Mayor Kevin Johnson Remarks at 91st Annual Host Breakfast
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and California Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Michael W. Murphy shared their perspectives on the state’s accomplishments and challenges at the 91st Annual Sacramento Host Breakfast yesterday.
The annual gathering, which was attended by more than 1,200 civic and business leaders from throughout the state, also featured Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson as a guest speaker.
The morning’s final guest speaker was Sacramento’s mayor. Johnson thanked the leaders present at the breakfast, the Host Committee and the CalChamber, remarking that in his more than seven years as mayor, he has learned that “we cannot begin to solve the toughest challenges, like education and housing and unemployment, without the support of the corporate community.”
In his remarks, Johnson shared the innovations that have taken place in California’s capital city within the last decade. The city has over relied on government jobs and the real estate industry, but now, Johnson said, it has to be a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship and technology.
What city officials want, he said, is for Sacramento to be one of the easiest places to do business in California.
A significant accomplishment in Sacramento has been keeping the Kings national basketball team in the city, and revitalizing the downtown area to include a state-of-the-art arena. This revitalization will extend to the rail yards nearby and the city’s riverfront, Johnson said.
One of the biggest challenges, however, is bringing an innovation mindset to communities that are most in need, not just in Sacramento, “but any community up and down the state,” he said. The mayor pointed to disadvantaged communities in Sacramento, such as Oak Park and Del Paso Heights, that need investment in education, development and entrepreneurship. He highlighted the potential of these communities and minority communities as economic opportunities by drawing on the experience of Starbucks in the primarily minority community of Ladera Heights in Southern California.Opening a Starbucks coffee shop in Ladera Heights was an idea Magic Johnson pitched to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Johnson shared. Although skeptical at first, Schultz agreed to open the coffee shop if Magic Johnson split the costs.
Not only did they make back their investment in six months—when the typical return on investment for a Starbucks store is two years—but the store became the fastest-growing, most successful location in the country. The moral of the story, Johnson said, is that the soil is just as rich in poor communities as it is in more affluent ones.
“If we don’t take a chance, and we don’t include the least among us, we’re never going to reach our ultimate potential as a community,” he said.