Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Uncity Continues Unraveling

All the more reason to ensure the Parkway is protected through the formation of a Joint Powers Authority for overall governance and a nonprofit for daily management and endowment fund building.

Editorial: Another city drive?
Signatures show Arden Arcade substance
Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Signs of discontent have been apparent for some years in Arden Arcade, a collection of neighborhoods in the unincorporated but urbanized portions of Sacramento County that we call The Uncity.

These neighborhoods, which include auto dealerships along Fulton Avenue and retail strips along Marconi and El Camino avenues, are among the healthier generators of sales and property taxes for Sacramento County. Local activists have long complained that Arden Arcade gives the county more than it gets back. Increasingly, they have come to believe that creating their own city is the solution.

This is no longer background music in the chorus of civic life. Arden Arcade citizens have gathered more than 13,000 signatures. If approximately 9,000 of them prove to be from valid, registered voters from the community, the petitions will bring city talks to a new level -- comprehensive planning by a county commission.

It is too soon to post odds on Arden Arcade. It is not too soon to take the effort seriously.

This effort isn't like other incorporation drives in Sacramento County in recent years. The younger cities already on the map -- Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova -- had established, deep civic identities. How many folks who live in Arden Arcade tell folks on an airplane that Arden Arcade is their community? The other young cities had the local business communities squarely behind them. Fulton auto dealers, at best, seem ambivalent. A traditional city nucleus doesn't seem to exist.

Taking lessons from history, however, will only go so far. There is a growing crisis in Sacramento County government that makes cityhood drives here and elsewhere quite appealing on the surface. The county, which hasn't chased new auto malls and big box stores and other tax-generating enterprises as other local governments have, is staring at a massive structural budget deficit in the coming years.