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Survey Finds California's Economic Environment Will be Tough Sell For Elk Grove's 25,000 Job Goal

Written By EGN on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 | 11:00



September 1, 2015 |

A survey released today confirmed what many business owners and entrepreneurs already know - California's business environment will be a major hurdle to overcome if the Elk Grove City Council hopes to fulfill its promise of recruiting 25,000 new high-paying non-retail jobs to the city's Southeast Policy Area (SEPA).  

Click to enlarge. 
The survey, conducted by Thumbtack.com, found that California was ranked 46th out of 50 states in terms for friendliness toward small businesses earning an F grading. The survey was conducted from data collected from over 18,000 small businesses in 50 states.

“Small business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their government but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” Jon Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack.com said. “Given that there is a crisis of entrepreneurship in the United States, seen in the broad collapse of self-employment across industries and states, creating the right environment for business start-ups is more important than ever.”

Respondents in Texas, New Hampshire, Utah, Louisiana, and Colorado respectively gave their states the highest rating for friendliness to small business. Small businesses in Manchester, Dallas, Richmond, Austin, and Knoxville gave their cities the highest ratings.

In contrast, small business owners gave California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island an "F," while Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York earned a "D" grade. Providence, New Haven, Buffalo, Albuquerque, and Hartford were the survey's worst­-performing cities as rated by their small business owners.

As far as California goes, here are business owners rankings of cities/regions within the state - the Sacramento region placed 9th of 10 California cities/regions and earned a D+ rating. 
  1. Santa Rosa
  2. San Jose
  3. San Francisco
  4. Anaheim
  5. Oakland
  6. Oxnard
  7. Riverside
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Sacramento
  10. San Diego
Elk Grove City Council Members and staff on the city's executive team, including the economic development office, declined to comment on the survey and how they mat try to to overcome these hurdles. According to the City of Elk Grove's recently approved plans, the 1,200-acre SEPA employment-oriented development is expecting to attract 25,00 new high-paying non-retail jobs to the city as the area builds out. The first phase of SEPA, a 1,100-house development was recently unanimously approved by the Elk Grove City Council. 

On a regional basis, the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council's President and CEO Barry Broome responded via email commenting on challenges facing municipalities economic development efforts. Broome, Sacramento's economic development Czar, who came to the region after a successfully running Phoenix's efforts, offered the following:

"In general the state has built a reputation in this space that sort of spirals out of control. I am not sure what the local government is doing for small business that would be impactful after you calculate labor laws, workers compensation and tax issues. I have copied our head of Reserach to see in a precursory look if their is something that matters. Local government can be less frustrating but the state drives the environment overall."


A copy of the survey's full methodology and analysis paper is available upon request. Please email Thumbtack's Chief Economist, Jon Lieber, at jon.lieber@thumbtack.com for a copy of the paper and with any questions or comments you might have.




11:00 | 8 comments | Read More

Cooper's Ride Share DMV Pull Notice Bill Sent to Governor

Written By EGN on Monday, August 31, 2015 | 18:00



August 31, 2015 |

A bill sponsored by Assembly Member Jim Cooper (D - Elk Grove) that would require ride sharing services to participate in the Department of Motor Vehicle Pull Notice program was sent to Governor Jerry Brown today.

Assembly Bill 1422 would require services such as Uber and Lyft to enroll all of its drivers in the DMV's pull notice program. That program automatically notifies employers when an enrolled participant is involved in an accident, convicted of DUI, or any other actions taken against their driving privileges.

Currently, the DMV Pull Notice program is only used by government agencies and employers such as taxi companies. This leaves out rise sharing services out  because their drivers are independent contractors. 

“AB 1422 will improve safety on our roads, particularly for passengers utilizing Uber and other similar transportation services,” Cooper said. “I am pleased with the amount of bipartisan support the bill has received and I am optimistic that the Governor will sign this important public safety legislation.”




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Son Brandishes Stolen Gun on Mother, Gets Arrested by Elk Grove Police

August 31, 2015 |

An Oakley, Calif. man is in custody at the Sacramento County jail after he threatened his mother with a handgun.

According to Elk Grove Police, 30-year old Durshawn Van Turner was involved in an argument with his mother. During the course of the argument, Turner allegedly brandished a handgun and threatened his mother. 

After Turner fled his mother's residence, Elk Grove Police were contacted and they were able to locate him. After detaining the suspect, a search of the residence led to the discovery of the handgun, which had been reported stolen.

Turner was arrested and is being held at the county jail on $75,000 bail and faces two felony and one misdemeanor charges. 




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Elk Grove Police Arrest DUI Suspect Who Allegedly Hit Parked Cars


August 31, 2015 |

A Sacramento man was arrested Sunday afternoon after he allegedly hit three parked cars while drunk driving.

According to Elk Grove Police, 25-year old Singching Vang hit three parked cars in the vicinity of the 8900 block of Shasta Lilly Drive. Upon contract by responding officers, Vang displayed signs of impairment and failed his field sobriety test. 

After being medically cleared at an area hospital Vang was arrested and booked into the county jail.  


11:50 | 1 comments | Read More

Possible Old Town Plaza Layouts

Written By EGN on Sunday, August 30, 2015 | 18:00

August 30, 2015 |

As a starting point, the City of Elk Grove has released graphics of three possible uses for the city-owned parcel in Old Town now known as the Old Town Plaza.

As it contemplates how the parcel will be developed, the city will seek input at a pop-up workshop this Wednesday night at  monthly food truck event at the Old Town Plaza. The food trucks and the workshop will be held between 5 and 8 p.m.

The workshop is the first step toward a design that will eventually be presented for approval by the City Council. For more information about the project, please contact the City’s Planning Department at (916) 478-2265.

Flex layout. 
Pavillion.

Stage layout. 



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Budding Elk Grove Actress Invited to Major Hollywood Talent Event

August 39, 2015 |
Rochelle Marie Arsenault looks like the stereotypical girl next door. This blonde-haired, blue-eyed 10-year-old loves cats, reading comics, and playing with her friends. 
She was also just invited to the International Performing Arts Academy’s prestigious Hollywood Showcase in Los Angeles next May.
Elk Grove native and pre-teen, Rochelle Marie Arsenault, 

beat out hundreds of new, young talent for a 
chance to attend the International Performing 
Arts Academy’s Hollywood Showcase in May, 2016.
The Hollywood Showcase is a four day event held at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, where new young actors, models and singers audition for industry agents, producers and casting directors. Rochelle will have her hair styled and makeup done by some of the biggest names in the industry. A number of Showcase participants have gone on to become big names.
“This is the real deal,” her father, Mark Arsenault said. “Rochelle is one of less than 150 new talents from across the country who’s been invited to the Showcase. We’re very proud of her and the choices she’s made that led to this.”
When asked why she wants to pursue an acting career she said, “I want to earn money to start a cat sanctuary. I want to help as many hurt and homeless cats as I can. Big cats, too, like lions and cheetahs and panthers.”
Going to the Hollywood Showcase involves some expenses, as well. The cost to send the young budding actress and her parents to Los Angeles for the four day event isn’t cheap. Her family is committed to accompanying her to the event. To help her raise money to offset the family’s expenses, however, her family started a fund-raising campaign on IndieGoGo (visit the fundraiser page at http://igg.me/at/ItsMeRochelleMarie).
The family is actively seeking friends, family members and even local businesses to sponsor Rochelle’s trip to Hollywood. Perks being offered include a free copy of Rochelle’s first book, “Lonnie’s Lemonade,” an autographed 8×10 photo, up to and including having Rochelle in a commercial for businesses willing to sponsor her.
For further information visit her web site at http://ItsMeRochelleMarie.com.


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Elk Grove Police Conducting DUI Checkpoint TONIGHT

Written By EGN on Friday, August 28, 2015 | 19:00


August 28, 2015 |

Tonight, Elk Grove Police will be conducting a DUI checkpoint.
The checkpoint, which will start at 7 p.m and go until 3 a.m. Saturday, is part of the Sacramento County-wide focus on drunk driving.
Tonight’s checkpoint will be held at an undisclosed location within city limits. The 18-day, high-visibility campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is a partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety to curb impaired driving and save lives.
Additionally, Elk Grove will have a saturation DUI patrols on Saturday night. See the schedule of police DUI activities below.
Week of Aug 28th through Labor Day
Fri, Aug 28th, DUI/DL CHECKPOINT, 1900-0300, City of Elk Grove
Sat, Aug 29th, DUI/DL CHECKPOINT, 1900-0300, City of Sacramento
Sat, Aug 29nd, DUI Saturation Patrols 2000-0300, City of Elk Grove
Fri, Sept 4th, DUI/DL CHECKPOINT, 1900-0300, Cities of Sacramento and Elk Grove
Sat, Sept 5th, DUI Saturation Patrols 2000-0300, Cities of Sacramento and Elk Grove
Sun, Sept 6th, DUI/DL CHECKPOINT, 1900-0300, City of Citrus Heights


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Sacramento Transit Authority to Spend $600k For Study on Possible Ballot Measure



UPDATED 3:15 p.m. |
August 28, 2015 |

At their regular meeting yesterday afternoon, the Sacramento Transit Authority board of directors approved a $600,000 expenditure to study the feasibility of asking Sacramento County voters to increase sales taxes to fund various transportation and infrastructure needs. 

The expenditure will be used to conduct surveys and constituent outreach by the Sacramento-based political and campaign consulting firm of  Duffy and Capitolo. Those findings will help STA directors by July 2016 whether or not to place a county-wide sales tax increase proposal on the November 2016 general election ballot. 

Like many government entities through the country, Sacramento County and its six incorporated cities are facing challenges financing even the most basic transportation maintenance needs. Elk Grove alone is currently deferring about $8 million in annual road maintenance in hopes of capturing possible monies from STA.

During deliberations on the expenditure Sacramento County Supervisors Don Nottoli and Susan Peters told STA Executive Director Brian Williams that it would have been helpful if representatives of Duffy and Capitolo were at the meeting to answer directors' questions.

Nottoli also expressed concern about placing a county-wide sales tax, which requires a two-third majority to pass,  unless it offered voters specific targeted projects. He added Californians pay some of the highest sales and fuel taxes, yet he has some constituents who have not had their streets repaved in over 50 years. 

"We have a big challenge here," he said. 

Elk Grove Vice Mayor Pat Hume asked Williams should they decide to place a sales tax increase on the ballot, how much would the campaign cost. Williams said when Measure A was placed on the ballot in 2004, the campaign cost about $1 million and that it was privately funded by local chambers of commerce and building industry interests.

Hume also noted that the Elk Grove City Council has discussed developing an alternative ballot initiative plan should the STA decide against pursuing a county-wide measure.    

"In Elk Grove we recognize that if this does not go forward we have to have a plan-b with something because we have a gap in our needs versus our resources," Hume added. 

Peters also zeroed in on who might fund the political campaign should the proposed sales tax increase put up for a popular vote. William said the Building Industry Association and the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce fund a large portion of the last campaign. 

"I think you might get help from Region Builders," STA Vice Chair and Folsom City Council Member Kerri Howell interjected. "They love running campaigns like that."

Region Builders Executive Director Joshua Woods said his organization would consider helping and their own internal polling shows strong support for specific transit projects such as the proposed Southeast Connector and bringing Sacramento Regional Transit's Light Rail to Elk Grove.

"However, we need to see a detailed expenditure plan of what this proposed measure would include, evaluate the return on investment for the economy, and examine what protections for taxpayers are included in the proposed measure before we can make a determination on support or opposition," Woods said. 

Only two directors, Citrus Heights City Council Member Sue Frost and alternate member Teresa Stanley, voted against approval. 










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Brewer, Cooper, Suen Hosting 'Back to School" Food Truck Event Tonight


August 28, 2015 |

California Assembly Member Jim Cooper (D -Elk Grove) will join forces tonight with Elk Grove City Council Member Darren Suen and Cosumnes Community Services District Director Rod Brewer and host a 'back to school' food truck event in Elk Grove.

The event will be at Lawrence Park in the Laguna West neighborhood and will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Aside from dining, participants can learn about community resources and discuss legislative issues with the elected officials. 

Lawrence Park is located at 9369 Fasset Way, on the corner of Babson Drive.  


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Elk Grove Police Bust Alleged Pot House, Find Over 400 Plants

August, 28, 2015 |

The efforts of Elk Grove Police Department's Street Crimes Unit paid-off again yesterday when another pot growing operation was nipped in the bud.

According to police department reports, the Street Crimes unit served a search warrant on the 8500 block of Zinnia Way and discovered an active indoor marijuana growing operation. Officers discovered over 400 marijuana plants and that the grow operators were stealing electricity.

Arrested were Elk Grove resident's 27-year old Curtis Daniel Wong Oatman and 33-year old Michelle Ngoc Tran (pictured below). Both are being held at the county jail ineligible for bail with their arraignment scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Monday, August 31.





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Chew's Review - Mistress America



By Gary Chew | August 28, 2015

Opens today

I couldn't help thinking about a 1964 Peter Sellers movie directed by George Roy Hill as I watched Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach's latest movie called Mistress America. The Sellers film was The World of Henry Orient. Of course, Sellers gave us his magnificent best in the title role.

Both movies are concerned with the foibles of young females … Orient looked into the antics of a pair of 14-year-old girls in New York City, one of whom has a crush on a world famous concert artist. On the other hand, Mistress shadows two attractive twentysomethings in the Big Apple confronting issues more mature, but not by much.

Brooke (Gerwig) and Tracy (Lola Kirke) are just meeting for the first time in Times Square since Brooke's Dad and Tracy's Mom have decided to get married. Oh gee, stepsisters at such an “advanced” age.

Tracy is new on scene, entering university life. She's an aspiring writer and hopes to gain membership in the prestigious Mobius Society. Brooke has less artistic goals. Her big dream is to own an ultimately hip restaurant that really cool New Yorkers will always come back to as their special home base for fine food and conviviality. Brooke will call her establishment Mom's.

Stavros--- Brooke's aspiring-to-great-wealth boyfriend --- is currently in Greece. She's banking on him for staking her to get the restaurant project underway But gulp, he stiffs Brooke for the seed money. That Stavros is in Greece could explain why those bucks aren't at hand.

Gerwig's character is the high charged half of the Brooke/Tracy duo. Ms. Kirke was also seen in Gone Girl. I often say, when I see someone who gets a part really right and has plenty of charisma to go with the acting chops, “You're gonna see her or him in movies again and again.” I'm saying that right now about Lola Kirke after seeing her do a much larger part in Mistress America.

Tracy is the subtle person of the pair: somewhat retiring and not high up on anyone's social list. Yes, Brooke can be overwhelming for Tracy. Gerwig keeps herself in fifth gear for every scene, but it all looks so easy and natural for the Sacramento native.

The scene changes quickly when Brooke and Tracy get out of town for a meet up with a former main squeeze of Brooke's who does have mucho dinero. Maybe Dylan (Michel Chernus) will come through for Brooke with the bucks for getting Mom's on the map. He lives in luxury with his wife (Heather Lind), who intensely dislikes Brooke due to Brooke and Dylan's previous up-hooking.

It here's in Dylan's digs that Mistress America presents almost as a stage play with a zany mix of newly added characters, all seemingly to have just come from an audition for another Woody Allen movie. They and the earlier on characters make Mistress America even funnier. The later moments are quite uproarious and comically choreographed, showing Gerwig and friends not missing a beat or cue.

Will Brooke open that Mom's Restaurant, and does Tracy become more popular and gain membership in the venerable Mobius Society? And how can all that be tied up in a neat sort of reflexive manner?

Gerwig and Baumbach, her real life main squeeze, might have their best so far with Mistress America, although Francis Ha and Greenberg had lots to offer those who enjoy laughing at rather smart people making silly mistakes living their lives while giving great effort to growing up … some more.
Copyright © 2015 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.


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City of Elk Grove to Seek Old Town Plaza Design Input at Monthly Food Truck Event

Written By EGN on Thursday, August 27, 2015 | 15:20

August 27, 2015 |


Mixing business and pleasure, The City of Elk Grove will present and seek design ideas at next week's monthly food truck event in Old Town Elk Grove. 


The monthly food truck event, which is held on the city-owned lot in Old Town Elk Grove now called the Old Town Plaza, will also host a pop-up workshop on ideas for residents to provide input on how the lot should be used. Since its purchase from Union Pacific Railroad, the lot has been used as an ice rink, a concert venue and has become the unofficial site of the annual Old Town Chili-Cookoff and Beer Brewing contest.    

The workshop is the first step toward a design that will eventually be presented for approval by the City Council. For more information about the project, please contact the City’s Planning Department at (916) 478-2265.

The event will be held next Wednesday between 5 and 8 p.m. on the site located at 9615 Railroad Street (Elk Grove Boulevard and Railroad Street). 




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Probationer Arrested by Elk Grove Police For Petty Theft, Drug Possession

Richard Tarkington is in custody at the county
jail after violating his probation. 
August 26, 2015 |

A Sacramento probationer is in custody after he was arrested and found to be on probation.

According to Elk Grove Police, 49-year old Richard Harold Tarkington was detained after he allegedly committed a petty theft at a late night business on the 8400 block of Elk Grove Boulevard. A records check by responding officers found that Tarkington was on probation.

A probation search of Tarkington led to the discovery of a controlled substance and narcotics paraphernalia. The suspect was arrested and is being held at the county jail on a $20,000 bail on felony charges for violating probation as well as three misdemeanor counts. 

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Reunited! City of Elk Grove, Sacramento Regional Transit Bury The Hatchet

Written By EGN on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | 22:30


August 26, 2015 |

If a portion of tonight's regular Elk Grove City Council meeting had a soundtrack playing in the background, the appropriate song would have been 1978's Reunited by Peaches and Herb.

Such was the mood last night as the city council unanimously approved a collaboration agreement between The City of Elk Grove and Sacramento Regional Transit Authority. According to the staff report, the agreement is designed "to ensure that the common interests shared by COEG and SRTD are addressed in a manner that ensures the enhancement of the region’s current and future transit services."

The agreement represents a 180-degree change in Elk Grove's attitude since its incorporation in 2000. In its early years, Elk Grove eschewed regional cooperation and adopted a go-it-alone stance on several issues, including mass transit.

More recently, the city has tried to shed that image and has recognized the need to cooperate on a regional basis. The epiphany came after the city's proposed 12-square mile expansion via its sphere of influence application was denied in November, 2013 by the Sacramento Area Local Agency Commission who said the expansion was inconsistent with the so-called Sacramento Area Council of Government's regional blueprint.       

Appearing on behalf of the Sacramento Regional Transit (SRT) was General Manager Mike Wiley, who expressed optimism about the collaboration between the entities. Wiley also said that SRT is developing plans for free rider days for Elk Grove transit users.

"It is a whole marketing program communicating with Elk Grove citizens, and I would like to have it be more than one day,'' Wiley said. "So that is the effort we are working on now with your staff." 

Developing Elk Grove ridership from the new Blue Line Station at Cosumnes River College (CRC) that opened on Monday connecting to Downtown Sacramento has been seen as crucial not only for the line's success, but also bringing SRT Light Rail to Elk Grove. In the spirit of regional cooperation, Elk Grove is exploring discontinuing their e-Tran express commuter bus routes to Downtown Sacramento and feeding those riders to the CRC Blue Line Station.

When Elk Grove floated the idea of discontinuing the popular commuter express bus routes in recent months, the idea was met with stiff resistance from riders who cited safety and cleanliness concerns of Light Rail cars. Subsequent to that, Elk Grove scuttled those plans but has hired a consultant to do an operational study of the e-Tran bus system and make recommendations for route restructuring by May 2016.

Speaking in support of the new agreement between the City and SRT was Mike Barnbaum, a mass transit advocate and representative of Sacramento-based Ride Downtown 916. Barnbaum stressed that the old animosities between Elk Grove and SRT came from five former city council members, "not this city council," he said.

"Relationships are stronger when they stretch sometimes," Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis said. "This is a good way to memorialize the positive direction we are going in."   








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Elk Grove Police Arrest Probationer For Shoplifting Walmart, Giving Fake Identity

Kaitlyn Nicole Wilcox of Elk Grove is 
being held on a $35,000 bail. 
August 26, 2015 |

A probationer was arrested yesterday afternoon after she allegedly shoplifted and gave false identification to police.

According to Elk Grove Police, 23-year old Kaitlyn Nicole Wilcox of Elk Grove was observed shoplifting at the Walmart on Bruceville Road by a store employee. After being detained, Wilcox reportedly provided false information about her identity to responding police officers.

After identifying Wilcox, she was arrested and booked into the county jail where she is being held on $35,000 bail. Wilcox is on probation for a 2014 theft and providing false information to a police officer convictions.  

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Question - Council Members Texting During Meeting a Brown Act Violation?

August 26, 2015 |


Posted with permission of the First Amendment Coalition 

Q: We have noticed a new trend during City Council meetings. We are seeing council and staff texting/emailing to each other while on the dais. This is occurring during the public comment item of the meeting and includes the city attorney.
We would like to CPRA these texts but believe they will either claim they are not retained or are privileged. I don’t believe the council should be having a private conversation with the city attorney during a public meeting. The audience watching the meetings at home can’t see this is going on.
If the City Attorney needs to give advice, shouldn’t he state it publicly, or that he will confer with them at a future properly noticed closed session? Do you have any advice for asking for text messages?
A: Indeed, the use of texting during city council meetings seems to be a growing problem in California, and would seem to undermine both the spirit, if not the law, of the Brown Act and Public Records Act.
Under the Brown Act, which is California’s public meeting law, a violation of that law may occur when
“a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries,” is used by a majority of the members of an agency to “discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.” Gov. Code section 54952.2(b)(1).
Thus, if the council is made up of five people, and three are communicating with each other outside of the confines of a publicly noticed meeting, then this would be a violation of the Brown Act. Such communications includes those dispatched by email, and thus it would seem that the same would apply to text messages between various members of a particular board or council.
For example, if one council member emailed two other council members regarding an issue that is “within the subject matter jurisdiction” of the board, then at this point, a majority of council members (three out of five) are in on a discussion being held outside of a publicly noticed meeting, and thus a “serial” meeting in violation of section 54952.2(b)(1) might have occurred.
This would be true, as well, if the council members were transmitting their messages to each other through, say, the city attorney.
That said, given that this texting is happening during what is supposed to be an open meeting, it may be that the staff and council members are not conducting an open meeting at all.
There may be an argument that any text or email communications between council members and/or staff during the meeting must be made public, since they were sent during the public meeting.
The texts and emails that council members are sending to each other could qualify as “other writings” distributed to all or a majority of the members of the council, and therefore, must be “made available upon request without delay” to anyone who asks. Gov’t Code § 54957.5(a).
Furthermore, under the Public Records Act, public records — which include “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics,” Gov’t Code § 6252(e) — are presumed to be open to the public and must be disclosed unless a specific provision of the Act or other law exempts them from disclosure.
This would seem to include messages sent and received from electronic devices, which would fall into the PRA’s broad definition of “writings.” Gov’t Code § 6252(g).
While there is no published, citable decision that I am aware of relating to texts that are sent and received from personal digital assistants, some of which may not be owned by the city, there was a recent trial court decision from San Jose that required the city to release electronic messages from city council members that may have been sent from home email accounts and their PDAs.
A description of that decision, as well as the court’s order, is located here: http://firstamendmentcoalition.org/2013/03/judge-plugs-private-email-loophole-in-public-records-law/.
Importantly, and what may be relevant to you, is that while such electronic messages may not necessarily reside on city-owned servers, this is irrelevant for purposes of determining whether such messages fall into the PRA’s definition of “public record.”
“[A] communication relating to the conduct of the public’s business that is maintained on the private accounts of City officers reasonably falls within the definition of a record ‘retained’ by the City.”
It would seem, therefore, that any request for text messages relating to city business that were sent to and from personal electronic devices would be required to be disclosed, even if those messages are maintained on servers that are not owned and operated by the city.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that there is one published decision that touched upon this issue, although the court’s decision seems to have come out in the opposite direction of the San Jose court. In January 2007, a newspaper in Tracy, California, requested communications between city officials and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Although the city produced certain e-mails, it did not produce e-mails between a city councilwoman from her personal e-mail account and the lab. After the newspaper sued for the release of the e-mails, the trial court decided that the councilwoman was not a “local agency” subject to the PRA and that the writings of an individual council member that were not prepared, owned, used, or retained by the city were not “public records” subject to the PRA. Tracy Press, Inc. v. Superior Court, 164 Cal. App. 4th 1290, 1294 (2008) (dismissing on procedural grounds the newspaper’s attempt to have appellate court overturn the trial court’s decision).
The Court of Appeal said that “[i]f [the councilwoman] had e-mailed from the City’s offices, discussing City business, it is undeniable that the records would be ‘public records’ that must be produced. But this proceeding presents a novel and important issue: whether personal e-mails sent without using the City’s resources but discussing the City’s business are ‘public records.'” Id. at 1300.
The appellate court did not reach the issue of whether the trial court was correct in determining that the council member was not a “public agency” for purposes of the PRA, and instead dismissed the petition on other procedural grounds.
However, it did note that the newspaper’s “petition attempted to raise an important and novel issue concerning whether writings in the sole possession of a city council member are ‘prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency’ (Gov.Code, § 6252, subd. (e)) and are therefore subject to a public records request under the Public Records Act and the California Constitution. The participation of amici curiae attests to the importance of the issue.We therefore conclude that this proceeding is not clearly frivolous.” Id. at 1302.
Bryan Cave LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to FAC hotline inquiries. In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation.



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Elk Grove Police Arrest Man Who Allegedly Tried to Run Over Victim

August 26, 2015 |

Elk Grove Police arrested a West Sacramento man yesterday afternoon after he allegedly tried to run over a combatant with his car.

According to police reports, 60-year old Paul Howard Kemp was in a dispute with a 38-year old male. While the victim was standing on the sidewalk on the 8500 block of Spiceberry Way, Kemp allegedly drove his car car onto the sidewalk and lawn and the victim had to jump to avoid getting hit.

Kemp was arrested and charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon. Kemp was released from the county jail after posting bail. 

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Part I - Roger Goodell Needs to be Fired for Incompetency and Treason

Written By EGN on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 | 18:14

By Steve Lee - Special to EGN |August 25, 2015 |

Roger Goodell, an economics degree holder from an indiscriminate eastern college who rose through the ranks at the NFL office in New York to become current NFL Commissioner, has damaged “The Shield” (the official NFL logo) in his short nine-year tenure enough to warrant the owners to demand his immediate resignation. It has been coming for quite some time.

Goodell, whose dad was appointed to replace Senator Robert Kennedy, upon his 1968 assassination, first landed an NFL job in 1983 as an intern for the New York Jets. These would be the same New York Jets that fight for a playoff berth yearly against the current World Champion New England Patriots. Perhaps that is a subconscious motive Goodell may have for trying to undermine the reputation of a player that has become every little boy’s dream; to come from nowhere and become the greatest. Oh yeah, become a millionaire and marry a super model as well.

Goodell became NFL Commissioner in August, 2006, after acting as NFL Executive VP and COO since 2001. Recently, Business Week stated that he is the “Most powerful man in sports.” His duties as Executive VP included oversight of the NFL officials, a fact that may become important below.

In 2007, shortly after taking office, Goodell put in place the “NFL Personal Conduct Policy” in attempt to deter players from acting inappropriately and damaging “The Shield.” Goodell stated at the time that his primary responsibility was to “protect the integrity of the game” and to “making it safer.”
Justice, Roger Goodell style. 

Unfortunately for Goodell, his players seem to be keeping national crime beat reporters busy with their off-field exploits at an alarming rate with no end in sight. Ray McDonald, formerly of the 49ers, and his spousal abuse allegations are a regional example. Yes, allegations, that’s plural. Let’s not forget All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson was arrested for “reckless or negligent injury to a child,” his four-year old son in Texas. TMZ published photos of slashes on the child’s legs, buttocks and back from a tree branch. Peterson was suspended in November for the remainder of the 2014 season only after the TMZ report was made public.

There’s Adam “Pacman” Jones and his drug, weapons, assault history culminating in paralyzing a Las Vegas patron in a shootout he was involved in. Two-time Super Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in 2009, had his penalty of a six game suspension reduced to four games for allegedly sexually assaulting two different women. He was never charged with a crime although he reached out-of-court settlements with the accusers. In 2013, Patriot’s tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder of his friend by gunshot. He was convicted in 2015.

Entire teams and administrators aren’t outside the commissioner’s wrath. In 2007, The New England Patriots were found to be illegally videotaping the Jets defensive signals during the 2007 season opener. Goodell dealt harshly for that conduct, fining both the team owner and head coach $500,000 and taking away a first round draft pick. The incident became known as “Spygate.”

In 2012, “Bountygate” was uncovered. Seemingly, the New Orleans Saints coaches had allowed money to exchange hands if a defensive player were to knock an opposing player out of the game. The head coach and defensive coordinator were suspended without pay for an entire season. Players were also suspended and a fee and draft picks were also lost.

This was followed by the NFL official’s lockout at the beginning of the 2012 season. The commissioner’s words of making the sport safer and protecting the players were thrown back into his face as high school and lower echelon college officials ruled over NFL games the first two weeks of the season. The NFLPA pressured Goodell into reaching accord with the officials as they pointed out game’s integrity and the safety of its players were challenged by the use of replacement refs.

Despite these embarrassments, the public disillusioned related to Goodell’s tenure as commissioner originally crested in 2014 when Goodell issued a two-game suspension for Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens running back, for his beatdown of his then-fiancĂ©e in an Atlantic City casino elevator. For those of you living on another planet during the winter of 2014, he punched her into unconsciousness and dragged out of the elevator by her hair. The event was captured on hotel video. Interestingly, Sports Illustrated and the AP documented that a copy of the video was sent to the NFL offices shortly after the event occurred, but Goodell claimed on CBS News that September the NFL offices never received the copy. Many claimed the NFL had attempted to “cover up” the video and to keep any knowledge of it from the public, knowing it would be a blow to “The Shield.”

The two game suspension quickly turned into an “indefinite” suspension once TV tabloid TMZ obtained and posted the video for all to see. However, the NFL’s suspension was overturned on appeal. One of many setbacks the NFL has suffered during Goodell’s tenure.
Once the video was released to the public many media and domestic violence advocates, as Goodell feared, called for his resignation for mishandling of the entire Rice fiasco. A U.S. senator, as well as the leader of the National Organization of Women called for his resignation as did former ESPN commentator Keith Olberman. A writer for the San Francisco Chronicle stated, “His (Goodell’s) leadership has no integrity and can no long be trusted by the public. He should resign.”



18:14 | 0 comments | Read More

Part II - Roger Goodell Needs to be Fired for Incompetency and Treason

By Steve Lee | August 25, 2015

Goodell ignored the demands for his resignation and eventually the outrage subsided.

Then came “Deflategate.” A recent website headline referred to this fiasco so appropriately; “Goodell Cooks Up Drama Like Kim Kardashian...”

“Deflategate” centers around the Indianapolis Colts suspecting the Patriots were under inflating the footballs giving their All-Pro quarterback, Tom Brady, an unfair advantage. The Colts notified the NFL of their concerns prior to the AFC Championship game between the two teams. The pressure for the game balls for each team was checked prior to kickoff as they are before every game. Despite the pre-game allegations, none of the officials recorded the pressure of any of the balls. The Patriots were not notified of these allegations prior to the game so that a drama could have been avoided altogether, thereby protecting “The Shield” and it’s most popular player.

Rule 2.0, a rule in place since the 1940’s, “requires the football to contain a urethane bladder inflated to 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch.” But the rule never has been interpreted as imposing a duty on the referee to periodically ensure that the football remains within that range. One researcher claimed the Ideal Gas Law demonstrates (based on the Wells report), a wet, 48-degree day in January results in the footballs being anywhere from 0.98 to 1.18 PSI below the minimum at halftime. I’m not familiar with that law, but I have yet to see the claim refuted. This makes me wonder, how much air pressure remained in the football when Bart Starr scored from the one in the final minute of the Ice Bowl with the wind chill -17?

Guess the Packers just might have cheated. Vince Lombardi is rolling over in his grave.

Let’s take a look at the Wells Report, the supposed “independent” investigation into “Deflategate” (paid for and edited prior to publishing exclusively by the NFL and its attorneys) that resulted in the harsh punishments to Brady and the Patriots.

It seems that at halftime, the officials having been notified by NFL officials of possible tampering, re-measured all the Patriots footballs. Eleven of 12 of the Patriots balls were under inflated, most less than one pound under acceptable pressure. Interestingly, due to time constraints at halftime the officials only were able to measure four of the Colts balls, three of which were UNDERINFLATED. The commissioner has not punished the Colts for their underinflated balls at all, in fact this is an issue that has been largely ignored yet detailed in the Wells Report, pages 68-69.

Brady, based on the findings of the Wells Report was suspended four games without pay (that equates to three months pay to you and me), the Patriots owner was fined $1 million, and they lost a future draft pick. Goodell said Brady’s suspension was for "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the league." This was because there was no evidence directly or even indirectly that Brady was responsible for the underinflated game balls.

NFL Rule 2 states that, “[T]he balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.” This didn’t happen. They were taken into a restroom under the stadium by an attendant just prior to kickoff. If the officials didn’t retain supervision of the balls as required by NFL rules, why aren’t they being investigated and disciplined? Perhaps another subconscious protection for his NFL upbringing when he was VP overseeing officials?

The NFL written policy for tampering with game balls is a $25,000 fine. I guess Mr. Goodell has been too busy defending himself in federal court to read his own rule book.

Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns All-Pro tackle and nine year NFL veteran recently stated, "We know [quarterbacks] already doctor [footballs] 99 percent, why do we care about the 1 percent in the air pressure?" Thomas said. "Why does that matter? Nobody's even explained why that even matters."

Thomas said Brady is not a cheater.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com noted regarding the manner in which the officials check football pressure. It’s clear that, as of 2013, the precise amount of air inside a football was anything but a big deal. A video posted on the MMQB website shows an official stating, “12.5, that’s close enough,” as he removes a gauge from a ball and tosses it to another official. In another portion of that same video, an official is alarmed by the amount of air hissing out of the ball before adjusting the valve on the gauge, popping it in again, and then flipping it to someone else, presumably because it was “close enough.”

Yet, “Deflategate” lives and is under appeal in a New York court. What a farce.

Why the line in the sand? The Patriots are the team everyone resents and hates, yet are jealous of their success. The NFL wants parity. Owners want a chance to compete for the Super Bowl. Taking down the Patriots is a step in that direction. It’s a step in leveling the playing field. The Patriots are brash, unconventional and push the envelope. Goodell is paid his $40+ million a year by these owners, so he listens when they speak.

However, the fact is it doesn’t matter if the league’s system is terrible, unfair, nonsensical, rooted in bias or, at its core, heavy-handed. Since it was collectively bargained with the union, league commissioner Roger Goodell can be completely wrong based on the inaccurate findings of a bad investigation and no one can do anything about it, except perhaps a federal court judge.

The underlying issue here is why is the commissioner of the most popular sport in the country effectively undermining the reputation and legacy of one of its greatest players?

This has been going on for seven months. “The Shield,” the player, the team, and the commissioner have all been tarnished. For what?... An underinflated ball that according to the results of the game in question gave the alleged no unfair advantage. He played better the second half with properly inflated footballs. He won the Super Bowl with properly inflated footballs.

Talk about turning a molehill into a mountain.

Now, just this week, we see Hall of Fame receiver and ESPN commentator Chris Carter, who along with Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, were exposed telling in-coming 2014 rookies to lie to police if they get questioned. They advised them to have a “fall guy” in their crew that would be willing to go to jail if something bad happens. This was the Hall of Famers advice presented in their best Ebonics slang. Just another misstep by the current NFL leadership.

Mr. Goodell has done enough damage to the game American’s love. Time to put this witch hunt to rest. It’s time for Mr. Goodell to go teach economics at NYU.


18:13 | 3 comments | Read More