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Video: Mayor reflects on fight to make Citrus Heights a city

Jeannie Bruins reflects on fight for cityhood, webinet media
Citrus Heights Mayor Jeannie Bruins reflects on the fight for cityhood, in this screenshot from a short video posted on Vimeo by Webinet Media.

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of Citrus Heights becoming a city, and a new video published online earlier this month for a local historic society features current Mayor Jeannie Bruins recalling the “David and Goliath” fight to turn Citrus Heights from County governance into the self-governing city it is today.

“I’ve been here over 30 years, so this is home,” says Bruins at the beginning of the short video, seated in a chair, with soft music added in the background. She recalls her move to Citrus Heights from Southern California in 1984 and warmly describes a few distinctives about the area, before detailing early cityhood efforts in the mid-80’s.

[See video below story]

Upon arrival to Citrus Heights — which was then an unincorporated part of Sacramento County, like Orangevale and Antelope — Bruins describes the formation of the Citrus Heights Incorporation Project (CHIP), spearheaded by business owners and residents who she says were “really dissatisfied” with County governance and were seeking more local control through cityhood.

“We felt that we weren’t getting the services and the representation for the tax dollars we were contributing to the County coffers,” Bruins says in the interview, which was filmed by Webinet Media last year when Bruins was then serving a term as vice mayor of Citrus Heights.

Specific issues listed as reasons for incorporation are detailed on the City’s website, which cites a desire from residents and community leaders for “increased land use controls and public services,” in light of “spiraling” population growth. Growing problems with auto theft, burglaries and vandalism, and a limited number of sheriff’s deputies patrolling the area were also a key issue.

The cityhood effort was met with opposition from Sacramento County leaders, however, who Bruins says “technically broke the law” to keep the incorporation issue off the ballot in 1986.

With no money to fight the County, Bruins says the “rag-tag” grassroots effort had to accept the loss, describing the fight as a continual “David and Goliath story” between cityhood advocates and the County.

The edited three-minute video does not cover the cityhood effort through the 90’s, but concludes with Bruins saying “it’s so important that this history not be lost, because we fought hard to be what we are today.”

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The cityhood effort finally won on Nov. 5, 1996, when voters approved of Measure R, which officially made Citrus Heights a city on Jan. 2, 1997. The “Yes on Measure R” campaign was co-chaired by Bruins, with 62.4 percent of voters approving of the measure.

In the video’s description posted on Vimeo, Webinet Media says it was hired by the Citrus Heights Historic Society to capture and preserve local history by interviewing significant members of the local community.

[Read more about Mayor Bruins: Council votes in Jeannie Bruins as new Citrus Heights mayor]

Other short interview videos published online this month by the Webinet include Richard Kniesel, of Kniesel’s Collision Centers, and several other long-time residents of Citrus Heights.

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