People of Sacramento commenting on the news: John Mudgett

John Mudgett, director at Turton Commercial Real Estate
John Mudgett, director at Turton Commercial Real Estate. Photo: Kevin Fiscus.

(This is the eighth installment in a weekly series with people who don’t work in journalism commenting on the news. Photography by Kevin FiscusIf you’d like to participate, message or tweet me.)

Meet John Mudgett.

He’s 31, a San Diego native, a Pepperdine graduate, lives in Land Park and works as a director at Turton Commercial Real Estate.

John specializes in tenant representation, leasing and transactions with a focus on the urban core and surrounding neighborhoods. He’s in the mix of a vibrant market.

He sees renewed “optimism and belief” in a Sacramento rebounding from the furloughs, foreclosures and unemployment of the economic downtown. Many are looking to buy and many are looking to sell. Vacant lots are getting filled, often with community support.

“It can be overwhelming at times but that’s what can be exciting,” he says.

John was the first person to approach me about participating in this project after he saw my call for contributors on Twitter. I’ve been following him for a couple months now and enjoy his fresh perspective on the city.

He shares interesting details about the buildings around us, his appreciation for mid-century modern art and a love for what makes Sacramento quirky. It’s as if he’s touring the city and we’re along for the ride.

We met for the first time in June at LowBrau to talk about media consumption, the city of Sacramento and his thoughts on the news.

“It took me several years to understand and then fall in love with Sacramento,” he says.

His wife Savannah grew up in Granite Bay and the couple moved to Placer County before finding it a poor fit for millennials. They now live in Land Park, where they enjoy taking 3-year-old Saige to the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town.

He describes Sacramento as “just enough city” with an “approachability.” The city is “able to be relaxed but also invigorated.”

“I think we’re starting to form an identity,” he says.

He has his concerns: will communities rise to support micro-investments? Will the housing market price out natives? Will the economy turn before many developments come to fruition?

Still, many projects and events keep him optimistic: the Warehouse Artist Lofts, 16 PowerhouseEviva, the ICE Blocks, The Tribute BuildingGather, THIS Midtown and TBD FEST.

“We have a promising future,” he says.

John answered the following questions by email about how he gets the news. Text submitted May 21.

How do you get your news?
I consume mostly local news from Twitter (@sacbee_news, @Sacbiz, @CapRadioNews, @comstocksmag, @sacmag and @SacNewsReview), CNBC and a plethora of podcasts (Radiolab, TED Radio Hour, This American Life, Invisibilia, Fresh Air, Intelligence Squared, The Moth Podcast, Marketplace and Planet Money).

What’s the first news event you remember?
I remember watching Operation Desert Storm on the news. I recall my teacher telling the class that her son was fighting in the war and we created notes of encouragement for him and his troop. I remember having a difficult time wrapping my young mind around the concept of war.

What content do you pay for?
I don’t pay for much content. We got my first family computer when I was in the fourth grade and had dial-up internet. Growing up with the internet has allowed for a degree of resourcefulness in accessing free content: podcasts, music, news, entertainment and streaming. My wife and I cut the cable cord a few years ago and haven’t looked back. We have Apple TV and pay for Netflix and an occasional Redbox. My preference for entertainment is Vimeo – High quality creative content with a leaning towards the aesthetic, eclectic, artsy and edgy.

What’s the last great thing you ate?
Anything prepared by Randall Selland’s crew. We recently did happy hour at Ella Dining Room & Bar and had a great time. Very excited that The Kitchen will be moving to Broadway Corridor and will be much closer to home. Now we need to get a Selland’s Market Cafe and a coffee shop in Land Park and we’ll be set. Looking to you Old Soul Co., Temple Coffee, Insight Coffee Roasters, Naked Coffee.

Who’s doing it right in news?
Being in commercial real estate with a focus on Sacramento’s central city and surrounding neighborhoods, I’m tuned in with local news and happenings. I enjoy following @Ryan_Lillis, @benvsacbiz, @NickMiller916 and @sacbee_news on Twitter to get the most up-to-date news in real time. I also like Capital Public Radio, Comstock’s magazine, the Sacramento News & Review and SubMerge Magazine.

Name the three most important issues facing Sacramento.
(1) Identity — My wife and I moved here from Los Angeles in 2009. We initially moved to Roseville and lived in the suburbs for several years. We relocated much closer to the Central City, which has offered a great multi-angled perspective of Sacramento from both an outsider’s perspective and an insider’s perspective. Sacramento includes such a large territory that its identity has suffered. Where does Sacramento start and stop? Are the outlying areas included (Roseville, Rocklin, Placer, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Elk Grove, etc.)? I think Sacramento’s strongest identity originates from the Central City and the sub-neighborhoods with an extremely powerful and marketable identities (Midtown, East Sac, Land Park, Blvd Park, Southside, Downtown).

(2) Reputation — Sacramento has suffered somewhat from a lackluster reputation depending on who you ask and where they live: boring, sterile, predictable, hot, dangerous, poor schools, cow town, small-minded, insular, government-town. This is Sacramento’s old reputation. There is a new guard of young professionals, creatives, entrepreneurs, developers and politicians changing the landscape.

(3) Action — Sacramento has suffered from it’s own community not believing in itself. Those who have been disenfranchised leave the city rather than try to be agents of change. Sacramento’s new identity continues to evolve and its reputation is changing. We are starting to get the attention and recognition that we deserve. The area and surrounding development has been a great start. I’m most excited about the railyards, and the World Food Center bringing additional connectivity to UC Davis and the potential for research, development and business.

If you are looking for more concrete ideas:

1. Homelessness in Central City – It’s a problem and not a great reflection of Sacramento’s Central City, which should be the focal point of our identity in Downtown, Midtown, the Grid and the Broadway Corridor.

2. Quality of schools in Central City and surrounding neighborhoods

a. A lot of families move out of the central city for a few reasons, namely to be able to have a larger home and have access to better quality schools.

b. It would be great to have high quality schools in and around the central city to help mitigate that trend. The cost of private school is a non-starter for most households and no-one wants their kid’s education to suffer.

c. How does Sacramento not have a top-level nationally recognized charter school and higher education platform with our relationship to Michelle Rhee, other educational policy makers, UC Davis and Sacramento State all being neighbors?! I know that Rhee is a polarizing figure and I’m not advocating her position one way or the other because I’m not well-versed in the public/charter debate but I like the fact that she’s pushing the conversation and challenging conventional norms. We need that to happen in Sacramento’s school system.

3. Economy dependent on government and real estate – Limited development due to lack of economic foundation: new jobs, higher wagers and employment opportunity will lower vacancy in the core, increase commercial and residential rents that will in turn warrant more renovation and/or new development. Right now we’re mostly seeing development with some sort of subsidy that has been the catalyst.

What do you absolutely hate about the news?
I’m not keen on news that has an agenda. We live in this social media driven age where we have filter bubbles catering news to our preferences or entertainment news that is draining our society of our time and resources.

What’s the most important issue to you that’s not being covered well enough?
Privacy and how we as a society consume technology, often to our detriment individually and collectively. Misusing/abusing technology: Social media as a platform that enables the worst of human behavior rather challenging us to be the best form of ourselves.

If you could be anywhere, an-hour-and-a-half drive away, where would you be?
I’d be in San Francisco. So much to do and see there. Interesting people, conversations, art, architecture, food, culture, ideas. And waves. I’d bring my surfboard and catch a few at Ocean Beach with a friend.


Follow John (@JMMuu) on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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