Remember back to the days of cassette tapes? Or CDs? And how, when you really liked someone, you’d make them a mix?
Well, Valentine’s Day will be here soon, and because we really like you, we’ve made a playlist of songs for you — dedicated to city planning, transportation, and all the amazing advocates working to make California more healthy, equity, and sustainable!
Listen to the playlist as you read the story of California growth and development below —
Side One: Change is Needed
“Promised Land” – Chuck Berry
Once upon the time, California was the promised land, attracting people from across the country.
“Hey Suburbia” – Screeching Weasel
But all too soon, auto-oriented development spread across the land. And even as the problems with sprawling growth became clear, others refused to listen.
“Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” – Arcade Fire
Can we never get away from sprawl?
“My City Was Gone” – Pretenders
All this poorly planned growth led to downtown decay, displacement, eroding public transit, and lost landscapes.
“Big City” – Operation Ivy
Social chasms opened up and inequities grow….
“Waiting for the Bus” — Violent Femmes
Soon, public transit struggled and “the damn city bus move[d] too slow.”
“Streets of Bakersfield” — Dwight Yoakam
We all began trying to find something better – better sidewalks and bike lanes, better affordable home options, better transportation choices – on the streets of Bakersfield and almost everywhere else.
“Don’t Worry About the Government” — Talking Heads
But soon, new innovations emerged, like the mixed-use building where this singer lives. It has every convenience! Unfortunately, his loved ones have to drive a long way to come visit, and he has to work all the time to afford it. (And, as he says, “some civil servants are just like my loved ones.” We love you, hard-working public sector friends!)
“Almost Out Of Gas” — Greg Brown
But as gas prices rose, more and more people had to explain, “I don’t come visit and I don’t mow my lawn, I’m almost out of gas.”
“Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown” — Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Downtowns began experiencing a resurgence.
“The Hood Ain’t the Same” — Draze
But gentrification and displacement meant that not everyone could share the benefits.
“Government Center” — Jonathan Richman
The mistakes of the past have only begun to change, and new challenges have come up. So, sing along with me, allies around the state — “We’ve got a lot of, lot of, lot of hard work today… down at the government center!”
“Chicano Park” – Los Alacranes
We shall continue to fight, my friends, working with community leaders and neighbors. ¡Que vivan los barrios unidos!
“Eyes on the Prize” — Bruce Springsteen
Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, and hold on.
Side Two: Peace and Love
Now that we’re caught up on history, side two is about dancing, crying, and rockin’ out, as we envision the places we work to build.
“Baby Caught The Bus” — Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes
As California invests in transportation choices, your baby can not only leave via two modes of public transit — (s)he can turn around and come back again!
“Walkin’ After Midnight” — Patsy Cline
But if not, you can safely walk off lost love, even very late at night.
“Brand New Key” — Melanie
Then you could ride past your new crush’s house on a brand new pair of roller skates. For someone who don’t drive, this singer’s sure been all around the world.
“Las Bicicletas” — Los Caminantes
Perhaps your next crush should actually be on a bicycle.
“Two Little Feet” — Greg Brown
However your romantic life may be going, your two little feet can carry you into the woods. They are flourishing, now that sprawl is under control.
“Keep On Walkin'” — CeCe Peniston
So walk on!
“No Parking On The Dance Floor” — Midnight Starr
And finally, parking policy reform will have addressed this most crucial issue: no parking on the dance floor!
“Kiss Me On The Bus” — The Replacements
Maybe you can even do a little kissing as you and your date head home – on the bus of course. How romantic! “Your tongue. Your transfer.” *swoon*
“Bus To Beelzebug” — Soul Coughing
Get onto the bus! Voulez-vous the bus?
“Farm Fresh Onions” — Robert Earl Keen
Once our fertile farmland is protected, and we’ve invested in the small communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley, we can enjoy farm-fresh onions.
“New Kind of Neighbourhood” — Jonathan Richman
Well wangitee dangitee dang, it’s a new kind of neighborhood! Now your friends are dancing on the lawn.
“Dancing In The Street” — Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
There will be laughing, singing, great music, and dancing.
“California Love” — 2Pac, Roger, Dr. Dre
California knows how to party!
“California Stars” — Billy Bragg, Wilco
… And everyone working for a healthy, sustainable, and equitable state is a California Star.
Happy Valentine’s Day!