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Opinion - Animal Lives Matter!

Written By EGN on Saturday, February 13, 2016 | 00:30



By June Lavine | February 13, 2016 |

How Much?

If you are soccer parents and own an animal, would you choose your animal's life over a soccer field? How would your children respond to that? Would they miss their pet?

If your family loves to go to a swim center, would you euthanize your pet in able to do so? Tell your children you first have to stop at the vets before going swimming? Do you see any problem with that?

It frightens me to think that possibly some of you answered yes. Because that is what is happening in Elk Grove!

I appreciate all of these wonderful plans for our community. If it weren't for our animals being killed, I would gladly say, "Yes, let's build them all!"

I would like to think that all of you would say to our City Council "Animal Lives DO Matter! Let's take care of them first."

So many people don't even realize how urgent it is that we have our own animal shelter. Animals are being euthanized at local shelters due to lack of space!

In a petition I noted that the city had been doing nothing to solve this urgent matter. Mayor Gary Davis was upset by my statement. I sent him a letter on January 28, 2016 to explain why I had come to that conclusion.  In summary I explained:

I had asked the City in April of 2015 what was being done to get our own animal shelter and was told, that there was no committee assigned to the project and that they were unsure if and when it would take place.

In July of 2015, I asked for some help from Representative Ami Bera's office. They contacted the City on my behalf and then instructed me to call Mayor Davis to speak with him personally regarding this matter.

I left several messages for Mayor Davis, but never received a return call.

Since September of 2015, I have had ongoing conversations with the Deputy City Manager and was told that no locations were found that were suitable for an animal shelter.

When I asked for updates some time later, I was told that they were going to look for city owned properties only, but at that time, there were none.

Finally, from the progress reported to the City Council on January 13, 2016, staff was evaluating City owned property on Iron Rock Way and Union Park Way.

This property was previously identified as a potential animal shelter in the original master plan!

A year later and we have gone full circle and must now wait several more months so staff may further study, plan, re-evaluate, refine and update, more meetings, more site plans and finalize budgets!

I absolutely love animals! It breaks my heart that the lives of innocent animals are being taken so lightly and from what I see, absolutely no sense of urgency.

I would also like to address the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce.  I believe you have an obligations to see that our City is the very best it can be. As well as taking excellent care of your customers, loyalty to each other, you also have responsibility for those who cannot speak for themselves.

I am asking each and every one of you to read, sign and share the attached petition.

We must let our City leaders know that Animal Lives Matter!

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"     ~Gandhi

An online petition on Change.org for those supporting the establishment of an animal shelter in Elk Grove can be signed here


00:30 | 5 comments | Read More

Residential Burglary Suspect Arrested, Led Elk Grove Police on Vehicle Pursuit

Written By EGN on Friday, February 12, 2016 | 09:00



February 12, 2016 |

Elk Grove Police arrested a residential burglary suspect after he led them on a short vehicle pursuit yesterday morning.

Yesterday morning officers were dispatched to the 10000 block of Blossom Ridge Drive in response to a residential burglary.  When officers arrived, they found the front door to the location open, and confirmed that a burglary had taken place.

Officers obtained information that the person responsible for the burglary had fled in a Honda CRV. Responding officers located a teal Honda CRV in the Wal-Mart parking lot occupied by 35-year old Charles Richard Roche (pictured above) of Sacramento.

When officers attempted to conduct a vehicle stop, Roche drove away in the vehicle. A records check revealed that the vehicle he was driving had been reported stolen.

Roche led officers on a short pursuit that terminated in a field approximately 500 yards from the intersection of Bilby Rd. east of Bruceville Rd. Roche was taken into custody without incident.

Officers also recovered property that had been taken during the residential burglary. A records check revealed that Roche also had an active warrant out for his arrest.

Roche is being held three felony and one misdemeanor charge and is not eligible for bail. His arraignment is set for next Wednesday afternoon.
09:00 | 2 comments | Read More

Sacramento Transit Authority Hears Report on Measure B Mailers, Outreach Efforts

February 12, 2016 |

At yesterday's meeting of the Sacramento Transit Authority (STA), the board of directors heard a report from a consultant hired to gauge voter support for a countywide possible sales tax ballot measure.

The STA is currently considering asking whether they will ask Sacramento County voters to approve a countywide sales tax increase the so-called Measure B. If the STA decides to pursue one-half cent sales tax increase, which would require a 66-percent majority threshold for approval, it would be placed on the November ballot.

In the report presented by Brian Capitolo  of the consulting firm of Duffy and Capitolo, board members were presented with a sample mailing to be sent in the coming weeks to select voters in Sacramento County. Capitolo also discussed information from a focus group meeting they conducted.

Capitolo noted that items such as relief from cross town traffic were brought up during discussions with focus groups. Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume asked Capitolo if specific projects like the Southeast Connector project were discussed.

"No. They know what they want, but they don't know about the planning," Capitolo said. "Once they see it on a map, they get it."

Hume followed up with a question if they are surveying voters attitudes about other possible sales increase measures that could appear on the ballot. He noted voters could be asked to approve a variety of statewide, countywide and local tax proposals.

"Will you be testing voter fatigue," Hume asked. "Will you test whether more or likely if it will succeed."

Capitolo said no, but added, "we employ any number of analytic techniques to try to get at that question."

The STA has yet to decide if it will be placed on the November Ballot. Sacramento County Supervisor Susan Peters asked acting STA director Brian Williams if they pursued the measure, how much would be needed for a pro-Measure B campaign.

"If this goes to a campaign, I would expect it to cost one million dollars plus," Williams said.

Williams also noted once the STA gets past August, the pro $1 million Measure B campaign cost would be paid for with private sector funding. 







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Elk Grove Woman Allegedly Uses Glass Vase, Bowl in Felonious Attack



February 12, 2016 |

An Elk Grove woman is being held at the Sacramento County Jail on assault with a deadly weapon charges after attacking her victims with a glass vase and bowl.

On Wednesday night 22-year old Keshon Regina Stewart was involved in an argument with her three victims on the 9200 block of Bruceville Road. Stewart allegedly struck her two female and one male victims with the glass instruments resulting in visible injuries.

Stewart was arrested and is being held on a $50,000 bail on felony assault with a deadly weapon charges. Arraignment is scheduled for next Tuesday afternoon.  






03:30 | 1 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Man Arrested by FBI, Charged in Adult Immigrant Adoption Scheme

Written By EGN on Thursday, February 11, 2016 | 19:30


February 11, 2016 |

Helaman Hansen, 63, of Elk Grove, was arrested by the FBI today after a federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, 11 counts of mail fraud, and one count of wire fraud for operating a fraudulent adult-adoption program that targeted undocumented aliens. 

According to court documents, between October 2012 and January 2016, Hansen and others used various entities such as Americans Helping America (AHA) to sell members of immigrant communities memberships in what he called a “Migration Program.” A central feature of the program was the fraudulent claim that immigrant adults could achieve U.S. citizenship by being legally adopted by an American citizen and completing a list of additional tasks. At first, memberships were sold for annual fees of $150, but that fee gradually grew and eventually was as high as $10,000.
According to the indictment, although some victims completed the adoption stage of the “Migration Program,” not one person obtained citizenship. As early as October 2012, Hansen had been informed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that aliens adopted after their sixteenth birthdays could not obtain citizenship in the manner Hansen was promoting. Despite that notification, Hansen and his co-conspirators induced approximately 500 victims to pay more than $500,000 to join the fraudulent program.
“The indictment returned today alleges a particularly predatory and manipulative type of fraud that takes advantage of the hopes and dreams of undocumented immigrants to extract fees based on false promises,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner. “The adoption of adult aliens is not a legitimate path to U.S. citizenship. While the charges against this defendant are only allegations at this point, no one should pay fees to anyone making false promises of citizenship through adult adoption.”
“This alleged crime victimized vulnerable, would-be immigrants seeking a legitimate pathway to U.S. citizenship. The victims trusted an individual who misrepresented the success of adult adoption in such matters,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Sacramento field office. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation is committed to work with its law enforcement partners to investigate and disrupt fraudulent schemes that exploit vulnerable people for financial gain.”
“It is very unfortunate that some in our communities would choose to misrepresent the American immigration system to deceive and hurt those who are trying only to make a better life for themselves and their families,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. “It is our entrusted duty to hold these criminals accountable for their actions – and so we shall.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant U.S. Attorney André M. Espinosa is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Hansen faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Victims are encouraged to call the FBI at 916-977-2479.
19:30 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Make Arrests in Recent Student Armed Robbery Incident

February 11, 2016 |

An arrest was made yesterday afternoon in the January 27 gunpoint robbery of an Elk Grove student.

In that incident, a 14-year old male was robbed of his property as he walked home from Franklin High School by three unknown suspects near Lotus Pond Way and McLean Drive. During the commission of the robbery, one of the suspects described as a Hispanic male displayed a handgun hidden in his waistband. 

During their investigation, Elk Grove Police detectives developed information that a 17-year old white male was responsible for the robbery. Detectives served a search warrant at suspect's residence on the 10000 block of Swann Way and detained him. 

A search of the location led to the discovery of property stolen in the robbery. The juvenile was taken into custody then transported to juvenile hall where he is being held on felony robbery with a street gang enhancement charge. 




15:30 | 0 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Man Allegedly Threatens Fast Food Employees With Axe


February 11, 2016 |

An Elk Grove man is being held at the Sacramento County Jail after he allegedly threatened fast food employees late last night.

Elk Grove Police officers were dispatched to the McDonald's on the 8200 block of Laguna Boulevard after employees reported a customer in the drive-thru threatened them with an axe. Officers contacted 28-year old Manuel Anthony Valdes (pictured above), who fit the description of the suspect.

Upon contact, officers located a large axe in Valdes' vehicle. Valdes also displayed objective signs of impairment.

Valdes was arrested and booked into the county jail where he is being held on $80,000 bail and facing three vehicle code felony charges, one felonious threat charge, and two misdemeanor charges. His arraignment is scheduled for next Wednesday.



13:15 | 2 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Kevin Spease Enters Mayoral Race

February 11, 2016 |

In the first of Elk Grove's 2016 election season, a candidate has filed papers with the Elk Grove City Clerk's office indicating their intention to run for office. That person is Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Kevin Spease who will be seeking the Mayor's office.

Spease, who was appointed to the Planning Commissioner by his opponent Mayor Gary Davis in January 2014,  has been active in many civic causes in Elk Grove with his wife Angela. Additionally, the Spease's operate Spease Bees, a purveyor of locally sourced honey.

"After talking with family, friends and people around Elk Grove who are actively volunteering in the community and getting things done, I think Elk Grove needs a change - a new perspective that is less political," Spease said. "So I am running for mayor."

Spease's opponent, Davis, was elected to the Mayor's office in 2012 was unopposed for reelection in 2014. Davis was first elected to the Elk Grove City Council in 2006 when he defeated incumbent Dan Briggs. 

"I believe Democracy is better served with contested races," Davis said. "I welcome any and all candidates to join the race and look forward to the discussion of ideas."

In addition to filing with the city clerk, Spease also launched a campaign website at KevinSpease.com as well as his page on Facebook. Spease is also a vanishing breed in politicsespecially on a nation level - a candidate who served as a combat veteran in American Armed Forces. 

"We are just getting started but I look forward to getting around to talk with people after my February 23 launch and, after then, I would love the opportunity to discuss and collaborate on real solutions for Elk Grove," Spease added. 








10:00 | 13 comments | Read More

Chew's Reviews - Where to Invade Next



By Gary Chew | February 11, 2016 |

Opens today |

If the world can be saved, it will be saved by women.” --- Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

That's the rhetorical salvo Michael Moore fires across the bow of those who would diminish the value of women. It's only one of several issues Moore “advances on” in his new documentary of provocation that comes in plenty of time for what's left of the 2016 presidential campaign: Where To Invade Next.

The person who utters that remark in the movie is the first woman to ever be elected president of a sovereign nation on planet Earth. That nation is Iceland.

Moore and his film crew also invade ... or rather ... visit other nations: Italy, France, Finland, Portugal, Norway, Slovenia, Germany and Tunisia. Other societal issues Moore engages are: employee/boss relations, how to best educate children, and having more humane prisons and healthier sexual attitudes.

Moore is always the imp in his movies. He travels to these countries to garner information in order to make life better for citizens back in his native USA. In one way or another, the filmmaker/host plants an American flag as he exits each country and seems on course to take back what he's learned, then apply it to his home state of Michigan and the other 49. The twist, which isn't really a spoiler at all, is that every good idea that he seemingly discovers in each nation was conceived in the United States of America. Imagine that.

That would put the conclusion of Where To Invade Next in solid agreement with Donald Trump. What?  Is Michael Moore also wanting to make America great again? Not on your life. His solutions are more than just a few light years from what El Donaldo is suggesting these days on your TV screen. Egad ... this must be a documentary that's feeling some kind of, uh … what would you call it … bern?

\Where To Invade Next is surely a motion picture that will be a soothing balm to all progressive and liberal-minded people who see it. Therefore and clearly, it also means anyone seeing it who's but a mere inch or so on the south downside of being a middle-of-the-road moderate will hear chalk loudly scratching at their blackboard as they glare out their window at the long parade of “lazy” folks breezing along on that fun expressway without so much as a toll booth in sight.

Michael Moore comes off as America's most loved-hated provocateur. He's very effective at putting his argument before us. There is more long term wisdom in his work than there is whimsy.
Personalities of the left in the USA don't come close to getting time equal to that allowed for people on the wing extending to the right. Michael Moore should be heard and seen more often … like Thom Hartmann, the radio talk show guy and anchor of an afternoon cable discussion program.

How long Moore's new movie plays in any town will depend on how many go see it. I suggest you get a party of your friends and go take a look at Michael's new piece of well produced and well written cinema. And while you at it, say him a little prayer or make a wish for him, whichever is your way of living your life. Word is he's recently been in intensive care, quite ill with pneumonia. Remember, Michael Moore ain't as young as he used to be. Guys like him need to live long lives.
Please don't ask me how to pronounce the name of the former female president of Iceland.

Copyright © 2016 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.


07:50 | 0 comments | Read More

California Oil Lobby spent a record $22 million in 2015

Written By EGN on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 | 13:00



By Dan Bacher | February 10, 2016 |

The oil industry spent a record $22 million lobbying California legislators and officials last year, allowing it to largely determine which bills passed and which bills didn't pass through the Legislature.

This “gusher” of lobbying money in 2015 yielded alarming results: every environmental bill opposed by Big Oil was shelved, or in the case of SB 350, a climate change/green energy bill, was amended under pressure from the oil industry.

The 2015 lobbying brought the total expenses by the oil and gas industry to a whopping $127 million over the past 10 years, according to a report from the American Lung Association in California written by Will Barrett. The report data is obtained from the annual reports filed with the California Secretary of State. 

The record $22 million spent amounts to $60K spent per day on oil lobbyists.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) spent a record $11 million ($10,949,150) on lobbying, making it the number one spender in California for the fourth year in a row. Of the WSPA’s $11 million, $9 million - 82% - was reported in the uncategorized “other” spending category.

Barrett noted that WSPA’s “other” spending would rank #1 on its own among all spenders in CA. WSPA paid $1.5 million to KP Public Affairs, the top grossing lobbying firm in 2015.

Second to WSPA in oil industry lobbying expenses was the San Ramon-based Chevron corporation that spent almost $4 million ($3,982,671) the fifth most of any organization in California in 2015. Coming in third in oil industry lobbying expenses was Phillips 66, with $1,483,032 spent.

The report also revealed that Big Oil spent a “staggering” $42 million on lobbying California lawmakers over the past two years.

In 2015, Big Oil spent its $22 million “attacking healthy air and climate legislation,” according to Barrett. Under intense pressure from WSPA, the Legislature and Governor removed a provision from SB 350 to reduce petroleum use in California by 50% in the next 15 years. In addition, Big Oil forced SB 32 (Pavley), which would have set greenhouse gas reduction limits to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, to be shelved until the next legislative session.

The oil industry also defeated legislation, SB 788, that would close a loophole in state law that currently allows slant oil drilling through a marine protected area, the Vandenburg State Marine Reserve, created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, and the Tranquillon Ridge.

Ironically, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) who led the opposition to SB 788 and other environmental legislation, CHAIRED the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California! She also served on the task forces to create “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.

For an in-depth report on the environmental bills that Big Oil lobbied to defeat with the help of the “Oil Caucus,” a group of Assemblymembers whose campaigns are funded directly and indirectly by polluter money, follow this link

In 2014, Big Oil spent $20 million “attempting to limit industry responsibility under carbon policy,” said Barrett, as well as defeating legislation to impose a moratorium on fracking in California.

The complete report can be viewed here

But lobbying is just one way that Big Oil exerts its inordinate influence in California politics and regulatory processes. The industry also wields its money and power through massive campaign spending, capturing regulatory panels and commissions, creating Astroturf groups, and working in collaboration with mainstream media.

To read my piece on the five “wonderful” ways that Big Oil and WSPA have captured California politics, follow this link

The Top California Lobbying Spenders in 2015 Total:

1. Western States Petroleum Association $10,949,150

2. California Hospital Association $8,977,831

3. CA State Council of Service Employees $6,203,372

4 California Chamber of Commerce $4,292,174

5. Chevron $3,982,671



13:00 | 0 comments | Read More

Opinion - In Defense of Congressman Bera: Part 1



By Dan Schmitt | February 10, 2016 | 

Some of my Progressives compatriots are upset with Congressman Bera, charging him with being “insufficiently progressive.” This has culminated in a group of Democratic activists, “the Sacramento Democrats for Truth (SDFT),” successfully blocking Bera’s endorsement at the California Democratic Party Pre-endorsement Caucus held on January 31, 2016.

These Democratic activists say that many of Bera’s votes in Congress do not adequately support the will of the delegates and the people he represents in the 7th Congressional District. They accuse him of voting more like a conservative Republican. The problem with this thinking is that it ignores political demographic reality.

It’s true that Bera doesn’t always vote like we Progressives think he should, and he does lack leftish purity. But, when one ponders the question, “Who exactly are the people Bera represents?”, the answer takes shape. The voter registration in the 7th Congressional District breaks down as follows: 38% Democrat, 36% Republican, and 26% Decline to State or Other. Now, I know quite a few Democrat and Decline to State voters, and, truth be told, they are not like me! They’re not especially progressive, and they’re as likely to vote for a Republican candidate as they are for a Democratic one. They don’t see issues like the Syrian refugee vetting as I do either.

Bera represents those centrist Democrat, Republican and Decline to State voters too. If he were to always vote as we wish, he’d never get reelected. I’m a high school baseball coach, so let me make an analogy here: Congressman Bera won the last two elections in extra innings by wild pitches! That’s how close they were. Bera represents, unequivocally, one of the most contested congressional districts in the country.

I even hear rumors on the Progressive streets that some think it would be better for Republican Scott Jones to win the 2016 7th Congressional District race. Then, in 2018, a “Progressive Democrat in Shining Armor” can be drafted, ride into town on his/her white horse, defeat Jones, and everyone on the left will live happily ever after. My response to that is 38%-36%-26%!

Congressman Bera has cast over 1,900 votes since being elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, and when taken in their entirety, his votes represent a fairly progressive bent. In the realm of women’s health issues, Dr. Bera has voted to oppose legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, voted against legislation to criminalize abortion and to block access to it. In the area of immigration, Bera has supported comprehensive immigration reform and opposed Republican efforts to deport undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. Congressman Bera has been a staunch supporter of dealing with climate change and improving the environment. He supports measures to reduce our country’s carbon emissions and opposed two Republican bills to block the EPA’s carbon emission standards for new and existing power plants. He opposed efforts by Republicans to overturn the Clean Water Act. And to restore an even playing field in our political process, Congressman Bera supports repealing Citizens United and supported an amendment to a Republican bill that would require the disclosure of secret political donors.

That doesn’t look like an overly conservative Republican voting record to me! I believe the majority of Dr. Bera’s constituents recognize that he has represented his district well and will support him in 2016. As a middle-of-the-road Democrat friend of mine recently said, “If these activists on the left are so livid at Congressman Bera that they want to take him to the progressive wood shed, he must be doing lots right. He’s got my vote!”

* This commentary represents my views on the Bera issue. I do not speak for the Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club - Dan Schmitt


11:30 | 2 comments | Read More

Opinion - The dogs have heard the Trump whistle, and now they are barking



By Congressmember  Karen Bass |February 10, 2016 |

In 2005 The Economist introduced a new term into our political lexicon: Dog whistle politics. It is the act of “putting out a message that, like a high-pitched dog-whistle, is only fully audible to those at whom it is directly aimed.”

Even before he announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States last year, Donald Trump was working on perfecting his dog-whistle rhetoric to call out to racists in the United States.

In 2011, Donald Trump crowned himself king of the birther movement when he launched a very public search for President Obama’s birth certificate, even going so far as to announce that he sent private investigators to Hawaii to see what they could find. He followed up this chase in 2012 when he offered $5 million for President Obama to reveal his college transcripts.

In 2013, when asked by reporters about these stunts, Trump replied, “Actually, I think it made me very popular… I do think I know what I’m doing.”

At first I, like many people, simply dismissed Donald Trump as little more than a carnival barker. But now that he has won the New Hampshire Primary and continues to be the GOP presidential frontrunner, I must admit that in fact he was right in 2013. His embrace of the birther movement made him popular with some of America’s most racist elements. And now, Trump is hoping to accomplish George Wallace’s legacy: Use hatred and bigotry to power yourself all the way to the White House.

Many of Donald Trump’s most racist remarks have been heavily reported.

In his presidential announcement speech, Trump famously declared, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

When he began to dip in the polls a few months ago, Trump sent out a statement “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

And when an African American protester interrupted one of Donald Trump’s rallies, Trump said that the protester was “so obnoxious and so loud” that “maybe he should have been roughed up.”

But some of Trump’s most effective whistles have been outside mass media with his effective use of social media.

An analysis of Donald Trump’s Twitter account by the British newspaper “The Independent” revealed more than 60 percent of people Trump chose to retweet during a one week period followed multiple accounts which promote the notion of “white genocide. ” And it was not like these users kept their inclinations secret. One of the people he retweeted uses the Twitter handle@WhiteGenocideTM.

I will admit that I should have noticed sooner. Last summer, while political pundits assured us that the Trump star would fade, the Southern Poverty Law Center correctly disagreed. They noted six months ago that white nationalists were beginning to openly support Donald Trump. One of these groups is the White Genocide Project, a white nationalist group formed to raise awareness of the “genocide” of white people around the world. They started a White House petition calling on President Obama to honor Trump for “opposing white genocide.”

While progressives, mainstream media, and the Republican establishment slept, Donald Trump blew the whistle. Now, the dogs are barking.

In the run up to his second place finish in Iowa, Jared Taylor — editor of the white supremacist magazine American Renaissance — lent his voice to a robo-call urging registered voters in Iowa to caucus for Trump because “we need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture.”

Heading into South Carolina, Donald Trump not only received the endorsement of former South Carolina lawmaker S.C. Knotts but alsoappeared at a rally with him.

In 2010, Knotts called President Obama “a raghead.”

Most politicians distance themselves from people who make these types of remarks. Not Donald Trump. He basks in their glow and continues to feed their hysteria. Just last week he questioned President Barack Obama’s religion because he went to a mosque recently saying, “Maybe he feels comfortable there.”

It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as stupid or claim that he is ignorant of his actions. What scares me is that Donald Trump knows exactly what he is doing. After having served in elected office for over a decade, I can tell you that nothing at this level of campaigning is by accident. Every Tweet, every word in a press statement, every person on a stage at a rally is chosen for a reason.

And should Donald Trump win, he will no longer be blowing a whistle. He will be dancing with the White Supremacist organizations and racist individuals who paid for robocalls, organized rallies, and used social media to allow him to win the Republican nomination in the first place.

I, like many people, should have paid more attention earlier. But now that he has won a primary and continues to lead in national polls, I felt obliged to speak out.

I doubt I was his target audience, but I too have heard Donald Trump’s whistle. Only now, I refuse to stay silent.

Bass represents California's 37th District, which includes Los Angeles, South LA, and Culver City. Previously, Bass was in the California State Assembly where she served as Assembly Speaker. http://fb.me/RepKarenBass
04:30 | 3 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police to Hold Community Meeting, Patrol Beat 1

Written By EGN on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 | 13:00



February 9, 2016 |

On Tuesday, February 16th the Elk Grove Police Department will be hosting a community meeting for Patrol Beat 1. 

Personnel from various units within the EGPD will be available to answer residents questions may have regarding crime issues. Community beat meetings are designed to strengthen the partnership between the police department and the community it serves. 

Next week's meeting will be held at Joseph Simms Elementary School, 3033 Buckminster Drive and starts at 6 p.m. For more information, please contact the Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (916) 478-8110. 

Additional community meetings are planned and will be announced once scheduled.

13:00 | 1 comments | Read More

American River flows will rise to 3,000 cfs as Folsom Lake reaches 61% capacity

By Dan Bacher | February 9, 2016 |

Anglers, rafters, kayakers and others who recreate on the Lower American River be advised — the Bureau of Reclamation will increase releases below Nimbus Dam into the lower American from 1,750 cubic feet per second to 3,000 cfs for "storage management" in Folsom Reservoir beginning tonight.
Winter steelhead like this one provide
a unique urban fishery on Sacramento's
American River. Photo by Dan Bacher.

“The increased releases are scheduled to begin Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 9 p.m. and will continue until further notice,” according to a news release from Shane Hunt of the Bureau of Reclamation. “Folsom Reservoir, located 26 miles northeast of Sacramento, provides water for people, fish and wildlife, hydropower, the environment and salinity control in the Bay-Delta.”

“The releases are necessary to maintain required space in Folsom Reservoir during the rain and snowmelt season. The current storage is more than 130 percent of the 15-year average for early February. Should inflows into the reservoir continue at current levels or increase, additional increases in releases may be required,” Hunt said.

“People recreating in or along the lower American River downstream of Folsom Dam to the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers can expect river levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions,” Hunt advised.

Midnight Reservoir Elevation and Flows for Folsom may be found at Reclamation’s Central Valley Operations Office website. Current American River conditions may be found at the Department of Water Resources’ California Data Exchange Center website

Folsom Lake declined to its lowest recorded water level, 14 percent of capacity, in late fall of 2015, due to the draining of the reservoir during the drought by the federal and state water agencies to provide water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods in Kern County.

Due to recent snow and rain, Folsom Lake is now 61 percent of capacity and 116 percent of average. The water level has risen to 428.49 in elevation, 37.51 feet from maximum pool.




09:45 | 1 comments | Read More

Cash Room at Elk Grove Walmart Robbed at Gunpoint, Under Investigation

February 9, 2016 4:55 a.m | UPDATED 5:22 a.m.

According to information posted on social media by the Elk Grove Police in the last 30 minutes, a gunman robbed the cash room at the Elk Grove Boulevard Walmart store in Elk Grove.

The suspect was described as Black male adult, 5'9", 225 lbs., wearing a white sweatshirt, gray shirt & black pants with brown shoes. The surveillance camera captured an image of the suspect posted below.








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Elk Grove City Council's Road Maintenance Growing, Risky Tab

Written By EGN on Monday, February 8, 2016 | 04:00

February 7, 2016 |

Ask people of a certain age from particular parts of our country about running an on-going bar tab, and they will know how this sort of credit system works.

For those who have had nothing but corporate-owned chain drinking establishments where an on-going tab is verboten, indulge us.

The tab credit system runs something like us - you establish yourself at a watering hole, and after a length of time through the generosity of the barkeep, they will serve you all the shells of Hamm's and shots of Kessler you care to imbide in on credit. Like any line of credit, there are limits and, of course, your barkeep will remind you to pay on your tab, usually every week when you cash your paycheck there.

If you keep current on your tab and continue to patronize the watering hole, everything moves along swimmingly. If you don't stay current, or suddenly quit patronizing the bar, some burly guy tracks down the offending creditee and uses his power of persuasion to extract payment.  

Somebody on the Elk Grove City Council apparently has experience running an on-going bar tab because that is what they are now doing, only in reverse when it comes to road maintenance. Instead of expending the $8 million a year in required road maintenance, for the last several years they have consciously decided to stick their heads in the sand and defer payment.

While they are not likely to have an enforcer track them down like the bar tab skipper, each year they defer maintenance, that tab continues to grow. Based on the statements made almost two years by Richard Shepard, Elk Grove's former Director of Public Works, the tab is, at least, $16 to $24 million, maybe more for all we know.

The only question is will that annual growth by arithmetic or geometric. Either case the tab is growing with every passing day and Elk Grove roads continue their deterioration.

So just what is the Elk Grove City Council' plan to address our rapidly deteriorating roads? Quite simply, they are relying on a possible Sacramento County sales tax increase that might be pursued by the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA).

This is a risky strategy to address how to maintain and bring Elk Grove roads to grade.

There is a good chance when Elk Grove voters go the polls in either June or November, they will be faced with a $600 million Elk Grove School bond, and one-half-percent sales tax increase from both the STA and the City of Elk Grove. Voters will also be asked to consider a $9 billion State of California school bond and a possible renewal of 2012's Proposition 30.

City Council Member's are gambling that not only will county voters approve a county-wide sales tax increase to fund local road maintenance, but that Elk Grove voters will authorize a city sales tax increase to fund several discretionary projects as well as on-going operations. This is a risky bet as sales tax increases need a 66-percent  majority for approval.

So what happens if one or both of the sales tax increases are defeated? How will the Elk Grove City Council then fund road maintenance? What about the city's assortment of unfunded or underfunded projects like the animal shelter that is being vigorously pursued by a vocal group of Elk Grove animal welfare advocates?

It is a risky game the City Council is playing. They would be well advised to have a backup plan because just like the guy who skips on his bar tab and is visited by an enforcer, voters will eventually look to exact a pound of flesh as roads steadily deteriorate and animal shelter advocates don't have their much-desired rescue operation and shelter.

The tab is coming due so get ready to pay.          


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Sacramento Transit Authority to Discuss Sales Tax Surveys This Thursday




February 8, 2016 |

At this Thursday's Sacramento Transit Authority's regular meeting, board member will hear a  status report on the effort to position voters for a possible supplemental transportation sales tax initiative in November 2016.

The presentation will be made by Duffy & Capitolo and will cover their various outreach efforts, including a survey, to generate support for a possible countywide sales tax increase. If the STA Board of Directors, which includes Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and Councilman Pat Hume, approves pursuit of the tax increase, the measure could be placed on the November ballot.

The placement of the proposed sales tax increase on the ballot and its approval, which requires a 66-percent majority, has serious implications for Elk Grove roads and politicians. Having deferred the necessary $8 million in annual road maintenance for the last several years, the Elk Grove City Council members are in desperate need of its passage and funding to patch the gaping hole in the city's budget.

According to the STA's staff report, Duffy & Capitolo's has engaged in outreach efforts that "has included the placement of op/ed articles in selected local and regional newspapers." The report also says that in the coming weeks select voters will be receiving mailers and an expenditure plan on the proposed measure, dubbed "Measure B," will be presented to the board this spring.

Last August, STA Directors approved a $600,000 contract for Duffy & Capitolo to conduct voter surveys to gauge support for a sales tax increase. Thursday's meeting starts at 2 p.m. and will be held at the Sacramento County Building, Board of Supervisors Chambers, 700 H St., Sacramento. 




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Elk Grove Mayor, Vice Mayor to Address Recent Crime Spike at Community Meeting

Written By EGN on Sunday, February 7, 2016 | 00:00

February 7, 2016 |

In a mass email distribution yesterday, Mayor Gary Davis addressed concerns widely discussed on internet forums and social media about last week's headline-grabbing crime spree in Elk Grove. Among other events, that spree included an armed robbery of a Franklin High School student and a gang-related street shootout.

In his email titled "Is Elk Grove Safe," Davis asserted notwithstanding last week's events, the city's crime rate over the last several years has dropped. However, he added "This doesn't take away from the fact that no crime is ever acceptable."

In an effort to address these concerns, Davis and Vice Mayor Steve Ly (whose district the crime spree occurred in) have expanded the scope of a previously announced community meeting. The event is scheduled for  6 p.m. on Thursday, February 11 and will be held at the Multipurpose room of Toby Johnson Middle School in the East Franklin neighborhood.

Along with addressing community concerns, according to his correspondence, Davis and Ly hope to organize a community association. More information about the event can be viewed on the Facebook event page here.   



  


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Cozying Up to Development Interests, Elk Grove City Council's Newest Baller Darren Suen Raises $49,000

Written By EGN on Friday, February 5, 2016 | 13:30



February 5, 2016 |

Unlike his fellow Elk Grove City Council Members, Darren Suen was appointed to his seat in 2014 and did not have to raise money for an election campaign. Like his colleagues however, Suen has quickly learned that if you want to be an Elk Grove City Council baller,  you need to cozy up to development interests.

Suen has done just that.  

According to campaign finance disclosures filed with the Elk Grove City Clerk's office, Suen reported that he raised $49,924, of which $1,000 was non-monetary, for the six month period ending December 31, 2015. For the entire year, Suen raised $51,123 and ended the year with $49,040 in his warchest.

Like his fellow Elk Grove City Councilmen, Suen has followed the time-tested recipe of tapping a wide variety of interests to fund his upcoming campaign. They include fast food, cigarette and malt liquor impresario Gil Moore, tract home developers like Taylor Morrison, political action committees like the California Association of Realtors, and for good measure, vendors like Willdan Group, who is one of the City of Elk Grove's largest vendors.

Of course Suen is employing the same tactic used by his city council colleague Steve Detrick. Raise an overwhelming amount of money so as to a.) simply financially overwhelm any candidate who enters the November race for the seat, or, b.) even better, have such an overwhelming amount of cash on hand, you will dissuade any opposition, run unopposed and cruise into that cozy relationship with your well-heeled patrons for the next four years.

Even though he has steadily grown unpopular with constituents and those several hundred individuals who still care about Elk Grove's future, Detrick ran unopposed in 2012. Undoubtedly Detrick will argue that he was unopposed because Elk Grove citizens are so satisfied with his performance. 

Let's be real about this - Detrick ran unopposed because most rational people know the odds are long on defeating anyone who has such overwhelming money even with his strong negatives. Well at least Detrick had his own skin in the game when he first ran in 2008. Unfortunately most people don't have the ability to tap into $100,000 of private funding for a campaign. 

The sad part is that politicians actually begin to fool themselves that these patrons are their buddies and that they are performing their job for constituents. In reality they are nothing but pawns in the game of the Central Valley real estate development that encourages nothing more than sprawl. Any chance of Elk Grove somehow magically transforming into an Irvine dissipated about 30 year ago.  

And let's not forget that Suen, like his mentor Detrick, supports maintenance of the good-old-boy system of Elk Grove "from" district elections. Yes, Suen is a quick study in how to seize and maintain power in Elk Grove. 

Among Suen's notable contributions are the following:

  • Gil Moore Oil Co. - $1,000
  • Taylor Morrison of California - $10,000
  • Schetter Electric Inc. - $4,250
  • California Real Estate PAC - $2,500
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 447 - $2,500
  • Republic Services - $2,500
  • Gyan Kalwani dba  Sheldon Business Park Ltd - $2,500
  • Willdan Group - $2,000
  • Richland Investments - $1,000
  • Richland Management - $1,000
  • Committee for Home Ownership $1,000
  • PG & E Corporation - $1,000
  • MMS Stratgies - $1,000
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical workers - $1,000
  • Howard Research and Development - $1,000
  • Northern California Carpenters Regional Council - $1,000
  • Harrison, Temblador, Hungerford & Johnson - $1000
  • Brian Cooley - $575
  • Pulte Home Corporation - $500
  • Reynolds & Brown - $500
  • Vintara Holdings - $500
  • Gillum Consulting - $250










 


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Chew's Review - Hail, Caesar

Written By EGN on Thursday, February 4, 2016 | 23:00



By Gary Chew | February 4, 2016 |

Opens Friday |

I submit that most actors who appear in movies made by the Coen brothers must be falling all over themselves to get even a small part in whatever new project Joel and Ethan have hatched. Such is the case with the one that's just opened and the brothers have dubbed Hail, Caesar. 

There is a more than an even chance most of those who made this cast didn't earn bushels and bushels of thousand dollars bills doing the Coen part they were lucky enough to snag. What well-known actors do get in such a deal as this is the fun of doing a picture that gives the “finger” to the roles they might be seen in more often … that do bring in the big bucks. Ah, show bid'ness.

Other than Josh Brolin and George Clooney, who carry the movie, everyone is pretty much in a cameo. Why would well-known film stars want big pay checks plus a percentage of the box office when they can redeem themselves for other movies they've already done that don't place the myths and legends of Hollywood inside a metaphorical piñata as have the Coens done with Hail, Caesar, then bash it with a large bat?

Cameos are handled by Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum and Tilda Swinton in a double role cameo of twins who are scurrilously spoken Hollywood gossip columnists. Hedda Hopper and her doppelganger ... or shades of Trumbo plus one. Yikes!

Joel and Ethan put you in Hollywood during the Fifties with Brolin's character, Eddie Mannix, up to his fedora in trouble having to run Capital Pictures. Eddie handles all that's necessary to cover up foibles pulled off by his biggest stars; antics that are unacceptable for the decent folks back in flyover land. 

Clooney, in his Roman centurion garb, is a Hestonesque character named Baird Whitlock. Baird isn't the brightest bulb down along Hollywood and Vine. He's kidnapped from the studio while shooting a Bible epic and taken ransom by some Hollywood Commies of the 50s. They're holding him at a swank beach house just a hammer and sickle from the world's largest ocean. I lost it during the Hollywood Commie cell meeting scene. Such intellectualizing you have never heard before; Baird missing it all.

I again lost control when Tatum, after actually doing his really fancy dance routine in a sailor suit, a la Gene Kelly or Donald O'Connor, looks as if he'll be rendezvousing with a Russian sub just off La Jolla, or wherever, that will whisk him away forever to the Soviet Union. (And he seemed like such a nice boy.) 

The film has memorable bits, but holds not too well together. Although it may play a bit too much to the “wings,” it entertained the heck out of me despite its abrupt finish and no denouement. If I recall correctly, approximately the first half of Hail had everyone chortling. Laughs subsided as the narrative graduated to more politics and deeper, yet humorous cynicism. Some people may feel dissed by what they see as irreligious innuendo. I laughed myself silly but confess: I'm a Coen bro freak.

Two other cameos should be mentioned: Alison Pill plays Eddie's wife and Clancy Brown (HBO's Carnivale and the more recent feature, 99 Homes) plays alongside Clooney. That comes near the finish in a scene that has Clooney as Baird, delivering almost all of a long and moving soliloquy. Brown's role is further identified in publicity material as a “Communist screenwriter.” 

For me, the only real issue with Hail Caesar is that Scarlett Johansson didn't get more face time.

Copyright © 2016 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.


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