Dear Sacramento:

Your residents are finalizing their votes for our Best of Sacramento issue, and a passionate few are writing you love letters, using their online ballots to whisper sweet nothings into your ear. SN&R’s staff is busily penning verses that praise your best features, and somewhere, ballot stuffers are trying—and failing—to swing the vote.

All this activity devoted to how great thou art. It reminds me of just how much you’ve changed.

I was here as a college student in 1985, when Midtown was considered so scary that students wouldn’t venture from CSUS to Weatherstone, once the most hospitable coffeehouse in town. If we wanted to dance, we parked on a deserted stretch of Folsom Boulevard and walked to Bo Jangles, the only club that welcomed gender-bending 18-year-olds. If we wanted alternative news, well, there weren’t alternatives—compared with the other daily paper, the Bee was considered liberal. If we wanted valet parking—OK, I don’t even think I knew what valet parking was. I don’t even think we needed quarters for the parking meters.

Now look at you, Sacramento. Midtown is celebrated for dozens of new restaurants and cafes and clubs. Major hotels have sprouted up along your thoroughfares, and homeowners have completely refurbished your 100-year-old bungalows, doubling their prices and making the best of your historic good looks.

Now, you have endless suitors. Developers are eyeing your underused parking lots and warehouses, envisioning love nests 50 stories up for your new friends.

I’m thrilled that you’re so popular. You’ve brought together a lot of dynamic people who only want what’s best for you, but I’m a little jealous, too. There are fewer silent streets for our midnight walks and fewer people behind the counter who remember how I take my coffee. I can’t blame all these newcomers; they know your best days are ahead of you. But remember that some of us loved you long ago—even if you’re now the best you’ve ever been.

(Readers: If you’ve yet to vote, click here. This is your last chance!)