NEW VALLEY 206
Divided We Stand

 

New Valley is brought to you by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo: the next stage.

We respect and protect our region's natural beauty and precious resources through responsible community planning and development. We are Del Webb: the nation's leading developer of resort-lifestyle communities, and home to more than 11,000 active adults in Northern California.

Partial funding for New Valley is provided by the Union Pacific Foundation -- contributing to the communities of the Central Valley since 1959. The Union Pacific Foundation is proud to support Public Television.

The Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the Sacramento Region Blueprint Project: choices for our future at sacregionblueprint.org.

New Valley is also made possible in part by the Great Valley Center.

 

The face of the Central Valley is changing.

We're becoming more ethnically diverse…our senior population is booming…and the gap between rich and poor is getting wider.

In the next half-hour, we'll see how vital services are responding to the needs of a more diverse population…

…and how grassroots efforts in education are creating a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.

We'll meet Valley seniors who are redefining retirement…

…and show how an often overlooked group is having a major impact on our region.

Join us for the stories behind our changing demographics. This is New Valley: Divided We Stand.

 

Age…race…income…marital status…level of education...number of dependents…

Demographers can make us feel like nothing more than a number. Why do they need all those statistics anyway?

Hans Johnson, Demographer, PPIC: "When we look at almost any area of government service, demography matters quite a bit. The demography of California has very much led to some of the statewide initiatives we've seen. It drives caseloads. For policymakers, demography is very important."

…and also for companies, who use demographics to find regions with the most skilled laborers; or towns deciding whether to build schools or senior centers. Demography maps our shifting human landscape -- and in the Golden State, that's like catching lightning in a bottle.

Hans Johnson: "California has the most dramatically changed population in terms of the numbers and in terms of the diversity of anywhere in the world."

And the Central Valley is California's crucible of change. Within thirty years our population will double. Within ten years…

Hans Johnson: "There will be no racial or ethnic group that comprises a majority of the Valley's population. Big increases in Asian and Latino populations have occurred in particular in the last 10 to 20 years in the Valley."

To reap the benefits of a diverse society, we must serve its diverse needs. And no one understands that better than those who dedicate their lives to saving lives.


Fire station crews are usually the first one on the scene when a call for help is made. And station six in Sacramento's Oak Park is one of the busiest in the nation, receiving nearly 14,000 calls a year. And it's in the heart of what Time magazine has named the most diverse city in America - a prime example of a true melting pot for the Central Valley. So it's no wonder the calls often have crews working with a diverse population.

Deputy Chief Richard McKinney, Sacramento City Fire Department: "We go into people's houses. They trust us. They have to understand that we're there to help them, and we're there to assist them."

So the ability to understand and interact with diverse groups is vital. And for that, the Sacramento City Fire Department enlisted the help of local diversity specialist Dr. Kevin Christophe, president and founder of Sacramento-based Progress counseling.

Kevin Christophe Ph.D., Progress Consulting: "Diversity management looks at how to motivate people to perform at higher levels, and that translates to better customer service, I believe."

And better customer service is crucial for an agency like the fire department, whose business is saving lives.

Captain David Kevin, Sacramento City Fire Department: "Our job is to help them out for whatever they call us for, whether it's a medical aid response or a car accident, even a house fire. We're there to serve the public and if we can better understand their needs, it helps us as well as it helps them."

Kevin uses role-playing and storytelling to help firefighters see situations through the eyes of the people they serve.

Kevin Christophe, Ph.D.: "You're not going to know everything about every group, but you'll know that differences doesn't mean deficiencies. We definitely move people from an ethnocentric view to a more multicultural one."

According to the Deputy Chief, feedback on the training has been positive overall, but some crew members had to be convinced in the beginning.

Deputy Chief Richard McKinney: "Everybody's opinion of what diversity training is was different and varied, and basically varied based on their background, and they didn't have an understanding."

Kevin is aware of the bad rap diversity training has received in the past…

Kevin Christophe, Ph.D.:"Some people may come in with a mature perspective. Others may come in and say, 'Hey, Kevin, this is just a disguise for affirmative action,' or it's divisive and results in litigation."

But according to Kevin, the risks associated with not having training can be much worse.

Kevin Christophe, Ph.D.: "The reputation of the organization is affected. There may even be lawsuits and things of that nature that impede an organization to function at its potential."

Like the Fire Department, CARES is an organization where knowing how to reach our diverse community can be a matter of life or death. Housed in this non-descript building in downtown Sacramento is a healthcare clinic, a pharmacy, and social services for people suffering from HIV and AIDS.

Azizza Davis-Goines, C.A.R.E.S.: "One of the things we've learned over the years is that HIV and AIDS is changing, in that people of color are the ones that are being affected at a faster rate, and they tend not to seek help because it is difficult to communicate with individuals if they don't understand their culture, and their language, and what their needs are."

And that's where Kevin's training has been helpful.

Kevin Christophe, Ph.D.: "Certain groups, African American's in particular, have been noted to have a distrust of the medical establishment. There's the Tuskegee experiment, and individual experiences where they have not been treated with respect, and they walk away with a bad taste in their mouth. And that might translate into negative relationships with every healthcare professional. So being aware of that and how to build rapport and advance a relationship along to where you can build trust and people can buy into your treatment plan."

Sacramento's African American population is just one of the groups CARES is trying to reach out to; Latinos and Asians are also being targeted.

Gregory Brown, C.A.R.E.S.: "It's because of the way their culture is set up, and a lot of times there isn't a lot of a huge push to do HIV testing, and a lot of HIV prevention. And so it becomes a little bit more of a challenge to reach out and identify those populations, a little bit more than other populations that have assimilated into mainstream society, I guess."

As new cultures continue to make Sacramento their home, research on how to reach those groups is underway and that, Azziza says, could make the community a safer place.

Azizza Davis-Goines:"We know that there's a good 1,500 to 2,000 people out there that are infected that either don't know it or have fallen through the cracks, and we need to get them back into care so we can stem this disease from progressing within the community."

Better communication makes saving lives a little easier, and with communities across the Valley becoming more and more integrated, the demand for diversity training is sure to rise.


A rich cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths, but the Valley's greatest weakness is the lack of diversity in its economy. Agriculture put the Central Valley on the map - but it left us with a legacy of low-paying, low-skill jobs.

Hans Johnson: "It is key for the Valley to be able to grow their own good jobs, or attract good jobs from elsewhere, and they need to develop the economic engines that allow them to keep, first of all, the people who do succeed in education in the Valley."

To stop the Valley's "brain drain," there's a bumper crop of innovative programs designed to give citizens the skills and the resources they need to compete and succeed.


California's San Joaquin Valley is home to some of the richest farmland in the world - and some of its poorest residents. A growing population of Mexican immigrants eke out a living harvesting the state's bounty. The seasonal has led to the highest poverty rate in the state, at 22%.

Nancy Mellor, Teacher: "They're farmworker families who have the highest of interest in making sure their children have good lives. But that doesn't always mean educated lives. It means they live as good people."

Educator Nancy Mellor knew that, despite a high dropout rate, there were a number of gifted students -- kids who, with a little extra push, could go onto college and create brighter future for themselves.

Each summer since 1987, Mellor has brought a group of students in grades 7 to 12 to the UC Berkeley campus for a six-week academic "boot camp." It's run through the Graduate School of Education's Academic Talent Development Program. Director Nina Hirsch Gabelko says this has opened up a whole new world for kids who otherwise wouldn't travel beyond their own hometown, much less consider college.

Nina Hirsch Gabelko, Director, Academic Talent Development Program: "And they come up here and they fit right in -- with preparation -- to an academic community where they can go to college, they can learn, and they can get high paying jobs."

Eighteen-year old Brenda Gomez is applying to Syracuse University in New York, with an eye on doing great things.

Brenda Gomez, Student: "The fact that we are disadvantaged economically really made my desire of going to college grow, because that way maybe later in the future I can have a job that bays better than what my parents are in right now."

A number of college graduates may want to flee the Valley towns for the big city. But others, like program graduate Javier Gonzalez, bring their degree and their talents home. Gonzalez, a Harvard alumnus, is now the mayor of Huron.

But more importantly he's teaching and encouraging future college graduates, even hanging the banners of some of the biggest schools int eh country in his classroom as an incentive for his students to strive for more.

Javier Gonzalez, Mayor, Huron: "So I wanted to be back and become a role model for those individuals who want to dream for higher things and success."

Education is certainly one ticket to financial freedom for the Valley's growing immigrant population. Entrepreneurship is another.

Clarence Williams, President, California Capital Financial Development Corporation: "I think people will have a tendency to think typically that immigrants, new people coming into this area, are only interested in a job. Many bring skills and history and experience in regards to business ownership."

Clarence Williams is the president of California Capital Financial Development Corporation in Sacramento. The non-profit provides state loan guarantees for small business owners who don't qualify for traditional financing.

Clarence Williams: "And by successfully completing our programs, repaying our loans, they build up a track record, which makes them far more attractive for mainstream financial institutions."

California Capitol's approach to business is anything but business as usual. They offer classes in a multitude of languages. Before clients are given a loan, they get a healthy dose of financial education under the heading STRIVE - or Strategies to Reach Financial Independence Via Education. The free classes, often held in neighborhood churches, target people in the most needy communities who have little or no financial savvy.

"I need to know how to budget my money, how to save my money. I need to know about how to have good credit, keep good credit."

After graduating from the nine-week course, would-be business owners have a better chance for success. Kymberly Jackson says the classes gave her the foundation to start her small beauty supply store in Sacramento's Pocket Area.

Kymberly Jackson: "As far as marketing and getting my business plans together, and just calling to check on me and offering classes and things of that sort."

Jackson also received one of California Capital's micro-business loans, which range from $500 to $25,000. She's so grateful, she says she hopes to help young people achieve what she has.

Kymberly Jackson: "I would love children or just, you know, for my children and other people's kids, things like that, to see what's going on and go, 'Wow, this is possible!' So I'm probably going to be like a mentor one day."

And that's proof, says Clarence Williams, that helping minorities and immigrants be successful is good for the entire community.

Clarence Williams: "Anytime we see business ownership, we see the possibility of wealth creation, of asset development, which is a very, very important element in terms of people integrating into the way of life."


Hans Johnson: "The Valley is, like the rest of the United States and the rest of California, aging, with a growing population of people 65 and over."

And with the Baby Boomers on the brink of retirement, our senior population will nearly double in less than thirty years.

Hans Johnson: "Eventually in California and in the Central Valley, about 20% of the population will be age 65 and older."

That could mean fewer workers left to shoulder the cost of more services. But retirement isn't what it used to be, and many of today's seniors are giving as much as they get.


Take a look around and you'll see it: California's getting noticeably grayer.

Lynda Terry, Director, California Dept. of Aging: "We have between 4 and a half and 5 million people who are over the age of 65."

While we already have more seniors than ever, consider today's numbers the spark in an imminent aging explosion.

Lynda Terry: "Demographers tell us that in California, in 2020, that will be 9 million - so that's a lot of people who are aging!"

"A lot" is an understatement. Baby Boomers will provide the bulk in the largest retirement bulge in American history. In the next 50 years, California's senior population will increase more than 230%.

But what do the numbers really mean? Will a trip to the links be the new tough ticket? Possibly…but the real fear is that the demographic trend could break the national bank. The volunteer state president for the AARP, Helen Russ, has heard the fears.

Helen Russ, State President, AARP: "Well, there is fear, for example, of the financial situation that this is causing. Will there be enough money for social security or pensions or health care?"

And the headlines support the fear. The Bee's David Westphal argues that, "Medicare looms as the principle threat to the federal government's fiscal stability when the 76 million Baby Boomers begin retiring." On the surface, that fiscal forecast looks grim, but seniors are responding with what could be a silver lining: they're volunteering.

Bill Seidman, V.I.P.S. Volunteer: "I'm either going to be sitting at home on the couch watching TV, to be frank, or I could come out here and give a little back to the community."

Although fully retired, Bill's donating time to a community he loves.

Bill Seidman: "I think the community deserves it. The community was good to me, and I enjoy being out here."

As volunteers with the Stockton Police Department's VIPS - or Volunteers in Police Service - people like Bill are saving Stockton, and communities like it, serious money.

Bill Seidman: "We all have to realize in a time of budget restraints, there are just some things the city can't do."

Consider just some of the work VIPS do each day, from wellness calls to the elderly…

VIPS Volunteer: "Good morning, Claudia!"

…to school checks, and in Bill's case, he's helping Stockton with some urban blight.

Bill Seidman: "We'll be going out there to mark some abandoned vehicles."

And on this day, volunteering even had a sense of excitement when Bill spotted someone in a house that should have been empty.

Bill Seidman: "3 R-Ray 1, I have a vacation check at 704 Astor Drive. It's written up as a vacant home. The front door is open and there is a maroon foor-door Ford parked in front of it."

Dispatcher: "Okay, I'll get you a unit over there to check. Are you safely away from it?"

Bill Seidman: "10-4, I'll be around the corner."

Bill Seidman: "In this case we're not allowed to approach the residence. They'll send a regular police car unit out to check it."

A false alarm this time, but minutes later, Bill did find someone's stolen car.

Bill Seidman: "It comes back 10-8. Today I feel that I did somewhat of a job. I recovered a stolen vehicle and I had an officer check a house that was supposed to be vacant. Those are two things that probably would have gone unseen for a while. It's a good feeling."

And it's not just volunteers who are feeling good. As the leader of Sacramento's Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Laureen Anderson says volunteerism ultimately benefits everyone's wallets.

Laureen Anderson, Sacramento's Retired and Senior Volunteer Program: "Volunteers help the community in so many ways, and they take the burden off the taxpayer. I think that for every hour that volunteer volunteers, it is $16.54 that we would have to pay for that service."

But when it comes to volunteering, there are just some things you can't put a price tag on. Even an injured leg can't keep Jesse Diaz from his mission.

Jesse Diaz, R.S.V.P. Volunteer: "I mean, it really isn't a burden at all. It's a work of love, actually."

Each week, Jesse pays a visit to Darrell Button through a program called peer counseling. The goal: substituting loneliness with friendship.

Darrell Button: "It means a lot to me. My daughter, she comes about once a week, but it doesn't seem like enough, and Jesse fills the void."

But today's friendship started with a sense of duty.

Jesse Diaz: "This sounds hokey, but I was the only child in our family that got to go to college, and I've had a good life and I figure it's time to give a little back."

Will the next generation of retirees share Jesse and Bill's sense of duty? After all, the Baby Boomers have some experience with social causes…

Helen Russ: "To me, they are the most obvious people to move into volunteers. It fits perfectly. If they have been active in the community for political or other kinds of reasons, they'll carry that right with them into volunteerism."

So could the aging boom yield a "Golden Age" of volunteering, where money is saved and communities are strengthened? Or will the costs of an older society be too much to bear? The State Director of Aging sees the scales tipping to the positive.

Lynda Terry: "I think you won't see negatives the way the general public might think they will. Because most people who are retiring have pensions, they're going to give back to the economy. They're going to be giving up their time, being involved with the community - and that doesn't sound like a negative to me."

10-4!


We've seen how statistics pertaining to race, age, and economic status play a vital role in shaping both public policy and public opinion. But there's one demographic group that, until recently, has remained largely uncounted in the Valley.

Hans Johnson: "The gay and lesbian population has largely been left out. It's partly because we don't have good measures of the gay and lesbian population, so that it's very difficult to know what's happening over time."

But that's slowly starting to change. New studies suggest that gays and lesbians are making significant contributions to the cultural and the economic vitality of our region.


D. L. Shields is a true man of the west…

D.L. Shields, Festival Director, Sierra Stampede: "I've grown up around horses, around ranches. My grandfather was a farmer. So it's just what I've always known. Started doing rodeos when I was in high school, 15 to - ha! - impress a girl. Little did I know…"

Little did he know that one day he'd be directing a rodeo himself: the Sierra Stampede - Sacramento's annual gay rodeo. That's right: Sacramento has a gay rodeo. Surprised? D.L. says you shouldn't be.

D.L. Shields: "There are a lot of gay cowboys. (laughs) They like rodeo, like to live and promote the Western lifestyle."

The Sierra Stampede is dedicated to keeping the time-honored traditions of the rodeo alive…but it's not afraid to add a few of its own.

Gary Eddy, Rodeo Director, Sierra Stampede: "We also do events that we call 'camp events,' which are events that pretty much you'll only find at a gay rodeo."

This unique blend of "wild" and "west" draws thousands - both gay and straight - to Sacramento each July. From in the closet…to out of the chute, the gay and lesbian community has come a long way in just a few generations.

Dennis Mangers, Senior V.P., California Cable and Telecommunications Association: "We've made almost a quantum leap this last couple of years, several years, in terms of progress in our own human and civil rights evolution."

A former Assemblyman from Orange County, Dennis Mangers now calls the Valley home, and says tolerance isn't just good social policy - it's good business.

Dennis Mangers: "A study…actually showed the role that gays and lesbians play in the revitalization of urban centers, and that those locations that recognize this and harness that potential have the greatest creative energy in them for innovation."

In fact, that study said the leading indicator of a metropolitan area's high-technology success is a large gay population. Sacramento may not be the next Silicon Valley…but midtown is coming alive as it's coming out.

Dennis Mangers: "A good case in point would be the shops on J Street where you have a mix of commercial and art galleries and eateries, and other things, so you have both a day and evening life in that area."

Gay and lesbian businesses have also made a home in "Lavender Heights," a corridor along 21st Street. One of its anchors is the Lavender Library -- a lending library serving Sacramento's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender -- or LGBT - communities.

Michael Colby, Director, LLACE: "We really want to be a historical archive and collect materials documenting the history of LGBT people in the Sacramento area - kind of because if we don't do it, it won't be done. And then if you don't appear in history, you're kind of written out of history."

In five short years, the Library has acquired a collection of more than 10,000 books and other items -- many dating back to the 1950s.

Ann Bannon, Author, The Beebo Brinker Chronicles: "The repression was almost palpable. It was the era of Senator Joe McCarthy, the Gaithings Committee, which was empowered to look into anything it considered improper."

But despite the political climate, Ann Bannon had stories that needed to come out…

Ann Bannon: "My outlet was those books, and that way of connecting with a whole community that was otherwise off-limits to me."

Ann's first novel became the second best-selling paperback of 1957 -- thanks at least in part to readers who judged the book solely by its cover…

Ann Bannon: "Kind of a sweet college romance, a coming out story as the two women come to grips with their attraction to one another. It was anything but sleaze, but because it was published in paper covers on pulp paper, it was tarred with that label."

Though her books were set in the Bohemian world of Greenwich Village, Ann wrote all but one of them while living in California.

Ann Bannon: "California has played a big role in my life, and a big role in my understanding of the gay and lesbian community -- because I've been here watching it turn into a community."

In the mid-60s Ann turned from fiction to academia, eventually becoming a dean at CSUS. But her work lived on through reprints and translations. Now Ann is finally ready to add another chapter to her characters' lives. And like her, they've left the Big Apple for the Big Valley.

Ann Bannon: "I've in fact set that draft of the novel right here in Sacramento…"

It's the same setting where, come July, cowboys and cowgirls throughout the West will flock to the Sierra Stampede - to bust broncs…as well as stereotypes.


Change ultimately means opportunity, and by that measure, California's greatest potential lies here in the Central Valley. We're rich in culture…in experience…in energy…and in courage.

The Valley is also rich in creativity. But in an age of deficits, are the arts a luxury we can't afford? In our next episode, we'll see how artists and organizations are weathering the state's fiscal crisis, and how their impact on our region isn't merely cultural.

 

New Valley is brought to you by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo: the next stage.

We respect and protect our region's natural beauty and precious resources through responsible community planning and development. We are Del Webb: the nation's leading developer of resort-lifestyle communities, and home to more than 11,000 active adults in Northern California.

Partial funding for New Valley is provided by the Union Pacific Foundation -- contributing to the communities of the Central Valley since 1959. The Union Pacific Foundation is proud to support Public Television.

The Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the Sacramento Region Blueprint Project: choices for our future at sacregionblueprint.org.

New Valley is also made possible in part by the Great Valley Center.