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Citrus Heights Funds Community Group Projects

Under state law, cities and counties are supposed to adopt General Plans that function as the blueprint for community development. With an population greater than that of the state of Wyoming living in its UnCity of unincorporated communities throughout Sacramento County, the county has reasonably adopted plans for each of the many communities in the UnCity.  Unfortunately, the County's timing has been more than a little bit off.  Arden Arcade's Comnmunity Plan was adopted in 1980 (over 40 years ago!). The last time the County updated the Arden Arcade Community Plan was when it adopted an "Action Plan" as an appendix to the 1980 document in 2006 (17 years ago!). 

The stated purpose of the 2006 Community Action Plan "was to increase community involvement in planning and service delivery." Goals of that plan included nice-sounding statements like, "be responsive to neighborhoods", "improve enforcement of land use regulations in Arden Arcade " and "improve the safety and quality of life for the citizens of Arden Arcade". Of course, the statements about community empowerment were consistently ignored once the "Action Plan" was adopted. It was obviously just an "Inaction Plan" with warm fuzzy words intended to make us feel important, though the County had no such intent.

Well, OK, as residents of unincorporated Sacramento County, we are accustomed to being overlooked and forgotten. We know we are supposed to sit on our couches, watch TV and keep our mouths shut about our failed municipal government, even though our taxes fund it. Our long-time residents have gotten used to this situation; our newer residents just have to accept it . These days - with a few exceptions, mostly in privileged neighborhoods - it is unlikely for us to form neighborhood associations and neighborhood watch groups or to put on community-based events like block parties and cultural celebrations. That's especially true at a small scale, because it takes some bare minimum funding to do that and, is tight, isn't it?

On the other hand, the City of Citrus Heights makes a deliberate effort to empower neighborhoods. They have a Community Engagement Department. Their neighborhood groups can rent a Block Party Trailer.  They also have a community projects grant program that can fund community events like arts festivals, yard sales, tree plantings, clean-ups, and chili cook-offs. Citrus Heights is a city. It does stuff like, to build community and help make life better for its residents. The County could, too, but what do you think are the odds of the Board of Supervisors doing that? Exactly. Zip, zero, none, nada. Now, to be fair, we shouldn't get on the County's case about that. Under our state Constitution, counties have to do what the state tells it to do. And the scale is about "general welfare", not you or your neighborhood. By contrast, cities can laser-focus on the everyday things that matter to individuals, families and neighborhoods. Citrus Heights is doing a good job at that. Arden Arcade could, too - that is, if it was a city. Do you want something like the community-building efforts of Citrus Heights to happen here? What do you think?

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