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The nighttime economy manager: The growing trend, explained

Also known as nightlife mayors and czars, these liaison positions are a governmental concept that has taken hold in a growing number of cities worldwide.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A “night economy manager” may sound like an odd role in city government for someone, this position is part of a growing trend around the world as cities look to keep their cities vibrant and social.

Sacramento officials on Monday announced that long-time city official, Tina Lee-Vogt, will take on the position of nighttime economy manager immediately.

In other cities, like New York or London, the night manager is known by terms like night mayor or night czar. It's a role that about far more than the dancing and drinking part of nighttlife.

It’s first about the economy, and second, it's about how people connect and enjoy themselves after business hours and keep city social centers safe and attractive for all walks of life.

The Responsible Hospitality Institute is a non-profit organization that helps cities shape policy around nightlife economy.

“We like to compare the nightlife manager to a conductor of an orchestra," said Jim Peters, president of the institute. 

Like an orchestra, the different sections need to work together to produce a harmonic music score. Peters said the conductor may create more social opportunities, resolve conflicts among neighbors and businesses and address public safety issues.

“The goal is to take some of the burden off of police and move it more into planning. If you don’t plan well, it becomes a police problem, and if you plan well, you won’t need as many police," Peters said. 

He said nightlife and entertainment are big drivers in a local economy that supports jobs in both nighttime and daytime operations.

Worldwide, 60 cities have someone dedicated to coordinating businesses, police and city agencies. The idea took off in the Netherlands.

With Sacramento adding a night manager, 21 U.S. cities have similar programs, including New York, Atlanta and Washington D.C.

In New York, for example, they have free mediation for conflict between businesses and neighbors with 80% of issues resolved. Its nightlife office also launched a harm-reduction training campaign to get fentanyl test strips and Narcan behind every bar.

Atlanta this year formed a similar role as the city reins in an increase of homicides - a third of which occurred near entertainment venues.


Sacramento set to announce new position tasked with nighttime safety

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