Katherine Borges is the latest Salida resident to lead a campaign for incorporation. Efforts to incorporate Salida began in the 1980s after builders put hundreds of homes in this town straddling Highway 99, north of Modesto.
But the prospects of a meager tax base usually put the efforts to rest.
Borges is a member of the Salida Municipal Advisory Council and has opposed proposals for Modesto to annex the unincorporated town of 13,700 residents. She and other supporters plan to establish a chamber of commerce as a springboard for creating Stanislaus County's 10th city.
Borges is a 20-year Salida resident who may have community work in her DNA. Last week, she shared her thoughts on Salida and her work as a genealogy consultant.
Q: How are things going with the incorporation effort?
A: It is going well. We are still working on forming the chamber of commerce and the ad hoc committee needs to work on the incorporation part.
Q: Why is this a good time to incorporate?
A: It's a good time because, as unlikely as it sounds, with the economy being in recovery, it might be possible to look at efficiencies in the cost of running a city. Before the recession, the costs were fixed. It would have been more expensive to incorporate in 2005 than right now.
Q: Would it be challenging to try to build a staff and services now?
A: It's hard to say. We will just take it as it comes. We are in times of austerity, so Salida will be born in austerity. I would be as budget-conscious as possible. We would not start with a police department but would simply contract with the Sheriff's Department.
Q: Are residents still concerned about the idea of Modesto annexing Salida, now that it appears that county leaders are opposed?
A: People have not taken down their "No Salida Annex" signs. We know it is not over yet. It won't be over until Modesto accepts they are not annexing us, and I don't think they are there yet.
Q: Where does your group discuss the future of Salida?
A: The idea for the Salida Chamber of Commerce materialized at Salida Kountry Kitchen (on Broadway) in December. I brought it up to some other Salidans from reading about how Ripon started a chamber to incorporate and they said, "Let's do it!"
So it not only started at Salida Kountry Kitchen, we also have all of our Salida Chamber of Commerce Steering Committee meetings there. One of the owners of Kountry Kitchen, Geary Oreglia, has joined our steering committee and allows us to stay past closing for our meetings. We also plan to hold our chamber launch party there.
I don't know if you've ever been to SKK, but it's the closest thing that Salida has to a historical museum. The walls are covered with photos and old-time Salida memorabilia.
Q: How long have you called Salida home?
A: Twenty years, nearly half my life. I was born in Santa Clara, and when I was a baby, my parents moved to Fresno. When I got married, my husband got a job here, and we bought a house in 1993.
Q: You recently paid a visit to London. Why?
A: I spoke at a conference of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, an organization concerned with tracking a person's ancestry with DNA. I gave a speech on the DNA (of historical figures). I teach people how to use DNA in genealogy and what the different types of tests are. For instance, my husband has Native American ancestry he didn't know about. My maternal line traces back to potato famine immigrants from Ireland, which I knew, but most of my matches are from Italy. I was totally surprised to find I have DNA that is not common in Ireland.
Q: Will you continue with the incorporation campaign if the Modesto annexation is taken off the table?
A: If we find out it is not possible for us to incorporate, we will stop. But I think we need to proceed because Modesto will keep doing this.