Arden Arcade ballot measure explained

The future of Arden Arcade’s relationship with Sacramento County is one of the most contentious local issues in the Nov. 2 election.

Measure D asks voters to choose whether Arcade Arcade should leave the county and become a city. Two passionate campaigns have debated for months whether a 98,000-person Arden Arcade community should have a city government with a city council.

The Sacramento Press is providing the following summary of three key subjects in the Arcade Arcade fight: a guide to the opposing campaigns, what the county’s financial relationship would be with a new city, and an exploration of campaign claims that the city of Sacramento wants to annex Arden Arcade.

The proposed city of Arden Arcade would consist of land bordered “on the west and north by the Sacramento city limits, on the north by Auburn Boulevard and the centerline of Winding Way, on the east by the centerline of Jacob Lane and Mission Avenue and its northerly extension to the centerline of Cypress Avenue, and on the south by the centerline of the American River,” according to the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission.

A city of Arden Arcade “may be fiscally feasible,” according to an April 30 fiscal study conducted by Willdan Financial Services for the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission.

Supporters of Measure D argue that cityhood would benefit Arden Arcade because it would give the community more local control and take it out of the county’s jurisdiction.

Joel Archer, formerly a coordinator of the Arden Arcade incorporation effort and currently a city council candidate for the prospective city, said local control would ensure “our businesses are encouraged.”

Archer also claimed that the county has not provided adequate law enforcement and appropriate planning for Arden Arcade. The community has faced “a lack of attention” from Sacramento County, he said.

The campaign cites recent Sacramento County budget woes to make its claim that Arden Arcade needs improved public safety services. 

But the U.S. Department of Justice announced in September that it would give the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department $21.4 million. The department intends to bring back 50 deputies with the money, according to a statement from Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness. 

Meanwhile, Measure D opponents defend the county’s service to Arden Arcade in the areas of transportation, utilities and community planning. 

Mike Duveneck, chairman of the No on Measure D campaign, said a new city would be hard-pressed to have adequate revenues because of the recession. Duveneck also claimed that the new city would add an unnecessary second level of government.

“We think it’s just a risk in a lot of ways that we can’t afford to take,” he said.

On the campaign contributions front, Yes on Measure D took in $44,521 from Jan. 1 to Oct. 16. The campaign’s supporters include the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, which contributed $400 in September. 

The Yes on D campaign has received several small contributions from candidates for the prospective Arcade Arcade City Council. Candidates are running for city council seats that would only be created if voters approve cityhood.

The No on Measure D side garnered $95,898 in contributions during the same period. A large chunk of the No on Measure D camp’s money came from a $50,000 contribution in September from the Plumbers and Pipefitters union, Local 447. The California Association of Highway Patrolmen contributed $3,000 to No on D in October.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, which provides police services to Arden Arcade, appears to be split on cityhood. While the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association supports Yes on D, Sheriff John McGinness opposes it. 

How would Sacramento County work with a city of Arden Arcade?

The backers of Measure D and the county government were the two parties that worked out the financial terms between a city of Arden Arcade and Sacramento County, said Rob Leonard, the county’s economic development director.

The two parties developed an agreement to cover the county’s financial losses from Arden Arcade cityhood.

Over a 25-year period, the county would lose nearly $217 million since it would no longer receive Arden Arcade’s revenues, according to a May 18 county document. 

Agreements for two cities that incorporated in the past said the county should receive yearly payments from the new city each year for 25 years, the document states. But the document explains that the Local Agency Formation Commission, which oversees the creation of new local governments, does not expect Arden Arcade to be able to pay 100 percent of its property taxes to the county each year for 25 years.

So, the commission called for Arden Arden to pay 90 percent of its property taxes to the county every year over an unlimited period of time, the document states. The commission also bumped up the amount that Arden Arcade would owe the county – the city would owe the county $219 million instead of $217 milllion, according to the document.

It’s estimated that it would take between 30 and 40 years for Arden Arcade to pay the total amount to the county, Leonard said.

“You’ll pay that for however many years it takes you to get to that 219,” Leonard said.

The financial terms were hashed out between the Arden Arcade city supporters and the county, but they were approved by the Local Agency Formation Commission, Leonard said.

The Arden Arcade city proponents worked with the county on the financial terms, but the city of Arden Arcade will be the entity required to pay back the county, according to Leonard.

If the city of Arden Arcade cannot make its payments, the two parties could end up in court, Leonard said.

Arden Arcade and Sacramento: A dispute over annexation

Those in favor of Arden Arcade cityhood believe Sacramento will try to annex Arden Arcade in the future. Supporters have made this one of their main points to try to sway voters.

But city officials strongly disagree with the campaign’s claims.

The debate centers around Sacramento’s general plan, a long-term planning blueprint.

The March 2009 version of Sacramento’s general plan says a possible annexation of Arden Arcade should be studied at some point over the next 20 years, Sacramento’s New Growth Manager Scot Mende said. To date, the city has not studied the possibility of Arden Arden annexation, he said.

In bold type, a page on the city’s website states: “The City of Sacramento has no plans to annex Arden Arcade.”

But the Yes on Measure D campaign claimed in a Sept. 18 blog entry that the city of Sacramento wants to annex Arden Arcade in the future.

“Despite phony claims by lobbyists and the anti-reform radicals opposing Measure D, OFFICIAL documents – including the City of Sacramento General Plan – have targeted the Arden-Arcade area for annexation,” according to the campaign’s blog post.

Archer, an Arden Arcade City Council candidate, called annexation “a huge concern” and said he opposed it because it would result in “another broken government” for Arden Arcade.

Meanwhile, Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn said he simultaneously supports the idea of annexation, and the right of Arden Arcade voters to decide how to govern themselves.

The city of Sacramento has said it wouldn’t annex Arden Arcade without a vote from the community’s residents, Cohn said.

In his personal view, Cohn said he thinks annexation of Arden Arcade would make for a more efficient government system and consolidate layers of local government.

If Measure D does not pass, Cohn said, there is an opportunity to discuss future annexation of Arden Arcade by the city of Sacramento.

As for the debate over annexation in the current Measure D campaign, Cohn said: “I think they’re using the city of Sacramento as a bogeyman.”

Photos by Brandon Darnell.

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. 

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October 28, 2010 | 8:50 AM

Mutiny On The County AKA Measure D For Arden Arcade Cityhood

Yes, that’s what I’m calling it, because that’s pretty much what it is. A bunch of deckhands who think the captain of the SS Sacramento County should abandon the the majority of people who depend on the ships’ cargo for ther survival, and commandeer it for just the few richer merchants and their small section of supporters. Not only do they want control of the ship, but they also want to sieze all the good trade routes, the most affluent tax base it supplied, and with a stated goal of keeping all that pirated wealth within their own selfish secluded enclave. To add insult to injury, the mutineers are telling the poor, the sick, and the defenseless that they will have to fend for themselves with whatever it is that’s left that they didn’t see as lucrative enough to bother with.

Arden Arcade area is pretty much the treasure chest of Sacramento county. Just drive through their during lunchtime, and you’ll note from the traffic alone that the area is a bustling hub of merchantdom. From this section of the county Sac derives a great deal of paying taxables, that include property taxes, sales taxes, and vehicle licenses that are notably steady in pretty much any economic times. Who wouldn’t want to be dictator of an area like that? The problem is, all of Sacramento county depends on the supply that that ship carries. To cut off that trade route is to starve the rest of the county residents and keep them in virtual poverty in relation to their services.

Now along comes this small band of mutineers who scoff at the needs of the greater community, and want to gratuitously hoard it all for their own selfish desires. A quick look at the leader of this mutiny shows a minor player in area business with a documented history of tax liens and zero experience running a ship for public benefit who is trying to convince some skeptical members of the rest of the ship that she will be a more benevolent captain than the ones currently charting the course. Personally, I am not convinced of her selfless promises, mainly because she has no documented history of philanthropy that I’m aware of, and also because the main thrust of her campaign seems to revolve around cutting others out of the deal. That’s right; the theme behind incorporation revolves around kicking people out of their circle of wealth. Why would anyone trust a person who shamelessly panders on such a concept? If she turned on the rest of us, why would she not turn on more of us later? These types of people have it in their nature to be larcenous and self indulgent at the expense of others. What’s to stop them from continuing this pursuit after obtaining the stated goal? The answer is of course, you. But if you cannot stand up for yourself now, what makes you think you can, or will, do so after the mutiny has succeeded and a selfish, emboldened new captain has been placed at the helm without the power of the county board of supervisors to act as a buffer between you and the new, unrestrained captain’s desires?

I have attended the meetings, those above decks anyway, and when I ask questions, I am not entirely convinced that I like the attitudes of the mutineers. I asked each of them one question, and one question only last night:
If you are all so disatisfied with the current leadership, can you tell me what was the last county board of supervisors meeting you attended to address your issues?
The answers were a whole lot less than inspirational. At least 4 of the candidates for city council said “none”. Another, said that he went to one back in 1984 and was so revolted by it that he never went again. Some others have, but only recently, and for the sole purpose of incorporation (the mutiny). I believe Mary Ose fits in the latter category, as I have not seen her in any other venue than that, but I’ll reserve final judgement if she will provide some evidence to the contrary.
There were a couple of shining examples of citizen involvement last evening, with one who sits on park boards and works within the community of the county to make things happen, and another, although in an official capacity mainly.

October 30, 2010 | 10:47 PM

The problem with your post is that you have only come to the knowledge of this subject with this election. I have been working on this issue for over 3 years. We (the Yes on D) did not start this issue. It came to our attention that the City of Sacramento had already put us in their “Field of Study” in their 2030 plan which is the first step of Annexation. We tried everything we could think of to get the City of Sacramento to take us out of their 2030 plan. In their March 2009 meeting, we had over 100 people there, including Mr. Duvenek and his people. We were all in agreement that if the City of Sacramento was unwilling to take us out of their 2030 plan, then at least let us vote on it before they annexed us. There was some discussion of adding an addendum to the 2030 plan, but at the last minute, it was nixed and we were included.

There are many reasons for us to become our own city. First and foremost would be safety! We would have 6 to 7 officers on duty in our 15 square mile area! That would be fantastic given the fact that we are seeing so much more crime happening in our area. Additionally, we would replace the Sac Co Board of Supv with our own representation (not another layer of government). We would have much more local control on what actually goes on here and so much more.

But I ask you to think about this – Did you know that there are five steps to Annexation and the City of Sacramento has already done three of them? They have completed the Field of Study, put us in their 2030 plan and then approved the plan. The only two things left to be done are the Sphere of Influence and then notify LAFCO that they will be annexing us. Here is another thought – Why would the City of Sacramento spend so much time and money on Arden Arcade if they were NOT going to annex us. Here is the link or check it out for yourself by googling “City of Sacramento 2030 plan”. Scroll down to see Arden Arcade Community Plan. We are in their plan and their sights. Besides, the website states they have no intention of annexing us but in an article in May 2010, the interim City Manager, Gus Vina, stated that they wouldn’t look at annexation unless Measure D did not pass. How much clearer could he get? Please Vote YES on Measure D – thank you.

November 1, 2010 | 8:29 AM

Gee, how DARE the infidel serfs of Arden Arcade mutiny for better streets, policing, and paving! How DARE they demand respect, the suburban infidels! They must either continue to dhimmi serve their County Imams downtown, or become dhimmi serfs of the Sac City Imams downtown! Ayatollah Gondola has issued his fatwa!

October 28, 2010 | 9:37 AM

When you sum up the values of those who have had ample opportunity to converse and influence the current captain of the county ship, I’m afraid we end up with a pretty sad product. Out of 11 mutineers, only two or three have willingly gave of themselves for the good of the community prior to the rebellion. Not exactly a group I’d want to sail with into uncharted waters and after having told any would be rescuers that we don’t need them. After all, we have our new, unproven, selfish, previously apathetic captain to protect us. I am urging everyone to consider the personal and public histories of these mutineers prior to handing over the helm of the ship to them. Would you first today, right now, give them the keys to your house and trust them to feed your dog while you go on a four week vacation? If the answer to that is no, you should not be considering awarding them greater control of your life than that, because my while my dog and house are pretty cherished possessions, if my community is run by pirates neither of them is safe, and neither am I

October 29, 2010 | 2:34 PM

I don’t have a horse in the race, but this is a pretty interesting development to watch from the sidelines.

In effect, areas like Arden-Arcade are using classic gerrymander methods to carve out nice slices of the county. Yes, this could be problematic as the region becomes increasingly Balkan-ized into small communities all protecting their self interests.

On the other hand, the counterpoint to the question you posed to the mutineers last night would be to ask the county board of supervisors what they offered over the years to residents of this area to address problems.

Most residents of the City of Sacramento ultimately share the same outlook as the Arden Arcade mutineers. If Sacramento County put a proposal to integrate the city and the county operations, it would certainly be defeated, even though an linkup like this would obviously have some regional benefits.

October 28, 2010 | 11:52 AM

I am reminded of DWB’s recent editorial on “dismissive hipsters” and gas-guzzling suburbanites and how we’re really all neighbors:(

Whether it’s Arden-Arcade, Roseville, Folsom or Elk Grove. Trying to villify the Sacramento City Government to scare your residents into cityhood seems to work against developing Sacramento into a more coherent, sustainable community.

It’s simple: Our local economies will rise and fall together. I don’t see how separating Arden-Arcade from Sacramento County is going to do anyone any good in the long run.

Building/reforming government for better ways to represent different neighborhoods in our cities and counties is one thing, but this just divides people into an “us vs. them” mentality.

November 1, 2010 | 8:22 AM

Sorry, but we see how Sac City proper is run, and we don’t like it. They would rather mollycoddle the illegal aliens of Arizona than deal with the crime in too many parts of their own city. And when they DO lower their politically duped selves to local issues, they are bamboozled by glittering stadium trinkets rather than tackle the real issues of neighborhoods.

The county government is simply too slow to respond to the needs of urban areas, and is too busy with the courts and county social services.

October 28, 2010 | 12:18 PM

I’d like to hear some experts out there talk about Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova…How has becoming a city changed things in those areas?

AyatollahGondola talks of piracy and hoarding all that tax money, but doesn’t mention the $219 million in fees the proposed city of Arden would have to pay the county. I have no idea how $219 million compares to overall tax revenue in the area, any experts out there? Is this a drop in the bucket? Also, I don’t understand what you mean by cutting off trade routes…please explain.

I’m torn on this issue because I understand where the citizens are coming from, it sounds like they want to make their community a better place. What’s wrong with that?…the inexperience argument is a valid point, but career politicians don’t seem to be a better alternative. I wouldn’t want to leave my keys with the so-called pirates of Arden, but I wouldn’t want to leave my keys with the leaders of Sac County either, so is there another option?

November 1, 2010 | 8:02 AM

Becoming a city has made things a heck of a lot better in both places. A once boarded up Birdcage Walk is now part of thriving Sunrise Marketplace in Citrus Heights, and a once seedy Folsom Boulevard is undergoing a commercial revival, even in this economy. Better policing and better paved streets.

October 28, 2010 | 4:53 PM

I too don’t know how precisely analogous this is, but Citrus Hts benefited greatly from incorporating. Have you been there lately and had a look around?

October 30, 2010 | 11:09 PM

Ayattola Gondola?? Now that is an interesting handle. And it’s very interesting that you use a pirate analogy. Maybe you should consider vacation property in Somalia. And I really love your bloviating style. You might want to skip the next part, but jump to my comment at the end. This next part you might find boring.

The Arden Arcade Cityhood Observer is a very interesting blog that gives readers a chance to comment, get answers and make statements on the current cityhood issues. It also has links to most of the other websites that have been following the issues from the beginning. A favorite of mine is Dr Mattiuzzi’s blog. Dr. Mattiuzzi is a resident of Arden Park and was initially against cityhood. But he did his research and came to the conclusion that a “yes” vote is best for the community. His posts are insightful and clear, and at times cynical towards cityhood. But they are always fair. He too takes questions. In fact the only website that will not discuss their views on line is the Stay Sacramento-No on Cityhood website. I have always wondered why?

Here are three reasons Sacramento County should want Arden Arcade to become a city. It was recently posted on the Arden Arcade Cityhood Observer blog.

#1 – Revenue Neutrality

What if this happened to you? You would be offered the chance to give up all the responsibility of your job, and still get paid over the next 35 years, let’s say $219 million. Would that be great or what?

Under the terms of the cityhood agreement, if Arden arcade becomes a city, it will be required to pay the county a yearly payment referred to as revenue neutrality. Let’s look at it this way, the county will be giving up all responsibility for all the municipal services that the city would provide, except for Health and Human Services, Courts, Jails and CHP, and in turn for that change, they will continue to get paid over the next 35 years, a total of $219 million. That’s really not a bad deal.
End of part 1. Continued part 2

October 30, 2010 | 11:10 PM

Part 2…Are you still with me??
#2 – Sales Taxes

You may not be aware of this, but as an accountant, I know that every time we fill out a sales tax form part of the amount you pay for sales taxes goes to the state, part goes to the county and part goes to the city in which you live. I am not going to try to predict the amounts to either the city or the new city or the county in this discussion, because I’m not a fortune teller. But I want you to follow my logic and see if you agree to my conclusions.

So let’s look at what would happen over the short to midterm, that is 2 to 5 years, if the city incorporates and become successful. It is the stated objective of almost every councilperson that is running that their first priority will be on public safety. What this would mean to the businesses and community as a whole would be the perception that this is a safe place to do business. As business and economic factors would change and the economy starts to grow, this would mean that sales activities in the area would increase. This would be wonderful from the city perspective, because it would cause revenues to be greater than is shown in the LAFCO report that was done to forecast the new city’s sales tax revenues over the next 10 years.

However, another thing would happen at the county level. The percent of taxes that the county would receive would also increase.

Therefore, we have two possible scenarios.
1) If the economy stays flat for the next 10 years, which I do not think is likely, the county will continue to get the same amount of sales tax revenues over the next 10 years. But based on the LAFCO report, the sales taxes received by the city would be in line with the original budget targets. And, of course, we will all remember that the overall report shows that the new city will have an operating budget surplus after ten years.
2) If on the other hand, the economy grows, both city revenues and county revenues would grow.

Therefore, the county should want the city to be successful. So that it can continue to get increasing revenues from sales taxes. It becomes a win-win situation for both the county and the city.

#3) – Property Values and Taxes
You might say, “Ray, how in the world will property taxes, which will now be going to the new city, help the county?” This is how I am thinking about this issue. First, review reason #1 again. The county is being reimbursed about 90% for the lost property tax revenue. (However, as a side note, I want to emphasize that the revenue neutrality payments are not directly related to the property tax revenue. It is one of the issues that the Stay Sacramento group wants you to focus on, when, in fact, the payment is actually based on the total revenue that the new city will receive.)

Over a longer time frame, say 7 to 10 years and longer, a successful city will become a magnet for new people moving into the area. When people are looking to move, do they want a safe, clean place to live with good shopping opportunities and easy access to freeways, or do they want the opposite?

However, as the opposition so often correctly states, the area inside the new city limit is built out, which means that there would be a limited number of homes for sale at any one time. (Again, as a side note, home values within the new city limits will maintain a stronger base value from where they may be at the present, and I believe that there could be an actual increase in values that grow at a higher percentage than the surrounding area.) The success of the city will spill over into the neighboring areas, to the north and the east and there will be some new homeowners that purchase in those surrounding areas. Since the new city limits could see a resurgence in higher home prices, it seems logical to me that home prices in the surrounding areas could also see an increase, even though those values may not raise as rapidly as mentioned above. The sale of those homes, which would still be in the county, would have higher property taxes than they do today, and once again the county would benefit.

I’m sure that after reading this information you can find other positive and negative items that will affect Sacramento County if and when a new city is started. I am of the opinion that in the long run a successful city will benefit the county in the three areas above as well as other areas that I have not had the chance to explore and those benefits will far outweigh any negatives.

So, I urge you to research the issues and I believe that you will come to the same conclusion that I have. A “Yes” vote on November 2nd.

Ray, the Accountant

October 30, 2010 | 11:18 PM

PS. here is the blog site for the Arden Arcade Cityhood Observer… I thought that I had included it above. Cogmeyer, Jon Mortimer and Sacramento, you may want to check it out yourselves

October 31, 2010 | 10:03 AM


(The County of Sacramento is broke and has a $2.7 Billion Debt).
2. GET ANNEXED BY THE CITY OF SACRAMENTO — Which could start in 6 months and would be impossible to stop. If we don’t become a city we then become one part of 1/10th of the city of Sacramento, We can not get on their ballot in 2 months. The city has seen to that ! The City of Sacramento is also broke and has a $0.9 Billion Debt, so it wants to annex the Arden Arcade area to get its Property & Sale Tax Income. They will then take it and spend it in Oak Park or North Sacramento.
The only alternative.

November 1, 2010 | 12:46 AM

Mr. Gondola, please get your head out of the sand, or water, or where ever it is. The County “safety net” is tens of millions in debt. They have no magic pot of gold. They just continue to borrow more money at increasing rates. I do admit, it is magic the way they come up with “one-time” fixes. But I think that they no longer have anything left up their sleeves. We are trying to do what communities all across the United States have done for hundreds of years, become cities. I am sure that England thought that their ungrateful citizens in “Colonies” were “Mutineers”. So, I think that Ray, and I, and most everyone that read your ramble sees were you are coming from and were you are going. Fair sailing

November 1, 2010 | 7:54 AM

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.

October 31, 2010 | 8:06 PM


I am not given to being unjustly influenced by big words or the reliance on such to bolster an argument, and especially so when they are used in a such a condescending manner.

Now let me ‘splain you sumpin’:

Your rosy predictions fail to address any of the pitfalls that have led to the county’s budget deficit over several years. For instance; The county had had to pay to settle lawsuits that it either lost, or was going to lose. Various persons and entities are always suing the county over real or perceived losses, and the county has been paying them in your honor. When you incorporate, you lose the county safety net that it has been providing thus far. All municipal entities get sued; it’s a fact of life, and it’s figured in to pretty much all municipal budgets. All except the proposed Arden Arcade city that is. Losses might be incurred from a big suit if say, your newly trained police sargeant shoots a mother and her son accidently, or on purpose without just cause. Or maybe it’s from a few civil rights violations or what have you. The point is, many small cities have had their budgets busted by litigation, settlements, and judgements. Just for starters, and not that this will be my only rebuttal to your arguments, but can you point out where in the cityhood proposed budget one can find money set aside for such a likely eventuality?

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