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Honorable Mayor Johnson and Members of the City Council,
I address you as the former Vice Chair of your Design Review and Preservation Board and a member of the Sacramento Old City Association's Board of Directors.
The Sacramento Old City Association opposes the City Council redistricting map proposed for adoption at your September 6, 2011 meeting. As I expressed in my August 8 and 23 testimony, SOCA believes that a single City Councilmember should represent the entire Central City, both the old and the new. But a compromise is possible that would correct a significant portion of this problem, while maintaining a cohesive Council District 3. Moving the Railyards into the new Council District 4, with the rest of the Central City, would substantially solve the problem. I also would like to correct the record regarding incorrect information that was presented at the August 23 City Council meeting after public testimony was closed.
The Sacramento Old City Association believes that the Railyards is integral part of the Central City and should be included in the same Council District as the rest of the Central City. The Railyards are intended to be an extension of Sacramento's Downtown. To succeed, development within the Railyards must respect the integrity of the adjacent Alkali Flat neighborhood and the Central Business District. These Central City neighborhoods will be heavily impacted by development projects within the Railyards, requiring that these projects respect the continuity of the Central City street grid and work with adjacent Central City neighborhoods to achieve walkable connectivity and lines of sight. Continuity of representation between the Railyards and the rest of the Central City grid is crucial to the cohesiveness of this original portion of our City, especially as we tackle important development decisions, such as the proposed sports and entertainment complex and the intermodal transportation facility.
Councilmember Ashby stated that a connection is needed between the East Sacramento and South Natomas portions of proposed District 3 and that is why the River District needs to be included in District 3. She also stated that it was the expressed desire of the River District to remain whole.
While the River District may provide connectivity between otherwise distant portions of proposed District 3, the Railyards do not need to be included for this purpose. The Railyards are not part of the River District, as shown in the attached map of the River District Property & Business Improvement District (PBID). The southern boundary of the River District is the Union Pacific rail berm, as expressed on the River District's website at http://www.riverdistrict.net/about-us/business-improvement.shtml. Keeping the River District whole, does not require that the Railyards be included in Council District 3. In fact, including the Railyards in District 3 creates an obvious and inexplicable bulge into proposed District 4.
For the reasons expressed above, the Railyards belongs in the new District 4, not in District 3. Since the Railyards have no current population, this move will not adversely affect the population balance between districts.
Dr. Jon B. Marshack