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The Elk Grove Promenade and Elk Grove Politicians - The Promise v. Reality

Written By EGN on Saturday, August 1, 2015 | 21:30

August 2, 2015 |

Not unlike a politician making campaign promises about bringing jobs, there are the promises and then there is reality.

A recent example is Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and Councilman Steve Ly's campaign promise during the 2014 campaign that together, they would bring high-paying non-fast food jobs to Elk Grove. The reality is during their first year of being joined at the hip we will get a few more minimum-wages jobs at Gil Moore's "one of its kind in California" AM/PM gas station, McDonald's and Mickey's Malt Liquor cave, and maybe some increased fast food sales tax revenues from the invisible eyesore of a billboard recently erected billboard on Highway 99 between Bond Road and Elk Grove Boulevard.

Fortunately for Ly he wasn't on the council when both of the horrible decisions were made regarding Moore's neighborhood-unfriendly project or the gutting of the  highway billboard ordinance. But given Ly's he-hasn't-met-a-contributor-he-doesn't-like proclivity, we suspect he would have been part of the then-unanimous decision had he been on the city council.

As for Davis, he too can rightfully say that he wasn't on the council when the fateful decision to approve the Elk Grove Promenade was made. But since the time he has become the city's directly elected Mayor, Davis has made lots of promises about when construction on the shopping center would resume.

A little over a year ago Davis even told KCRA the shopping center could be open sometime this year. Well that clock too is clicking away to 2016.

So much for flying to Texas and putting a fire under the butt of the Howard Hughes Corporation, the shopping center's current owner. They, or who ever will end up owning the half-built ghost town of a shopping center, will build something out there only when they are damn well ready despite any supposed fire placed under their butt.

Below are two videos of the Lent Ranch Mall-Elk Grove Promenade-Outlet Collection at Elk Grove - one is the promise and the other is the reality. 

Not only is the Elk Grove Promenade a reminder of the devastating effects of the Great Recession, it is a metaphor. The metaphor is that promises by politicians are easy to make, but delivery of them is unrealistic. 


The Elk Grove Promenade

21:30 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Car Dealer, Customers Pitch-in On Historic Water Conservation Efforts

August 1, 2015 |

Faced with a historic drought, people throughout California are pitching in to conserve water. These conservation efforts were reflected recently when it was reported Californians have reduced year-over-year water consumption by 27-percent.

One Elk Grove business and its customers that have vowed to help in the effort is Elk Grove Toyota.

As a partner in Toyota's "The Wash Can Wait" program, the Elk Grove Automall dealer and its customers are opting out of complementary car-washes that come with any vehicle service appointments. The goal of the program, which started two weeks ago, is for the Northern California Toyota dealers to save up to 20 million gallons of water.

“Community involvement and environmental issues are very important to Toyota dealers,” Pete Carey, General Manager of the San Francisco Region of Toyota Motor Sales said. “As Californians, we’re looking to do our part to ease the water crisis and hope The Wash Can Wait Campaign will heighten water conservation and inspire our customers during the dry summer months.”

About 90-percent of Toyota dealers in Northern California have signed-up to participate while the remaining dealerships will use recycled water for car-washes to complement the program. 

Locally, Elk Grove Toyota started its conservation efforts in February, and in the first two weeks of the formal program, over 310 customers have participated saving 15,000 gallons of water. Elk Grove Toyota has also reduced spray-washing its inventory to once a week from twice.  

As an extension of the program, Toyota has also joined forces with Save Our Water, a California-based organization dedicated to helping residents reduce water use on a daily basis. Save Our Water works with organizations to help spread the message of water conservation beyond just periods of drought.

"Toyota's announcement to reduce water use should be applauded," said Jennifer Persike, Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs and Operations, Association of California Water Agencies said. "Every Californian should take a similarly thoughtful approach to how they use our most precious resource - water - during this historic drought,”

The Wash Can Wait program is part of Toyota’s larger commitment to the environment and water stewardship. In 2014, Toyota saved more than 93 million gallons of water by reducing, reusing and recycling water as part of its operations and manufacturing processes. For example, implementation of reverse osmosis systems at Toyota manufacturing plants saved 61 million gallons of water last year.

For more information on The Wash Can Wait campaign and water conservation tips, visit SaveOurWater.com.

00:00 | 2 comments | Read More

Man Robbed at Gunpoint, Knifepoint in Late-Night Elk Grove Weed Deal

Written By EGN on Friday, July 31, 2015 | 10:40

July 31, 2015 |

A  marijuana deal soured for the potential buyer late last night when he was robbed by up to five suspects. 

According to Elk Grove Police, the 19-year old male victim and another individual agreed to meet on the 9000 block of Bruceville Road to buy marijuana. During the sale, they were approached by three to five suspects. 

The victim ran away from the suspects and was tackled to the ground. Three of the suspects kicked him, demanded his personal property, while one suspect pointed a gun and two others were holding knives. 

The victim complied with the suspects' demands who then fled northbound. The suspect with the gun was described as a Black male adult, riding a red mountain bike and was wearing a red t-shirt with blue shorts. One of the knife-wielding suspects was described as a Black male adult, riding a mountain bike and wearing dark clothing. 

Responding officers were unable to locate the suspects. 

10:40 | 2 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Officers, K-9 Catch In-Progress Burglary Suspect

July 31, 2015 |

Elk Grove Police officers, with the help of a K-9 unit, were able to apprehend a burglary suspect yesterday morning.

According to police reports, officers were dispatched to the 6700 block of Storia Way in response to an in-progress burglary. Upon arrival, officers observed that the backdoor slider had been smashed, and that a suspect known as 25-year old Dejoel Labrandona Bruckner (pictured above) of Sacramento was in the kitchen area of the home.

Bruckner reportedly did not comply with officers instructions and attempted to flee from the residence. An EGPD K-9 was deployed and suspect was apprehended.  

Bruckner was found to be in possession of property stolen from inside the residence and was arrested then transported to an area hospital for medical treatment. After he was medically cleared, he was booked into the county jail where he is being held on $85,000 bail on three felony charges including violating terms of his probation.  

09:15 | 1 comments | Read More

Urban Aerial Mosquito Spraying Being Considered For Elk Grove, Davis

Written By EGN on Thursday, July 30, 2015 | 10:45

July 30, 2015 |

Because of a spike in West Nile Virus (WNV)  activity, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District is considering aerial spraying in Elk Grove.

Laboratory results received yesterday by the district confirmed that a total of 26 mosquito samples have tested positive. Additional surveillance results will be available early next week that will help determine if urban aerial spraying will be necessary

“We’re very concerned with the high infection rates in the mosquito population and are considering aerial spraying” Gary Goodman, District Manager said. “We will continue to closely monitor activity in the areas of concern and based on continued surveillance results, aerial treatments may be necessary in some areas” 

In response to the increased WNV activity, the District will intensify ground truck fogging around parks and all other areas where activity has been found around Sacramento County. In Yolo County, along with intense ground treatments, aerial applications to agricultural areas will be conducted outside of Davis and Woodland to create a buffer around the cities and reduce the abundance of adult infected mosquitoes that can pose a health threat to the public. 

The first sign of West Nile virus activity for the season began in early June when a mosquito sample from an agricultural area between Davis and Woodland tested positive. Since then, activity has continued to steadily increase and intensify over the past few weeks. 

The same pattern developed around Elk Grove with many mosquitoes and birds testing positive throughout the city. The increase in activity comes as the first fatality in the state related to West Nile virus was announced last week.

Residents can subscribe to receive email notifications for mosquito treatments by zip code. To sign up, visit www.FIGHTtheBITE.net and go to Spray Notifications. Information for current treatments planned is also available on the District website.

10:45 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club Holding Fundraiser Next Week

July 30, 2015 |

The Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club will be holding a fundraising event next week in Elk Grove that will feature prominent area politicians, including Congressman Dr. Ami Bera.

The "getting to know you" event will be held next Thursday, August 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m at Logan's Steakhouse, 9150 West Stockton Blvd.

Along with Bera, other elected Democratic officials expected to attend include State Senator Richard Pan, Assembly Member Jim Cooper, Elk Grove City Council Member Darren Suen, Elk Grove Unified School District Trustee Nancy Chaires, and Cosumnes Community Services District Board Member Rod Brewer.

Tickets to the event are $20. For more information or to purchase tickets contact Nancy Fox at 916-230-4560. 

09:15 | 0 comments | Read More

A Father and Son's Journey Through Foreign Exchange Study

Written By EGN on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 11:00

Special to Elk Grove News | July 29, 2015 |

It seems like a lifetime ago. In the late 80s I was a young student leaving Ecuador headed to Kent, Ohio, for what would be an experience like no other. An experience that would certainly stay with me for a lifetime. Following the lead of my older brother, I left behind friends and family to become an AFS exchange student. Now it would be my son's turn.

A year ago, the Elk Grove News was reporting that Adrián was one of the Elk Grove students that had received a scholarship to help him become an AFS student. The summer of 2014 he left on his way to spend his junior year in high school in Spain. A year later, Adrián is back in Elk Grove. The following is a brief glimpse about what his experience studying abroad was like.

Both he and I feel it is worth sharing, because families in Elk Grove also have the opportunity to see their kids become an exchange student or to be a part as a family of this wonderful learning experience. Hopeful students are eagerly waiting to hear back from AFS that they have found a family to host them.

Help create a "Lifelong Opportunity." Visit AFS's website for more information about becoming a Host Family or an AFS exchange student.

-- Pablo Espinoza 


My Year of Foreign Study

By Adrián Espinoza

Exciting, fun, emotional, and life changing are the words I would use to describe my recent year as an AFS exchange student in Spain. While in Spain I lived in two places, the first half I lived in a northern town called Zarautz near San Sebastian. The second half, I was in Massamagrell, a suburb of Valencia about three miles from the beach. Studying abroad has helped me learn about new cultures, connect with people, and learn even more about myself. 

Spain has many cultures being such a small country. It would surprise many Americans that there could be so many distinct cultures in a country about the size of the state of Texas. Luckily I was able to experience and learn first hand about two of those cultures, the Basque and the Valenciana cultures. Zarautz and San Sebastian are in the province of Guipuzcoa in the Basque area. Massamagrell and Valencia are in the province of Valencia in the south of Spain by the Mediterranean coast. Being an AFS exchange student not only gave me the opportunity to learn about Spain and its people but it also allowed me to meet other kids my age from all over the world. I was far away from home and was meeting new people everywhere I went. While I learned a lot from almost everyone I met, even some difficult lessons; some of the most important people were my little host brother Manel who taught me so much about myself just by being so similar to me; and of course my best friend and first love, Valeria.
Its surprising to see how many cultures there can be in one small country. Many people who live in United States would consider Spain a small country. Even though Spain is just a bit smaller than Texas, it doesn't mean it can’t have its own unique cultures. In fact Spain not only has one but many distinct cultures like the Basque, Valenciana, and Catalan just to mention a few. The Basque is one of the most different cultures in Spain. They have a lot of traditions, like the day of “San Fermin”, when people dress in traditional Basque clothes and celebrate the history of the culture and your town with friends and go around town. Another big part of the Basque culture is the language, which is considered by some people to be one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world. It was interesting to learn also, that not unlike many other countries, people in the Basque region picked on people from the south of Spain, which is ironically where I would go next on my AFS experience. 

The second half of my exchange was in Valencia. Valencia, like the Basque region also has their own language, but this language is easier to understand than Basque, it is called Valenciano. It is sort of a mixture of Catalan and Spanish. In school I would have classes in both Spanish and Valenciano. This made things a whole lot harder for me, luckily I was able to understand about one third, enough to formulate ideas about the conversation. But once I got to Valencia, I was able to connect much easier with the culture than I did in Zarautz. Those in Valencia were very open to new people and new experiences. I was able to learn many things like cooking traditional dishes and even learning the language of that area (not including the base language Spanish which I learned throughout). I even made strong relationships that will last a lifetime with friends and my girlfriend, with whom I had most of my best experiences.

Connecting with people was the best and one of the easiest things to do, while also being at times the most difficult. I was in school for about three days before I met, a classmate who invited me to hang out with his friends. That was the day that I met some of the people who cared the most about me, including two great friends and my current girlfriend, Valeria(my first love). Those people have been there for me even when I came back to the USA. They asked how everything is going, when will I come back and they continue to check in on me. Then of course, it’s my first love. I haven't gone one day without being thankful for meeting her. Valeria showed me more things in Valencia and strived herself to take me places I’ve never been before. When people saw me doing anything fun or somewhere interesting I would usually be with Valeria. It’s incredible to find someone that cares so much about who you really are in the other side of the world in a place I had never been.

If I wasn't with Valeria I was with my host family; my host Mom Ines and my host Dad, Paco . I still remember to this day exactly how my first day in Valencia with my family went. I met the two parents, one in a rush to go to paddle (sport similar to tennis) and a child shocked to see me as he walked in quietly (only time he came in the house quietly) and stood to the side to say hello. Little did I know that this 10-year old boy named Manel, would become someone I now consider a true brother, in addition to my two other brothers in California. Manel showed me  more about myself than I would be able to teach him about anything else. He was so similar to me growing up that it was like seeing myself in action. 

One of my best memories was when my host family invited Valeria and I out for dinner for my birthday. Everything was like a normal dinner, then they all began to sing happy birthday while bringing me out a small cake. I began to cry and told them how it seemed amazing to me that people I didn't know just two months earlier could show me so much kindness and love. I have some of the best memories with Paco, Ines and Manel and I am glad to call them my family in Spain. I have met people who will be a part of me for the rest of my life and that I truly love like my host family, girlfriend and, my best friend.

At first I thought this experience would make me realize other perspectives and cultures. Now I am proud to say that it has brought me much more than that. Even though at times it was extremely hard and I felt like giving up; I feel that becoming an AFS exchange student was one of the best decisions of my life. I not only learned what I stated above but I have learned much more than one could ask. I am thankful to my Dad who shared his own experiences as a past AFS student and made me think about this being an opportunity for me. I would like to dedicate this article to my parents for not only talking me into it, for believing in me and allowing me to be whole year away from them and of course for spending the money so I could experience this AFS adventure, the best experience of my life so far and an unforgettable one.

11:00 | 1 comments | Read More

Retail Employee Threatened With Knife During Elk Grove Shoplifting Incident

July 29, 2015 |

A retail employee was threatened with bodily injury in an Elk Grove shoplifting incident yesterday afternoon.

According to Elk Grove Police reports, an unknown person was observed shoplifting by an employee at the Walgreens drugstore on the 8400 block of Elk Grove-Florin Road. When confronted, the shoplifter threatened to stab the employee.

The suspect fled the store on foot and was last seen riding away on a black mountain bike. He was described as a White male adult, 5'8", 130 lbs., with brown hair and was wearing a red shirt and dark colored shorts. 

09:50 | 1 comments | Read More

Woman Threatened, Robbed at Knifepoint in Elk Grove

Written By EGN on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 11:20

July 28, 2015 |

A 52-year old woman was robbed at knifepoint yesterday afternoon in Elk Grove.

According to Elk Grove Police, the victim was sitting in her car on the 9900 block of Elk Grove-Florin Road when she was approached by an unknown person. Upon contact, the suspect brandished a knife and demanded her personal property.

As the victim was complying with the demands, the suspect grabbed her purse and fled on foot in an unknown direction. The victim was not hurt during the robbery.

The suspect was described as a Black male adult, in his 20s, 6'0", 180 lbs., with braided hair, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.  

11:20 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove City Councilman Detrick Repays Personal Loan to Campaign Documents Show

July 28, 2015 |

The most significant campaign financing development for Elk Grove City Councilman Steve Detrick in the first half of 2015 was the repayment of a loan he made to himself last year.

According to California Form 460 campaign financial forms filed with the Elk Grove City Clerk's office, during the first six months of the year Detrick repaid himself $57,000 of the $71,500 he loaned his campaign last year. Although Detrick raised only $7,600 during the current reporting period, in the last six months of 2014 he took in $54,110, much of which was generated at one fundraising event.

Among Detrick's current donations are the following:

  • M & H Realty- Developer - $1,000
  • John Pagagiannopoulus - Developer - $1,000
  • Louie J. Pappas & Loulin L. Pappas - Developer - $3,000
  • Christa L. Pappas - Developer - $1,000
  • MV Transportation - Elk Grove's bus transit vendor - $1,000
  • Dean J. Siokas - Principal of SI Real Estate Inc. - $1,000
  • Committee for Home Ownership, North State Building Industry Assn. - trade group - $500
Detrick currently has an outstanding loan balance to himself of $14,500 and $7,500 to his wife Jan Detrick, who also acts as the campaign's treasurer. The ending cash balance is $10,025. 

Among payments made by Detrick's war chest was a $350 donation to the Sacramento County Fair, $600 in salary to his son Brian Detrick for updating social media, and $50 to fellow Elk Grove Councilman Darren Suen. 

09:00 | 2 comments | Read More

New Sister City for Elk Grove? Please, Proceed Cautiously

Written By EGN on Monday, July 27, 2015 | 20:56

July 27, 2015 |

At last Wednesday night's regular meeting, Elk Grove City Councilmen Steve Detrick and Steve Ly spoke of a recent meeting with Pakistan's new Los Angeles-based Consular General, Hamid Asghar Khan.

The meeting took place at Elk Grove City Hall on July 10 and included the councilmen, city staff members, the Consulate General of Pakistan, and members of the Pakistani American Sports & Cultural Organization.

Aside from exchanging pleasantries, the only thing of substance from the meeting was reported by Detrick at Wednesday night's meeting. Detrick mentioned that he introduced members of the Pakistani community to Major Ty Sorci, the point-person on city's Sister City Committee (SCC).

Areas in the red are consider Taliban controlled
regions in Pakistan.
Sorci's name may be familiar to readers as one of the individuals enmeshed in the February, 2014 controversy in Elk Grove's last attempt to form a sister city relationship. In that case, the city approved a $14,000 taxpayer-funded expenditure to host the Emir of Katsina, Nigeria.

After approving the expenditure, the city quickly withdrew from the agreement following public outcry.   

While no specific city in Pakistan was mentioned as a possible sister city, undoubtedly our city leaders will proceed with caution. To avoid what happened with the Katsina debacle, the city formalized the process.   

Nonetheless, Elk Grove needs to proceed cautiously on several fronts. 

If the city pursues a sister city relationship, let's hope they thoroughly vet whoever they select. Many regions within Pakistan are controlled by the Taliban, and in other areas women and other groups are targets of persecution.

Undoubtedly there are cities in Pakistan worthy of establishing a sister city relationship with. Nonetheless, the city council and Sorci need to do their homework.

One final note and that involves the Consular General Khan. An EGN reader pointed out that a few days before his meeting with Detrick and Ly, reports surfaced alleging Khan of a host of transgressions as Consular General.

While every person in our judicial system is presumed innocent, as with a possible new sister city relationship in Pakistan, we hope the city proceeds cautiously with Khan.  


20:56 | 32 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Kept Busy With Weekend Domestic Violence Incidents

July 27, 2015 |

For the three days ending Sunday night, Elk Grove Police responded to calls for seven separate domestic violence incidents.

According to police arrest summary reports, seven individuals, two male and five female, were arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. In all incidents, the suspects were arrested and booked into the county jail.

The suspects arrested include:

Jerel Jefferson, 18, Elk Grove
Callie Engmark, 23, Elk Grove
Andrea Roque, 32, Fresno

Munesha Devi, 24, Sacramento
Martlou Witzel, 55, Elk Grove

Kevin Williams, 57, Elk Grove
Camille Roque, 20, Rancho Cordova

Andrea Roque remains in custody on charges from Elk Grove and an outstanding Yuba County arrest warrant.

11:20 | 0 comments | Read More

Seven Years After - Still No Activity on Elk Grove Promenade-Outlet Collections

Written By EGN on Saturday, July 25, 2015 | 08:30

July 25, 2015 |

By most accounts, today is the seventh anniversary of the day construction of what was called the Elk Grove Promenade came to an abrupt halt.

Since that time, the property has changed hands from General Growth Property to its current owner Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC). We have seen a former Elk Grove economic development director make numerous trips to Las Vegas conventions to hawk the property as a great place to do business to no avail.

We have seen HHC get approval to downsize the shopping center's footprint by a third, the conversion to a supposed high-end-retailer outlet mall with a myriad of beautiful schematic drawings. We saw the City of Elk Grove get tied up in litigation over that conversion done in the name of jump-starting development.

Nonetheless, despite all the saber rattling, not one bit of dirt has been moved nor any of the promised demolition to downsize the facility has been initiated. So many promises from Mayor Gary Davis, like the center would be open by 2015 (see video from February, 2014 below), so many rosy words spoken by HHC.

And still nothing.

But let's not lose hope because there is a silver lining in all this gloom as it relates to the city's herculean efforts to rebrand the shopping center while simultaneously transforming Elk Grove into a tourist destination. The Elk Grove Promenade has made its way to the Encyclopedia of Forlorn Places.

The EOFP described Elk Grove and the mouth-balled shopping center saying "The Elk Grove Promenade is at the southern edge of the sprawl of track homes and strip malls extending from Sacramento that was built from the 1980s until the market collapsed."

The sad aspect of all of these various developments is our City Councilmen could really hold the developers feet to the fire and make our community a great place to live. Instead to bend to the wishes of the developers, of course after receiving their generous campaign contributions, and agree to the lowest common denominator.  

We're guessing this isn't the type of list the city wanted to land on when it developed its ongoing #InElkGrove tourist promotion. Council men, you have the power to make Elk Grove a great community - do you have the courage to stand for the people or will you continue to be lapdogs for developers?

As for the Promenade-Outlet Collection - better luck next year. 

08:30 | 8 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Contemplates Expanded Use of Mello Roos Districts in SEPA

Written By EGN on Friday, July 24, 2015 | 16:00

July 24, 215 |

As part of their regular meeting on Wednesday, the Elk Grove City Council held a two-and-a-half hour workshop discussing the formation of community facilities districts, or more commonly known as Mello-Roos districts. 

During the meeting, Tom Johnsen from Fieldman Rolapp & Associates presented an exhaustive explanation of special Mello-Roos districts that California governmental agencies can establish. Born in the aftermath of Proposition 13, Mello-Roos districts are formed to fund certain infrastructure needs not covered by regular property taxes.

After the presentation and during public comment from several individuals representing residential real estate interests, it appeared as though the city staff has been in talks with developers regarding the possibility of establishment of Mello-Roos districts in the city's last large swath of undeveloped land, the so-called Southeast Policy Area (SEPA).  

With the only one exception, the developer interests opposed the establishment of Mello-Roos districts in the SEPA. The opposition was summed up in a couple of sentences by one of the individuals speaking during public comment, Jim Gillum of Gillum Consulting.

"To start off, I like to answer the question of 'will I recommend  my clients in SEPA subscribe to a Mello-Roos district,'" Gillum said. "Based upon the current situation, I would not." 

Gillum and others from Taylor MorrisonRichland Communities and Christo Bardis said establishment of Mello-Roos districts negativity affect marketability of new homes, and because of the repayment time of bonds issued to the initial fund of infrastructure, lower returns for developers.

The discussion during the workshop between the developers, city staff and the city council indicates there have been other non-council meeting conversations on the establishment of Mello-Roos prior to this workshop. The developers made it clear - they do not want the special districts established to pay for infrastructure.

Of course none of these occurs in a vacuum. Could the city be discussing the establishment of Mello Roos districts in the SEPA as a funding mechanism because development fees have been lowered to the point they are unable to pay for even basic infrastructure needs? 

The fact the city is now discussing the establishment of blanket Mello-Roos districts in SEPA indicates they are contemplating exactly how they will fund the most basic needs. 

For the city council, this discussion will test their political courage. Will they cave into the demands of the developers given organizations like Taylor Morrison and individuals like Christo Bardis, not to mention the various real estate advocacy groups, have long been generous contributors to their campaigns?

If they give in and do not form Mello Roos districts, or at least scale them back, how will Elk Grove fund these most basic needs of any new community?

Let's hope they do not come hat-in-hand to the rest of us in the form of a higher sales taxes or a deterioration of basic city services. The current taxpayers of Elk Grove shouldn't be on the hook for these costs.

Big decisions await the Elk Grove City Council.  


16:00 | 6 comments | Read More

Chew's Reviews - Southpaw

By Gary Chew | July 22, 2015 |

Opens today

“If it makes money, it makes sense.”

Sounds like a less offensive TV news soundbite from Donald Trump on a stump speech … right?
Wrong. The sentence is spoken by an oleaginous fight promoter in a new film titled Southpaw --- directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The line is said to Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) in order to persuade him to take on another big fight. An excellent black actor and well-known rapper known as 50 Cent (born Curtis James Jackson III) does the part of the promoter. 

Billy is the world's lightweight boxing champion --- and success ($) is in his corner. Maureen (Rachel McAdams) is Billy's beautiful wife. They have a ten-year-old daughter named Leila (Oona Laurence). The Hopes live in a palatial mansion. Except for the bloody cuts and painful bruises Billy suffers as a pugilist, life is good.

Billy's a great boxer, but a lousy manager … of his anger. He appears as a savage in the fight scenes which are much of what Southpaw is. “Bloody but unbowed” sums up Billy Hope. His fights are not for the eyes of little Leila; they're even tough for Maureen to watch, but she's always ringside to give her husband the support he needs as he cuts down opponents ... and brings home big bucks.

Whether it might be Kirk Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Hillary Swank or Jake Gyllenhaal doing the part, such movies are usually burdened with hackneyed story arcs. The scriptwriter is locked into it, if the picture is about boxing.

The fighter in a movie like this usually takes a fall … on the canvas … or psychologically, then tries to battle back to some kind of victory or redemption, with or without success. Family may be included, as in Southpaw, or the fighter does or doesn't accomplish a comeback alone.

There's always a mentor for the fighter who may take form as in characters played by Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman or Forrest Whittaker, who plays Tick in Southpaw.

Fuqua's film takes its energy from the tension between the anger/violence that's common in adult males with the abiding love men may hold for family and children. First guy I think of on that score is Tony Soprano. What a father. What a mobster. Is the dark side of the man in question ultimately worthy due to the respect he holds for family? Such characters are everywhere on the written page and screen.

What's visually memorable about Southpaw, however, is its masterful editing and the authenticity of the action in the ring.

Gyllenhaal is awesomely convincing as a pugilist. Bloodied and screaming through his mouth guard, he's almost unrecognizable in the opening scene. Jake obviously works out a lot. Rachel McAdams, as the tragic wife and mother figure, is about as good as any a casting director could ever want. She's nearly as tough in Southpaw and she is playing one of the badass cop in HBO's second season of True Detective. Forrest Whittaker always comes through with K-O performance. As the upright black man teaching young Afro-American big city guys how to fend for themselves in his modest gym, as well as helping Billy get his act back together to maintain custody of Leila after losing Maureen, Tick is seen to be a kind of disheveled, angry savior.
 Copyright © 2015 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

03:30 | 0 comments | Read More

The Characteristics of Elk Grove Zip Codes - Up-and-Comers, Bloomburbs and Soccer Moms

Written By EGN on Thursday, July 23, 2015 | 14:20

July 23, 2015 |

Depending on which of the three Elk Grove zip codes you live in, you could be classified as an up-and- coming family, soccer mom, or a bloomburb. Those are the findings of Redlands, California-based Esri.com.

A international supplier of geographic information system (GIS) software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications, Esri has created profiles of every zip code based on demographic information. The database has 14 lifemode groups, and within those groups, 67 unique market segment classifications.

So what does the map say about Elk Grove's three zip codes?

The following are the top unique three market segments in each of Elk Grove's three zip codes:

  • Up and coming families - 18-percent (LifeMode 7 - Ethnic enclaves)
  • Soccer Moms - 18-percent
  • Bloomburbs - 17- percent
  • Bloomburbs - 57-percent (LifeMode 1 - Affluent Estates)
  • Up and coming families - 27-percent
  • Golden years - 13-percent
  • Soccer Moms - 24-percent (LifeMode 4 - Family Landscapes)
  • Up and coming families - 19-percent
  • Home improvement - 17-percent
As for highest income and youngest area of Elk Grove, 95757 is the youngest at 32.9 years and has the highest Elk Grove median household income at $86,000.

The map for all zip codes can be viewed here

14:20 | 3 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Arrest Juvenile on Suspicion of Burglary, Seek Second Suspect

July 23, 2015 |

A 16-year old male suspect was arrested early Wednesday morning after he and another individual were found in possession of stolen goods. 

According to Elk Grove Police, officers respond shortly after 2 a.m. to the 9400 block of Clift Court after receiving reports of two suspicious individuals looking into vehicles. Upon arrival, the officers saw the suspect and an accomplice in the trunk area of a parked vehicle with a small pile of personal items stacked on the ground nearby. 

When officers attempted to contact the suspects, they fled on foot. The 16-year old was located and detained without incident while his accomplice was not. The apprehended suspect was taken into custody for  PC 459, burglary, then transported to juvenile hall. 

09:15 | 0 comments | Read More

For the Kids: California Voters Must Become Wary of Borrowing Billions More from Wealthy Investors for Educational Construction

Written By EGN on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 | 20:00

By Kevin Dayton, Special to Elk Grove News | July 22, 2015 |

Executive Summary

Few Californians realize how much debt they’ve imposed on future generations with their votes for bond measures meant to fund the construction of new and modernized school facilities.

From 2001 to 2014, California voters considered 1147 ballot measures proposed by K-12 school districts and community college districts to borrow money for construction via bond sales. Voters approved 911 of these bond measures, giving 642 school and college districts authority to borrow a total of $110.4 billion.

California voters also approved three statewide ballot measures during that time to authorize the state to borrow $35.8 billion. That money has supplemented local borrowing for construction projects at school and college districts, and the state has spent all but $195 million of it.

That’s a total of $146.1 billion authorized during the last 14 years for state and local educational districts to obtain and spend on construction projects. All of it has been borrowed or will be borrowed from wealthy investors, who buy state and local government bonds as a relatively safe investment that generates tax-exempt income through interest payments.

Current and future generations of Californians are already committed to paying these investors about $200 billion in principal and interest — a number that will grow as school and college districts continue to borrow by selling bonds already authorized by voters but not yet sold.

And more borrowing is coming.

In 2016 California voters may be asked to authorize the state to borrow as much as $9 billion for school construction. More than 100 school and college districts may ask voters to approve borrowing a total of several billion more dollars. Officials at the country’s second largest school district, the Los Angeles Unified School District, claim they need more than $40 billion for additional construction and plan to ask voters to approve borrowing several billion in 2016.

It is time to be wary. The California Policy Center believes that most Californians are unaware and uninformed about this relentless borrowing and the amount of debt already accumulated to pay for school construction. Most voters cannot explain how a bond measure works and do not get enough information to make an educated decision about the wisdom of a bond measure.

California voters who want to learn more before voting will have difficulty finding relevant information. Where does an ordinary Californian find out how much money a school or college district has already been authorized to borrow from past bond measures, or the principal and interest owed from past bond sales that still needs to be repaid, or the projected changes in assessed property valuation and how they affect tax and debt limits, or the past and projected student enrollment? The state does not offer a clearinghouse of information for the public to research and compare data about bond measures and bond debt for educational districts. Much of the information available about debt finance for educational districts is oriented toward interests of bond investors rather than people who pay the debt.

Californians who recognize a need for their own local educational districts to refrain from accumulating additional debt have significant obstacles to overcome. State law gives supporters of bond measures a systematic strategic advantage when local districts develop bond measures and put them before voters for approval. Campaigns to support bond measures are funded and even managed by financial and construction industry interests that will profit after passage. And after voters approve a bond measure, educational districts are tempted to take advantage of ambiguities in state law and use bond proceeds for items and activities not typically regarded by the public as construction.

To help to fix these deficiencies, this report encourages the California legislature and the executive branch to adopt five sets of recommendations:

continued here

An analyst with the California Policy Center, Kevin Dayton is the President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC, and a policy analyst for the California Policy Center. Dayton is the author of frequent postings about generally unreported California state and local policy issues at on the California Policy Center’s Prosperity Forum and Union Watch, as well as well as on his own website LaborIssuesSolutions.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaytonPubPolicy.

20:00 | 2 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Woman Comes Home to In-Progress Burglary, Has Gunshots Fired at Her

July 22, 2015 |

An Elk Grove woman was shot at when she came home to an in-progress burglary yesterday afternoon.

According to Elk Grove Police, the 38-year old victim arrived at her residence on the 9400 block of Sierra River Drive to discover an in-progress burglary. When the victim approached one of the suspects who was seated in the driver's seat of a dark colored vehicle, another suspect grabbed the victim from behind and made threats with a handgun.

When she was released, the victim ran to her vehicle and was pursued by the suspect who grabbed her, took her car keys and shot the car on the drivers side. When the victim tried to call police, the suspect took her cell phone.

The suspects fled northbound on Sierra River Way. The suspect who accosted the victim and shot the car was described as a black male adult, tall in his 20's and the suspect who was seated in the car described as a Hispanic female adult. 

The victim was not injured and at this time, the loss appears to be personal property and a cell phone, which was later recovered nearby. 

16:25 | 0 comments | Read More

City of Elk Grove Set to Award $800,000 No-Bid Contract to Frontier Communications

July 22, 2015 |

Tonight the Elk Grove City Council is set to award a three-year $800,000 no-bid contract to Frontier Communications for the city's communication needs. The item has been included as part of the council's consent calendar which includes matters considered to be non-controversial.

According to the staff report, the new rates being offered by Frontier include a larger discount than the city currently enjoys. The report states:

"Frontier’s proposed pricing is discounted from their previous contract. The three year term allows the City to take advantage of their best pricing. This contract will cover the City’s Internet connection, analog telephone service, and long distance telephone services. For all these reasons, staff feels that competitive bidding of these services is not in the City’s best interests, and staff recommends that the Council dispense with bidding and authorize a contract with Frontier."

Additionally, the report notes Frontier is the only provider offering landline services in Elk Grove. On a subjective note, it is also noted that Frontier is active in civic events and "are always willing to assist for events such as our annual 'State of the City Address.'"

Frontier, who operates primarily in rural and medium-sized markets is facing several challenges after a series of acquisitions of landline businesses from Verizon and AT&T. Among those were severe service disruptions after the acquisitions, and exclusive of the additional customers acquired via the acquisition, a steadily declining customer base.   

09:30 | 9 comments | Read More

Region Builders Hosting Fundraiser For Elk Grove Council Member Darren Suen

Written By EGN on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 | 10:55

July 21, 2015 |

Even though he has not formally announced his 2016 candidacy, Elk Grove City Council Member Darren Suen's "Re-Elect Darren Suen for City Council 2016 ID#1376191" will be the beneficiary of a fundraising event this Thursday evening.

The event for Suen, who was appointed to the city council last November, is being sponsored by Region Builders and is being held at a Jackson Properties facility in Elk Grove. Tickets to the event are priced at $75, with gold, silver, and bronze sponsorship available for $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 respectively. 

The event co-chairs include former Sacramento County Supervisor Jimmy Yee, Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, and California Assembly Member Jim Cooper, whom Suen replaced on the Elk Grove City Council.

In addition to Region Builders, the fundraiser is co-sponsored by Jackson Properties and the North State Building Industry Association. 


10:55 | 14 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Sues Aquatic Center Contractor, Alleges P3 International of Negligence

Written By EGN on Monday, July 20, 2015 | 14:15

July 20, 2015 |
The City of Elk Grove has filed a lawsuit against P3 International (P3I) for negligence and breach of contract over its handling of the city's troubled proposed aquatics center.

A discussion of the lawsuit will be part of this Wednesday's Elk Grove City Council's closed session. The lawsuit was filed in Sacramento Superior Court on April 30, 2015.

According to the filing, P3I and its principle, Jeroen Gerrese, are in breach of a $695,000 contract for failing to deliver a financing and construction plan for the city's proposed Olympic-class aquatics center. The City awarded a contract to P3I in September, 2013 after they were the only company who bid to develop a financing, construction and management plan for the city's proposed aquatic center. 

Among the five causes of actions listed in the lawsuit, it is asserted that "The City has paid over $525,000 to P3I...Yet in return it has failed to perform the contractually required services. Thus P3I has become indebted to the City for the value of the payments made for services that were not performed by P3I."

At their September 10, 2014 meeting the Elk Grove City Council was advised by City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs that P3I was in breach of contract. Although the city council decided in their closed session meeting on November 12, 2014 to pursue the lawsuit against P3I, it was not revealed at the time.

At the September 10 meeting Gerrese was not invited to speak during the hearing on the failed aquatics center plan, but did speak during public comment. In his defense, Gerrese said among other things hobbling the aquatics center were 12-percent interest rates financiers demanded to  finance the project.

Gerrese did not respond to an email inquiry and the phone number listed on P3I's website was disconnected. No hearing dates have been set for the lawsuit.

See complaint below. Click on each image to enlarge.

14:15 | 10 comments | Read More