10, 98, 10, 98 hut hut hut.
It is first down and you’re buried on your own two yard line. Backed up just in front of your own goal, you have battled back from insurmountable odds just to have one more chance on offense. Injuries incurred two days before the regular season has decimated the team. A myriad of bad calls from inexperienced referees have been the order of the day. Sports writers criticize your playbook while armchair quarterbacks are quick to give advice. Yet the team has methodically come back by employing every conceivable tactic with apparent seamless precision. You continue to shuttle the appropriate players in and out. It is now the fourth quarter and the two minute warning is in effect. You need to manage the clock by driving down field with short flare passes to the sideline. Your strategy would make Joe Montana proud. In between intermittent untimely penalties, you still are inching closer and closer to the goal line. With a late night snap, a pass over the middle puts it into the end zone. You are now one point away from sending the game into overtime. Time out is called. It feels like eternity. You huddle up. Time out is called again. You now have been through eternity and back. The ball is finally snapped. The placeholder is precise. The kick is up. The kick is blocked. It was blocked by the twelfth man on the field. No call. The replacement refs missed it. Time out is called. You’re down one with less than a minute to play. Your appeal goes unanswered.
So goes the march for the State’s four newest cities.
Collectively, we have been on a nine-month drive to rectify the injustice inflicted by the State due to the passage of Senate Bill 89. At the end of the day, our real opponent has been the California State Association of Counties or CSAC. CSAC is the twelfth man on the field.
Up till now, we thought we were just battling a recalcitrant State bureaucracy. We were wrong. CSAC convinced the Administration to veto AB 1098, the bill that would have restored funding back to Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Wildomar and Menifee to the levels prior to the adoption of SB 89.
AB1098, securing a near unanimous bipartisan vote from both houses, would have restored the provisions of previously existing state law by allocating Motor Vehicle Licensing Fees (MVLF) to our cities that do not receive the same proportionate amount of property taxes that every other municipality in the state receives. It was to re-level the playing field. AB1098 did not ask for more money and in fact actually would have garnered less than previously authorized by State law. Yet it seems that CSAC believes that the preservation of SB 89 instigated shift of MVLF justifies the potential insolvency of the State’s four newest municipalities.
Under the guise of protecting a portion of the financial support of the State’s realignment of prison system to Counties, CSAC has gone out of its way to ensure that the publics’ safety in four cities may be critically compromised. Without the restitution of MVLF these communities are facing further cuts to law enforcement budgets. Worse yet, if any of these cities are forced to disincorporate there will be no offsetting revenue available to the County of Riverside as it would have to reassume direct responsibility for law enforcement.
In effect, CSAC has not only inflicted irreparable harm to the State’s newest cities, but injured its fourth largest member in the process.
CSAC feels that the passage of AB 1098 would cause the flood gates to open whereby every proposed new city would stand in line to chip away at the now diverted MVLF cache. Our respective communities become nothing more than collateral damage as a part of this reasoning.
The football analogy references shuttling players in and out of the game. This includes members from all four cities, many of our local and State representatives and our own members of the Board of Supervisors. This has truly been a team effort. Like the attempt at the point after, AB 1098 has been blocked. Yet we are still moving towards a legislative touchdown.
After all, we still have a minute to play.
Steve Harding is the city manager of Jurupa Valley