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EGN's Super Bowl XLIX Sale

Written By EGN on Sunday, February 1, 2015 | 08:30

February 1, 2015 |

Today, as we all know, is Super Bowl Sunday.

Across the country, and many parts of the world, people will gather around the TV for this mid-winter ritual of eating food, drinking beer and watching commercials, with a little viewing of football in between.

Even though this was another juggernaut year for the NFL in terms of popularity, off the field activities for the world's most successful athletic league were less than stellar. There has been the on-going negative publicity of the long-term health of former players, bad officiating, the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson controversies, and the recent deflate-gate scandal.
Make evaporated milk part of your 
Super Bowl party.

Through all this, the NFL's popularity continues to grow. In spite of Commissioner Roger Goodell questionable leadership, the NFL does get somethings right.

One thing the NFL does a great job of, from the perspective of its big dollar sponsors, is protection of the trademarked term Super Bowl. Have you noticed how businesses of all type's use the Super Bowl event like they do for Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, etc.?

The difference between this event and other sales built around a holiday is how it is described. Instead of calling their sale a Super Bowl sale, they give it some generic term like The Big Game Sale.

Whether your a dog or cat person, don't
forget them on Super Bowl Sunday!
The NFL protects the Super Bowl trademark as fiercely as Wall Street Investment Bankers protect their year-end bonuses. Instead businesses will use terms like The Big Game, as in the Cal-Stanford game, which the NFL unsuccessfully tried to trademark, to sell their goods.

Not wanting to lose out on this mid-winter sales bump, food maker of all types try cashing in on the event. Of course hot dogs and typical snack foods are natural tie-ins, but why not try selling some more evaporated milk and dog food too?

Of course Elk Grove News doesn't have any goods to sell, but it would be interesting to see how far they'll go to protect their trademark. Well the NFL send a cease and desist letter out like they did to the Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis? 

Maybe it is tempting fate, but it will be interesting to find out. 


08:30 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Hold 'Before the Impact' Safe Driving Program

Written By EGN on Saturday, January 31, 2015 | 14:00

January 31, 2015 |

From Elk Grove Police |

Deadly car crashes are the number one killer until the age of 34, with teens being at the most risk. That’s why the Elk Grove Police Department, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office and the California Office of Traffic Safety have teamed up to educate Elk Grove’s youth about important driver safety messages.

Every month, families and friends are devastated for a lifetime over the loss of someone they care about that was in a collision caused by distractions or impairments. These collisions are 100-percent preventable.

A special presentation of the award-winning program, “Before the Impact” will be held on Tuesday, February 3 to focus on the "impact" after making a selfish decision behind the wheel. The consequences for passengers when riding with a driver making bad driving decisions is also addressed. The 90-minute presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Elk Grove City Council Chambers at 8400 Laguna Palms Way. The session will cover hard-hitting feature stories, photos, clothing, and even the actual vehicle two vibrant and dynamic brothers were in when an impaired driver crossed into their lane and killed them. They were innocent victims.

"Before the Impact" educates teens and adults on the effects of making bad decisions in a car, and is offered throughout the year to service clubs, community organizations, and Sacramento County high schools. The information shared over the last seven years has received national/statewide recognition/awards, and has been featured in many newspaper articles and numerous television interviews. Feedback from attendees is overwhelmingly positive with many stating they will never look at riding in a car the same way as before.

Seating is limited. To reserve a spot, contact Community Service Officer Misty Dailey at (916) 862-0597 ormdailey@elkgrovepd.org.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

14:00 | 0 comments | Read More

Sacramento LAFCo, City of Elk Grove Memo of Understanding For Elk Grove Soccer Stadium

January 31, 2015 |

The Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) has posted their proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City of Elk Grove.

The MOU, an initial step for Elk Grove to annex the 99-acre site it owns outside of current city limits, specify the terms by which both agencies will perform the environmental impact report. Elk Grove hopes to develop a portion of the site into a soccer stadium that will seat anywhere from 9,000 to 20,000 people.  

The Elk Grove City Council approved the matter by a 4-1 vote on Wednesday night and the necessary documents were filed at LAFCo yesterday. According to LAFCo executive director Peter Brundage, the commission will vote on the proposed MOU at their Wednesday night meeting.

Below are the MOU documents (click to enlarge). The entire 94-page report can be viewed here.

09:20 | 2 comments | Read More

Baseball Tickets, Consulting Fees, Dinners, Jerseys, Lunches - It's all There For Elk Grove Office Holders, Officials

Written By EGN on Friday, January 30, 2015 | 15:25

January 30, 2015 |

An examination of the Statement of Economic Interest for office holders and executives management of the City of Elk Grove reveals a wide assortment of gifts received.

Among some of the information the disclosures revealed are the following:

Elk Grove Assistant City Manager Rebecca Craig
  • Received two baseball tickets on October 14, 2014 valued at $250 from Pacific Municipal Consultants (PMC). One of Elk Grove's  largest contractors, PMC provides planning department employees for the city. On Tuesday, October 14, the San Francisco Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinal at AT&T Park in game 3 of the NLCS.  
Elk Grove City Council Member Steve Ly

Received the following:
  • Between $1,001 and $10,000 in non-specified consulting fees from the non profit 501c (3) Hmong International Culture Institute, 5506 Tam O'Shanter Dr, Stockton, Calif. 95210 
  • A dinner and jersey from the National Electrical Contractor Association valued at $65 on August 12
  • From Carpenters of Northern California the following; meal valued at $27 on March 18; dinner valued at $25 on April 29; a charity dinner valued at $300 on June 26; lunch on June 30 valued at $10; meal on July 14 valued at $15; lunch on October 21 value at $10.
  • From former Sacramento City Unified School District Trustee and current Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy a charity dinner on March 14valued at $200.
  • A $180 hotel stay valued at $180 from Thomas Lee, healthcare business owner from Garden Grove, Calif. 
  • Region Builders gave Ly a lunch valued at $40 on March 12; dinner and a jersey valued at $65 on August 12; dinner tickets valued at $190 on September 5; dinner on October 17 valued at $25.

More to come.

15:25 | 8 comments | Read More

Hume First Elk Grove City Council Member to File 2014 Financial Disclosure

January 30, 2015 |

With the deadline looming, Pat Hume is the first of current group of Elk Grove City Council Members to file financial disclosure statements for 2014.

According to documents filed with the Elk Grove City Clerk's office, Hume ended the year with $37,721. For the entire year, Hume raised $23,988, including $500 in non-monetary contributions.

Hume, who ran unopposed for his third term in November, did not raise any money during the final reporting period between October 19, 2014 and year-end.  

According to Elk Grove City Clerk Jason Lindgren, the California 460 Campaign Disclosure Statements must be filed or postmarked by February 2, 2015. The normal deadline is January 31, but was extended to this Monday.  

12:13 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove House Fire Unveils Indoor Pot Operation

January 30, 2015 |

An early morning house fire led to the arrest of an Elk Grove man on suspicion of possessing and illegally growing marijuana. 
Zhang Xi Hu

According to Elk Grove Police, firefighters from the Cosumnes Community Services District were dispatched to the 6700 block of Springridge Way to suppress a residential fire. While extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered an active growing operation in several second floor rooms.

Responding Elk Grove Police officers contacted three residents, and after obtaining a search warrant, located over 100 live plants and processed marijuana.

Police arrested 66-year old Zhang Xi Hu who was booked into the county jail and remains in custody on $10,000 bail. 

10:00 | 2 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Proposed Soccer Stadium Plods On - Is Davis Just Trying to Save Face?

Written By EGN on Thursday, January 29, 2015 | 16:00

January 29, 2015 |

As expected, at last night’s regular meeting, the Elk Grove City Council decided by a 4-1 vote to seek annexation of its 99-acre site that is outside of current city limits, and more significantly, continue its pursuit of a 9,000-seat, $45-million dollar stadium.

For long time observers of the Elk Grove City Council, the vote came as no surprise. Mayor Gary Davis’s pursuit of his soccer stadium was enabled by council members including his protégé, Steve Ly, frenemy Steve Detrick, and the newly appointed Darren Suen. The only council member showing some wisdom on the matter, and who voted against Davis, was Vice Mayor Pat Hume.

While there is widespread community support for the competitive aspect of the proposed soccer facility, Davis is laser-focused on bringing a soccer stadium to Elk Grove whether we have a professional team or not.

We view this charade as a face-saving exercise for the Mayor.

In realistic terms, while the Mayor says otherwise, Major League Soccer (MLS) has long said they desire urban locations and demographics for future expansions. Even though Davis said Elk Grove could be a back-up location to Sacramento last night, we wonder; Is the mayor unaware of Sacramento’s begging-to-be developed-railyard?

If MLS selects Sacramento as an expansion site, is there a need for another 9,000 seat stadium? The prospect of locating a North American Soccer League (NASL) to fill the stadium, is unrealistic. 

The NASL draws an average audience of about 5,500 per match. More importantly, what investor would want to use their money to compete with the MLS, the premier soccer league in the United States in a supposed soccer-crazed market like Sacramento? 

It would be like moving the Toledo Mudhens to the Bronx. Oh sure, Max Klinger might come for a Stroh’s and Tony Packo’s, but the rest would go see the Bronx Bombers.

What if Sacramento doesn’t land an MLS expansion club? Ever hear of the Sacramento Republic FC? 

Mayor Davis also suggested that a woman’s professional soccer league could locate in the proposed stadium. With all due respect to women athletes, those class of professional  leagues have never gained a true foothold in the American sports viewers psyche and it seems like a very risky scheme to pin on the necks of taxpayers.

Elk Grove had a one-game experiment in July, 2013 staging a semi-professional women’s soccer match. The match drew maybe two or three dozen people to the Elk Grove High School football stadium.  

No letting up, the mayor also suggested the field could be used as a concert venue. This too is problematic as the city of Rio Rancho, New Mexico learned. 

At 9,000 seats, the stadium is too small for A-list acts - think anyone from Jay-Z to the Fleetwood Mac who would perform at Sleep Train arena - and too big for up-and-coming acts. 

In addition mid-range acts are increasingly performing at Indian casinos. For instance, acts like Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick are being booked at places like Thunder Valley, which are more desirable audience venues.   

Ironically, at last night’s meeting Elk Grove City Manager Laura Gill announced the Sacramento Kings ownership group bought a large stake in the Sacramento Republic FC. This obviously is a strong signal of that groups security and a selling point to the MLS.

There was even a moment last night where Davis acknowledged the reality of his situation. 

“We should focus on the youth,” he glumly said.

Speaking to several of the soccer parents in the lobby following the matter, this group uniformly acknowledged the stadium component was unrealistic. Perhaps they are not commenting on this and rather keeping their eyes on the prize of getting the soccer fields started.  

Notwithstanding the reality of the Kings ownership stake in Sacramento Republic FC, and not to mention the fuzzy-financial-details of the whole scheme, the Mayor has persevered.

We know Ly is obediently supporting his mentor, but are puzzled why Detrick and Suen are enabling this delusion. Perhaps the Detrick-Ly-Suen enablers are going along to help Davis save face in an otherwise embarrassing situation.

Davis, who is a charactercher of political ineptitude, has wagered what little political capital he has left in this scheme. At some point, the mayor will need to awake from his dream and come to the realization the stadium ain’t gonna happen. 

So as the mayor and his enablers continue this delusion, like someone practicing defensive driving, he will need to leave himself an out. Instead of admitting defeat, the Mayor will see this through to  its death to save face and place the blame on something or someone else. 

“I tried everything," the Mayor will proclaim. "But the forces conspired against me.”  

16:00 | 9 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Arrests Four Suspects With Stolen Credit Cards, Drugs After Shoplifting Incident

January 29, 2015 |

An early evening suspected shoplifting incident led to the arrests of four suspects on stolen credit cards and narcotics charges.

According to Elk Grove Police, loss prevention employees at the Kohls store on Bruceville Road Calvine Road observed two suspects leaving the establishment without paying for the merchandise. When the employees attempted to contact them, one alluded them and fled on foot while the other was detained in a parked car.

Responding officers contacted and arrested 20-year old Keri Scottwood of Elk Grove after she was found to be in possession of narcotics and credit cards that were not in her name. The other suspect was identified as 20-year old Joseph Ryan of Elk Grove.

Shortly after arresting Scottwood, patrol officers conducted an endorsement stop near Laguna Boulevard and Highway 99. One of the occupants in the vehicle was Ryan.

After arresting Ryan, officers arrested two other occupants after they were found both to be in possession of credit cards that were not in their names and narcotics. Arrested were  21-year old Alexander Dubay of Elk Grove, and 22-year old Leonard Velasco, who was also arrested last week in Elk Grove (see story on Velasco's arrest last week here.)   

All four suspects are being held at the county jail.

The incidents are under further investigation by Elk Grove Police, who could not confirm whether or not they are related to the recent rash of mailbox thefts. Because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, booking photos were not released. 

13:35 | 1 comments | Read More

Davis Suffers Another Setback, Rebuked on Planning Commission Appointment

January 29, 2015 |

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis suffered another political setback at last night's Elk Grove City Council meeting. As has been the case with his numerous setbacks, this one involved an appointment to the city's planning commission.

As a last minute addition to the council's special meeting's agenda, Davis sought to appoint a new planning commissioner. The proposed appointment was to replace Nancy Chaires, who resigned following her appointment to the Elk Grove Unified School District Board of Trustees. 

After their closed session portion of the special meeting, Davis introduced his appointee, Amy Tong. Appearing before the council, Tong, a 20-year Elk Grove resident, briefly described her education and qualifications for the vacancy. In addition to her professional position with The State of California, Tong is the Vice Chair and immediate past president of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) and listed as a supporter of Elk Grove Council Member Steve Ly. 

"I volunteer in the community for close to fifteen years now," Tong said. "In order for us to make the community that we live in a better place for all, we have to put in our time."

During their deliberations, Vice Mayor Pat Hume, and Elk Grove Council Member Steve Detrick commended Tong's qualifications but condemned Davis' approach to filling the vacancy. Hume questioned Davis' motivation and expressed concern over this process. 

Davis said he wanted to streamline the appointment process saying there were several pressing issues facing the planning commission and Tong could step in immediately. The Mayor also said he was set on appointing Tong and "he didn't want to waste anyone's time" applying for the appointment.

Hume said Davis' explanation put him in a conundrum.

"I can't stomach this process, or lack thereof, but I have nothing against the person you put forward," Hume said. "I don't want to vote against her, but I don't know that I can vote for how you chosen to fulfill such a procedure."

Agreeing with Hume was Council Member Steve Detrick who called the procedure foul.

"It's about the process," he said.

For his part, Council Member Steve Ly wondered aloud if there has ever been any discussion about setting term and time limits to the city's various commission and committee appointments.   

"That may be wise for us since we are growing as a city," Ly said. "I see other cities that actually do that."  

When it became apparent to Davis that he did not have the support of Detrick, Hume, and Council Member Darren Suen, he agreed to table Tong's nomination. Instead, an application period will be opened for those interested in applying for the position.

For Davis, this was another setback in appointments to the planning commission. In 2013, Davis was blocked in his nomination of former Elk Grove Council Member Sophia Scherman and at the last meeting he scuttled plans to remove Chaires and current planning commissioner Frank Maita.        

11:10 | 5 comments | Read More

Chaires Resigns From Elk Grove Planning Commission, Appointment Deliberations on Special Meeting Agenda

Written By EGN on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | 16:24

January 28, 2015 |

In a letter submitted to the City of Elk Grove today, Elk Grove Unified School District Trustee Nancy Chaires announced her resignation as a planning commissioner. Chaires was appointed to and sworn-in to the school district's Board of Trustees on Monday night.

A 2007 appointment to the Elk Grove Planning Commission by former Elk Grove Council Member and current California Assembly Member Jim Cooper, Chaires has been the only female on the board since the city's 2000 incorporation. More recently, Charies came in second place in the race for the Elk Grove City Council's District 4 seat.

While Chaires said her appointment to the school board "combines my lifelong work in education policy with my love of public service," she noted the bittersweet nature of the resignation. "I’m thankful to the staff members - past and present - who have consistently acted with professionalism, risen to the occasion, and helped us meet the needs of residents time after time," she wrote.

In response to her resignation, the city council yesterday amended tonight's special meeting agenda to discuss a replacement appointment. The special meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and regular meeting is slated for 6 p.m. 

16:24 | 2 comments | Read More

Fast Track! - Agreement Between Sacramento LAFCo, Elk Grove Available This Friday

January 28, 2015 |

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City of Elk Grove and the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) regarding the city's planned expansion of its sphere of influence and eventual annexation of the 99-acre site on Grant Line Road will be made available by LAFCo for public view this Friday.

At the time of posting, the city had not made copies of this document available to the public. 

The City Council is expected to give direction to staff tonight, and the final MOU will likely appear on a subsequent agenda as a consent item.

The MOU, which the Elk Grove City Council will discuss as part of an overall discussion on the proposed soccer fields tonight, will cover the city's Sphere of Influence (SOI) application and preparation of an environmental impact report with Sacramento LAFCo. This SOI application is the first step in annexing the 99-acre Grant Lind Road site into the city-limits. The recently purchased property is outside of the city limits, and the city hopes to develop the site as a soccer stadium and competitive fields facility.

The item has also been placed on Sacramento LAFCo's February 4 agenda under New Business. The agenda item notes - "City of Elk Grove Sphere of Influence: Memorandum of Understanding for Preparation of Joint Environmental Impact Report."

According to the city's staff report, the estimated costs to prepare the environmental report is $109,000. It is also anticipated that the city will be required to reimburse LAFCo for all staff costs associated with reviewing the city's application. 

The City of Elk Grove has acknowledged receipt of an e-mail inquiry seeking information about when the MOU will be made available for public viewing. As of this posting, no further information from the city has been provided.

However, according to Sacramento LAFCO Executive Director Peter Brundage, the MOU will be available for public view at their website by this Friday. Brundage said action would be taken by the commission at next Wednesday's meeting.

"It will be voted on," Brundage said.

Tonight's Elk Grove City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. The Sacramento LAFCo meeting is held at Sacramento County Administration Center, Board Chambers, 700 H Street, Sacramento, and starts at 5:30 p.m.

11:15 | 11 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Arrest Four Suspects in Possession of Assault Rifle, Handgun

January 28, 2015 |

Four suspects who were involved in a domestic disturbance yesterday morning, were arrested after they were allegedly found in possession of an assault rifle, handgun and narcotics.

According to Elk Grove Police, officers were dispatched to the 5300 block of Spring Creek Way in response to a domestic disturbance. Police were told three men and one woman left the area in a gold Mercedes, and that there were guns in the vehicle. Additionally, one of the four, a 17-year old male, had threatened his step-father.

A vehicle matching that description was located by patrol officers and an enforcement stop was initiated. Officers located a loaded assault rifle and a loaded handgun in the vehicle and took the 17-year old into custody.

The other three occupants in the vehicle were detained and searched. Police arrested 22-year old Rakin Leedy of Redding and 18-year old Keith Allen of Sacramento on narcotics and weapon charges. Also arrested on weapon charges was 18-year old Natiesha Prince of Sacramento. 

All three adults are in custody at the county jail and the 17-year old is being held at juvenile hall.  

10:55 | 1 comments | Read More

Chew's Review - A Most Violent Year; Includes Audio

By Gary Chew | January 28, 2015 |

Opens Friday

Embed Music Files - Embed Audio Files - Chew-s Reviews - A Most Viol...

J.C. Chandor, the talented screenwriter and director who did the terrific 2011 film Margin Call, has another movie out. A Most Violent Year, like Margin Call, is set in New York City, albeit earlier than the financial crisis of 2007-08. Chandor’s new picture is also about business … but at a lower altitude than the stratospheric greed of high finance.

Oscar Issac and Jessica Chastain take the leads in Year, playing a married couple with young children. The Morales family has made big profits selling fuel oil around New York and New Jersey. Immigrant Abel Morales (Issac) has worked his way up the tough ladder of trucking and marketing fuel oil in the big city and now is the top guy for the concern; and he’s expanding.

Abel puts down a large amount of his own money to purchase a venue on the water with a view across it to the Manhattan skyline. It’s a perfect place into which he can ship oil he’s bought from anywhere in the world. With this piece of land, profits for Morales will skyrocket. Abel has thirty days to get the rest of the asking price to close the deal and not lose the hefty down payment.

Anna Morales (Chastain) is the attractive wife and smart numbers cruncher for their successful firm. She hails from a local family that could have had earlier connections with the Don Corleone Family … if Francis Ford Coppola had made this film.

As in the Godfather movies, competition is stiff. Morales’ trucks are being hijacked off throughways by thugs who seriously injure Abel’s drivers in the process. He doesn’t know who’s responsible for the attacks, but suspects the culprit calling the shots in the thievery of his fuel oil lurks among several competitors. It appears whoever the person is wants to cripple Abel’s acquisition of the property that would allow him a strong market advantage. The premise of the film isn’t so sexy, but the tension in the narrative is persistent.

The subtext has Abel and Anna at odds on how to run their business. Although the company falls well short of being strictly on the up and up, Abel wants to hold his head high — even if some denial plays a part — and try to do the right thing; Anna, not so much. A particularly interesting scene reveals that tension between them when, while driving on a road at night, their car accidentally strikes a deer.

A Most Violent Year, to the contrary, is not as violent as the title suggests. But the conflict between Abel and Anna and that which they confront with others in the business makes for a taut story well written. Curiously, the script chronicles well what people in certain businesses likely contend with more often than not.

Isaac and Chastain are letter perfect in their performances: he a little “Pacino-ish,” but quite a bit more unflappable playing his character. This guy is an excellent actor. Chastain, a budding and busy actor if there ever was once, could cut any mob gal role in any movie. She’s got just the right amount of New York-New Jersey in her speech. What makes her accent so real is that she doesn’t lay it on thick … just does it subtly.

Two other good turns are given by Albert Brooks as Abel’s attorney and David Oyelowo — seen in the recent Interstellar as well as The Help and The Last King of Scotland — appears as the cop wearing plainclothes in A Most Violent Year.

Isaac shines as bright in this latest role as he did in 2013 doing the lead in the Coen brother’s Inside Llewyn Davis, but it’s a much different brightness.

06:20 | 0 comments | Read More

Community Outreach Underway to Help Replace Elk Grove Lions' Club Stolen Equipment

Written By EGN on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 | 21:00

January 27, 2015 |

A community outreach is underway to help the Elk Grove Lions Club replace valuable stolen equipment.

Last Friday the club's food trailer was stolen and when it was recovered two days later, over $20,000 worth of equipment was missing. The trailer and equipment was used at community-based events and fundraisers and is familiar site throughout Elk Grove. 

“We can’t do spaghetti feeds or pancake breakfasts to save our souls,” Elk Grove Lions Club Director William Hibbard said.

The trailer was stolen around 9 p.m. at the club’s storage yard that neighbors the Senior Center of Elk Grove on Sharkey Avenue. Hibbard said the Senior Center’s security camera system filmed a suspect driving a truck into the parking lot. 

To help replace the equipment, the club is seeking donations which can be made in any amount on the club's website, www.ElkGroveLionsFoundation.org. Simply click on the donate button. 

If you prefer to write a check, make it payable to the Elk Grove Lions Foundation and mail it to Elk Grove Lions Club, PO Box 465, Elk Grove, California 95759. Please note "Cooking Equipment" in the memo field.

21:00 | 1 comments | Read More

Man Killed On Elk Grove UPRR Track

January 27, 2015 |

A man was killed on Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Elk Grove this afternoon.

According to Elk Grove Police, the unidentified man was walking his bicycle shortly after 4 p.m. on the track section between Elk Grove-Florin and Sheldon roads. The train sounds horns but the victim did not respond.

The incident is under further investigation.


20:21 | 0 comments | Read More

Local Toastmaster Club to Host Open House With Elk Grove Council Member Darren Suen

January 27, 2015 |

The Elk Grove-based Bits-and-Speeches Toastmasters will be holding an open house featuring a presentation by Elk Grove City council Member Darren Suen. The recently appointed District 1 representative will discuss the state of the city and the importance of communication skills for today’s professional.

Darren Suen. 
After hearing from Suen, members and guests are invited to stay for the Toastmasters meeting that will include prepared speeches, Table Topics™ (brief impromptu speeches) and evaluations.
The meeting will be held this Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 at Monterey Trail High School, 8661 Power Inn Rd, Elk Grove, Calif. The event is open to the public. For more information, email Hardeep Harrian at hardeepharrian@gmail.com or visit their website

16:00 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove City Council to Discuss Proposed Animal Shelter Tomorrow Night

January 27, 2015 |

The City of Elk Grove has several big dollar plans. 

Among them are the $100 million soccer stadium-facility, a $17 million aquatics center and a $2.3 million Veterans Hall. Another big plan the city will explore, a proposed animal shelter that could cost up anywhere from $8.4 to $24.6 million, will be discussed at tomorrow night's Elk Grove City Council meeting.

At the centerpiece of the council's discussion is a report authored by City Manager Laura Gill. That report, which outlines the history of the Elk Grove's animal sheltering and field animal control services, presents council members with three options the city could pursue. 

Those options include:
  • Continue contracting sheltering services as is with Sacramento County
  • Build a city-owned shelter facility and include an option to pursue contracting with nearby cities
  • Establish a new joint power authority shelter with nearby cities
If the city were to pursue construction of its a facility, construction cost could range anywhere from $8.4 to $24.6 million dollars. 

With regards to current animal shelter operations, Elk Grove currently pays Sacramento County a net of $1.5 million annually. If the city were to construct a facility, net operating cost are estimated to be $2.6 million annually, or $1.1 million more than is currently being spent.

Tomorrow's meeting starts at 6 p.m.  

08:30 | 2 comments | Read More

UPDATED - Chaires Appointed to Fill EGUSD Area 6 Vacancy

UPDATED 2:20 p.m.

January 27, 2015 |

At a marathon special meeting last night, Elk Grove resident Nancy Chaires was selected to fill a vacancy on the Elk Grove Unified School District's Board of Trustees. Chaires, an Elk Grove Planning Commissioner since 2008, will fill the two years remaining for the district's Area 6 vacancy.

Unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees for the appointment, Chaires was one of 12 seeking to fill the vacancy created when former Trustee Steve Ly resigned following his election to the District 4 seat on the Elk Grove City Council. One of Ly's opponents in November's Elk Grove City Council race was Chaires.

Aside from Chaires, other notables seeking the appointment were former EGUSD Area 6 Trustee Jake Rambo and former Elk Grove City Council Member Sophia Scherman. Rambo was appointed to a vacancy in 2010 but was defeated by Ly in 2012.

With Chaires' appointment, in a little over two years, six of the seven seats on the board have changed. Several of those past trustees held office for over 20 years, with current board member Chet Madison being the longest serving member with 15 years of service,

Employed as special programs consultant at the Migrant Education Office of the California Department of Education, Chaires said during last night's panel interview said she will focus on early childhood education and work to ensure the district's long-term fiscal health. She is expected to be sworn in at next Tuesday's regular district meeting. Chaires was sworn-in last night after being appointed. 


05:30 | 9 comments | Read More

Does the Elk Grove City Council Have Courage, or Do Parochial Interests Rule?

Written By EGN on Monday, January 26, 2015 | 10:00

January 24, 2015 |

Buried in Wednesday night's agenda is an item that will reveal much about our current city council. Voters will find out if the Elk Grove City Council is interested in enhancing democracy or looking out for their parochial interests and those of their contributors.

As part of the Elk Grove City Council's discussion of how future vacancies should be filled, Elk Grove City Clerk Jason Lindgren has prepared a report that includes four options, one of which if selected, would have positive, far-reaching implications for the city. The report was prepared on instructions from the Elk Grove City Council, who ordered it following two acrimonious appointment proceedings in two years.  

During the proceedings to fill 2013, District 4 and 2014, District 1 vacancies, the city council decided to fill the seats by appointment rather than by a vote of the people. In both cases the cost of the conducting a city-wide special election, which was estimated to cost up to $500,000, was used as a justification to appoint a person to fill the respective vacancy.

We emphasize city-wide as Elk Grove currently has a directly elected Mayor and four council members who are elected on a from district basis, but elected by the entire city. Elk Grove's from district is in stark contrast to most similarly-sized and larger cities, like Sacramento, that elect representation by district. 

In a by district system, council members are elected by voters in one particular district, not the entire district. Following this logic, Lindgren's report points to the logical conclusion that to fill a city council vacancy in a special election in a by district system would be proportionally less expensive that our current city-wide system.

Aside from this obvious economic benefit, we believe if the Elk Grove City Council took the necessary steps to amend the city charter, increased the number of seats to six or eight, and elected council member by district, there would be a slew of benefits to the citizens.

The most obvious is that the cost for a candidate to finance a credible campaign for single district basis rather than the entire city will be substantially lower. Through the years, several otherwise well-qualified candidates have not entered council races based on the amount of money needed to run an effective campaign.

Recall in 2006, the last time and only time two incumbents were voted out. Mr.'s Davis and Hume each raised nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars, most of it from real estate developers and labor unions, and in 2008 Mr. Detrick personally loaned himself $100,000 to challenge and defeat an unpopular incumbent, Mike Leary. 

This year, the top two finishers in the four-way race for the District 4 seat, Nancy Chaires and Steve Ly, each raised close to $100,000. It is no coincidence that the other two District 4 candidates, Daniel Jimenez, and Nayyar Sarfaraz, who finished well behind Ly and Chaires, had only a few thousand dollars each to wage their campaigns.   

In addition, consider the number of well-qualified candidates who sought appointments, particularly for the District 4 vacancy. There are scores, if not hundreds of well-qualified citizens in our community who could immediately step in and serve our city admirably, if not better, than a few of our current members. 

What is keeping these people from running for office? The pragmatic realization that to have any chance to win a city-wide race, you need to line up lots of contributors and get them to give you lots of money. .

Moreover, to add a counterpoint to this argument, consider that in 2012 and 2014 city council elections, two incumbents in each cycle ran unopposed. With all due respect to Mr.'s Cooper, Davis, Detrick, and Hume, you were unopposed not because you are doing such a spectacular job either. 

Rather the impediment keeping would-be candidates from challenging these four incumbents is the sheer amount of money needed to enter the race. In an economic environment following the Great Recession, very few of us have the resources to self-finance to the tune of $100,00, and the incumbents through their support of continued real estate development have cornered the deep-pocketed contributors needed to finance a viable city-wide campaign.

We could post a laundry list of reasons a by district system is superior to our current from district system. Suffice it to say that in a by district system there will be lower economic barriers for candidates to enter a race resulting in more candidates for voter. 

The more participation from voters and candidates is always better for a representative democracy. Otherwise, Elk Grove runs the risk of becoming a plutocracy, which it might well already have become. (Alea iacta est - The die has been cast. Or has it?)

Undoubtedly, our city council members will balk at this proposal. The most obvious argument we have heard in the past and will probably hear this Wednesday night, if they even have the courage to even bring it up, will be ironically that by district representation leads to officials pursuing the parochial interests of their constituents. This is a time-tested argument that has traditionally been used to block minorities from a seat at the table while comforting the establishment.

Council members will also point to the 2010 defeat of Elk Grove Measure N which would have expanded the number of city council seats to seven. Given the increased awareness the electorate has of the influence big money has in politics in the post Citizen United world, and their increased belief that governments represent corporations more than people, we think it would win if put up for a vote of the people. 

If you want an example, just look north to Sacramento's Measure L. Even though Mayor Kevin Johnson is popular, his attempt to wrest more control was handily defeated.  

In the end, we are certain our council will maintain the status quo. Why should they bite the hands that feeds them? 

They have entrenched themselves in their positions with generous donations from RECALL contributors - real estate, construction, and local labor - who have priced the entry fee into the game at $100,000. Newly elected Council Member Ly knows this, so it was really no surprise he started tapping into the RECALL largess by holding a major campaign event about six weeks after taking his oath of office. Ly's talk about representing people at city hall makes for a good campaign soundbite, but he quickly showed where his loyalties lie. 

It will also be interesting to see this in play out in the next two years as recently appointed Council Member Darren Suen gears up for his presumed 2016 campaign. Most of the usual suspects in the RECALL cabal we suspect will be found on his Form 460.     

So while we would be head-over-heels to see a change to by district representation, we suspect no one on this council has the moral and political courage to expand the possibilities of new and different voice representing the electorate. Now that is what we call representing the parochial interests of themselves and their contributors!

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Audio Interview - Rick Guerrero,
Environmental Council of Sacramento

January 26, 2015 |

Below is an interview with the President of the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS), Rick Guerrero.

ECOS, which dates its founding to the first Earth Day event in April 1970, has a stated mission "To achieve regional and community sustainability and a healthy environment for existing and future residents."

Among topics discussed with Guerrero are the possible negative effects, in ECOS' view, an expansion of the City of Elk Grove's boundaries could have one the environment and city residents through its sphere of influence application. That application, which was tentatively rejected by the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission and withdrawn by the City prior to a formal action was taken, is expected to be resubmitted for approval when a more favorable group of commissioners is seated.

Play Music - Play Audio - Interview With ECOS Presiden...

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Opinion - The Elk Grove City Council Wish List: Is the Council Being Fiscally Responsible?

Written By EGN on Saturday, January 24, 2015 | 14:00

By Connie Conley | January 24, 2015 |

UPDATED 4 p.m.

Why the sudden rush?  The city hasn’t even broken ground on the approved aquatics center.  And less we forget that 3P International defaulted on the contract to secure financing for said aquatics center. 

However, P3 certainly took their portion of the $700,000 feasibility study also approved by the Council.  The specific question of default was asked of City Attorney Jon Hobbs, and yet the Council did nothing to hold them accountable.  I would think if a contactor defaulted there would be some refund to the city.  Wouldn’t that be good business practices?

Is the aquatics center even fully funded?   The city is putting up $14 million dollars; yet much more is needed.  That question has not been answered.  As it is, the Council borrowed money from another fund to purchase the land for the proposed soccer stadium.  Will the Council have to “borrow” money to pay down that debt as well?  That is like taking a mortgage out on a new home that you cannot afford and then taking out a second mortgage to make the principal and interest payments that you cannot afford to make.

Many of us have been advocating for a youth soccer complex since 2004; however, that was pushed aside when Mayor Gary Davis put forth an aquatics center instead, and the rest of the Council agreed.    

Back in 2004, and when our group held a youth sports complex town hall meeting in 2011, a soccer stadium was never part of the original public discussion as living within our means was always at the forefront.  Residents weren’t blind to what had occurred in Stockton and other cities that fund grandiose stadiums that have left cities on the road to financial ruin.

Wouldn’t it be fiscally responsible for the Council to get that multimillion dollar aquatics center funded, built and in operation before taking on a $117 million dollar venture?  At this point, we don’t even know how much of a dip in the general fund the aquatics center is going to take each year.  It is a fact that cities’ aquatics centers lose money.  One Google search will tell you that.

Additionally, there is an agenda item regarding the animal shelter at the same meeting.  Where is the funding for that as well?  City Government 101, critical city services such as bus transit and animal shelters run at a loss.  They are not meant and never will be, revenue generators for any city, including Elk Grove.  As it is, the Council has already cut some bus services, have you not?

Not to mention the room full of Veterans at the council meeting right before Christmas, who were promised their Veterans’ Hall.  Furthermore, the Elk Grove Police Department Union contract is up for renegotiation in the near future.  Didn’t the Council just say they would like to expand our police department at the last meeting after Chief of Police Bob Lehner gave his annual report?

And I also forgot that in the very near future, most of our roads will need to be resurfaced.  How much did Public Works Director Richard Shepard tell the Council will we need, ten million dollars?  Cities with well paved roads are desirable ones for future economic development. And closer to home in the rural area, Waterman Road is waiting!  Luxury homes are going in at Sheldon and Waterman.  I am sure those new residents spending upwards to $400K for a house on two acres at Sheldon and Waterman Roads will want nicely paved streets.  Wouldn't you?

The City of Elk Grove’s budget meetings are coming up next week.  Staff will probably bring out that dollar bill poster.  Remember that very tiny slice that goes to the city of Elk Grove?  We are at least 10 years out from paying off the county of Sacramento for cityhood; so getting a bigger slice of that dollar bill is years away.

The Council cannot think they can just pass revenue bonds and think the people paying for them, not to mention the risk of putting our city in a future bankruptcy, would mind. 

Bottom line, if the taxpayers are going to be held responsible for the enormous debt on all of these projects, then we should decide if we want to take the risk.  Long-term debt in the hundreds of millions is not a risk the Council should take on themselves.  A vote of the people is a must!

In closing, with all these projects on the “wish list,” the Council needs to respond to their constituents:  Is this being fiscally responsible regarding the people’s money and for the overall future of Elk Grove?

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