Letters for July 25, 2013

Franklin and the powers that be

Re “On the rise and fall (and rise and fall, again) of Franklin Boulevard” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature Story, July 18):

This area, along with a couple others in the county, were purposely left to wither and decay by the supervisors, and with the help of the feds and the sheriff at the time. There were known crime influences that were allowed to flourish. It was an incubator. It's the upper-crust's method of herding the easily managed sheeple into areas of their choosing to help preserve their own little enclaves elsewhere. It will be redeveloped at a time of their choosing, not ours/yours; that's the preordained schedule of things. I gave it a shot, too, but only managed to inconvenience them. I haven't totally given up, but now realize any plan to make difference will have to catch the powers that be by surprise and be hard to reckon with.

Davi Rodrigues


Franklin needs courageous leadership

Re “On the rise and fall (and rise and fall, again) of Franklin Boulevard” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature Story, July 18):

Cosmo Garvin’s description of the misadventures encountered in redeveloping Franklin Boulevard is characteristic of the kind of serial heartbreak in store for anyone who is a fan of community-supporting development.

For example: Apparently, Sacramento can find $250 million to fund an arena (not a controlling interest in the team) for a private basketball organization, and even though the NBA has an antitrust exemption allowing them to monopolize professional basketball and extort stadiums from cities, well, everyone’s OK with that.

On the other hand, when a large (poor) neighborhood like the one around Franklin Boulevard suffers for lack of funding, that’s too bad, but what can we do?

Unmentioned by the excellent Garvin: The tendency for older neighborhoods to subsidize land speculators—er, I mean “developers”—who propose newer neighborhoods on the edge of town.

Never mind the “unearned increment.” Suppose the elements of basic infrastructure, police, fire and schools cost $40,000 per average home. Older neighborhoods pay the full price in their building fees. However, in the name of economic boosterism, the speculators often persuade public-policy makers that newer development makes more creamy job goodness (and profit for land speculators), and those newer subdivisions only pay $20,000 in building fees for the homes built.

That means $20,000 per home has to come from the older neighborhoods’ tax revenues. Infrastructure and schools degrade in central cities, but the edge city gets a subsidy! Ain’t progress grand?

I use the $40,000 number as an example only because, despite repeated requests for an answer about actual costs, local planners have managed to not provide a figure to the public. Are we not charging the correct building fees (particularly important since Proposition 13, because if the public doesn’t collect the money, then it never gets it)? Have any past developments been subsidized by older areas foregoing infrastructure investment?

And does the pope wear a dress?

Anyway, more power to you in exposing this bit of local corruption, or if we’re kind: cluelessness. It’s been going on for decades, and only courageous leadership like SN&R provides will ever end it.

Mark Dempsey

via email

Capitol hazing beyond ’em

Re “You’re not funny” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Capitol Lowdown, July 11):

Thanks for your exposure of the “tradition” of hazing freshman legislators. It truly is beyond embarrassing that this gang of peri-adolescents hold the authority for the ninth-largest economic power in the world. Beyond the utter waste of time on the house floor, you fail to mention the costs and diversion of resources that permeates throughout government when frivolous, puerile amendments are made to pending legislation. From legislative aides and clerks who must prepare, publish and post these momentary bits of nonsense, to persons such as myself in other state departments who must prepare a complete reanalysis of monitored bills each time they are amended, and everyone up the chain of command who must review those analyses. Of course, when the joke is over, everyone’s had their laugh and those amendments are rescinded, it’s still beholden to us to prepare another analysis. Maybe someone should remind the frat boys in the Capitol that their actions have significant, wide-ranging consequences, even the stupid ones.

Curtis Fritz