Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lending a voice for SB 25

2013 seems to be the pinnacle of the most recent battle against the annexation of Salida by the City of Modesto. That's when Salida resident, Nanette Spyksma, reached out to several newly incorporated cities in Riverside County to gather information on incorporation. In doing so, she established communication with Verne Lauritzen of Jurupa Valley. 

Jurupa Valley was the last of four new cities to incorporate in Riverside County between 2008 to 2011. The new city's incorporation took place just two days after SB 89 eliminated vehicle license fee revenues which had been allocated for newly incorporated cities. This stroke of fate put Jurupa Valley at risk for disincorporation.

We learned from Mr. Lauritzen that Riverside legislators were working on a bill to restore that funding source to the four new cities. Several Salida residents wrote letters in support of the legislation which passed in the state legislature but ended up being vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. Several similar bills have since been introduced and all have failed to be enacted. The latest bill is SB 25 - VEHICLE LICENSE FEE ADJUSTMENT FOR CITY INCORPORATIONS authored by Senator Richard Roth.

Public comment on SB 25 with  Michael Kusiak.
A public hearing for the bill was held on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 9:30 am before the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance at the California State Capitol building in Sacramento. I was invited to attend the hearing by Michael Kusiak and Michael Baldwin of Castro Valley. Michael Kusiak was the first public member to make a comment, and he was very eloquent. I hadn't planned to speak, but ended up jotting down a brief public comment on the back of the agenda copy. Following is a summary of my comments (not verbatim, but close):
"My name is Katherine Borges and I am the chair of the Salida Municipal Advisory Council in the beautiful agricultural county of Stanislaus. Salida is the largest unincorporated community in Stanislaus County with a population of nearly 14,000. It was founded the same year as the City of Modesto in 1870 by the railroad. Since Modesto has grown and sprawled to our borders, we have been under the threat of annexation by Modesto which the majority of Salida residents are against. We are hoping to incorporate the community as a city which would be greatly assisted and may even depend on the reinstatement of VLF fees. We ask for support of SB 25 to help Jurupa Valley and the other cities, and any future bills that help to reinstate VLF fees."
At the close of the hearing, we exited room 112 and Senator Richard Roth made a point of seeking us out to shake our hands and thank us for our comments. 

It's important to help other communities and newly incorporated cities in their self-governance efforts. Helping them can help Salida. 

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