By Tim Cushing via Techdirt.
“This is a great, rich city. It never has repudiated an obligation nor defaulted upon a debt–and it never will.” — former Detroit Mayor Frank Murphy (1930-1933) on Detroit surviving during harsh economic times
[image via Detroit Free Press]
Forgive me if this is old or been done before, but I’ve never seen this type of org chart that explicitly lists CITIZENS or COMMUNITY RESIDENTS as the “true” leaders (ahead of either the City Council or County Board of Supervisors).
You read about many community leaders blow it by thinking themselves as above the law, forgetting about who is really in charge, and hurting their communities (e.g., Kwame Kilpatrick formerly of Detroit, Michigan; many of those in charge of the City of Bell, California).
[image via City of Clayton, California]
Did anyone doubt this project would not get approved?
This reminds me of the similar situation that the City of Cupertino was in when Steve Jobs blessed the City Council with his 7 June 2011 presentation of Apple’s plans for a new campus (see rendering below).
Did anyone seriously doubt this project was going to not be approved?
Although I must say that despite the many potential benefits, residents should be somewhat antsy when their elected officials gush over such projects before any substantial planning or environmental review is done.
If I was a betting man, I would’ve loved Apple’s odds after Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong stated that “there [was] ‘no chance’ the city would deny the [Apple] project when it comes up for city review” (see Google’s cached search results of the Mercury News article).
Elk Grove is a former bedroom community just outside of Sacramento. With 153,015 residents (as of 2010 Census), Elk Grove should no longer be considered as such, since it is a fully vested city that saw growth explode in the past two decades.
With such rapid growth, city leaders reacted instead of envisioned what kind of city that Elk Grove should be. Not surprisingly, the city lacks a true downtown or city center where business and civic activity can truly converge and concentrate.
Ironic, isn’t it, that city leaders would be reluctant to approve a zoning change to classify a Walmart as a “grocery store” so that the big box retailer could be unconstrained by such regulations as hours of operation limits or amount of floor space dedicated to the sale of non-taxable goods. (I am undecided as to whether the latter is more efficient than simply limiting the total amount of floor space in constraining Big Box.)
The Staff Report (PDF) lays out the definitions from the municipal code that regulates the types of businesses that can operate where and how they can operate.
But here’s some food for thought: If Walmart is known for “destroying” downtowns across America, then how much impact can it have on the economy of a city that doesn’t have a true downtown and few traditional local businesses? If the city has nothing from franchises and big box stores, then what would you be fighting for?
[image via Carlson]