Why Elk Grove continues to build houses and not jobs - The devil in the details of the political process

By Michael Monasky | July 20, 2014 | The Elk Grove City Council has a penchant for rubber-stamping unchallenged proposals through...



By Michael Monasky | July 20, 2014 |

The Elk Grove City Council has a penchant for rubber-stamping unchallenged proposals through its consent calendar. This calendar is a mish-mosh of various, previously passed, not yet funded proposals in the consent process. If you want to see who got paid what, go to the consent calendar and the roster of payments. And if you want to know what your city is doing without public exposure, you can find that there, too.

In particular, this week's city council consent calendar, item 8.9, renews the long-standing contract with Joe A. Gonsalves and Son, a lobbying group, to the tune of $3,500 per month for 36 more months. It is an uncontested contract where the city is dispensing with competitive bidding since, the city declares, competitive bidding would not be in its best interest. The staff report says: “It is the opinion of staff that a formal solicitation will not be in the best interest of the City and that the expenditures of time and money will not result in an outcome more advantageous to the City.”

It should be noted that, on its own website, Joe A. Gonsalves and Son claims 50-plus different cities, including Elk Grove, use its services; that “[i]t is a tremendous privilege and honor for us to represent each and every one of our clients and we will not quit until the job is complete.”
            
Furthermore, it becomes apparent that the power of this lobbying firm has a far-reaching reputation, as Gonsalves et al. further state: “The late Senator Ken Maddy coined Joe A. Gonsalves & Son the 'Gonsalvi'; when asked what he meant by the nickname, Senator Maddy responded 'it’s like alumni, when you guys are working an issue you are everywhere.'” So Elk Grove is a family member of the “Gonsalvi” and enjoy its benefits and protections. In fact, this relationship is regaled by Gonsalves in its newsletter (page 2), implying that the Gonsalves tail wags the city dogs.
     
Frank Tripepi is one of the senior vice presidents of Willdan, the jack-of-all-trades consultancy that has an office across the street from city hall. (Willdan is a client of Gonsalves.) For 28 years, Tripepi was city manager for the city of Rosemead, Calif., another Willdan-and-Gonsalves client city. Elk Grove city manager Laura Gill is one of the “Gonsalvi” according to the above-mentioned newsletter. Perhaps her future lies there.

Let's face it: these guys and gals are quite comfortable with each other, and push this kind of rubber-stamp process through the consent calendar regularly. It should be no surprise that they want their buddies, who cover their personal and professional backs, to remain in power and to reinforce the status quo.

The problem is that we don't need more houses, and the sprawling plans of suburbia are dying, casting a pale upon the people and Mother Nature's flora and fauna. Climate change is here and now. We need to rethink our urban planning and retool for public priorities, such as open space, clean air, and public transit.


We'll never achieve these important, essential changes without another look at competitive bidding and the contracted lobbyists that set the agenda for our city council. It's time for a change.

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15 comments

Anonymous said...

In reading their Newsletters it's easy to see where EG gets this housing shortage idea...in lieu of jobs. That being said..there is an article in one of the recent Newsletters about Manufactured Homes being the answer to the housing shortage and perhaps could be OUR answer for all the low-income housing planned for SEPA. When jobs come, hopefully in the next century, just hook those shacks up and move them to greener pastures.

As to the "Gonsalves" and our contract with them...looks more like a social group to me. On their way North they did pick up a nice bottle of wine in Lodi. Can't seem to find Elk Grove mentioned in their Newsletters except in 2008.

Don't you just love how the city spends our hard-earned dollars?



http://www.trackdownmanagement.net/9501.html

Anonymous said...

Proud Heritage, Bright Future?

Elk Grove Thriving

A City by the developers, of the developers and FOR the developers!

Increase in armed robberies, assaults and various street crimes

More sprawl

$100 million soccer stadium

Garish 70 - 100 foot tall lighted signs

Sister city to the Kingdom of Zamunda

Octopus Civic Center

Amusement park right across from single family homes in Madeira "the Jewel of Elk Grove".

Visions of the Olympic Trials.

3,600 units of high density very low and low income housing on the way to "Meridian" (the Southeast Plan Area) - Hood of the future to be known as Mack Road South.

Bring on more low income housing projects, liquor stores, hookah salons, fast food joints, shooting ranges, gun stores, smoke shops and nail salons.

Elk Grove Thriving!

Proud Heritage, Bright Future?

Anonymous said...

Does the city rubber stamp residential projects to get more in developer fees?

Is there something about the city's finances that we need to know about?

Anonymous said...

Mike ~ I watch just about every city council meeting. I agree with many of your points during public comment on various agenda items. However, your point is often lost in your constant attacking of various council members or staff, and going over your allotted 3 minutes. Hoping this comment is seen as constructive.

Anonymous said...

To piggyback on Anon 10:11:
Mike, you're a smart guy (and frequently spot-on) but I agree that your message gets lost in the antics. Quite unfortunate, really...

Tea Party Supporter said...

To the point Mike makes about the cozy relations between all the various vendors eating at the public trough, I agree totally, but for probably for different reasons. If this money was in the hands of taxpayers instead of the government, how much better could our economy would be?

As to the remarks on Mike's antics, like I said, I am probably politically a polar opposite of him. Nonetheless, I do enjoy seeing him make the city staff and council members squirm. He calls it as he see's it and you have to respect someone who takes a stand even if you don't agree with his stances. He is not afraid to speak truth (as he see's it) to power. Furthermore, how many times have we seen council member degrade public speakers directly from the dais?

Anonymous said...

I think the important point here is that he'd pound them even harder if he'd stick to the facts. The antics distract from the message. If the purpose is to be a side-show, then the antics work. If the purpose is to inform and persuade then, sadly, he's missing the mark.
But, do what you gotta do... It is your First Amendment right, right!? :D

Paul Harvey said...

Michael's antics? Possibly...but offset this with three words...Nigerian Sister City!

Goose said...

Well played, Paul....Well played.

Anonymous said...

King Joffey Joffer, ruler of the kingdom of Zamunda.

Anonymous said...

It is sad day in Elk Grove when the City Council states that the cost to have an election to fill a vacancy on the City Council is to costly and yet time after time the City Council continues to award non bid contracts to their backers and pipe dreams examples: Field of Dreams; Soccer Fields; New girls softball fields for national tournaments; SOI ; New City Civil Center (will this be another mall project). Why do we elect these folks? Let's just sign contract (no bid) to consultations and have them run the City.

Anonymous said...

It is sad day in Elk Grove when the City Council states that the cost to have an election to fill a vacancy on the City Council is to costly and yet time after time the City Council continues to award non bid contracts to their backers and pipe dreams examples: Field of Dreams; Soccer Fields; New girls softball fields for national tournaments; SOI ; New City Civil Center (will this be another mall project). Why do we elect these folks? Let's just sign contract (no bid) to consultations and have them run the City.

Michael Monasky said...

This is really weird.
I'm not sure how to respond to everyone who is anonymous.
I'm the only identified person.
So I can't really take anything said here seriously, good or bad.
I've noted it however.

Watch Last Comic Standing.
They have two-minute heats where arrogant judges choose between two comics.
That's about how those at the dais treat citizens who show up to speak.

My daughter recently competed on that show.
God help the Elk Grove City Council and its staff should she ever show up to critique them.
It'd be neither pretty nor ready for prime time.

But you'd all be thoroughly entertained.
And that seems to be the point here; not democracy.

Michael Monasky

Anonymous said...

Michael,
Good on ya, man... On point and effective. You didn't sway them but your message was heard and understood. Good "light and space easement" quip.

Anonymous said...

Michael,
Great points last night at the Silverado meeting. Thanks for support regarding the impact this project will make on the east side. We did not sway them, but they got an earful. Your comments were right on point and gracefully delivered.
Laughed at the "light and space easement" comment. WTH!! Why do they add such language??

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