People of Sacramento commenting on the news: Steve Maviglio

Steve Maviglio, head honcho at Forza Communications. Photo: Kevin Fiscus.
Steve Maviglio, head honcho at Forza Communications. Photo: Kevin Fiscus.

(This is the 14th installment in a weekly series with people who don’t work in journalism commenting on the news. Photography by Kevin Fiscus. If you’d like to participate, message or tweet me.)

Meet Steve Maviglio.

He’s 56, a New Jersey native, a Boston University graduate, lives in Elmhurst, serves on the board of directors for the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and the Capitol Area Development Authority and directs Forza Communications.

Since moving to Sacramento in 2000, he has worked as the press secretary for Gov. Gray Davis, the deputy chief of staff for California Assembly speakers Fabian Nunez and Karen Bass and the campaign manager for Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

He is currently focused on three projects: the California Pink Ribbon/Breast Cancer Awareness Plate campaignCalifornians for Retirement Security and California vs. Big Plastic.

“I am lucky to only work for people and causes that I believe in,” he says.

Steve and I met at the Co-op in August to talk about media consumption, the city of Sacramento and his thoughts on the news.

He says Sacramento has transitioned from “the city that couldn’t” to a city developing the amenities and lifestyle that can attract and retain talent from throughout the country.

“It’s a very comfortable place to live in,” he says.

He sees many opportunities to continue evolving. Sacramento could be more bicycle-friendly. Bureaucracy should be responsive to citizens and the political system could be reformed to better hold leaders accountable. Our universities should be a stronger presence throughout the region. There is potential all along the river.

“Rivers need to be connected to cities,” he says.

As the city has grown, he has seen the capital press corps shrink. He worries that the pressure to produce content provides less time for thoughtful work and he doesn’t yet know what to think about emerging non-profit news outlets.

“I just wish everybody had the budget of The New York Times,” he says.

Steven answered the following questions by email about how he gets the news. Text submitted June 1.

How do you get your news?
I’m a certified news junkie. My guilty pleasure is getting the daily print edition of The New York Times delivered to my doorstep every morning, along with The Sacramento Bee. Then I’m online in my pajamas for at least a couple of hours, starting with Rough & Tumble and then links through the Capitol-focused Capitol Morning Report, Capitol Weekly’s “The Roundup” and Scott Lay’s political newsletter “The Nooner.” If it’s a big political day, I read POLITICO’s “Playbook.” I’ve got about 25 Google alerts on various clients and subjects, which means I click-thru all day long. I even do a quick check before hitting the hay to see if anything is breaking or that I’ll need to attend to in the morning. That sometimes doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep.

What’s the first news event you remember?
The JFK shooting and subsequent funeral. My family was glued to the TV. I was around 5 years old, but I still remember how everything just stopped around the house for a couple of days — and this was in a Republican household.


What content do you pay for?
Aside from the New York Times and the Sacramento Bee, I pay for the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Ventura County Star. It seems you can get just about anything else for free — for better or worse.

What’s the last great thing you ate?
Some home-made harissa from a recipe my tour guide in Tunisia gave me last year. An amazing balance of spices and zip. All with organic produce from the Co-op, of course.

Who’s doing it right in news?
I have to hand it to the gray lady, The New York Times. I’m constantly amazed by the reach of their coverage, the creativity and their adaption to social media. In the last week I read stories about bison escaping a farm and ending up on the New York Thruway (it didn’t end well) to a review of a new show about cat rescues that had me belly laughing.

The Washington Post’s “The Fix” by Chris Callizza is my go-to for entertaining and breaking political news. It’s playful at times, serious at others and he can squeeze a lot into 140 characters on Twitter.

Name the three most important issues facing Sacramento.
(1) The transition to being a world-class city — what it means for our people, our economy, and our future.

(2) Resource management under climate change — water, of course, but also how to protect everything else that makes Sacramento special.

(3) Homelessness — it’s a nagging issue that seems insolvable.

What do you absolutely hate about the news?
The focus on lawmakers and regulators that is overwhelmingly negative. You’d think that everyone was on the take, feathering their nest or doing favors for their families and friends. That doesn’t reflect reality. There a number of amazing people who have put their life on hold to work in the Capitol for a relatively low salary and no retirement. That rarely gets reported.

What’s the most important issue to you that’s not being covered well enough?
The amazing transition in California to a carbon-free economy. Enormous strides are being made here in getting energy from non-polluting resources. It’s a model for the world. And yet it’s the best kept secret in America right now.

If you could be anywhere, an-hour-and-a-half drive away, where would you be?
The Eldorado National Forest. It’s a jewel that gets overlooked because it’s literally in the shadow of Tahoe. It has something like 80 campgrounds and a few hundred miles of trails, most of which are empty even in the height of the summer tourism season. And I can be door-to-door in absolute wilderness in 60 minutes.

Follow Steven (@stevenmaviglio) on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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