About 100 people attended a debate at the Main Library Tuesday night to hear pro and con arguments about incorporating Castro Valley into a town or city.
Sal Tedesco and Michael Kusiak made the arguments in favor. Mitch Green and David Duncan spoke in opposition.
Castro Valley has had many flirtations with incorporation. 70 percent of voters cast ballots against the last such attempt in 2002.
Tedesco said Castro Valley should control its own destiny. Now decision are made in Oakland by the Board of Supervisors.
“Counties move slowly and we are not a priority in Alameda County,” Tedesco said.
Kusiak said becoming a municipality would allow Castro Valley to run its own police force.
“What I think is important is to have a government in our own community down on Castro Valley Boulevard,” he said.
Green was adamant in his opposition to city-hood.
“How is it going to benefit me on a daily basis?” he asked.
Duncan said running a city government would require new revenues. Castro Valley might feel compelled to bring in big box stores to increase the sales tax base, changing the character of the community.
Tedesco said communities generally incorporate in response to some external shock, like the threat of an unwanted annexation. Castro Valley has no such threat and that makes it difficult to overcome the inertia needed to change.
One potential discontent did arise during the question period. Panelists were asked: “How do we control crime?”
Green didn't believe there was a problem. He asked the audience: “Is there more crime than there was five years ago?”
There was a shout of “Yes.” Green asked for a show of hands. There was a division in the room; some thought things were worse, others not.
The assembly broke up after a little more than an hour. It’s not clear that any minds were changed or that there was enough oomph to push incorporation. But Tuesday night’s turnout suggested that cityhood still excites curiosity – and alarm – in Castro Valley.