The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

November 4, 2010
Metro Chamber interested in consolidation, to a point

Well, that didn't take long.

Sacramento's business community - in the form of the Metro Chamber of Commerce -responded this afternoon to Mayor Kevin Johnson saying he wants to talk about consolidating the city and county.

The Chamber said it's interested in "functional" consolidation - saving money by merging city and county departments that provide overlapping services - but not in "political" consolidation, resulting in one government and one set of elected officials.

The Chamber has been down the political consolidation road before. Sacramento voters decisively rejected the idea in a 1990 ballot measure that would have combined all city and county agencies, and created a new metro government run by an elected board plus 20 new local community councils.

Now, the chamber is more in favor of functional consolidation, which it saw first-hand on a 2007 visit to Charlotte, N.C.

"Our efforts in the 1990s failed because politicians were able to stop the cost-containment efforts by the business community by protecting their political turf," Matt Mahood, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber, said in a statement. "In our vision--the vision we have been talking about since returning from Charlotte--cost-savings for local government comes from the consolidation of duplicative efforts and eliminating all wasted and duplicative money as soon as possible."

"Hard economic realities demand that businesses get lean, merge and consolidate to survive," Mahood continued. "Just like the average citizen and employer has become creative to make it through the down economy, taxpayers should expect the same from local government during these tough economic times."

Because of the budget crunch, city and county officials have already been talking about consolidation in areas such as animal control and services to the homeless.

Johnson has not made clear whether he's talking about functional or political consolidation, or both. He says he will be more forthcoming next week. He has talked about how Sacramento is a mid-size city with a population of about 450,000, but if all the suburbs were included, Sacramento would be in the big leagues with a population of 1 million-plus (the total county figure is 1.4 million).

UPDATE: Late this afternoon, the mayor issued a statement saying that he does not have a specific plan, process or timeline. Johnson is not ready to say whether he would support functional consolidation, full political consolidation or something in between.

The brief statement included what he said at his weekly press conference earlier today: "Our community should always seek new ways to make government more effective in serving our citizens. This is especially true in tough times. I think it's worth having a robust dialogue on how the region can work better together. Consolidation has been one topic many folks have been exploring, and I encourage us to continue this conversation in an open, inclusive and transparent way."

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter