Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Parkway Governance is Broken, Fix it

Today’s editorial from the Bee, concerning governance of two public resources, the libraries and the Parkway, highlights the failure, once again, of the county to provide the leadership and protection of public assets, the public deserves.

This ongoing situation lies at the root of our call for turning governance of the Parkway over to a nonprofit, as was done with the Sacramento Zoo in 1997, to ensure proper management of a priceless public resource.

With new leadership on the board of supervisors, and the public discussion being generated by the Bee, we anticipate some action.

Let’s hope our anticipation is warranted, and we couldn’t agree more with this editorial’s closing statement: “Times have changed for the libraries and the parkway. What used to work no longer does. The old governance systems are broken. Fix them.”

Here is an excerpt.

Editorial: Trouble with sharing
Valued assets need broader governance
Published 2:15 am PST Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Two treasured assets of Sacramento County - its library system and American River Parkway - suffer financially for the same underlying reason: The old way of governing them, a system dominated by the county and city of Sacramento, no longer works. New cities such as Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova exist and appear willing to invest more money. Understandably, they want a seat at the table, but they don't have one yet.

"Political gridlock has its price.

"First, the libraries. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors recently decided against asking county voters in November to consider approving a special library tax. Cities such as Elk Grove might object to the tax because they have no say about how libraries are run in their community. Why?

"A joint powers authority runs the system. Its members are five county supervisors and four Sacramento City Council representatives. Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and Citrus Heights have no representation...

"Second, the American River Parkway is fast approaching a political crisis. The county for two years has been plowing ahead with a much-needed effort to revise the overall plan for the parkway without acknowledging that a new city along the parkway, Rancho Cordova, now exists. Some Rancho Cordova leaders - City Councilwoman Linda Budge, for one - are quite interested in the parkway's future and seem eager to spend city money if they receive a meaningful role in parkway deliberations. But that would mean a sticky conversation about political power-sharing among the county, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento. Thanks to the lack of conversation, there's state legislation to mandate a voice for Rancho Cordova. Just as with the libraries, it is far better for local leaders to find common ground than to balkanize into warring camps. "