Begin again

January is my favorite month. After a whirlwind season of holiday gatherings, I welcome the quiet that arrives each new calendar year—and with it the chance to reflect, renew and think ahead.

I don't believe in making New Year's resolutions, but I do believe in the power of resolve and the will to enact change: This year will be different. This year will be better.

Then again, the more things change, the more they stay the same, right? At least that's the way it often feels in Sacramento.

Another year, another uncertain future for the Sacramento Kings, another tussle over the city's mayoral structure, and yet another seemingly endless round of debates on sprawl, development and what exactly it takes to up Sacramento's game in the national spotlight.

Maybe this year we'll finally get a new arena, new businesses and a healthy arts scene that's supported and promoted by the city as a whole.

Sometimes (OK, often) it feels as though we're stuck on a roller-coaster loop made up of heady highs and depressing lows. Sometimes, it seems, that for every addition, there must be a subtraction.

Just recently, for example, I checked out the newly opened New Helvetia Brewing Company. The brewery, located at 1730 Broadway, is currently only open on weekends, but on a mid-December Saturday afternoon, its airy space boasted many curious beer fanatics, signaling a much-needed boost for an area that's ripe for redevelopment.

Conversely, however, the owners of Crimson & Clover on 16th Street, one of my favorite vintage-clothing boutiques, just announced they'll shut their doors for good this month.

Up and down. Up and down.

Frustrating—and yet I remain an optimist.

Maybe this year it will be different. Maybe this year it will be better.