City Beat

Here’s to Sacramento’s true stars

Norm Lopez takes a bath on the sidewalk in front of his house after his breakfast on Aug. 13, 2013. Norm Lopez has a fervent, almost cultlike following in certain Sacramento communities: Local bands have put him on their T-shirts, commuters exit the light rail at the 13th Street stop just to say hello and his Facebook page has hundreds of friends.
Norm Lopez takes a bath on the sidewalk in front of his house after his breakfast on Aug. 13, 2013. Norm Lopez has a fervent, almost cultlike following in certain Sacramento communities: Local bands have put him on their T-shirts, commuters exit the light rail at the 13th Street stop just to say hello and his Facebook page has hundreds of friends. Sacramento Bee file

Will it draw tourists from around the country and inspire a thousand selfies? Or will we walk right over them without noticing? Is Sacramento’s Walk of Stars an indication that the city’s “branding” obsession has gone too far?

The first names to be included in the Walk of Stars are to be unveiled Monday morning. The City Council gave the thumbs-up last summer to let a nonprofit started by PR professionals Scot and Lucy Crocker install large blue stars along some sidewalks in downtown and midtown Sacramento. The nonprofit will choose a handful of designees each year, pending approval from the city manager. The first plaques should be in place by late summer. Most civic leaders have spoken favorably of the idea, while public reaction has been mixed.

READER INPUT: See a gallery of Sacramentans who could be candidates for the “Walk of Stars.”

Some famous Sacramentans seem like shoo-ins for the honor, people such as artist Wayne Thiebaud, Major League Baseball manager Dusty Baker and Tower Records founder Russ Solomon. Actors Pat Morita and Molly Ringwald likely will get stars, too.

Fine. But to the Walk of Stars committee, we beg your consideration of the following:

Norm Lopez: The Capitol isn’t the only place in town where you’ll find a fat cat. Head down Q Street and you’re likely to run into Norm. To be clear, Norm is a cat, and we’re not sure cats are allowed in the Walk of Stars. But lots of city dwellers know Norm, who’s lovingly called the mayor of midtown. What, you’re gonna snub a mayor?

Raymundo “Cactus Ray” Lujan: Speaking of mayors, how about this guy? He’s called the mayor of Oak Park. “Cactus Ray” and his three-wheeled bike are fixtures in the neighborhood. It’s off the grid, but put his star in front of Old Soul on Broadway.

Mary Watts, Robbin Ware and David Bain: And speaking of neighborhoods, how about some love for the activists who make this city of neighborhoods tick? Watts (Del Paso Heights), Ware (Oak Park) and Bain (Cabrillo Park) are part of that fabric.

Mac Worthy: An activist of a slightly different mold. The kind who rails at the City Council and accuses its members of “pimping the people.” But any guy who goes before council so often they decided to set a limit on how many times per meeting people can testify has definitely left a mark on his city. Why not commemorate that mark with a big, shiny star in the sidewalk?

Mozzy: Can’t you just picture the unvarnished Oak Park rapper at the VIP gala when his star is announced?

Chris Hansen: His star should go on J Street right in front of Golden 1 Center. Hansen is the Seattle hedge fund manager who tried to buy the Kings in 2013 and move them to the Pacific Northwest. Many thought the Kings were leaving, but Mayor Kevin Johnson outplayed Hansen, and the NBA kept the team here. It was Hansen’s maneuvering that applied the pressure needed for Johnson and the City Council to usher through the downtown arena project. Whether you love the arena or hate the public subsidy that made it possible, it’s the biggest downtown development in years.

While we’re at it, can the entire Maloof family share a star?

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