Monday, February 25, 2008

Government and Builders

As builders are the primary force behind creating communities, it would seem logical that government work with developers rather than against them, an adversarial position that fortunately, most local governments don’t adhere to.

Editorial: Protect Natomas quickly, yes – but wisely, too
Declaring emergency won't speed levee work and could hurt flood control efforts
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, February 25, 2008

To bring Natomas' levees back up to snuff, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency is set to embark on a colossal amount of levee work in a very short time.

In roughly two years, SAFCA plans to strengthen 25 miles of levee and move 5 million cubic yards of dirt, while keeping open a Garden Highway that is lined with houses.

Some agencies would spend five to 10 years securing permits and funding for such a $400 million project, but SAFCA is pursuing a timeline unprecedented in Central Valley history, juggling 850 separate tasks to move the project forward.

You'd think that Natomas developers, whose properties will be protected by this work, would be grateful. Alas, they are not.

Focused solely on their own financial bottom lines, Natomas developers and some city officials – including City Manager Ray Kerridge – have been disparaging SAFCA and the state and federal agencies that are partnering on the Natomas work.

Kerridge and development lawyer Greg Thatch have effectively accused SAFCA of dragging its feet, claiming its two-year schedule could be halved by a year. Both want Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and federal officials to declare a state of emergency for Natomas, which supposedly would cut through red tape.