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Turlock first profile in ‘Strong Cities’ campaign

POSTED September 6, 2011 9:58 p.m.

The City of Turlock is taking a leading role in a new program intended to highlight the importance of city government to citizens, and to the state.

The “Strong Cities | Strong State” initiative, a joint effort of the California City Management Foundation and the League of California Cities, aims to illustrate that even as the state government is mired in gridlock and budget tricks, local cities are working with their limited resources to benefit residents.

“It's an effort to help highlight the fact that cities’ impacts make for a strong state,” Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden explained.

Turlock was profiled on Tuesday as part of the initiative, which looks to feature a California city each day for the next year-and-a-half, eventually profiling all cities in the state. Those profiles feature photos and video, explaining how cities have continued to provide essential services, despite declining revenues.

In Turlock’s profile, successes noted include Downtown Turlock, Monte Vista Crossings, local parks, the new Public Safety Facility, the Westside Industrial Specific Plan industrial park, and the rebuilt Carnegie Arts Center, due to open Saturday. Testimonials from California State University, Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani, Turlock Unified School District Superintendent Sonny Da Marto, and Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Silva detail Turlock’s educational opportunities, civility and community pride.

Turlock’s successes – and those of other strong, vibrant communities – are due to good local government, the initiative argues. “Strong Cities | Strong State” suggests that cities are necessary partners in building a better California, and lobbies for greater city involvement in the often state-centric decision making in Sacramento.

Strong Cities | Strong State planners hope the effort will inspire the state to direct more resources to local cities, respecting 2010’s Proposition 22, which bars the state from redirecting funds intended for California cities.

“When a city is healthy, the state is healthy,” Wasden said. “The state is not something independent from the cities.”

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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