Forbes List: Bad Sportsmanship
By Ashley Robinson
The recent Forbes article singling out the most miserable cities in the United States was not just bad journalism, it was an insult to everyone who doesn’t live in the glorious metropolis cities these writers work from … which I’m guessing is a majority of the United States.
What exactly was Forbes trying to prove? What good did they think would come out of this list?
[DON’T read it here. It will only make you angry.)
Raised in the Southern Central Valley, I’m used to my home turf getting beaten up. It builds character, I say. I smell manure, I think money. I see graffiti, I think some guy with a paint company will get paid to come out and cover it up. So, therefore I was not surprised to see Stockton, Merced and Modesto ranked up at the top. The towns usually get beaten up as they have almost always been ground zero of hardship, but the 209 is still an integral part of an industry that supplies the FOOD THE WORLD EATS and should be respected as such.
However, when Sacramento rolled across my screen at number five, my jaw dropped.
“No state taxes $50,000 of income like California, with a rate of 9.55% on incomes above that level for singles. Sacramento is a one-team sports town, and that team has been awful in recent years. The NBA’s Kings have won just 26% of their games the past two-plus seasons,” it said.
The first sentence doesn’t really apply to the city of Sacramento as it does to the general state of California, which is an unfair correlation.
But the thing, the thing that got me the most was this: “Sacramento is a one-team sports town.” Wow, Forbes, you are right. We have only one pro sports team.
But if we are judging cities on sports, and I don’t know if you know this, Kurt Badenhausen, we have more than one sports team (River Cats, Mountain Lions, Sac City Rollers, two major university athletic departments with great programs, rowing teams, tennis tournaments, the CIM, nearby hiking trails and cycling). And so what if they aren’t all professional? It is still a pretty shallow grade factor. I feel sorry for you if you think fan fervor is what defines a city, and I seriously question the integrity of Forbes in thinking this is relevant.
(And PS, Sacramento has one of the largest, if not the largest, collection of golf courses per capita. Guys who read Forbes don’t care about golf? I’m not in the boys club, so I don’t know for sure, but I doubt it.)
Sacramento is a great city. Personally, when I think of things that make this town great, the “urban forest” lining our streets, the thriving food and wine industry encircling us, and the vibrant political atmosphere are the first to come to mind. And once I really start thinking about it, the diversity of peoples who live in the Sacramento region is pretty spectacular. I love hearing Russian, Greek, Tagalog, Spanish and Japanese in my neighborhood post office. The enormity of industry in the region is also astonishing. For example, among skyscrapers housing offices for various types of associations, industries, lobbying firms, manufacturing organizations, etc., the Sacramento region represents a massive agricultural community, most of which ship out their crops to countries overseas.
Yea, Kurt, I’m talking to you. That day-old sushi you are eating, ten bucks the rice came from right outside Sacramento city limits. Don’t get mercury poisoning.
We have dozens of exciting museums, rivers to cruise (which sometimes does have an eau-de-Deliverance, but that’s what makes it adventurous, right?), farmers markets, festivals, an art scene, a bike culture and a rich history of dreamers. Heck, just three months ago, what other city could say its governor was a movie star AND its mayor a sports star? Not New York City.
And yes, Sacramentans don’t always play inside the city limits. With San Francisco, Napa, the Pacific Ocean and Tahoe all being within a short drive, it’s so easy to enjoy Northern California at its best.
So, how did they come to this most miserable list?
They looked at the 200 largest cities with the minimum population at 249,000. Ranking occurred on 10 factors: “unemployment over three years, tax rates (both sales and income), commute times, violent crime and how its pro sports teams have fared over the past three years.” (Again with the sports teams? Who gives a s***?)
“We added two housing metrics this year: the change in median home prices over three years, and foreclosure rates in 2010, as compiled by RealtyTrac. We also considered corruption based on convictions of public officials in each region, as tracked by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. Lastly, we factored in an index put together by Portland, Ore., researcher Bert Sperling that rates weather in each metro on factors relating to temperature, precipitation and humidity.”
(By the way, I do understand they are looking at Sacramento proper and economic components, not the quality of live for those enjoying its outer limits … but I don’t care! They should have also gauged cultural participation, accessibility to resources, educational opportunities and suicide rates, among other emotional statistics. I’m continuing …)
You think the weather is bad here? Here?! Well, Forbes Magazine, I lived in New York City and I cried every day because it was so miserable. I personally think the weather here, most of the time, is quite comfortable. Yes, it can be unbearably hot during the summer, but we live in inland California, we’ve got air conditioners. Don’t like it? Move to the beach. Oh wait, you can’t afford it?
I will say this; the best thing to come out of this stupid article is a renewed patriotism for Sacramento. Sure, it’s no Portland (as we are all constantly reminded of how great it is, blah blah blah), but this is our town. Most of us adopted this city because of its role as the capital of California, which means we are a dramatically loyal and idealistic bunch.
And I invite Mr. Badenhausen and his cohorts to come out and check Sacramento for realzies. I know Girls on the Grid would show them a very un-miserable list of things to do.
But in the meantime, as someone from TV said to me, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say it all.” I think Forbes should be reminded of that, as well.