Bay Area business leaders consider 'city-state' model
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There is a movement under way that would turn the Bay Area into a larger, more efficient regional entity. It's called "city-state" and its proponents want to get rid of the borders that separate cities and counties.
If you were to split off the Bay Area from the rest of California, it would be the world's 13th largest economy. No one is suggesting independence from California, but some people are suggesting the consolidation of cities, counties, and agencies like fire departments to create a regional powerhouse.
As you drive around the Bay Area, it's often difficult to know when you've crossed from one city to another. There are 101 municipalities in the nine Bay Area counties. Technology futurist Paul Saffo is part of a growing movement calling for the Bay area to recognize itself as a city-state, the nine Bay Area counties, maybe even more, operating as one.
"So it's big enough to have global impact but it's small enough that everybody knows where they belong in the region and we have a strong regional identity. We need to step up to a new rule," Saffo said.
Transit agencies, police and fire departments, and governance would be consolidated to save money and to be more efficient. Some cities, such as Sunnyvale and Los Gatos, have already taken steps in that direction. "It's not about hard boundaries, it's about cooperation. And, we need to reach out and cooperate more with Santa Cruz County, San Joaquin County, and beyond," Saffo said
Would this make sense to business leaders and politicians?
"For business, you could see a reduced layer of red tape. Businesses would know where to go to solve their issues. They wouldn't have to go to multiple agencies," said San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber President Matthew MaHood.
But the strongest opposition might come from residents who want local officials to be held accountable to voters. "If 43 cities turn into one city, how local is that? And how many officials are there?" asks Linda Spangler of Los Gatos. "No, no, not a good thing."
No one thinks this will happen overnight, but some people are suggesting the city-state could be created in small steps like, for example, when the city manager or fire chief retires. The idea was brought up Friday morning at the State of the Valley Conference and is sure to spark a lot of debate.
san jose, silicon valley, jobs, economy, business, david louie
- SF officials prepare for 102nd Bay to Breakers race
- Albany residents protest return of Occupy activists
- Suspicious package in Livermore prompts evacuation
- Konig wins 7th stage, van Garderen retains lead
- Pacers knock out Knicks with 106-99 win in Game 6
- Milone's long skid ends as A's beat Royals
- Chatwood leads Rockies past Giants 10-2
- Teen dies after refusing to give iPad to thieves
- Up to 60 injured after car drives into Va. parade
- San Jose man arrested for alleged road rage attack
- Miami Heat player surprises student at prom
- abcnews: Men Struggle With Wives' Breast Cancer
- roundup: America's Cup race; Murder charges
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Sunday
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed VideoMost Viewed Photos