There is much to like about Mark Billingsley's feature article about Arden Arcade in the Bee's Real Estate Section on August 27th. Why? Because it portrayed our community in a positive vein. As regular readers of our blog are aware, that's very un-Bee-like. Could it be the start of a trend?
To be sure, there are inaccuracies in the article. It mentions "the T at Eastern and Arden" (odd for two through streets that cross each other) and it cites Walnut as our eastern boundary (which it was until the Supervisors decided to change it to Mission years ago). But that's small stuff we're happy to overlook. We're especially appreciative that the article mentioned us and quoted our President, Rob Hager. For that we give credit to Mr. Billingsley, who is the first Bee reporter anyone of us can remember who expressed an interest in learning what we are up to - seeking improvement for our community. We sure hope that doesn't cost him his job.
"There's plenty of affordable housing, tight-knit neighborhoods and a good variety of restaurants and businesses. Arden Arcade's strength is its diversity."Advocates for Arden Arcade President Rob Hager in "Diversity of Hoousing and People is an Arden Arcade Strength" (Sacramento Bee, August 27, 2021)
We recognize that the article was a fluff piece, one typical and appropriate for a promotional real estate section of a local newspaper. It did not seem to delve much into the segment of the community west of Watt Avenue, some parts of which are challenged by economic circumstances and a large portion of which has been declared an "Environmental Justice Area" (the term of art for a place that has suffered from environmental INjustice). It did not mention that Arden Arcade's residential real estate is far above the county's norms for percentages of apartments and rental housing. Nor did it look into our large concentration of recent immigrants - many from Afghanistan - who need our support as they seek assimilation into our country. And the article was silent about our many unhoused residents and ethnic groups that were probably undercounted in the 2020 census. While those are all valid subjects for newspaper reporting, we understand that they don't fit the mold for a real estate fluff piece.
Perhaps we can look forward to some actual journalism about those subjects in other parts of the paper. For the time being, though, it was a pleasant surprise to see a reasonably decent Bee article about our community. And we are thankful that the article mentioned our interest here among the Advocates for Arden Arcade in engaging with all segments of the community, something the pandemic has made difficult. We would love to discuss things with people and neighborhood groups, online if not in person. You can reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.