we were there today when Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris made an announcement, that seems to be conciliatory toward his business rival to the South. In our opinion, this wonderful Valley is too small for its two largest , leading Cities to ever block each other, to ever fight. There should always be consideration and cooperation, maybe both sides can move a little bit.
Mayor R. Rex Parris Extends Offer of Mediation to Resolve Multiple Disputes Between the Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale
Initiative Aims to Build Partnership Between the Cities of the Antelope Valley
Lancaster, CA. June 20, 2013 – Mayor R. Rex Parris and members of the Lancaster City Council today offered Palmdale Mayor James C. Ledford and the Palmdale City Council an opportunity to work together in an effort to resolve the numerous disputes between the two cities. Mayor Parris proposed that each city appoint a delegation to meet with an independent, third-party mediator to work through these issues, with each city paying 50 percent of the cost for the mediator.
“As the community is well aware, the Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale have engaged in their fairshare of less-than-friendly rivalries over the past several decades,” said Parris. “Yesterday, this rivalry reached fever pitch when a Palmdale City Council Member, in a not-so-veiled threat, urged residents to boycott Costco, a key source of sales tax revenue for the City of Lancaster and of employment for both Palmdale and Lancaster residents. He wrote, ‘Avoid hepatitis, shop at Sam’s Club.’
“My first reaction was to call for a similar boycott of one of Palmdale’s own key sales tax revenue generators: the Antelope Valley Mall. Fortunately, I listened to the wise counsel of my wife, as well as Supervisor Antonovich and Sheriff Lee Baca before her. A boycott would only hurt employees, merchants, and the hard-working families of both cities.
“Don’t get me wrong; we have real and defining issues, the outcomes of which are critical to the future of both cities. These include the Palmdale Power Plant, fiscally reckless fights over sales tax generators, sales tax sharing strategies, the future of AVTA and Metrolink in the Antelope Valley, use of regional transportation dollars from the MTA, recycled water service, air quality management strategies, sanitation district administration and rate hikes, the role of local government and citizen commissions, local AV control of water service, local control of the AV Fair, development standards, job creation strategies, when we each schedule our events, and yes, even the sale of fireworks.
“However, this particular incident and comment by a Palmdale City Council Member have encouraged me to take a closer look at the ongoing contention between the two cities in our great community.
“The constant bickering, name-calling, and efforts to undermine one another are bad for Palmdale and Lancaster alike. But more importantly, it’s bad for our residents and businesses.
“We can’t simply close our eyes and pretend the other doesn’t exist. The Antelope Valley is a single community, and the actions of leaders in one city can profoundly impact the residents of not only Palmdale and Lancaster, but also the many unincorporated areas that surround us.
“This constant rivalry serves to distract the leaders of both cities from the true mission we both share: to improve the quality of life for the citizens of the Antelope Valley. By partnering rather than squabbling, we could take our efforts in a number of sectors to a whole new level, bringing our residents a higher quality of service.
“In light of these facts,I propose a real, genuine, proven, and fair path forward. We will share the cost of a professional mediator with Palmdale to mediate our disputes. Each city will choose its own delegation. I ask Palmdale leadership to accept this offer as soon as possible so we can begin work within the next 30 days.
“By working side-by-side, the Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale can move past the rivalry that has plagued our community for decades. Rather than focusing each city’s energy on locating a business in one Antelope Valley city or the other, economic development efforts could be united, making our region a force to be reckoned with throughout the State of California. Costs could be cut and taxpayer dollars saved by coordinating contracted services across city boundaries.
“With this partnership, we will be able to move forward and create an ever-brighter future for the community we all share.
“Mr. Ledford, let’s tear down this curtain.”