This is OUR Community - It's time to step up and claim it!

Thanks to a Federal Grant of $21 million dollars, and Major Funding by Organized Labor, I've been to avoid projected layoffs and raise the snarkiness factor by an additional 22%!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sometimes You Just Gotta Laugh...

OK, I use quite a bit of photography and videos in my line of work. I tend to err on the side of caution, but I've always been under the impression that videotaping someone without their permission and then publicly releasing that video was against the law. Anyone out there who can quote me chapter and verse on that?

It becomes somewhat important after the twit with the rolling billboard eyesore videotaped me when I confronted him about his illegal sign. Like the Stay Sac signs that Duveneck publicly apologized for, the billboard has no FPPC number or "Paid for by..." language. I told the guy to get it off the streets, and it ends up on YouTube. Fascinating how politics works.

Yes, I was ticked. And although I'm not upset about the video (I think it's really quite amusing), I am upset when I think about the incident. This guy added his name to the list of those putting my kids at risk for personal interest. And this one doesn't even live here - just a stinking mercenary.

Go ahead and check out the vid. In context it's really quite funny.

Apparently I'm now known as the Measure D Vigilante.

If you have to fight back the bile to view their Facebook page, here are the comments:

Daniel Clark Orey: right wing teaparty fascist nutcases... we cannot afford to have these people in charge of our local govenrment! (sic) vote no on D!

In the words of the immortal Bugs Bunny, What A Maroon! I'd hardly call myself right wing. Fascist? I thought those were the ones who lied to get their way. Like, oh let's see... Stay Sac? And for the record, his one coherent statement was that no one wants me in charge of their government. Not that I ever aspired to that. But people who make statements like this probably can't read those complicated sample ballots. Two syllable words and all...

Jane Merlo: Some people are so petty..

Wonder if she meant me or the guy who commented before? But yeah, some people are like that. Annoys the spit out of those who want to make life better for their families. Such is life.

Kara Kindstrom Parsons: He just makes himself look like an idiot... just like his blog does.

Like I said, I wasn't at my best that day. But I really do think that in fairness, I do a MUCH better job of making myself look like an idiot here. But we all know opinions are like rear ends. Everyone's got one, and most of 'em stink.

Lisa Anne Hurt Forsythe: ‎"Sign vigilante"....LOL!! That guy needs a hobby...

Sorry, I already have a hobby. It's trying my best to make sure I never hear the question "Daddy, why does that lady want you to take her on a date?"

So here is the proposition. I say we have some fun with this, and get the ball back in the alley at the same time. If we can get confirmation that this video thing was illegal, and get a suit going, I'll donate whatever is left over after expenses to the fund to get incorporation started up again. I figure if we have standing legally, then the sign twit is culpable for taping me without permission, and Stay Sac is even more so for posting it. And there is nothing I'd like better than letting the community know that Stay Sac provided major funding for the next cityhood movement!

Of course they have better lawyers, so this is probably just a pipe dream. But after all, a man without a vision will perish.


In case there is still any confusion, the re-org meeting I had suggested for this Friday isn't going to happen. Mike Grace's meeting last week got us to start a dialogue, and that was what we needed at this point. We'll see where things go from here. I'll do my best to announce any upcoming events here as well.


For those who live close to Fulton Avenue. the planning commission met tonight and heard public comment from several who supported and opposed the proposed special planning area along the avenue (essentially the Fulton Ave Business Association). It was deja vu all over again. After a presentation from commission staff assuring everyone that everything was going to be fine, and just drink the kool aid, Melinda Eppler took the podium and told us all how wonderful life will be once the county and residents abandon their rights to speak on new businesses and just let them handle it all. Fortunately a few people showed up with brains engaged, and asked the tough questions that really matter.

The one point that keeps bugging me? Why would any upstanding, legitimate business be unwilling to stand before the commission, like we did tonight, and present the case for their venture? If a potential business owner feels the need to circumvent this process, then we really need to take a close look at what they have in mind.

I was especially proud of my 7 year old daughter, who asked me last week if she could speak, and overcame her fear to address the commissioners like a champ. Unfortunately the mics were a bit high, and I think most of what she said went unheard, but she made the point that kids are involved in these things too. Hopefully the commission understood that too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Episode IV: A New Hope?

Well, we had our hats handed to us. A crushing 3-1 defeat for the forces of good. Batman was beaten down by the Joker, and is now hanging by a thin line over a pot of boiling oil. And yet, somehow Batman always managed to come back. Now we will see if the analogy holds true in this instance.

The campaign is over. The election is over. Incorporation may be over - only time will tell. All I know right now is that I never got involved in this to win a campaign or an election. I'm here because I want a better life for my family. I want my kids to be safe on the streets and in the parks. I'm here because I don't want my neighborhood to change its name to "Happy Endings, California." None of that has changed, so I am still here and planning to fight for my community.

The big question right now is who is with me? Are there still a couple hundred people out there who are willing to stand up for their community? A hundred? A few dozen? Three? I'm hoping there are enough of us left to put together an action plan for how we can best continue this fight.

Let's remember who the enemy is here. We didn't get into this to beat down Stay Sacramento. Granted, Duveneck, Cahill, Blanas and Alcalay placed your children's safety at risk to further their own political agendas. They are slime, and should be treated as such. But the enemy in this war is not Stay Sac, and it's also not the gangs and hookers.

The enemy is Sacramento County, who continues to cut Sheriff's budgets to the point of making patrols nearly non-existent in our area. Who refuses to enforce building and safety codes, despite the penalties from those violations being able to fund the cost of enforcement. Who continues to dump affordable housing in our midst at a rate 5 times as high as anywhere else in the county, setting us up as Del Paso Heights East. Against Supervisors Peters and Yee, who openly abused their positions as LAFCo commissioners in order to stack the deck in favor of the county and Sac City. This is the fight we have to win. Then getting rid of the hookers and the Cahills and the drug shops will be an easy battle.

I'm calling for a new community forum, to sit down together and see where we can go from here. My plans are to host this event on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. We'll do it around 2 in the afternoon so those who want to shop that morning will be able to do so, and hopefully grab a short nap. We should be done in time to warm up leftovers for dinner. Between now and then I'll be securing a location, and getting the word out to whoever wants to come.

I will also be brainstorming. I've already come up with some ideas that could have me certified as clinically insane. But it may take an insane idea to move us forward from here. But spend a little time when you can and jot down ideas for how we can improve the community. Do we still need to pursue incorporation? Is that even an option? How can we, as a non-city, work on the same set of goals that got us started in the first place?

I know this has been a long struggle, and I can't blame anyone for suffering burnout and just wanting it to all go away. But the gangs aren't going away. The whores aren't going away. The head shops and thrift stores aren't going away. So even though I'm tired and busy licking my wounds, I'm not going away either.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And here we are...

Well folks, this is it. No more trying to expose the truth behind the lies. No more reason in the face of fear (and fear mongering). Later today we wake up and do our civic duty. Then we trust the people of this community to do the right thing and wait for the results.

Regrets? Yeah, a couple. This was never supposed to be about politics. This was a movement for the civic good that was co-opted by a handful of wealthy special interests to cache their own political capital. They made it political. And if this fails, every time there is a child harmed in a drive-by, or a small business person robbed, or a family threatened in the park, I will consider Duveneck, Alcalay, Blanas and Cahill personally responsible. As should you. They are the ones who put your family at risk to protect their little empires.

On the other hand, we have already beat the odds more times than I can count. No thinking person would have predicted we would ever get this far, but here we are at the finish line. Whether we cross in first place remains to be seen, but we made it here, and we're still standing. That is a testament to the power of people who are willing to sacrifice so their neighbors can have a better life. And that is the kind of special interest I can believe in.

Since Stay Sac seems convinced that we all have to have a motive for personal gain in this, I'm thinking it might make a good book.

If you are still not sure how to vote today, please consider your family, your neighborhood, your schools, and the businesses where you shop. A yes vote on D will not only make your life better, it will for them as well.

And after you make a stand for your community, drop by the incorporation office around 8 or so and watch the results with us. We probably won't know the final outcome, but we may have a good idea where things stand. Either way you will get to hang out with some wonderful people and celebrate our community. And that is the reason we're here.


Friday, October 29, 2010

The Better Half

Last week my lovely bride was scheduled to speak at a forum at her old high school. As it turned out, the format was changed at the last minute, and she was bumped. No big deal, but we both felt her speech was too valuable to just let drop. So here it is, as she was going to deliver it that night.


When the American Revolution took place not all citizens were in favor of independence. Only about a third were patriots. Another third were loyalists, and those remaining were neutral. Sounds a lot like today.

The patriots were those that saw what we could become, and were unwilling to settle for mediocrity. The loyalist had equally strong beliefs. They either had vested interests with Britain, or they were just afraid of change. Our opponents are loyalists. They are loyal to the old order. For some they have become complacent and comfortable. As long as it does not affect them, change is a bother. Some have a financial interest in the county or the city of Sacramento, and put their personal interests over community.

Others fear change. I understand that. But change happens. It’s happening all around us now. The gangs fighting to control Howe Avenue weren’t there five years ago. The prostitutes walking Watt Avenue weren’t there two years ago. The massage parlors and head shops popping up all over have barely had time for the paint on the windows to dry. Change is happening, and we can’t stop it.

But we can direct it. We can turn the corner, and take this community back to what it once was. That is what measure D is trying to do. Some of you out there have made up your mind. You are loyal. I can respect that. The ones that I want to talk to are those that are neutral or undecided.

When we became a nation it was not an opportune time. We had to take on the most powerful nation in the world. The odds of failure, and the penalty for failure, where extremely high; but the potential, the vision, the opportunity were also high. I can almost hear the loyalists crying about how this was a risk they couldn’t afford.

Knowing what we know now, would any of us, loyalists included, want to go back? Last Friday night I was speaking with the owner of a new local business. He lives in Elk Grove and also has two businesses there. We talked about how far Elk Grove has come. And he doesn’t want to go back. As this incorporation has come to be, we’ve spoken with numerous people in Rancho Cordova and Citrus Heights. They don’t want to go back. California has over 480 cities who have taken this step, and in 150 years, only one has wanted to go back. And that was a town of about 2000 people embroiled in a municipal scandal. Fear of change can keep us from moving forward, but having taken the step, we will not want to go back either.

Does anyone here want to still be part of Great Britain? Of course not! We can look back and see the results. Do not be afraid of change. Arden arcade can become great. It may have some hurdles to overcome, America had hurdles. We may make mistakes as we stretch our wings, America made mistakes. But would you trade all that we have become for stagnation and mediocrity? Trade our identity as the greatest nation on Earth to be part of a minor colony? Change happens, we can let it happen or we can direct it, and create a city that one day will be voted best place to raise a family.

I moved to this area 47 years ago. Since then I have lived in several places, but never left Arden Arcade. Right now I am fortunate to live in the same house where my family moved way back when. In my subdivision there are several families who were here when we first moved in. We all love this area, our home.

We are proud.
I am proud.
I am proud to have graduated from Encina High School.
I am proud to be an Arden Arcadian.
And I am proud to vote Yes on Measure D.
Because this is my city… my home…

What will Measure D do?

Measure D will let us send the hookers, drug dealers and gangs packing.

Stay Sacramento says that’s a risk we just can’t afford.

Measure D will let us control the types of businesses we allow into our area, and get rid of the massage parlors and head shops.

Stay Sacramento says that’s a risk we just can’t afford.

Measure D will allow us to be served by a local, responsive government, made up of area residents who care deeply about our future.

Stay Sacramento says that’s a risk we just can’t afford.

Measure D will allow us to fund our services, including more police protection and better code enforcement, while maintaining a revenue surplus, without ever raising taxes one single dime, and also leaving more money with the cash-strapped county.

Stay Sacramento says that’s a risk we just can’t afford.

The politicians, lobbyists, and special interests behind Stay Sacramento say we should keep everything as it is. It will all be fine if we just don’t rock and boat and try to change things. Just keep our heads buried in the sand and everything will go away.

Well, do you know what I say?

I say that is a risk we just can’t afford!

Vote yes on Measure D!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Party Politics as (Un)usual?

Robert Lewis had another article in the Bee yesterday about the latest developments in the incorporation effort. It was an attempt at a fact-checking piece trying to sort out both sides and see who is telling the truth. Actually, it came up somewhat short on that. It presented both sides fairly evenly, but allowed the garbage arguments of the opposition to remain unchallenged. Wonder if Mrs. Pruitt put the kabosh on that angle?

Anyhow, I write that because while reading the article I posted a comment. Later I went back to see what else was there, and was amazed by one comment I read. Someone using the handle Oreyd (why do the opposition folks all feel the need to use made up names anyway?) write the following: "I am terrified by the hidden right wing extremist agenda of many of the people running the Pro-city hood campaign."

I've long been a believe that at this level, party doesn't matter. I've actually decided, as an independent, to vote for 3 repubs, 1 indy, 2 demos, and 1 who I actually don't know the party for. (Now watch the candidates go nuts trying to figure out who I mean!) I selected those based on a number of reasons. Experience (not only political), ideas, trustworthiness, and strength of personality all counted for a lot. But party never factored in.

The cityhood process was started six years ago by Bill Davis, local Democrat activist, with the help and support of a handful of others, all democrats (I'm only going to use the names of folks still actively involved in the cityhood movement). Some time later Laura Lavallee came on board as the first Republican (that I'm aware of). Joel Archer, also GOP, came on shortly after. I think I was next one to join in, as a politics-hating rabid radical-centrist (socially liberal, ethically conservative, and fiscally do-what-makes-sense). Other Repubs and Demos came and went over time, in fairly balanced numbers. The incorporation movement is, and has pretty much always been, a "dorsal fin" effort (since birds don't have a middle wing I changed the analogy a bit.)

Right now we have council candidates from different parties working together on the campaign. They have learned how to work together, as have most of the other candidates, because they all have decided to put the future good of the community ahead of personal interest or party politics. Why else would 22 people decide to spend their time, and in many cases, personal money, to get a part time job that pays a maximum of $7200 per year (mandated by state law)?
Speaking of money, let's follow that trail a bit further. Aside from candidates, many members of the incorporation committee, past and present, have invested tons of their own time and money to make this happen. I can speak personally that I'm out at least a couple thousand, just in donations of free time to the committee, and not counting actual expenses for gas, office supplies, copying, etc. And I'm far from the only one.

On the other hand, let's revisit the opposition's economic interests. Tim Cahill owns commercial real estate leased to a massage parlor - the kind with a locked door and video camera monitoring everyone who comes near. I don't know that anyone has done the research, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were another choice property or two among his holdings.

Lou Blanas, former Sheriff, is a stakeholder in the new card room casino that opened up on Auburn Blvd., along the Marconi Curve. If you look at the map of Arden Arcade and find the little notch chocked out of the northwest corner, that's the spot. Not in Arden Arcade, but if we incorporate, we would surround the wedge. Not that anyone is concerned about that - at least as long as the place is clean - but Sheriff Lou seems to be worried about it.

And then there is the big question. Why would the plumber's union donate $50,000 to the no on D effort? It's not as simple as left vs right or labor vs management. After all, we have the endorsement and a donation or two from the firefighter's and policemen's unions. But when we incorporate the firefighters know we're going to keep them on board for as long as humanly possible. And the city council will probably strike a mutually beneficial deal with the Sheriff's Department for police services. But, Sac City and County are locked into contracts to use union labor exclusively for the kinds of stuff that plumbers and pipefitters do. Arden Arcade may choose to go the same route, but isn't necessarily obligated to. So the option exists to go elsewhere and cut the union out of the money pile.

Couldn't the plumber's union have been convinced that the new city would deal with them fairly? Maybe. But remember, the incorporation effort has been run by concerned citizens of the community (you know, like the No on D crowd claims to be), while the opposition is comprised of professional politicians, lobbyists, and other wealthy players (like they claim we are). They have the home field advantage when it comes to seducing money from big labor and similar organizations. I would love it if I could have been in the room for those negotiations, just to learn how the pros do it.

Maybe I'll check with Mark Lyon and see if he has video tapes of it.

More from Ray

Great meeting at Sierra Oaks Vista last night. The giant billboard trailer was there again. Turns out it's a for hire thing, and the owner doesn't even livew in the area. Should we really have expected better?

If you can, please try to make one of the last few meetings. The election is a week away, and the time to let someone else do the heavy lifting is past. We all need to commit to taking a few steps here - talking to neighbors, dropping by local businesses, or whatever it takes. Within the bounds of propriety of course. We aren't the other side.

The closer we get to the election, the more I'm tied up with my day job and stru ggling to find time to do anything else. There is so much I want to be writing here, but just can't find the time. Luckily Ray is on a different schedule, and is able to help fill in the gaps. Take it away Ray!


Myth – Property taxes shown on the independent report requested by LAFCO will be much lower than projected.

The Stay Sacramento – No on Cityhood campaign has constantly claimed that taxes will be raised because property values in the area are declining. As an accountant, I decided to look at this “the sky is falling” view to see if it could hold up. On the other side, the LAFCO report does show that the property tax revenues are decreasing slightly over the next 10 years which did not make any sense to me either. Therefore, I decided to look at the issues using some real life assumptions. I would invite any and all realtors to add their input to this information, so that a professional will be able to add credence to my assumptions.

First, however, I need to give you two examples of how the property taxes work should you be unfamiliar with this issue.

It is good to remember that Proposition 13 limits property tax increases to a maximum of 2% per year, and also put into law that all tax increases must be approved by 2/3rd’s of the voters. Rhetorical question - Are you planning to vote for a tax increase any time soon?

Here are the two examples.

In my personal life, my mom’s house at the height of the real estate boom was worth approximately $580,000 to $605,000. Now the house may be put up for sale and the realtor shows that it could be sold for somewhere between $400,000 and $450,000, a decrease of about 30%, right in line with average property decreases throughout the state. Yet, if the house is not sold, the property taxes will continue to increase by 2% for the foreseeable future. How could that be? Well, since the property was purchased many years ago, when you look at the tax bill, the property taxes are based on a value, also known as the tax roll value, of about $100,000. Therefore, if the property is sold, the property taxes will go up about 4 times.

My wife and I bought our home in the Mission Oaks area in December 2002 for approximately $300,000. (It was a great location, near Mira Loma HS for our youngest daughter, close to markets and restaurants, and easy access to the freeway to get downtown and the airport.) Two years later, the home was valued at between 0$400,000 and $425,000, about a 25% increase! We were ecstatic!! Well, then real estate values declined, and when we refinanced our home earlier this year, the value of the home was back at about $300,000. Wow, what a let down. L Nine years and we were back where we started. Well I looked at our recent property tax bill and sure enough, the value on the property tax rolls still show the value at the original value, and the property taxes that will be due this year will be basically the same as it was last year.

I also called the Sacramento County Assessor’s office and discovered that their office had automatically lowered the values of most homes purchased in Sacramento County during 2004 and 2005 to reflect the downturn, and these revised values were reflected in the LAFCO report that was completed for the year 2008-2009.

There were people that did purchase homes at the height of the market that may not yet have had their values reduced to the current market values. According to the Assessor’s office, they are eligible to make a Prop 8 claim, in which the assessor will review the tax roll values again. I will address this issue in my analysis.

Finally, the assessor’s office told me that property taxes on foreclosed properties become the responsibility of the financial institution that forecloses. A lien is placed on the property for all delinquent property taxes and must be cleared before the property can be resold. Therefore, any implication that there is a loss of property taxes in this situation in invalid. There would only be a delay to the city in collecting these taxes for any property that falls into that category.

Because of the complexity of the analysis, I used an Excel spreadsheet, which I forward to anyone that requests it. However, I am unable to attach it to this article so I hope you will trust me in my conclusions without actually seeing the data.

My first assumption is that I will use the property tax revenue figure shown in the second year column from the LAFCO report. The report shows that this is the first revenues will be received in this category, and since property tax collections are always paid for the prior year, they represent the taxes collected for the first year the city is in existence.

Second, property values will stay flat over the next 10 years. (See my discussion “Three reasons why Sacramento County wants the City of Arden Arcade to be successful” on the Arden Arcade Facebook page in which I believe that property values will in fact increase over the next ten years. However, it is an argument that I have asked a realtor to address.)

Third, 10% of the properties in the area purchased at the peak of the market have not been reduced to their current tax roll values. I will use a downward adjustment of 20%.

Fourth, 20% of the properties in the area, are similar to my property, the property taxes will not increase over the next 10 years.

Fifth, 20% of the properties in the area, have only experienced a small increase in the property values and will only experience a 1% yearly increase.

Sixth, the remainder of the properties fall into the category of my mom’s house, and will continue to experience a full 2% tax increase under Prop 13 over the remaining 10 years.

Scenario 1:
Here are the numbers. Under the LAFCO budget, total Property Tax revenues for the entire 10 year period total $53,280,000. According to the revised analysis, the total revenues show a total of $56,084,000, or an increase of $2,804,000. The analysis does show that the first year the LAFCO budget is higher by $137,000, but all other years show that the revised analysis that I prepared has larger revenues.

OK, Ray, aren’t you being overly optimistic? Well, let me change my third assumption above, and instead of only 10% of the properties being lowered, let’s use 20%.

Scenario 2:
Again, here are the numbers. Under the LAFCO budget, total Property Tax revenues again total $53,280,000. According to the revised analysis, the total revenues show a total of $54,588,000, or an increase of $1,308,000. This analysis does show that the first three years the LAFCO budget are higher by $273,960, $150,470, and $26,750 respectively, but again all other years show that the revised analysis that I prepared has larger revenues. And I want you all to remember that the LAFCO budget also shows a 5% contingency for each year which is a minimum of $1,113,000 the first year and increases from there. This contingency dwarf’s any property tax shortage in my analysis.

Scenario 3:
But let’s add one more assumption. Starting with all the assumptions in Scenario 2, doesn’t it make sense that homes will be selling during the 10 year period? I will make a simple assumption that there will be a small 2% sale activity only for years 4, 6, 8 and 10. Also instead of using my mom’s example, of a 4 fold increase in the tax value, I will only use a figure of twice the amount currently being collected, i.e. a tax roll basis of $100,000 before the home is sold, and a tax roll basis of $200,000 afterward.

Again, here are the numbers. Under the LAFCO budget, total Property Tax revenues again total $53,280,000. According to the revised analysis, the total revenues show a total of $59,255,000, or an increase of $5,975,000. That’s almost $6 million above the current $35 million operational budget surplus that is shown on the LAFCO report. This analysis does again show that the first year the LAFCO budget are higher by $273,960, but again all other years show that the revised analysis that I prepared has larger revenues.

And remember, I started with an assumption that property values will not go up over the next ten years. Do you think that is reasonable?

As always, I want everyone to do their own research, and I think you will end up seeing how a ‘Yes’ on Measure D is the only way to get away from Sacramento County with its the huge inefficiencies and budget deficits. And, because of this, the county will never be able to focus on the needs of our area.

Ray, the Accountant

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Just Not The Same Without You!

It's been a busy week. Monday through Thursday were filled with incorporation activities, loaded with facts, lies, and more than a couple surprises. Monday night there was an open forum debate between yes and no speakers... except the No side decided not to show up. This was after repeated calls and emails from the organizers to book a speaker. Can't help but wonder what they were afraid of.

Whatever it was, they hadn't overcome it by Tuesday night, when about 300 people packed into El Camino High School to hear a two-part session, a debate between yes and no speakers, followed by short presentations from the city council candidates. But wait, once again the no group neglected to send a speaker. No worries, as Nick Burnette, a professor at Sac State and area resident, came form the audience to represent the No side.

Professor Burnette isn't like the other Stay Sacramento speakers we've heard. He actually has some credibility. After I listen to him speak I don't feel like I need a shower. And while I will completely give him the benefit of the doubt, it sure did sound like he has spent some time studying the Göbbels... I mean Blanas/Cahill... propaganda machine. As credible as he may have been , he still spewed out the same old lies, innuendos and fear-mongering we've heard so many times through this whole process. Hard to tell if he really believes this stuff, or just drank the Kool-Aid. It's a shame, cause he really does seem like a decent guy.

I didn't make it to Wednesday's meeting at Rio Americano, but from what I heard, it was a repeat of Monday night, with the opposition side conspicuously AWOL. Go figure. At least some more people for to hear the truth, although the truth is easier to accept when you have the chance to hear both sides and reason it out for yourself.

Last night was Mira Loma's turn. Under-attended, and from the looks of things, most of the audience had already made up their minds. Applause for both sides was enthusiastic, although louder for the Yes crowd. This time the organizers were prepared, and asked Mr. Burnette to come speak again. This time he had the opportunity to prepare a bit, but didn't change his tune to reflect any more truth. More's the pity. Unlike the usual Stay Sacramento PR flaks, I really don't have the desire to urinate on this guy's shoes.

At last night's event I submitted a question that was actually used (I can't tell you how many times my questions end up in the trash). The question was a bit loaded, I'll confess, but I believe it was a relevant one to ask. With the donor list now public, how does Stay Sacramento justify their claim to be a "concerned grassroots group of local residents and business owners, up against a well-funded organized campaign of special interests"? Prof. Burnette was caught a bit off guard, as he isn't a rep for the group. But from out of nowhere, someone jumped up and started shouting: "I brought that money to the table because I live in this area and I..." The moderator shut him down, so we never got to hear him finish.

Since Professor Burnette isn't an official representative of Stay Sacramento, my score card shows four forfeits in a row for them. Now I don't understand much about politics, but a thinking person gets some questions running through his mind at times like this. Why is "Stay Sacramento" suddenly becoming "Stay Away"? Did we offend them, so now they're snubbing us? Does this mean they won't take us to the prom? Are we no longer BFFs?

My politically-uneducated mind immediately came up with the response that now that their donor list has been made public, they have some major truthfulness issues to deal with, and it's easier just to slink back into their pile of decaying leaves and wait it out. But as logical as this sounds, there has to be more to it. So I spent some time picking the brains of a couple of my more astute acquaintances, and this is what I learned.

Stay Sacramento isn't showing up, because they think the battle is over. All along they have been preying on seniors in our community, telling them that cityhood would increase taxes and fees, and lower property values on the homes they've been paying off for the past 30 years. And some folks have been gobbling it up. As our people have been out walking precincts and speaking with people, it's amazing how many people put out a Stay Sac sign based on nothing more than the tax threat. Fortunately once they hear the truth, many of them are coming around. But there are many throughout the area who bought the lie and got scared too much to listen anymore.

Now, the thing about seniors is that they tend to vote absentee in overwhelming numbers. So Stay Sac capitalized on that by doing their fear-mongering in advance, counting on the absentee ballots to win their battle, knowing once the donor list came out, those ballots would be secured away downtown somewhere. Wouldn't surprise me if Susan Peters even offered therm a storage facility in her underground bunker.

Does this mean the war is over? No chance. The folks we have on phone banks and knocking on doors, both for Measure D and the individual candidates, are making a difference. The tide is turning, people. And it's turning in our favor. We are winning this thing, one mind and one heart at a time. To quote the good book: "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9)

If you really believe in this, now is the time for action. Talk to your neighbors. The Measure D campaign is doing phone bank calls every night until the election. Drop by the Fulton Ave office and bring your mobile phone. Head out this weekend and knock on some doors. It's not nearly as scary as you might think. Get the facts out in any (ethical and legal) way possible. One person at a time. On sign at a time. One vote at a time. When this is over and we have a new city to be proud of, you will be able to look back and say that you made a difference. You made this happen!

My goal for the next week is to approach small businesses with the Stay Sac signs on their lots and ask the managers if they authorized the signs. There is a Kragen at Marconi and Eastern that suddenly gained about 7-8 signs overnight. I'll be dropping by today to see if I need to start shopping at Auto Zone. I suspect that if 5-6 of you did the same, those signs might just disappear.


I just can't close this note without saying something I've been thinking for a week or so now. Last year, Bob Stevens, Joel Archer and I had lunch with Sheriff McGinness. At that lunch he made the statement that incorporation would be the best possible thing that could happen for Arden Arcade. Now he has publicly come out against it. Any idea why he would change his tune?

Hmmm... come to think of it, there must be 21 million good reasons.

Now, I don't blame him one bit for looking out for his people, and doing what it takes to keep them on the job. But the object lesson we should take away is that, like it or not, this is politics. Treat everything you hear as such, and dig between the rhetoric to get the facts. Paul M and Ray the Accountant did.