it might stick for a paycheck. It would be interesting, in the sense of the reputed ancient Chinese curse, to see how many of these yuppie shits are paid for “marketing,” and how many of them are self-esteeming enough to consider this a line of work. Likewise lobbying, which is mainly a cleaned-up form of public corruption; William Jefferson taking a suitcase to the freezer was more honest than that, although one would hope that a Southerner like him wasn’t doing that with his only freezer.
One way or another, what’s happening in Sacramento is that the wealth of a nation is being pumped into what used to be a functional enough backwater to inflate a bogus FIRE, entertainment, and hospitality economy. It can’t be repeated enough: that is not a fucking economy. It’s a racket to extract wealth from out of town and misallocate all available funds to dump money into flashy marketing campaigns with negative returns. Rents and real estate values are being driven up to levels that are absurd for a second-tier riverfront city with barely any more topography than Indianapolis and severe social problems that the authorities do their best to leave to a small order of nuns operating on a shoestring budget.
This is being not just allowed but deliberately encouraged by public officials and Chamber of Commerce boosters whose big tag line is basically, hey, we have restaurants here, too. That’s what the “Farm-to-Fork Capital” thing is. The boosters pulled it straight out of their asses. Sacramento isn’t the only place where it’s possible to operate a restaurant with a kitchen garden. It isn’t even a very good place to do that. The boosters are totally full of shit. The “Farm-to-Fork Capital” line showed up out of nowhere a few months ago, and now no one who has a paid platform will shut up about it for an hour. I’ve actually worked in farming, and often in small-scale, independent organic farming at that. God willing, I’m nowhere near done with that line of work. If Togo’s didn’t offer airline miles, these fuckjobs would drive me there in sheer disgust with their marketing antics.
I don’t think I’m misreading the local economy, which objectively is not one, or exaggerating to say that I can’t find a decent apartment anywhere near the light rail system because everyone in a position of leadership or authority is tripping on his shoelaces in excitement trying to reorder the housing market to cater to yuppie foodie twits who just have to Instagram their $30 dinners (I’m probably lowballing the price, come to think of it) and who are gullible and vapid enough to admire bumptious small businessmen for doubling the retail price because some jackass with no self-respect wrote up a backdated chain of custody on the ingredients. I’d rather go to the Capitol Mall and chill out with my plants, but I’m of a mind to street-fight the entire Democratic Party like a rumble squad of Elk Grove Cambodians for legitimizing these useless pieces of shit.
When these useless eaters show up in the history books, they show up as the last generation of insufferable decadents before the Barbarian armies charge the gates, the peasants come to Versailles in a procession of head-display pikes, and the Ceausescus have a final crying fit before their televised one-way trip to the courtyard on Christmas Day. It was 1989, Kid Rock was like, what’s that, and he still hasn’t had a haircut or a square meal. Bawitdaba da bang da dang diggy diggy Brimob, this is not on course to end well. The best outcome we can hope for is Sacramento remaining in an uncomfortably metastable position as America’s Syringe-to-Sewer Capital. This is what it actually is.
If we all recognized this, I might not be one of half a dozen parties competing for the privilege to spend over a thousand a month on a studio apartment that with luck is a block or two off skid row. I’m not kidding: this looks like one of the best units I’ve found, and it’s right on the edge of the neighborhood where everyone lives in a donated tent or under a lean-to of plastic tarps and empties a plastic chamber pot into the American River.
The listing agency is one of the best I’ve found around here, so I can’t blame them for overplaying their all too favorable hand, and I’m seriously thinking about viewing the unit, but mainly to get a better sense of the available inventory. (Post hoc edit: I went, and it was absolutely worth the trip.) No amount of professionalism and competence on the listing end is enough to stop the Sacramento housing market from being a clusterfuck.
Seriously, this is a city going FUBAR, and not a particularly desirable one at that. It makes some sense for San Francisco or Marin to be hot markets, not to the extent that the techdicks and overseas money Chinks have heated them up, but it’s plain as day why Marshall or the top of Divisadero is more expensive than Warren Buffett’s ostensible domicile in Omaha. Those are special places. Sacramento isn’t. There are probably more cold homeless people here than there are plant nerds who would even think about paying a premium to have Senegal date palms in the neighborhood. Sacramento is almost a hundred miles from the beach, and that’s going through a succession of soul-sapping dumps along the freeway. It’s twenty to thirty miles from the foothills and eighty or more from the ski resorts. Nobody cool wanted to live here until maybe five or ten years ago.
That is, I’m five or ten years late getting in on this shit. Everything dysfunctional about this market, everything making it as selective as undergraduate admission to Harvard and making it possible for landlords to still have business after doing hour-long open-call scrums in units with hair in the sink instead of one-on-one showings in places they’ve properly cleaned, is being driven by dipshits I’d really rather not have around.
There are families that buy this cohort property in Reno just to get them on the other side of the mountains. There’s a guy who lives in, like, Sun Valley in a house that his parents bought for him years ago to get him away from the Bay Area, and now he’s the forty-something dirtbag scion of a Hillsborough specialty metal manufacturing family or some shit, and he circuit-rides Starbucks stores all over the Truckee Meadows, horrifying female customers in line in front of him with greasy hair swooshes. Honestly, there are times when I feel really bad for this guy for being stuck in Reno, but he isn’t completely stuck there, more just a weirdo whose only socializing is trips to the coffeeshop to fan random women with his ponytail.
I mention this fucked-up bastard because his parents offer an alternate model for every affluent Boomer parent who is contributing to Snowflake’s upkeep in Midtown Sacramento because they’re advertising hip woke restaurants all of a sudden. There’s no reason these useless brats who never set foot on the light rail anyway couldn’t be stashed in Placerville or Carson City instead. Dump them in a shitty rancher in Mound House last owned by a funny spinster with more cats than cat boxes for all I care. That isn’t the kind of cathouse rural Nevada’s business boosters like to advertise, but you’ll get a better deal on a better, thicker thicky trick on the windward side, and you won’t step back out into a windswept hellscape of plastic bags hanging from cottonwood limbs, either.
This bizarre settlement pattern isn’t about market competition. Fuck your markets. North Korea can’t reliably suppress the free market, so a tenfold increase in public housing in Sacramento won’t stop anyone who has something worth selling from selling it. The people who are driving housing inflation at the margins around here would be losers in any actual meritocracy. I pick fruit commercially, and I shouldn’t be shy about saying so when it means that I can assert my civic equality with and superior economic worth to some asshole who gets paid to run scams out of an office and then pays out of pocket to spend the night rolling around downtown getting drunk in a surrey that’s blasting Pharrell at nuisance levels and, totally off-topic, Monty Robinson for Designated Driver.
Of course I want to vote this shit into abatement. These people are pathetic. They’re a civic disaster. As Michael O. Church points out, they aren’t even any good at hedonism. I can’t find a decent place around here because they all need to live in the urban core now and be chauffeured everywhere by on-call motor pool peasants. Pitching a tent down in Tetanus Flats would be my last-ditch gambit to establish residency. Do any of these motherfuckers who go out dining for the Gram look like they’d tolerate a room at the Crossland? Hell no. Extended Stay America sucks ass. I know it because I’ve lived it. The downtown knowledge economy crowd is the last one that gets to tell me that I have to pick a shitty spot and sleep on it for a while to establish residency here.
If there were a rest area in this county with available parking space, damn straight I’d sleep at it. The problem with the one by the airport is that I’m not the only local with that idea.