Top 10 Reasons the Antelope Valley Should Become One City
1. The Antelope Valley is ONE community.
- Lancaster and Palmdale share the same geography, the same concerns, the same goals, and the same overarching mission to build a better community for Antelope Valley residents.
- Every day, residents cross the invisible border at Avenue M to work, play, shop, eat, and visit friends and family. While city officials have long protected the separate fiefdoms they have carved out for themselves, we know that the division within our community exists only in the minds of egocentric politicos and as lines on a piece of paper.
2. It will save taxpayers money.
- By combining Lancaster and Palmdale, residents of both cities will benefit from economy of scale. Consolidating the separate services of both cities will allow local government to provide the same essential services at a lower cost, thus freeing up funds for other city programs such as Parks and Recreation.
- From auto malls and city halls to soccer centers and performing arts venues, Lancaster and Palmdale have engaged in an endless competition to one-up one another in terms of facilities. It is a competition in which no one emerges as victor and the taxpayers always lose. Consolidation will eliminate the unnecessary duplication of facilities and the significant costs associated with them.
- Establishing one city will eliminate the need for two executive management staffs (i.e. city managers and department heads), thus saving taxpayer dollars in the form of executive salaries and pensions.
3. Section 8.
- The recent Section 8 controversy demonstrates just how dire the need is to consolidate Palmdale and Lancaster.
- While cities have no authority over Section 8, Lancaster and Palmdale provided funding to Los Angeles County for investigators tasked with rooting out fraud in the Antelope Valley.
- Of the vouchers recommended for termination, 91% were upheld – meaning that 91% of the recipients identified through the program were indeed committing Section 8 fraud.
- At the first sign of scrutiny from outside the Antelope Valley, the partnership fell apart. Lancaster and Palmdale launched a war of words, each struggling to blame the other for the controversy.
- Consolidation would present a united front in such situations, thus better representing our community among external entities and better addressing the needs and concerns of local residents.
4. Fighting crime.
- While significant strides have been made in reducing crime in recent years, we must not become complacent in order to continue the downward trend.
- Through pooling public safety resources and reducing the cost of other services through consolidation, the Antelope Valley would have the capability of adding more deputies and expanding its innovative policing programs and tools to better protect our families.
- Historically, crime in our two cities has come in waves: an uptick in criminal activity in one city will spur that city to action, and criminals will simply cross the border into the other city. Eventually, a spike in crime in the second city causes that city to take action; meanwhile, the other city has become complacent and relaxed its efforts. Consolidation would permanently end this cycle of chasing criminals across the cities’ border.
5. A united Antelope Valley would enjoy greater clout at the county and state levels.
- Combining Palmdale and Lancaster would create the third-largest city in Los Angeles County and the twelfth-largest city in the State of California.
- This would establish an economic powerhouse whose voice cannot be ignored, providing local officials and advocates with substantially increased political clout to ensure that the Antelope Valley’s needs are addressed at the county and state levels.
- The State of California has delivered blow after devastating blow to local government in recent years. Consolidation would give the Antelope Valley a significantly stronger voice to combat these problems, including the following:
- The State is dumping tens of thousands of criminals on the doorsteps of local governments, and our region is receiving far more than its fair share. For every parolee the Santa Clarita area receives, the Antelope Valley receives 10.
- Despite local unemployment of approximately 16%, the State saw fit to rob us of our most valuable job creation tools: Redevelopment Agencies and Enterprise Zones.
- This is in addition to the $36 million Sacramento picked from the pockets of local taxpayers in Redevelopment Agency funds last year alone.
6. Jobs and economic development.
- For decades, much of Lancaster and Palmdale’s attention has been focused on luring a business to locate in one city over the other. These efforts offer no real benefit to our community, as almost every one of these businesses would locate in the Antelope Valley regardless. By combining forces, we can dedicate all of our efforts to attracting businesses from outside our region, creating new jobs for local residents.
- A united Antelope Valley would pool the economic development resources of both cities to become a true competitor with surrounding regions, such as Santa Clarita, Bakersfield and northern Los Angeles.
- This newfound status and substantially larger population will fuel interest in the Antelope Valley from chains and other large businesses who may not have considered locating here otherwise.
- With a combined 200 square miles of land, the Antelope Valley would offer substantially greater room for growth and a significantly wider variety of site location options for new and expanding businesses.
7. Increased accountability.
- Palmdale and Lancaster have had well over three decades to prove to local citizens that our community functions best divided. Instead, this division only provides local elected officials with an excuse to play the political blame game, pointing fingers at the other city rather than taking responsibility for their actions.
- Consolidation would streamline management of regional concerns such as the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District and Antelope Valley Transit Authority. Again, this would provide increased accountability and force officials to address the needs of local residents rather than blaming one another’s city for any issues that arise.
8. Prevent developer handouts.
- Our cities have spent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to entice businesses to locate in one city over the other, even when these businesses would have located in the Antelope Valley regardless.
- Palmdale lined the pockets of Antelope Valley Mall developers Forest City with $20 million.
- Lancaster shelled out $12 million to keep Costco.
- Neither of these cases created more jobs for the Antelope Valley; they only kept sales tax revenue within the host city’s boundaries and cost all taxpayers dearly.
- Consolidation would eliminate the need for such handouts, while also guaranteeing that development and design standards would not be compromised when one city is attempting to lure a business away from the other. This will not only save substantial taxpayer dollars, but will also result in higher-quality developments and improved aesthetics throughout our community.
9. Halt the petty infighting to focus on residents’ needs.
- Combining the two cities will eliminate the juvenile rivalry between elected officials, forcing them to work together to address real issues rather than engaging in public name-calling.
- Our present system nurtures this petty rivalry. This infighting and lack of ability to coordinate local efforts reduces our region’s credibility among other government agencies and among businesses who might otherwise be interested in locating here.
- Currently, Lancaster and Palmdale place far too much emphasis on luring shoppers and sales tax from one city to the other. Consolidation would allow us to rise above this sibling rivalry to focus on our true competitors in other regions, with the goal of keeping jobs and sales tax revenue here to fund services for our residents.
10. Pooled resources mean bigger, better facilities.
- Consolidation would essentially double the resources at the Antelope Valley’s disposal to enhance community facilities and attract the right businesses.
- For example, a united Antelope Valley Auto Mall would be ideally positioned to be a true regional competitor with auto malls such as Santa Clarita’s, thus keeping jobs and tax dollars local and, by extension, ensuring funding for vital city services such as public safety, street improvements and recreational opportunities.
- As with commercial ventures, city facilities could be constructed on a grander scale and would have far greater potential to become regional attractions. Examples include:
- Athletic facilities
- Arts and cultural venues