I think we'd all like to consider ourselves informed voters before we head out to the polls. That's not always easy. Case in point with some local politics here. I live in a neighborhood of Sacramento called Arden Arcade. For years, we've seen our neighborhood slowly decline. Businesses go under. Local services and police coverage degrade. Gangs slowly creep in.
Meanwhile, other neighborhoods that have become cities have made changes for the better. Citrus Heights neighborhood voters voted for cityhood, and the new city of Citrus Heights was able to renegotiate new contracts with police, waste management, and schools, and get more efficient services for less. Elk Grove is also a success story.
My neighborhood of Arden Arcade sees much of our property tax money leave the community to go to other areas of Sacramento county. Since we have no mayor or city council, we have no representation, no one to fight to keep money in our community. No one in power with any reason to care about improving things. This November, we have a chance to vote on Measure D, a measure that will turn my neighborhood into the city of Arden Arcade. This sounds like exactly what we need to do. Or do we?
What if our poor neighborhood can't afford 8 well paid council members and an even better paid mayor? Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson makes over 100k, and the 8 member panel over half that each. How much would property taxes have to increase to cover that? Citrus Heights has Sunrise Mall to our right. The city of Sacramento has Arden Fair Mall just across the street from us to our left. Between that, we have our Country Club Mall which has struggled for decades. Tower Records closed and is now a Good Will. A big grocery store by my house is now a $0.99 Cent Clearance Center. More and more, I see homeless people sleeping in our neighborhoods or digging through our trash for cans.
Is cityhood exactly what we need to pull out of poverty, or the last straw of financial tax burdens on the backs of businesses already struggling? I don't know. I wish I did know.
It's this kind of thing that makes me think maybe I really should work towards a Masters in Economics, get an understanding on exactly what's going on, and do something about it.
Tomorrow, I'm going to a campaigning event for Meg Whitman. I have no idea if she's even going to be there or what we're supposed to be doing. I signed up on her website to volunteer. I got a form letter telling me to show up somewhere. What's the dress code? Do I need to show up early? Can I take pictures? I have no idea. I just hope I don't have to sit in a call center calling people and giving talking points off a script. I don't mind walking down the street waving signs. Maybe I'll just stand there listening to people talk for photo ops. I have no idea. But it's a good insight into... something. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.