Thursday, September 09, 2010

Arden-Arcade: Cityhood or annexation?

My family and I reside in an unincorporated area just east of the city of Sacramento that goes by the rather clunky name of Arden-Arcade.

In the past few years, other unincorporated areas of Sacramento County have voted to become their own cities, including Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, and Citrus Heights. It was only a matter of time before Arden-Arcade decided to take the plunge.

As one drives around Arden-Arcade, there is unmistakable evidence of a coming showdown on the November ballot as the lawns in front of numerous homes have begun to bristle with campaign signs that are either for or against Measure D, which calls for Arden-Arcade to become its own city.

Recently, a friend of mine made his views known in an email that he sent out to his friends and neighbors who live in the Arden-Arcade area. His are views with which I happen to agree. I asked my friend if I could repost his email, sans his personal information, and he agreed. If you are interested in the battle over Arden-Arcade's future, I highly suggest you read what my friend has to say. Oh, and one more thing: I have been assured by people in the know that if Measure D passes, and Arden-Arcade becomes a city, one of the first orders of business will be to change the name of the city to something more palatable! On to the email:
Friends and neighbors,
I thought that I would offer you my view of the upcoming vote on cityhood, which will occur during the next statewide general election on Tuesday, November 2...

I want you to know that I support the cityhood effort wholeheartedly and will be voting YES on Measure D. I have three reasons for this position:

Increased law enforcement presence
Better community services
More local control
With budget cuts hitting the county hard, it's difficult to see when they will be able to restore the many sheriff deputy positions that they have cut over the last couple of years. With a new city, we'll be able to increase our patrols by up to 400%, as they have done in Citrus Heights. Worried about the recent uptick in prostitution, graffiti, theft and arson in your neighborhood? Concerned that foreclosed homes will become a squatters haven, or an invitation for property destruction or degraded home values? Care that local patrols have been scaled back and community officer positions cut? Ask just about anyone in Citrus Heights or Rancho Cordova how their law enforcement policies have improved their communities, even while the rest of the county suffers. Law enforcement should be a top priority for any local government.

It wasn't that long ago that we had a prolonged garbage strike while the county resolved a contract for those services. With city and county employees compensation coming under more scrutiny, especially in light of the recent City of Bell scandals, it is possible that more services could be cut, and planned projects not funded for the next several years. If your street looks like mine, potholes are becoming more problematic. It's about time that someone paid attention to these issues and could develop a comprehensive plan that doesn't kick the can down the road. A city council can do that.

Speaking of a city council, 7 elected members (part-time with no salary, pensions) are more apt to listen and more inclined to improve the community than a single county supervisor, no matter how wonderful he or she may be. And if you've ever waited through a Sacramento city council or county supervisors meeting, you'll know just how high a priority Arden Arcade is on their list. The City of Sacramento intends to annex us if we reject Measure D. Spend some time on their General Plan for 2030, and review pages 2-125 through 2-128 for more information.

There are a couple of concerns that I have heard that raise legitimate issues regarding cityhood. Those include (with a brief response):

The fiscal uncertainty and unknown economic future of Arden Arcade--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. 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 we leave things whole. No doubt, tough economic times will continue, but if a new city can bring a sense of law and certainty to the community, it it possible that there will be an economic revival to the area that will improve the condition of the neighborhood and increased revenues will follow.
It's another layer of bureaucracy--Not necessarily true. A city will take on many of the responsibilities that the county has done for some time. However, it will be more responsive to finding alternatives to problems than the stultified bureaucracy in the county because elected council members will necessarily be responsive to concerns of the community. In my view, the more local the government, the more important it is in our day to day lives. Regardless, I'll be a loud voice to keep city overhead down and costs under control, as I have been with the county.

Do we have to name it "Arden Arcade"?--Initially, yes; permanently, no. Realize that the "Arden Arcade" moniker has been around for decades and accurately reflects the unincorporated community as it presently stands. That being said, once we have a new city, it is within the reasonable realm of alternatives to change the name to simply "Arden" (or my favorite, "New Helvetia"--it's time to reclaim the name) or anything else you think you would like to call it. And if you would like to keep "Sacramento" as your mailing address, as long as you have the right zip code, the mail will get to your house.

There may be other concerns that I haven't addressed in this email. If you have more questions, I highly suggest that you visit the Arden Arcade Cityhood Observer. This blog is honest about the issues and provides some very compelling insights. The blog is also highlighting the candidates for city council and allowing any and all discussion on the pros and cons of incorporating.

Remember, if this measure succeeds or fails, we will always "stay Sacramento"--we will always be a part of the county. What I don't want is to become part of Sacramento City.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson


Darren said...

Citrus Heights is certainly a better place since cityhood.

Anonymous said...

The so-called reasons you cite in support of cityhood, and I quote:
"Increased law enforcement presence;
Better community services;
More local control."

You can't offer one shred of evidence that any of these will occur.
Vague statements like yours only highlight the fact that the cityhood "plan" is ill-conceived, ill-considered, and that the politicians behind it have absolutely no idea what they can reliably offer us.

ardencitypost said...


You know how sometimes you have to fill in a business name on something for no good reason. I use the name: New Helvetia Soda Company.

I think it's a complex and important decision about the New City. I think some of the stuff about what is possible is too optimistic. But still, the lafco numbers look good.

There will be new bureaucracy, but that's priced into the lafco blueprint. And like your person said, it will be local, which could be good.

I have a blog focused on the Cityhood issue ...

I've written some articles and there's a meet the candidates page.

About the name suggestion, that's not a bad idea.


Curmudgeon said...

Arden Arcade had a chance to make their own destiny and improve themselves like Citrus Heights or Rancho Cordova. Even if the Arden Arcadians subsequently made big mistakes in such an alternate universe, they would *still* improve their lot, just as the citizens of Elk Grove did. But sadly, too many allowed themselves to be frightened away from the opportunity.

Sadly, it wasn’t just the Leftist fools who voted down Arden Arcade’s potentially bright future. There were a lot of otherwise Right-thinking people who bought into the slogan that “less government means less government”, forgetting that *more local* government is ultimately less government.

The Arden Arcadians may be annexed by Sacramento proper, and then they can be lorded over by the Lexus Liberals of Land Park and/or the “Fabulous Forties”. Then again, the Lexus Libs might reason that annexing the Arden Arcadians might bring in too many of the “less government” conservative voters that would upset their liberal fiefdom. So instead, they might leave Arden Arcade to rot in its unincorporated County status, as Arden Arcade slowly becomes more and more run-down like North Highlands.

Either way, Arden Arcade really missed an opportunity to create a vibrant thrving community.