Political news and analysis about Sacramento, California, and beyond.
Today marks the launch of The Sacto Politico, a new regional source of original political news and analysis. As newsrooms continue to shrink and be taken over by hedge funds, such coverage has become increasingly rare here in Sacramento (or “Sacto,” for short) and California, and this site seeks to partially fill that gap with information citizens need to hold elected and non-elected powers more accountable.
It launches with three original articles that reflect the site’s desired range. One is a feature-length news article about local media coverage of a recent extremist political rally. Another is a national OpEd about campaign finance reform and Joe Biden, and the third is this one describing what inspired creation of this site.
The ethos of The Sacto Politico reflects my journalistic background. This means to never cut corners with the facts, and to continually tell audiences something they didn’t know but probably should know.
Inspiration for this site began during my 2020 primary campaign for Congress. While not new to politics, I was a first-time candidate. I chose to run mainly to fill a gaping void in the political landscape. Not only had the Democratic incumbent never been primaried by a fellow Democrat, voters in my district hadn’t had a choice of two Democratic Congressional candidates in an astounding 22 years. It was a very unhealthy situation for our local democracy. So given my knowledge and experience of politics, my wife and I decided, “Well, if not us, then who?” and we launched the campaign.
We ran hard for nine months, but despite earning valued endorsements from local political clubs and the weekly Sacramento News & Review, no other major media would cover our primary campaign. A couple major outlets even directly told me they thought our campaign was of little news value for their audiences.
They said this despite the campaign breaking real news about our opponent. For example, we established he had taken tens of thousands of dollars in donations from many of the largest U.S. opioid companies. He did this despite being a doctor and knowing how hard the opioid epidemic had hit the greater Sacramento area. Plus, all of his opioid donors were (and still are) being sued by Sacramento County to recoup tens of millions dollars in public health costs.
The sound of media crickets to this and other stories we broke reminded us of The Washington Post’s great motto/warning: “Democracy dies in darkness.”
So like the decision to run for office, I stared at this media gap and said “Well, if not me, then who?” After all, I have worked in media, government and politics for the majority of my 30 professional years. Occasionally one of my OpEd essays runs somewhere, such as last week in the San Francisco Chronicle, but especially in these times, we each need to be the change we seek and to contribute our voices as best we can.
I don’t have any grand predictions for this site. The Sacto Politico starts as a free bi-monthly publication generating no revenue. It begins simply with the purest of civic intents and high standards. It does not fear aggravating any entrenched power. After all, anyone in a position of public trust who resents or resists public questioning doesn’t deserve that trust.
This site will ask questions of those powers across the spectrum, out of both fairness and responsibility. Sacto Politico content – at least at first – will be largely guided by my ability to bring unique information and perspectives to light. So if you are passionate about a topic not addressed here and feel it deserves a larger platform, consider pitching me and writing it yourself.
You will find I am eager to take this venture from the first-person singular (I, my) to first-personal plural (we, our). Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.