By Roheet Kakaday
Vice President & Co-Founder
Incorporation: it’s an issue that has lurked in Castro Valley’s collective subconscious for as long as residents can remember. The issue of whether or not to become an official city has variable effects that every resident will feel in one way or another.
As an unincorporated area, Castro Valley has little means of self-governance. Decisions regarding Castro Valley’s spending and services lay squarely in the hands of Alameda county officers.
Many find this treatment largely positive. By staying an unincorporated area, residents and businesses will not have to pay city taxes, in addition to the current Alameda county taxes, that go into maintaining a local government.
Opponents of Measure Q, Castro Valley’s official incorporation campaign in 2002, argued incorporation was a pathway towards more bureaucracy, reduced services, and unwanted development.
Others, though, find incorporation the logical next-step for Castro Valley. By establishing our own governance, our tax money will go to areas we decide need funding.
The possibility of establishing our own support services, like a Castro Valley Police Department, opens up as well. Supporters of incorporation cite the fact that Castro Valley currently has a weak voice in county government, which robs Castro Valley of self-determination and leaves its finances in the hands of other cities.
On a more holistic level, incorporation, or its rejection, reveals the cultural underpinnings of Castro Valley. Do we stay steadfast to our history or do we decide shift into a new kind of community?
The traditionalists among us may cling to Castro Valley’s roots to remain one of the few unincorporated communities in California.
Progressives may pine for a move towards modernity through incorporation, thus officially establishing Castro Valley’s identity.
The Great Castro Valley Debate (GCVD) is hosting a debate on incorporation on Tuesday, November 20th, at 6:30 PM in the Castro Valley Library to hash out these issues in a public format.
GCVD aims to stimulate politics at a local level. Through a series of debates on popular topics, GCVD wants to unite CV residents in intelligent discourse on issues that matter to them.
Find more on this topic in an earlier Patch article that looked at the status quo, incorporation or electing the Municipal Advisory Council.