Bee cuts keep coming

“For a while, it seemed like we were doing OK.”

So said Niesha Lofing, veteran Sacramento Bee reporter and columnist, explaining that last week’s announcement of 29 more job losses at the Bee was “a pretty big surprise” to employees.

Lofing is the new unit chairwoman for the employees union. She said five of those cuts will be in the newsroom, six will come from advertising and the rest from other supporting departments.

No bylines will be lost this time; apparently reporters and copy editors are being spared for now. “But there are certainly going to be some devastating losses in terms of our content,” Lofing explained. “Even though their names aren’t on the story, we couldn’t put out the paper without them.”

This latest round of cuts was swift and a bit unexpected. There were job cuts earlier this year, and, according to the Bee, more than 300 cuts in the last two-and-a-half years.

But the slope of the slide in ad revenue had eased somewhat. And, as Bites feels obligated to mention once again, The McClatchy Co.’s top execs still got hefty retention bonuses this year.

McClatchy bosses aren’t the only ones who know how to grab it before it’s gone.

Last week, the League of Women Voters held a candidates’ forum for the nearly two dozen hopefuls for the Arden Arcade city council—should voters decide on November 2 that community should become its own city.

Bites joined Bee reporter Robert Lewis in interrogating the group on the issues surrounding possible incorporation. A couple of observations:

First, it seems nobody actually likes the name Arden Arcade for a city. There does seem to be a growing interest in calling the new city just Arden—which is pretty classy.

Second, the common philosophical starting point for the Ardenites is that they need to keep more of the community’s sales taxes for themselves and not allow them to be frittered away on services for the larger county.

In fact, Arden city council candidate Mary Ose said it’s not fair that 32 cents of every sales-tax dollar spent in the community is siphoned off by the county and spent somewhere else.

Well, duh. The area is a regional retail center. And some communities are always going to use more in services than they provide in revenue. But what happens to the communities left behind when Elk Grove, Rancho Murieta and Arden secede and take “their” sales taxes with them? The Ardenians know exactly what happens, because it’s been happening to them for years. More crime, more blight, more ghettoization.

Bites can’t tell the Ardenese whether to form a city; that’s something they have to decide for themselves. But nothing good can come from this pattern of neighbors fighting over sales taxes.

And besides, a lot of the revenue they’re counting on to make their new city work is actually being spent by people who live outside the community.

What if, for example, Bites decided just to spend money in the city of Sacramento, you know, in support of the home team?

That would mean no more trips to Taqueria Garibaldi on Howe Avenue—just inside the proposed new city’s boundaries. If the Ardenizens lose that cash flow, they can forget it—because cityhood is just not going to pencil out.