Suen Unanimously Appointed to Elk Grove City Council District 1 Vacancy

December 3, 2014 | In a widely anticipated move, the Elk Grove City Council appointed Darren Suen to the District 1 vacancy at tonig...

December 3, 2014 |

In a widely anticipated move, the Elk Grove City Council appointed Darren Suen to the District 1 vacancy at tonight's special meeting.

Suen will fill the seat recently vacated by former Council Member Jim Cooper who was elected to the Ninth District of the California State Assembly. Suen, who will be sworn-in at next Wednesday's regular meeting along with District 4 Council Member-elect Steve Ly, was one of six vying for the appointment.

Even though the city council voted unanimously for Suen, Elk Grove Council Member Pat Hume also nominated Brian Weise, a retired business owner and architect he personally recruited, noting his commitment to serve for only the two years remaining on the seat's term. Council Member Bob Trigg indicated his support of Wiese during deliberations, but failed to second when Hume made a motion to nominate him.  

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis also continued his objections voiced at the last regular meeting that Council Member-elect Ly, not the outgoing Trigg, be part of the process. In spite of his opposition, Davis very quickly voiced his support of Suen, who has an extensive background in Elk Grove residential real estate development.   

When asked about the city's hot-button issue of job growth, Suen said the development of more homes would help attract more employers. Suen also noted that he will seek election to a full four-year term in two years.

"My vision is going to take longer than two years," he said. "I'm in for the long haul."

During public comment, the council was criticized on several fronts including the speed of the process, the lack of vetting of the candidates and the exclusion of voters in selecting council openings via special elections.

Elk Grove resident Kathy Lee noted that citizens had no means to vett the candidates in the narrow time frame and the decision to who should fill the seat should be made by voters. She also noted the community-wide perception that the decision to appoint Suen, who had not yet been appointed at the time of her comments, was made well ahead of Wednesday's meeting. 

"Rumors persist that the decision has already been made," she noted.

Following her comments, Elk Grove Council Member Steve Detrick asked Lee if voters were any more informed following the recent Elk Grove City Council District 4 election. Lee noted that while the candidates may not have answered questions to anyone's satisfaction, voters were still able to ask questions.

"We had the opportunity to ask the questions and see how they replied," Lee said.

Echoing his mentor Mayor Davis, council member elect-Ly expressed frustration of being excluded from the process. Ly noted that the council seemed to rush a process that he felt could have as easily been consummated with more citizen participation after being sworn-in next week.

"I am concerned that this particular process appears to be rushed," Ly said. "I am concerned the public hasn't had an opportunity to ask questions."
Following his appointment, Suen thanked the council and said he looks forward to working on issues facing the city. 

"I am truly humbled," Suen said. "I look forward to earning the community's trust."

After accepting the appointment, Davis noted "be careful what you ask for."

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SteveB6509 said...

I have met Darren once and he seemed like a reasonably nice person. With all due respect, I do have one major issue here - he apparently says building more houses will bring employers? WTF? That is the problem we have had - for years, the City built houses and ignored employment issues. I can only hope that Darren is smarter than this (he seems to be) and will not take a "build houses" stance first. We need to develop the other aspects of our society and the houses will come from there.

Anonymous said...

To Steve B..
your worst nightmare has come true. Mr Suen, when asked what motivated him to apply for the open seat, said he really enjoys the planning process and building infrastructures and homes. Yes, he said homes. He indicated you must have home to bring in jobs. Excuse me, but isn't that what this city has done for the last 8 years which has resulted in our homes-to-jobs in-balance? And yes, it was very clear from the opening comments that Suen had this position all sewn up. It was just a matter of the council putting on a dog-and-pony show for the 10 people who showed up and cared enough to comment. Very sad...more homes and roads. Two things I could do without...more people and more cars/traffic to deal with. Maybe Mr Suen will build up some wider roads.

Anonymous said...

Disappointing. We don't need another developer and slick politician beholden to developer money. The SOI will be back and with even more support.

We have +160k residents but we need more housing to attract jobs? Really? How about we improve our existing city so the older areas of Laguna and Old Elk Grove aren't abandoned by homeowners for the new homes in SEPA and the forthcoming SOI? I saw the same thing in the Valley Hi area in the 90's. All the well heeled homeowners fled to new homes in Laguna leaving property values in the dump in Valley Hi. Now the same is happening in Laguna as homeowners are relocating to Franklin and Madeira. This is sprawl. Any future home development we make needs to be something that ages well. Sorry, but much of what's been built in the 90's and 2000's isn't aging well.

Lynn said...

Mr Suen repeated what council members have previously said homes, retail and office; build it in that order. Mr. Suen did say we need executive housing. I do not disagree on that point; however we had(HAD) executive housing in the general plan and it was REZONED as it was not needed as told to us by home builders....meaning it would not sell and they would not profit.

I agree Mr. Suen is a nice person. Council members are nice people. However 'nice' isn't working for the long term when only short term wants are addressed, monies are being spent. "Nice" will way heavily on tax payers backs one day...and than what will we all have to say about 'nice'.
As a regular attendee of council meetings I was disappointed about how little the applicants knew about our city general plan and decisions of this council. I encouraged them to attend council meetings, read reports, and agendas. I hope they do so since all had a wealth of experience in other public sectors. WE need more participation at city council meetings!

Trigg's Swan Song said...

So for his final act, did Bob Trigg fall back asleep or did he miss his cue, leaving Hume looking totally dumbfounded last night? Hume put forth a substitute motion to nominate Wiese. . . dead silence. Where are you Bob?

Or did Trigg, in his final act, outsmart Hume, seeing the 2-2 voting scenario rearing its ugly head once again and he didn’t want his friend and fellow Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation Board member to be embarrassed

Taking in what occurred two years ago, this is KARMA big time and it came back to bite Hume big time.

I guess Hume isn’t the golden boy everyone thinks he is.

Cynthia said...

Swan Song is right. Trigg was asleep at the wheel again last night. Trigg said he wanted the candidate that Hume made the motion on, but Trigg failed to second the motion leaving Hume out to dry. That's what we got with the last appointee, only God knows what lies ahead with the latest appointee, a well established developer's dream.

Hold on to your check books people, the city's coming after your money and there is no one to blame but us citizens and our well established apathy.

Anonymous said...


Elk Grove is a blob that is sprawling to the east and to the south.

Soon south Sacramento will be merged into a big blob with north Stockton.

Anonymous said...

Nothing surprising about this decision and Hume's attempt to throw out the other name was just a ruse at that persons expense. I too was surprised that the candidates spoke little, if at all, about any ongoing decisions our council have going and their thoughts about those. That being said, I did feel for the some of the applicants, speaking from their hearts and thinking they had a chance at being picked when the fix was already in.

As to Mr. Detricks comments about vetting of candidates before an election...where has he been all his life? We have many opportunities to speak with the candidates and attend Forums. That is what should always be afforded the voters and taxpayers of this city and we were deprived of that opportunity. This Appointment process has to does not serve the public well.

Anonymous said...

So Anon at 9:51, do you believe that Hume used Wiese as his "pat-sy" to defer the Suen fix was in?

Could Hume be that calculating and dishonest?

Connie said...

I am probably doing to take a hit or two for this opinion, but with the last appointment, we saw someone with no experience. Robert Trigg may be a brilliant man and educator, but all we ever heard was him praising staff and agreeing with them at every turn. I never heard him have an independent opinion on any agenda item.

Darren Suen, on the other hand, does have a vast amount of practical experience in working with city governments. I, as one citizen, one voice, am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will be fair.

I also believe with his education, background and knowledge that Darren will be his own voice. I do not believe the same with Steve Ly, unless he proves otherwise. [Disclaimer: I did not support Ly’s candidacy and let’s see if he is all about transparency and public participation as he claims to be and said as much again last night.]

However, I do believe that a forum should have been held. Dan Gougherty of EGN and Bryan Gold at the Elk Grove Citizen were not afraid to ask the District 4 candidates city-specific pertinent questions that were on the minds of very involved citizens. MLS? SOI? SEPA?

Because those same hard questions were not asked last night by any of the council members, we should have been afforded a forum; even more so since it was an appointment and not an out and out election.

So my fellow citizens, as the cliché goes, we now have to “play the hand we’re dealt.” I certainly hope we citizens win a hand or two!

lynn said...

Elk grove developer's delight and our blight.

Connie said...


I will leave the door open for an “I told you so,” but hopefully not. Lord knows I have been wrong a time or two about a council member or two; but on the flip side, right a time or two.

I hope people will meet one and one with Darren so that they can get to know him aside from the comments about what we think or perceive him to be.

As far as Pat Hume is concerned and the comments, people know that Pat and I have a personal history. I know him very well. Pat may be a lot of things, good and bad, but I don’t believe he would ask Brian Wiese to apply so that he could set him up to be his fall guy to deflect the so-called fix.

It was very obvious that Pat respects Mr. Wiese and in listening to his comments and answers to the questions, he was very reasonable, knowledgeable and had some good ideas.

Okay, very soggy ground today. I am going to get off my limb.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps a little off thread, but what I see that our city is missing in thinking more houses is our answer. We pay little attention to the need for "complete" communities, i.e., a balance among residential and employment development. Without a local economy, the residents of a new development are obliged to drive to work somewhere else, leaving the neighbourhood empty of life in the daytime, while filling up the roads. Our focus on the MLS & "Olympic" Aquatics Center as a draw only means we have lost focus on the "complete community." Is this what we want....a set of roads flanked by hundreds of houses and who would want to locate in an area anywhere near those major complexes? That's when our house goes on the market....end of rant. lol

Lynn said...

To above; I do not think there was ever a focus on "complete community".
The focus of our leaders has been to respond to developer rezones and general plan amendments. The SEPA is going to be developed under the "hybrid zoning concept"...translates what will sell at the moment to make those involved lots of money....The majority currently is zoned housing!

Wow what a concept to develop amenities for those of us already here!
The newest appointment; more homes sure to come...he said in the order of homes, retail and office....Homes bring jobs.

History to repeat itself...thanks to apathy and home builders funding campaigns....and at the local level it does not matter which political party democrat or republican our leaders jump high for developers.

And our planning commission approves projects with "this is the best we can get" Yep...."D" rated projects are passing in our town! This is how much residents are valued by leaders; land use planning, infrastructure; D levels..

Anonymous said...

I keep wondering where the figure, $500,000 comes from to ensure our democracy here in Elk Grove - the 'supposed' cost of a special election.

Who came up with that figure???

More importantly, why do council members get to make the decision to take our democracy from us?

What a horrible miscarriage of our rights to elect our representatives.

Suen will always be 'illegal' and 'illegitimate' in my mind, just as Trigg was.

And, how presumptuous of Suen to proclaim that HIS plans will take longer than two years to come to fruition!

Anonymous said...

It's pretty much like an item on the CC's Agenda next week where they throw all those big numbers in your face. I'm speaking of the Veterans Hall and Senior Center Complex. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for providing support to those organizations, but just stick with the facts. They quote 9200 Veterans in EG, but only 50 attended the Community Workshop...what, less than 10%. Plus for the Senior Center Bldg. they're using 50 years of age as the Senior population. Heck even AARP uses 55+. How do all you 50 year olds like being called Seniors? I'm thinking all these figures surely must come from our lst graders who may look at us all as Oldies/Seniors. I'm thinking our city just doesn't get what makes a viable community on a balanced budget. Seems there is no end to projects in the wind with an empty wallet. Just stick it to the taxpayer with some Revenue Bonds while leaving with a smile on their faces.

Anonymous said...

Just listened to the end of the meeting and holy smokes Trigg completely fell asleep. Apparently he was busy thanking staff for their hard work. It's hard to beat up on a 80+ year old guy but jeez. He just finished saying I'm with Weise then Hume makes a motion and Trigg doesn't give him a 2nd.

At least with Suen I'll have no problem taking him to task on his votes and pro developer stance.

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