Saturday, October 30, 2010

YES on Measure D--City of Arden Arcade

GO ARDEN ARCADE. Neighborhoods that have incorporated have taken control of their destinies and improved conditions for their residents, as Citrus Heights (1997), Elk Grove (2000), and Rancho Cordova (2003) have done. No doubt, tough economic times will continue, but if a new city can bring a sense of law and certainty to the community, there will be an economic revival to the area that will improve the condition of the neighborhood and increased revenues will follow, just as happened with Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, and Rancho Cordova.

Nor would this shortchange the County for business tax revenue, so long as the County makes a hard (but fair) "revenue neutrality" payments bargain. For years, the area has subsidized much of the county anyway, but will be paying a neutrality agreement for years down the road to make sure that Arden Arcade does not leave the county short.

Sacramento County is just about the only county in the state with such a large urbanized population in unincorporated areas. The counties make perfect sense for implementing state programs, for the courts, and for local services in unincorporated areas that are just sparsely populated farms and ranches. It's only when the unincorporated areas turn into densely populated cities and suburbs that the county government becomes too unwieldy and not responsive enough.

Empirically, I remember Citrus Heights when nearly all of what was Birdcage Walk and much of Sunrise Mall was vacant and boarded up. Now that shopping area is thriving. This in an area that was "built out" with little or no vacant space, just like Arden Arcade. That tends to happen when you have neighborhood officials just a little way down Greenback Lane who give a damn, as opposed to county supervisors who, no matter how well intentioned, are busy enough with the courts and other countywide services.

It is amusing that both sides in the Arden Arcade incorporation debate claim to agree that Arden Arcade should not be annexed by the City of Sacramento. Given how poorly run Sacramento (city) proper is, understandably so. NOBODY in Arden Arcade wants to be part of "KJ's Kingdom," Although that is better than formerly "Fargo's Folly", formerly "Serna's Stalinism", formerly "Rudin's Red Square".

Yet the county is finding it more and more difficult to provide urban services, something that counties really aren't designed to do.So in other words, it is a matter of time before either Arden Arcade incorporates, or it gets annexed by the City of Sacramento. Perhaps Mike Duveneck and his "Stay Sacramento" (county) group ought to be honest and re-name themselves "Join Sacramento" (city).

As for the implication from the Sacramento (Soviet) News And Review that Sacramento (the region) is "cracking up", it was never united to begin with. The proposals for a Sacramento city-county merger were voted down because such a megacity would be even more unwieldy and far more unelectable and unaccountable than what the region has now. Far better to have local cities, no matter how balkanized they are, that have to respond to the local citizens. Neighborhoods that have incorporated have taken control of their destinies and improved conditions for their residents. Citrus Heights (1997), Elk Grove (2000), and Rancho Cordova (2003) are all more pleasant now than they were before incorporation.

Above all, I am disgusted with the rather lame arguments and claims of incorporation opponents! When you go to the "Stay Sacramento" website, all they do is cite how incorporated cities like Bell and Maywood, down in LA County, are badly run. Gee, that happens when a city is full of illegal aliens, who are either too busy trying to make an underground living and are accustomed to rampant corruption, rather than USA citizens who are more likely to give a damn and much less likely to accept rampant corruption. Other lame arguments against Measure D include the following:
"No City of Arden Arcade. Less government means less government."
I hear otherwise right-thinking citizens who parrot this as a reason to oppose Arden Arcade incorporation, forgetting entirely that *more local* government is less government. Federalism wept.
"Arden-Arcade is a really stupid name for a city."
As opposed to Elk Grove? Or Rancho Cordova? Or Citrus Heights? If the adjacent neighborhood of Carmichael had joined in, they could have called the whole new city "Carmichael."
"There are too many people lined up to run for office if D passes. It makes one suspicious that the whole thing is a power grab."
And they are volunteers with tiny stipends. How dangerous for people to care about their neighborhood and want to improve it by incorporating!
"Pro Measure D people use scare tactics that Sacramento City wants to gobble up and incorporate Arden-Arcade. This is bogus, since both residents of Sacramento and Arden-Arcade would have to support that... which won't happen."
That is absolutely FALSE. Voter approval of annexation is not required. State law allows a city to annex portions of the county upon a mere vote of the council and petition to LAFCo that includes a revenue neutrality study (which is already done).

In fact, Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn proposed to the city council that they allow residents to vote on annexation, and the only reason it didn't happen is because the City Council struck down that idea, fearing more conservative Arden Arcadians would upset their lefty liberal city.

But what if they took a second look at Arden Arcade's two major (if run-down) shopping centers and one major (if run-down) Auto Row, from a neighborhood that contributes more to County coffers than it takes in, and decided to make a revenue grab, as liberals are wont to do? I guess that is why Sac proper studies annexation (See here). See also here, from pages 2-125 forward.
"Arden-Arcade is too small to run it's own services (unlike Rancho or Citrus Heights), without raising taxes for residents & businesses. It can get along just fine staying part of Sacramento County."
It has about as many people as Citrus Heights, two major (if run-down) shopping malls, and one major (if run-down) "Auto Row". The LAFCO study proved not only it would go well without raising existing taxes (which is why the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association endorsed incorporation Measure D). The LAFCO economic report indicates that Arden Arcade is fiscally viable without raising taxes. They wouldn't have approved it for the ballot if that were not the case. LAFCO in fact is notoriously skeptical of incorporation, or of creating any new agency in general.

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