On April 27, 2022, The Bee published a feature story about Arden Arcade on its front page. The story, "The City That's Not" ostensibly set out to answer a reader's question: "Why Hasn't the City of Sacramento ever annexed Arden Arcade?" But even after giving historical evidence that the City of Sacramento HAS bitten off chunks of Arden Arcade, the article doesn't really answer the reader's question. Instead, the article says its readers can "Discover why Arden Arcade stands alone" and asks, "How did this area become such a community enigma?" The article puzzled our newsroom elves until they remembered that The Bee is the voice of the Downtown Sacramento Power Elite - those power-tripping people and institutions that don't want us to have local control.
The article quotes a LAFCO resolution with a scary-sounding "negative fiscal impact" on County revenues of $216,741,625 over a 25-year period if the Measure D cityhood measure had passed in 2010. That's the price of the alimony payment to let Arden Arcade get its divorce from the County. What the article does not mention is that the very same LAFCO resolution raised the alimony amount to $219M, found that the county and cityhood proponents had agreed on that figure, and - most significantly - determined that the new city could handle the extra expenses of the alimony payment along with the ordinary costs of running a municipality. Why did The Bee only print the scary stuff? Could it be they only want you to hear the preferred narrative, the one that fits their agenda to protect the status quo? Ya think?
Maybe it would help to remember who wanted Arden Arcade to not win Measure D back in November 2010 - to not gain local control, to not get its own Mayor and City Council to focus on local priorities, to not work on the things that matter to Arden Arcade's residents and businessses. Among them were real estate mogul Michael Lyon (who was subsequently convicted of felony voyeurism), former two-term Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (who chose not to run for a third term due to allegations of sexual misconduct), the City of Sacramento-centric Plumbers Union (who funded KJ's last-minute anti-incorporation mailer) and the CHP Union (who did not want anyone crowding their "traffic enforcement" act). When you have well-organized, well-funded status quo protectors plus often confusing and misleading journalism on the part of the local media fighting ordinary citizens hoping to improve the community, it's no wonder Measure D got clobbered by the voters. Naturally, The Bee article just zeroed in on Measure D losing. Again, its part of their agenda.
But, hey, November 2010 was almost a dozen years ago. A few things have changed since then, haven't they? Watt Avenue is bumpier than ever, homelessness is all over the place, run-down strip malls are vacant, housing prices have skyrocketed, working from home is a thing, grass is for human consumption instead of water. Factors like local demographics, a slew of new residents, and the fact that people who were 6 years old in 2010 are now eligible voters suggest moving away from nostalgia for bygone-2010 circumstances. Not that The Bee article would mention how things stand now, of course. Their agenda wouldn't allow that.
Nor is there room in The Bee's agenda to remind you that Arden Arcade is just part of the urbanized, unincorporated UnCity, which - having over 606,000 people - is the largest political subdivision of Sacramento County. The "enigma" allegation is a smokescreen about the City of Sacramento, and only the City of Sacramento - being where it's at. Sorry, but there is much more to our region than the recurrent narrative of the Downtown Sacramento Power Elite that the universe revolves around the City of Sacramento. Never mind, as we have reported, that Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova have prospered once they got out from under the thumb of the county and became cities. The Bee wants you to pay no attention to the strong sentiment across our community against other people dictating what's best for us. You are expected to ignore consistent instances of mis-management, predatory annexations and nextdoor-to-us indignations by big cities like the City of Sacramento. The Powers-That-Be want you to shut up and accept that you are not supposed to have nice things like other communities have.
Still, the most glaring omission was the article's failure to tell you about how the state has messed up the game. The real reasons why Arden Arcade is not a city are not about annexation by the City of Sacramento. No, they are about the roadblocks, hurdles and barriers that the state of California has put in the way of the formation of most ANY proposed new city in California. Until those blockages are removed the status quo of "no more than 482 cities in California" will remain. Millions of Californians who, just like us, do not have self-determination, who do not have the same rights and privileges as Californians who happen to live, work or own businesses inside cities, will continue to be second-class citizens. It is unfair and undemocratic that unincorporated areas' residents and businesses cannot have those same rights and privileges. Apparently, Very Important People would prefer that you not be aware of that.
Well, we respectfully disagree with the people who don't want Arden Arcade to have local control.. Our purpose is to stand up for the community. We want our community to be better. We believe local people should handle local municipal responsibilities. We think you deserve to know more than what the Downtown Sacramento Power Elite wants you to hear. And we trust you to make up your own minds.