February 19, 2020
The Honorable Jim Cooper
State Capitol, Room 6025
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Assembly Bill 3773
Dear Assemblyman Cooper:
My name is Kami Martin and I am a concerned citizen of Galt who resides in your district. I am very active in my community and regularly participate in local government. I also serve on a City Oversight committee.
I have recently met with your staff to discuss the plan for the Galt Market and surrounding city owned properties. Last week, I requested a meeting with you, either in person or over the phone. Initially, my request was pushed off to your staff, however, after reasserting my purpose for meeting with you directly, I was offered a meeting on April 21st . While I appreciate your agreeing to meet with me as your constituent, you are well aware that this is far beyond this Friday’s deadline to introduce new legislation. While I understand that the election is right around the corner and that you are a busy man, the bill that you are looking to propose could be devastating for my community.
As you may well know, AB3773 requires the 48 acres deeded to the City by the State to be “substantially used for recreation or park purposes, and revert to the 52 nd District Agricultural Association in the event of any breach of the condition.” IN OTHER WORDS, IF WE DON’T USE IT HOW IT WAS INTENDED, WE HAVE TO GIVE IT BACK. Instead of giving it back, the city is hoping that you’ll go along with changing the language despite its original intent. It further stipulates that the City of Galt “may operate municipal buildings substantially constructed prior to the effective date of this act, and may also conduct a city-operated flea market on the property, upon condition that the rents from these uses shall be utilized by the city solely for park and recreation purposes in the city.” These municipal buildings are our City Hall, Littleton Community Center, Chabola Community Center, Parks & Recreation offices. Additionally, located on this property is our City’s Flea Market grounds as well as the only public pool in our city, Gora Aquatic Center. Should this land be sold to the Lewis Group as is outlined in their proposals, these staples of our city would cease to exist. Further, given that there is no known proposed language for this bill, other than the generic spot bill you are looking to introduce, how can citizens be guaranteed that Parks and Recreation will remain for future generations to come?
On Tuesday, February 11, at our City Council meeting, with your staff present, dozens of citizens were driven to speak. It is rare to see this many citizens in attendance, let alone be moved enough about something to actually get up and talk at the podium. Constituents young and old, employed and retired, moms and grandfathers all clearly stating the same message: NO. Frankly, we don’t say no because we are against any changes. We say no because neither the City of Galt (staff, leadership or Council) nor
your office has any idea what Friday’s bill will become. There is no actual plan for the property and no plan for how to fund our City’s Parks and Recreation Department moving forward. Our Parks and Recreation Department is currently funded by the Galt Market. Doing away with the Market with no continuous revenue stream would decimate our already struggling Parks and Recreation. We currently don’t have money to adequately maintain our parks and have cut so many recreation programs, it’s shocking the department isn’t just called Parks.
As it is, our city has been left in dire straits as the result of poor fiscal management by senior leaders who left us holding the bag while they landed softly courtesy of the golden parachutes we provided. Our
commercial neighbors, businesses large and small, have suffered exponential increases in their waste bills (500, 600, 700%) as a direct result of Council Members NOT READING the contract they voted for. To say that I do not trust a 3-2 vote when so many constituents loudly voiced their informed opposition is an understatement. Our cries fell on deaf ears.
Despite a decrease in revenue, the Galt Market still brings in more money to our city than any other source. That being said, citizens have been vocal about piloting new ideas, such as moving the market to weekends (an idea vendors eagerly entertained), engaging a regular farmers market (similar to that of Lodi) and hosting antique fairs as only a few of the suggestions. All of which seems to have been ignored given the sudden rush to move to introduce this bill.
I ask, why the sense of urgency? Why now? Why can’t we wait a year and if we have an amenable plan, we can then introduce changes to the bill? The staff couldn’t answer this question, so maybe you can.
I know that I am not the only constituent to reach out to you on this matter and I most certainly will not be the last. I do hope that you hear me when I say, WE, the citizens of Galt, YOUR constituents, DO NOT want this bill. WE are NOT okay with signing over our funding source for Parks and Recreation carte blanc with ZERO PLAN.
Thank you for your consideration.