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Registered Sex Offender, Homeless Suspect With Warrants Arrested by Elk Grove Police

Written By EGN on Friday, May 6, 2016 | 13:00

May 6, 2016 |

As suspect listed as a transient is in custody at the Sacramento County Jail on over a half-million dollar bail after being contacted yesterday morning.

The suspect, 34-year old Joshua Singh was contacted by Elk Grove Police near Bruceville Road and Four Seasons Drive yesterday morning. Singh was found to have two active arrests warrants, was in possession of narcotics and is a registered sex offender who has not updated his listing since 2015. 

Singh was arrested and booked into the county jail where he is being held on $576,153 and faces a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges. Singh's arraignment is scheduled for Monday afternoon. 

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Elk Grove Drugstore Robbed by Unarmed Suspect

May 6, 2016 |

An unarmed suspect robbed an Elk Grove drugstore last night.

Shortly after 9 p.m. an unknown suspect entered the Walgreens store on Elk Grove-Florin and Bond Roads and approached an employee at the cash register. The suspect verbally demanded money and fearing for her safety, the employee complied.

The suspect fled with an unknown amount of cash and was described as a white male adult, mid 40s 5’10”, 230 lbs. wearing a black baseball hat, gray t-shirt and blue jeans. Responding officers were unable to locate the suspect.  

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City Council to Hear Dutch Bros Request for Second Elk Grove Store

May 6, 2016 |

Hoping to expand its already strong presence in the community, Dutch Bros.'s application to open a second drive-thru coffee shop in Elk Grove will be considered at Wednesday night's City Council meeting.

The popular coffee-based beverage operator, which opened its East Stockton Boulevard store in 2015 to great fanfare, is hoping to secure a second location on the northwest corner of Elk Grove-Florin and Sheldon Roads. The site where the local operators hope to build their 800 sq. ft. two window drive-thru facility is an unimproved parcel that is part of the Sheldon Crossing strip center.

The Elk Grove Planning Commission unanimously approved the request at their April 6 meeting. As part of their approval, the planning commissioners requested and the applicant agreed to change the color of the structure to match the motif of the strip center.

The original approval for the strip center in 2003 required that an addition of any drive-thru facility be approved by the City Council. Additionally, because the drive-thru facility is within 1,000 feet of the rural residential general plan designation, it must obtain a conditional use permit.

Next Wednesday's meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Elk Grove City Hall.

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Poll Results Show Spease Favored Over Davis in Elk Grove Mayoral Race

Written By EGN on Thursday, May 5, 2016 | 03:30

May 5, 2016 |

If Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis can take any solace from a recently conducted poll, it is that it was unscientific in nature.

That popularity poll, which was conducted over a six day period ending on Tuesday on this site, showed that an overwhelming number of participants said if the vote for Mayor were held today, their choice would be Elk Grove Planning Commission Kevin Spease. Of the 54 poll participants, 33, or 61-percent responded they favored Spease.

Davis finished with six votes representing 11-percent while Joel Broussard snagged two votes for three percent. Not surprisingly, some other unnamed candidate gathered five votes for nine-percent, while none of the above garnered seven votes for 12-percent and there was one undecided vote.

As the city's first directly elected mayor in 2012, Davis, who is seeking his third two-year term might be facing a case of voter fatigue after serving on the city council since 2006. Furthermore, Davis has pushed hard and spent considerable political capital on his two pet projects - the civic center aquatics facility and a soccer stadium/competitive soccer fields complex, both of which are stalled in spite of years of hearings and non-starts.

While these poll results might simply indicate readership on this site favor Spease's candidacy, a broader measure, which Davis will undoubtedly commission as his campaign progresses, is to likely show a much closer race. Nonetheless, this informal poll could point to some landmines for Davis.

Most troubling for any incumbent is a good 22-percent of participants were undecided or supported some other unnamed candidate. Like most elections, the action will be securing these undecided voters but for an incumbent, it shows voters are not enthused with the status-quo which Davis represents. 

Another factor that could negatively affect Davis' campaign is the candidacy of Joel Broussard. As a Democratic party member, Davis like other members of his party have relied on a diverse coalition of voters, and in a race that is technically non-partisan, Brousard could make inroads with Elk Grove's African American voting block, which will hurt Davis and benefit Spease.

The election is six months from now, so other polls will be conducted here to see if any trends develop.

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Elk Grove Police to Increase Enforcement During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 5, 2016 |

As part of May's Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Elk Grove Police will be conducting specialized motorcycle safety enforcement operations in an effort to lower deaths and injuries. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur.  

Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers and riders alike that can lead to motorcycle crashes. They will be cracking down on both those operating regular vehicles and motorcycles who are violating traffic safety laws.

Motorcycle fatalities jumped dramatically in California by over 28 percent from a decade low of 352 in 2010. In 2013, 453 motorcyclists lost their lives, which is at a 5 year high. California collision data reveals that primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs by both riders and drivers alike. 

Operations like this are aimed at curbing any more rises in motorcycle deaths and sending the numbers back downward.  In Elk Grove, over the course of the past two years, motorcycle involved collisions have resulted in 19 injury crashes.

Also, since May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, motorcycle riders are encouraged to participate in refresher training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at http://www.californiamotorcyclist.com/  or 1-877 RIDE 411 (1-877-743-3411).

A special Refresher Training for Experienced Riders is being offered May 14 and 15 only. To participate in the refresher training program, experienced riders with a motorcycle endorsement on their valid California driver’s license are invited to bring their street-legal motorcycle, along with proof of registration and insurance, to participating CMSP training sites. Classes will run from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Admission fees will vary between $65 to $100, depending upon location. More information about CMSP’s experienced rider refresher training classes can be found at http://cmsp.msi5.com/

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Suspect Arrested For Monday's Elk Grove Bank Robbery

Written By EGN on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 | 11:10

May 4, 2016 |

A suspect has been arrested in connection with a Monday bank robbery in Elk Grove.

Via social media, Elk Grove Police announced the arrest of a suspect identified as 50-year old  Rodney Williams in connection with the Monday robbery. Williams allegedly robbed the US Bank located on Elk Grove-Florin Road but was clearly caught on a video surveillance camera.

Details related to Williams' arrest were not released. Williams is currently being held at the Sacramento County Jail on a $1,000,000 bail for robbery with arraignment scheduled for Thursday afternoon.  

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For Second Day in a Row, Elk Grove Police Arrests Juvenile Daytime Residential Burglary Suspects

May 4, 2016 |

Elk Grove Police arrested two boys ages 14 and 15 yesterday afternoon on suspicion of a daytime residential burglary.

At 2:30 officers were dispatched to the 5500 block of Adobe Springs on the city's northwest side regarding an in-progress burglary. The resident indicated that the two suspects involved had fled the scene and provided a description.

Officers arrived at the residence and discovered that a side garage door had been kicked in. The two suspects from Sacramento and Elk Grove were located a short distance away.

Both suspects were taken into custody then transported to juvenile hall. On Monday, Elk Grove Police arrested two juvenile suspects for an attempted daytime residential burglary.

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Elk Grove Man Sentenced in National Guard Recruiting Fraud Case

May 4, 2016 |

An Elk Grove man was sentenced yesterday to two years and six months in prison for a scheme to fraudulently obtain bonuses in a recruitment program for the California National Guard.

Richard C. Sihner, 54 was convicted on January 22 of of 18 counts of wire fraud relating to his scheme to receive unearned recruiting bonuses relating to California National Guard enlistees. The jury also convicted Sihner of one count of making false statements to a federal agent. 

In sentencing Sihner, United States District Judge John A. Mendez rejected the suggestion that any blame for the crime rested with others involved in the process. “You, and you alone, are responsible,” Judge Mendez said.

Sihner is a retired member of the California National Guard and participated in the Guard Recruiter Assistant Program (G-RAP). The United States Army contracted with Document and Packaging Broker Inc. (DOCUPAK) to administer G-RAP. Under G-RAP, members of the California National Guard served as recruiting assistants (RA). If an RA referred a potential Guard member to a recruiting office and that person ultimately enlisted, the RA was eligible to receive monetary compensation disbursed by DOCUPAK. RAs would typically receive a $1,000 payment when a nominee enlisted and a second $1,000 payment when the nominee left for boot camp. Ultimately, the G-RAP program was discontinued following the discovery of widespread fraud. Recruits who walked into recruiting offices entirely on their own initiative and were not referred by an RA, were claimed by corrupt RAs in DOCUPAK’s system, often with the assistance of corrupt recruiters.
According to evidence produced at trial, from December 27, 2007 to April 16, 2010, Sihner was an RA in the G-RAP program. A recruiter gave him information about new recruits so that Sihner could falsely claim to have referred them. Sihner made false claims and wrote elaborate falsehoods in the notes section of the DOCUPAK online portal indicating that he had referred the recruits. In fact, the recruits had made contact with the Guard to discuss potential enlistment for reasons entirely unrelated to Sihner. Sihner was paid $95,000 in compensation for purportedly referring 51 soldiers to enlist. Of the 39 recruits federal agents contacted prior to indictment, none had been referred to the Guard by Sihner. When confronted, Sihner lied to federal law enforcement agents investigating the fraud by repeatedly claiming that he had personally referred all of the new soldiers and that he had taken them to the recruiting office to introduce them.
“Integrity is a California National Guard core value, and we're committed to holding our soldiers and airmen accountable if they elect to commit fraud,” Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, Adjutant General for the California National Guard said. “These cooperative efforts by the U.S. Attorney's Office continue to help us ensure we remain not only a capable force, but also an ethical force worthy of the people's trust.”

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Four Suspects Arrested in Last Week's South Sac Triple Homicide

Written By EGN on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 | 13:00

May 3, 2016 |

The Sacramento Sheriff's Department announced homicide detectives made four arrests for last week's triple murder in South Sacramento.

On Sunday, 21-year-old Elijah Johnson (pictured above, right) was detained at a motel in the 2600 block of El Centro Road in Sacramento and taken the Sheriff’s Centralized Investigations Division were he was interviewed and later arrested.

Yesterday, 18-year-old Amanda Tucker (pictured above, center) was arrested at a residence in the 4900 block of Little Oak Lane in Sacramento and a 17-year-old female juvenile was arrested at a residence on Del Paso Boulevard. Today, 24-year-old Daniel Nguyen (pictured above, left) was arrested at an apartment complex in the 2700 block of Castle Court.

On Thursday April 28, at 6:22 a.m., the Sheriff’s Communication Center received a 9-1-1 call regarding a male that had been shot inside a residence in the 8700 block of Ardith Drive in South Sacramento. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and entered the residence and found three victims suffering from gunshot wounds.

Sacramento Metro Fire personnel responded and pronounced the victims dead at the scene. The victims were identified as 56-year-old Thanh Le, and his sons, Dong Le, 32, and Tien Le, 21. Detectives believe this was a home invasion robbery.

Johnson and Nguyen were booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on the charge of murder and are ineligible for bail. Tucker was booked into the Main Jail on the charge of robbery. Her bail was set at $500,000. The juvenile was booked into the Sacramento County Juvenile Hall on the charge of robbery. Johnson is scheduled to be arraigned on May 4, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. in Department 61. Nguyen is scheduled to be arraigned on May 5, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. in Department 61. Tucker is scheduled to be arraigned on May 3, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. in Department 63.

Detectives are asking anyone with information relating to this incident, to please contact the Sheriff’s Department at (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Tip information may also be left anonymously at www.sacsheriff.com, by texting 274637 (CRIMES) and entering the keyword ‘SSD’, or by calling (916) 874-TIPS (8477).

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Elk Grove Juveniles Skip School, Arrested on Suspicion of Burglary

May 3, 2016 |

Instead of attending class, two Elk Grove juveniles were arrested following an attempted residential burglary.

Yesterday afternoon at 12:30 Elk Grove Police were dispatched to the 8900 block of Serraville Way in North Laguna regarding an in-progress burglary. The homeowner was present when two male juveniles ages 15 and 16 entered the backyard and opened a real sliding door to make entry.

Both suspects fled after hearing the resident inside. Responding officers located and detained the two suspects a short distance away. 

The juveniles were taken into custody and transported to juvenile hall. Both suspects are charged with burglary and conspiracy.

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Elk Grove Bank Robbed, Police Seek Help Locating Suspect

Written By EGN on Monday, May 2, 2016 | 17:45

May 2, 2016 |

An Elk Grove bank was robbed shortly after 3 p.m. today.

At approximately 3:07 p.m., the suspect (pictured above) entered the US Bank located at 9230 Elk Grove Florin Road Suite and approached a teller. The suspect told the teller that this was a robbery and demanded money.  

The teller complied with the demands gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of U.S. currency. The suspect exited the bank and was last seen walking in a southbound direction from the bank.

The suspect is described as an African-American male, approximately thirty to forty years of age (30-40), six feet one inches tall (6’1”), one hundred fifty pounds (150 lbs.).  The suspect was wearing a dark colored hood, sunglasses, a white mask and a full length orange jumpsuit with yellow safety stripes. No weapons were displayed during the robbery.

Anyone with information regarding this robbery is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department Detective Bureau at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357).  Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00.  Tips can also be sent via SMS text message by entering CRIMES (274637) on a cell phone, followed by Tip732 (agency identification number) and the message.

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Elk Grove Police Arrests Probationer, Being Held on Credit Card Theft Charges

May 2, 2016 |

A probationer was arrested Friday afternoon after she allegedly stole a credit card from a grocery store customer.

The suspect, 35-year old Ebony Brown (pictured above) of Sacramento was inside the Grocery Outlet store on Bond Road when she stole a wallet from a customer’s shopping cart. Brown proceeded to shop and was confronted by the victim and multiple witnesses at the checkout line. 

Brown attempted to flee and forcefully pushed the owner of the wallet to the ground but was detained by responding Elk Grove Police officers as she exited the store. Brown was positively identified as being responsible for the robbery and a records check revealed she was on probation. 

A search of Brown led to the discovery of debit cards and checks that did not belong to her. Brown was arrested and booked into the county jail where she is being held on $145,000 bail and faces one misdemeanor and four felony charges. Arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

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As Deadline Approaches, Sacramento County Voter Registration Surges

May 2, 2016 |

As the May 22 deadline for voter registration for the June 7 California Primary Election quickly approaching, the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters is reporting a surge in new registrations.

As of Jan. 21, 2016, the County’s total number of registered voters was 675,507. With almost three weeks until the deadline, there are now 697,218 voters registered in Sacramento County. 

“We’ve seen big increases daily in the number of registered voters,” June LaVine, Sacramento County Voter Registrar of Voters said. “The numbers are impressive, and it’s encouraging to see this renewed interest in voting and the upcoming elections.”

Breakdown of registered Sacramento County voters by political party as of April 28:

Democrat: 303,082
Republican: 206,622
American Independent: 21,464
Green: 3,478
Libertarian: 5,240
Peace and Freedom: 5,267
No Party Preference: 152,065

“Residents must be registered to vote 15 days prior to an election, so we urge anyone who hasn’t done so to take action,” LaVine noted.

Registering or re-registering can be done online or by completing a Voter registration card

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Elk Grove Taxpayers Should Count Their Blessings of Failed MLS Bid; Madoff Type Pyramid Scheme?

Written By EGN on Sunday, May 1, 2016 | 12:45

May 1, 2016 |

Frequently criticized on this site yet heartily embraced by most of the Elk Grove City Council members, the city's dream of landing a Major League Soccer thankfully evaporated about two weeks ago. The implied dismissal came during MLS Commissioner Don "The Soccer Don" Garber's visit to Sacramento to hear their pitch to land one of the coveted expansion franchises.

Even though MLS brushed aside the city's bid well before Garber's April visit to Sacramento, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis clung to the idea. At one point Davis even suggested Elk Grove could continue its pursuit of a professional-grade soccer stadium in Elk Grove by snatching the troubled Miami expansion franchise promised to international soccer superstar David Beckham. 
Thankfully, MLS Commissioner Don "The Soccer Don"
Garber played Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and Fabian
Nunez as chumps in his expansion franchise bid-up
scheme. Otherwise Elk Grove taxpayers might have
been on the hook for a $100 million white elephant. 

Now that Elk Grove is out of the running - not that it really ever had a chance - Sacramento is competing with other city's for the new franchise. One of the biggest rivals is Detroit.

Motown's bid is backed by two 21st century billionaire Detroit-based titans, Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores. For those not familiar, Gilbert is a Detroit-area native who started Quicken Loan, owns the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and whose billions of dollars is almost singlehandedly revitalizing Downtown Detroit while Gores owns the NBA's Detroit Pistons.

While Gilbert and Gores' billions and privately-funded bid, which some has described as a land grab, place them well ahead of the Sacramento-owners group financial resources, there is a common threat in both groups bid. The commonality is an almost delusional interpretation of MLS's appeal and future viability, at least according to a well-regarded soccer economist.

In a story published this morning by Crain's Detroit Business, University of Michigan sports economist and soccer author Stefan Szymanski expressed skepticism not only about MLS's appeal among real soccer fans, but the long-term financial viability of the MLS.    

Consider the following excerpt:

There remain macro-level questions about Major League Soccer.
University of Michigan sports economist and soccer author Stefan Szymanski is one of MLS' biggest skeptics.
He drew attention last year with a blog post that predicted MLS will eventually collapse because of its business model and continued financial losses, and called the league a "pyramid scheme."
Critics say Szymanski's numbers are off, but MLS has acknowledged it loses about $100 million a year — the amount billionaires Gilbert and Gores (and other potential investment group partners) are expected to pay for the right to operate a team in Detroit. Gilbert and Gores, or their surrogates, have yet to elaborate on their business plans.
He questions MLS' long-term strategy.
"My feeling is I don't really understand what the end game is with the MLS business model," he said. "I am highly skeptical about how Major League Soccer is going to become a major league."
The league draws small (but growing) viewerships on ESPNFox, and Univision in the U.S., and without TV ratings, the league isn't going to get the sort of broadcast rights deals enjoyed by the other four leagues.
And that uncertainty, along with the acknowledged losses, makes Szymanski question why people invest in MLS.
"Why do you pay $100 million to join a club that loses $100 million?" he said.

The complete story can be viewed here.

If nothing else, it seems Garber has done an extraordinary job of pitting one city against another in his effort to bid-up pricing of an expansion team. This bidding war could be one way to cover annual losses sustained by the league. 

Is it a coincidence that the $100 million expansion fee matches the MLS's annual losses? MLS supporters will continue to delude themselves into buying Garber's snake oil salesman pitch and the whole shtick being foisted in Detroit includes chatter about 100,000 kids playing soccer within an hour of proposed stadium. 

If these fantisiful numbers sound familiar, that because members of the Elk Grove City Council threw similar subjective figures about youth participation in "The Beautiful Game" around in their bid to get taxpayers to build a stadium in hopes of landing an MLS franchise. Furthermore, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the Andrew Donnery  led FC Elk Grove soccer organization is fabricating the illusion of the scarcity of soccer fields in the city so taxpayers can build them multi-million dollar competitive soccer fields they hope to wrest control of for their own purposes (see video below with Donnery threatening electoral consequences and Councilman Pat Hume's rebuttal). 

As for Szymanski, he has been pillared by the MLS and others who oh so desperately want to believe the league is financially viable and that taxpayers, at least in Elk Grove's failed bid, should pay for their expansion. From our perspective, in defense of Szymanski we invoke the name of another naysayer who was shunned but correctly pegged history's largest Ponzi scheme.

In 2001 Barron's reporter Erin E. Arvedlund wrote a story questioning the then well-regarded money manager Bernie Madoff's techniques. As we all know Arvedlund was way out front of the story which at the time was dismissed out-of-hand. 

Szymanski will probably have the last laugh and in the mean time can take comfort that his analysis may put him in the same category as Arvedlund who correctly pegged that infamous Ponzi scheme.

Elk Grove taxpayers can breath a sigh of relief that Garber was never really serious about locating a soccer stadium on a hay field, I mean really, think about it, and was only playing on Fabian Nunez and Mayor Gary Davis' egos to gin-up up the price of an expansion franchise to give the wobbly league a few more years of survival.  As for the need of those competitive soccer fields, more on that later. 

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'Cars and Coffee' Event Benefiting Local Charities Kicks-off Tomorrow in Elk Grove

Written By EGN on Saturday, April 30, 2016 | 09:30

April 30, 2016 |

A new monthly event benefiting local charities kicks-off tomorrow morning in Elk Grove.

Dubbed Cars and Coffee, the event will be held in the Petsmart - Sprout's parking lot on Laguna Boulevard and Big Horn from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Entry fees to show car is $5 and viewing is free.

In addition to the car show, there will be ongoing raffle prizes and some sponsors/charities to visit with. DJ Jimmy Jam will be in attendance to keep the music going and participants also have a chance to win the Top 10 People’s Choice Award. 

Proceeds from this month's event will benefit LapcatsRescue, a non-profit cat rescue group based in Elk Grove. Lapcat's rescue and home at-risk cats from the Bradshaw County Animal Shelter.

The event will be held the first Sunday of every month and a different community-based charity will be the designated beneficiary. More information about the event can be viewed on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/1731978163712266/

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SACOG Kick-Offs 'May is Bike Month' With Special Open Streets Event Tomorrow

April 30, 2016 |

To mark the start of "May is Bike Month," the Sacramento Area Council of Governments will hold a special cycling and walking event tomorrow.

The Sixth Annual Annual Great Scott Bike & Walk Event is a family-friendly event that closes down 30 miles of beautiful county roads to cars and creating an expansive “open street” for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. The street closure cover a large area, but the day is designed for people to bike and walk as much or as little as they want.

The event is FREE and made possible by Sacramento County, El Dorado County, City of Rancho Cordova, City of Folsom, 50 Corridor Transportation Management Association, and 50 Corridor area chambers of commerce. Residents are invited to enjoy walking, biking, food trucks, live music, giveaways, contests, and more,

“Sacramento County's Great Scott Walk and Bike Event is the perfect way to kick off May is Bike Month for the Sacramento region. The county has a long history of planning for communities that have many transportation options," Sacramento County Supervisor and Sacramento Area Council of Governments Vice-Chair Phil Serna said. "I'd like to challenge my colleagues and the residents of Sacramento County to trade their car in for at least one bike trip in May.”

More information about the event and to register your miles for May is Bike Month is available here.

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After Securing Congressional Address for Prime Minister Modi, Bera's Motive Questioned

Written By EGN on Friday, April 29, 2016 | 15:30

April 28, 2016 |

The last few months have not been the best of times for Congressman Dr. Ami Bera (D - Elk Grove).

For Bera, representing California's Seventh District for two terms has been nothing if not challenging. Not only has Bera had to endure razor-thin victories in 2012 and 2014, but he has also been embroiled in some of the most expensive Congressional races in both cycles.

In 2016, Bera started the year not only with the knowledge that he will face another strong Republican challenge from Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, but he was also besieged by conflicts among factions from local Democratic party members. With much of that controversy behind him, this week Bera announced that he has successfully lobbied House Speaker Paul Ryan to have Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi address a joint session of Congress during an upcoming state visit to Washington D.C.

“I’m pleased that Speaker Ryan has granted my request to hold a joint session of Congress with Prime Minister Modi,” Congressman Bera said in a press release issued this week. “India is a key partner of the United States, and this will be an opportunity for members of Congress to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing our two nations. As the son of parents who emigrated from India, this is a special privilege for me and I look forward to working to strengthen our special global relationship with India.”

Modi, who has been Prime Minister of India for almost two years, has been something of a spark plug of international controversy. Described by some as a Hindu Nationalist, Modi has been criticized for alleged complicity in the 2002 Gujarat Riots targeting Muslims that left anywhere from 900 to 2,000 dead and thousands more injured.

As a result of this, Modi was banned from entering the United States and the United Kingdom. As Modi's prominence grew leading to the 2014 election, the ban was lifted and made his first state visit to the U.S. almost two years ago where he was formally greeted by Bera.

Bera's invitation has not escaped the attention of Democratic delegate and former Bera supporter, Amar Shergill. A vocal opponent of Bera who earlier this year was one of party activist who sought to withhold the Sacramento Democratic Party's endorsement, Shergill questioned Bera's motives.

"We have grave concerns regarding the continuing role of Congressmen Bera in representing the interests of India," Shergill said. "Since he has refused to produce records regarding his meetings with Indian corporate leaders and his top contributors control billions of dollars of assets in India and Asia, we must question whether Congressman Bera is representing India’s interests or ours.”

Shergill is also a board member of the American Sikh Political Action Committee, which has increasingly flexed its political influence. In 2014, the PAC criticized Bera for his refusal to condemn the 1984 Sikh genocide that killed about 8,000 followers in a series of riots.

“Despite concerns with Prime Minister Modi’s tortured history with fundamental issues of human rights, we understand that India is a strong ally of the United States and it is important to continue to build upon this relationship," Shergill added.

Modi is scheduled to address the Joint Session of Congress during his June visit. 

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In-Progress Burglary Suspect Arrested by Elk Grove Police

April 29, 2016 |

A Sacramento man was arrested late last night after Elk Grove Police responded to an in-progress burglary.

Police officers were dispatched to the 8600 block of Golden Sage Drive on the city's north central side regarding the burglary. The caller indicated that an unknown suspect was kicking in the front door of the residence.

Responding officers observed a vehicle driving without headlights leaving the area and conducted an enforcement stop. Upon contact, 24-year old Kevin Ellis (pictured above) displayed objective signs of impairment and was positively identified as the person involved in the attempted burglary. 

A search of Ellis' vehicle led to the discovery of marijuana. Ellis was arrested and booked into the county jail where he is being held on a $60,000 bail and faces one misdemeanor and four felony charges. 

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Sacramento Transportation Authority Moves Forward on Tax Measure, Regional Fissures Exposed

April 29, 2016 |

Yesterday afternoon the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) passed an expenditure plan for a proposed countywide sales-tax increase but only after one of its board members threatened to oppose the measure should it appear on the November ballot.

The threat was made by Sacramento City Council Member Steven Hansen, who fought to keep an air quality requirement in the ballot's language. Hansen's threat came after nearly three hours of public comment and deliberations that were contentious and exposed regional fissures on the STA board.

The controversy erupted over the recent insertion of provision H in the proposed tax measure's implementation guide that would have required any funds allocated for new projects be in compliance with federally mandated air quality conformity guidelines in the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Plan. SACOG is a six-county agency authorized by federal and state law "as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and is responsible for developing a regional transportation plan (MTP) in coordination with Sacramento, Yolo, Yuba, Sutter, El Dorado and Placer counties and the 22 cities within those counties (excluding the Tahoe Basin)."
Sacramento City Council Member Steve Hansen (left)
and Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna. 

Leading the charge to delete the language from the expenditure plan was Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume who said it was improper for SACOG to dictate how the transportation funds paid for by Sacramento County residents are used. At risk for Elk Grove could be funding for the Southeast Connector that the city views as a vital cog in its future development.

"I continue to question the necessity of the provision that is contentious," Hume said. "We've heard from the business community that they are opposed to that particular measure."

Referring to public testimony where several people urged the STA to provide greater funding for mass transit should the tax increase be approved, Hume said if the board went in that direction, the measure "would have zero chance of passing, it's great in ideology, but it doesn't work in reality."

Inferring the 66-percent threshold needed to gain approval, Hume said the board was setting itself up for a ballot box failure. "I'm almost at the point of leaving this at the alter," he noted.

During deliberations, Hansen, along with Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna stressed the need to keep the provision in the plan as a way of ensuring air quality obtainment measure are met, and federal funds are not lost.

"I cannot see the harm in this," Serna said. "To me, it is actually a benefit, it is a better part of our narrative ultimately when we go out and ask voters to approve this."

Hansen argued that the provisions inclusion would demonstrate to voters accountability of how the money would be allocated and noted polling showed voters are more likely to support the measure when strong fiscal controls are included.

"It strengthens our margin of error to get approval," he said.

As the deliberations continued, the fissures on the STA board become more apparent with suburban elected officials like Hume, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, who wanted to strip the air quality provisions aligned against Hansen, Serna and Sacramento City Council Member Eric Guerra who fought for its maintenance.

After nearly three hours of wrangling over deleting the provision, changing the wording, and motions and substitute motions, Hansen served an ultimatum if the provision was deleted.

After discussing substitute language proposed the previous day written by STA Executive Director Jeffrey L. Spenser that some board members characterized as ambiguous, Hansen played his card.

"If what goes forward is what Mr. Spenser has wrote, I will oppose it and I may actually campaign against it," he said.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, STA Chair Kerri Howell called for a five-minute recess to craft substitute wording for the provision. When the board readjourned, they voted 13-1 to substitute the original wording of Provision H with language written by SACOG's General Counsel Kirk Trost. (see original language here on page page 11, H, and new language below).

As part of the process of placing the measure on the November ballot, the proposal will be heard at city council meetings of Sacramento municipalities in May and June and come back to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisor and the STA for final approval.

After the meeting, Hume said he felt the compromise reached "was the least alienating to both sides."

"I think it could easily have been removed without any consequence to the overall plan," he said. "The margin of error for getting this approved is so razor thin, we just couldn't afford to have a provision that could be highlighted to be negative. What I don't understand is why the other side was so insistent it had to be there."

New language for Provision H - Measure [to be named] expenditure plan funds programmed for a project construction phase shall not impair the ability of the Regions MTS and MTIP to meet Federal air quality conformity, as determined by the STA board. 

08:30 | 1 comments | Read More

Chew's Reviews - The Meddler

Written By EGN on Thursday, April 28, 2016 | 19:00

By Gary Chew | April 28, 2016 |

Opens tomorrow  |

It was a notion of mine that The Meddler would backstory (A new verb?) as autobiographical. I was right. Lorene Scafaria’s new so titled film --- written and directed by her --- is about Ms. Scafaria’s Mom. Susan Sarandon plays Mom. Her name is Marnie Minervini. Marnie has been widowed for about two years. Her husband left her in good financial shape and in terms of memories of the marriage, just as good. Lori Minervini, (Rose Byrne) is Marnie’s adult daughter; a successful Hollywood scriptwriter. She has yet to wed but recently dumped by her boy friend. Mother Marnie has lived in New Jersey most of her life. Guess what?

Marnie moves to LA. There, she’s all over her Lori as to what and how to do almost everything. Lori’s in a serious state of “Back off, Mom” mode. “Jewish mother” would be a precise nailing of the Sarandon character. I press this issue quickly, though: Mrs. Minervini has as good a heart as any person in the universe. She really wants abundant wellness for Lori. But there’s something else that’s down in the denying depths of Marnie that takes several pages of script to issue forth for you to clearly see from your cinema seat.

It becomes more apparent as Marnie brushes off attracted guys at her social outings. Like ... there’s Mark (Michael McKean), a dapper, interested and available male about Marnie’s age. Nothing doin’. (It’s great to see McKean not wearing that tinfoil shroud he has wrapped around him most of the time doing AMC’s Better Call Saul.) But when Marnie gets the rush from a retired LAPD cop named Randy Zipper (J.K. Simmons), you know there’s more about her being overly cautious with men than merely ... uh ... their names. J.K., a recent Oscar winner, is just great at being Randy. I think Mr. Simmons might be doing his take on Sacramento film actor Sam Elliot ... almost down to the last mustache bristle. Good stuff for this kind of movie. Another thing: Randy doesn’t ride a motorcycle ... “It’s a HARLEY!”

The tension moves on from Marnie and Lori’s upset due to Smothering Mother’s Syndrome to Lori’s discontent over her former man friend and then ... “Is Lori pregnant?” This is rather sweet and funny stuff that any well-adjusted female will chuckle at as various drug store products are employed to ascertain that Lori might be a mommy in about seven-and-half months, as well as, has or hasn’t she been ovulating at vulnerable moments. I couldn’t help thinking: would this segment of the narrative be more autobiographical than Ms. Scafaria intended?

After these many years watching Sarandon perform and evolve as a top-notch film actor, she only slightly stuns me by the great range of emotions she brings to Mrs. Minervini. Had I never seen Sarandon in a part, it might’ve been overwhelming. If you might not have noticed, Sarandon is really good at her craft. This all began for me even before Burt Lancaster, as an old mobster, window peeks on Susan in her character as a waitress at a sea food restaurant in Atlantic City ... the movie and the burg.

Complaint: in the third act, it seemed to me there are three or four points at which The Meddler could be brought to a close. One of those is Marnie and Randy (Yes, that is his name in the movie.) alone in a sunset beach scene that includes Randy’s Harley. Something else it says for me is that the movie is too long; some of the false-like stopping points could have better been excised for the big release. I was feeling “denouement-on-its-way-now” more than once.

But there flows from The Meddler an overall payoff of solid entertainment that has Sarandon at the controls most of the time. She knows what she’s doing with the role, and most every woman who is or has been a mother will know that Susan’s doing it right ... all the mistakes notwithstanding ... just as a good mother always does. PG-13.

Copyright 2016 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

19:00 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Seek to Identify, Apprehend Restaurant Burglary Suspect

April 28, 2016 |

Elk Grove Police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspected burglar caught on a video surveillance camera (see images below).

The suspect is said to be responsible for four burglaries of the Kobe Steak and Sushi restaurant on East Stockton Boulevard between April 12 and 23. Detectives believe the suspect may also be responsible for other burglaries throughout the region.  

The suspect is described as an Asian male, approximately 40 to 50 years old, 5’6”, 150-160 pounds. An associated vehicle has been described as a gold or silver four-door vehicle.

Anyone with information regarding these burglaries is asked to call the Elk Grove Police Department Detective Bureau at (916) 478-8060 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357). Callers to Crime Alert can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Tips can also be sent via SMS text message by entering CRIMES (274637) on a cell phone, followed by Tip732 (agency identification number) and the message.

10:00 | 0 comments | Read More