Elk Grove City Council Approves Most Grant Recommendations

February 12, 2015 | With the exception of one request, the Elk Grove City Council approved all the Community Block Development (CDBG) and...

February 12, 2015 |

With the exception of one request, the Elk Grove City Council approved all the Community Block Development (CDBG) and Community Services Grants (CSG) as recommended by the city staff at last night's regular meeting.

In total, the council granted $816,263 for CDBG's infrastructure projects, such as several sidewalk fill-in projects throughout the city, and $355,100 to CSG's for social-based programs. Funding is provided by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The only CSG funding the council denied was a $12,000 request from the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE). Had those funds been approved, they would have been used in a mentoring program for at-risk students at Elk Grove Unified School District's (EGUSD) Calvine High School.
CBDG funding will be used on this sidewalk in-fill
project on Elk Grove-Flroin Road just south of West
Camden Drive. 

In their deliberations on the matter, Elk Grove Vice Mayor Pat Hume said while he supported the program's goals, he could not support what amounted to a transfer of funding between governmental agencies.

"I support the program," Hume said. "I don't support money going to another government agency."

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis concurred saying, "I tend to agree with the Vice Mayor on this."

Council Member Steve Ly, an employee of SCOE, recused himself from deliberations on this matter and the Hmong International Culture Institute's (HICI) $26,500 CSG funding request. Ly disclosed he was a past employee of the Stockton-based HICI, and according to his recently filed economic interest statement, received between $1,001 and $10,000 in "consulting fees" from the non-profit.

HICI request was to fund a Hmong language and culture program for Elk Grove's Txuj Ci Hmong School. That organization's Facebook page prominently features Ly, who did not respond to inquiries as to what role, if any, he has with the school, in its profile picture.

After denying the $12,000 SCOE request, Davis suggested the entire amount to be given to HICI. Council Member Steve Detrick pushed back on the suggestions on several fronts noting the HICI had no local track record, they had not tried seeking funding from the EGUSD, and that funding a language and culture program for a specific ethnic group was problematic and unprecedented in the city's history.

"Where do you draw the line," Detrick said. "I think it is a very slippery slope, and we don't go down that road."

After further discussion, the council decided by a 3-1 vote, with Detrick opposing, to use the $12,000 denied to SCOE to fund an additional $3,000 for the HICI, who received a total grant of $10,000. The other $9,000 will be used for yet-to-be-determined youth athletic scholarships.

The city council also concurred with staff's recommendation to deny funding to the Elk Grove Police Activities League. Last year EGPAL received a $43,000 CSG grant.

When Hume brought up the matter, his council members concurred with staff's recommendation not to grant their $46,000 request. .

"We need to be cautious with them," Detrick said.

The 30 day public comment period on the grants will open on April 13, with the council expected to take final action during their regular meeting on May 13.




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Barry Scheck said...

I usually don't agree with Steve Detrick, but he did have a point. As much as I dislike cliches like a slippery slope, in this case it may be applicable.

Much of our country's case law is based on precedent. The council is no different.

What will happen when another group wants funding for their cultural and language school? Would the council be as open to a group who wants funding to teach the customs of Sharia law? What happens if a group of White Supremacist seeks funding to teach, say German culture and traditions? Most Americans may find these groups reprehensible, but if they are not breaking any law, they have as much right as the next group to seek funds. And precedent will be on their side if they are denied.

Don't think it can't happen. The ACLU has successfully argued for the KKK in their pursuit to march in Skokie, Illinois. I'm sure they would love to get involved inn this when it does happen. If a group seeking funds to teach Islamic customs is denied, the Arab American Anti Discrimination League may will take up their cause.

Regardless of the group, the door has been opened and the precedent has been set. It may not happen next year or even in ten years, but there will come a time a group without the clout of city council member behind them that will demand their share of the pie. If they don't get it, a lawsuit will surely follow.

Warren Buffet said...

"ELK GROVE (CBS13) — The Elk Grove food bank is struggling to keep up with the growing population of needy families after serving the community for decades.

The food bank says it’s lease wasn’t renewed, and that could now put its operations in jeopardy, forcing families to look elsewhere for help.

Crystal Hears and her husband have depended on the food bank for several years now. They both have jobs, but the young couple says it’s still tough keeping food on the table.

“For us, we can work only so many hours,” she said.
The staff says her family represents an expanding population of working class people who aren’t unemployed, rather underemployed".

BULLETIN: Hang in there Food Bank. The soccer fields, olympic high-dive, the sales tax increase, and the SOI will solve all your problems!

Steve L said...

Barry is absolutely correct here. We've opened a door here we cannot close if the funding is actually made.

I applaud Mr. Detrick as the only voice of reason here even though I disagree with so many of his previous decisions.

This city council seems not to be able to see past the immediate horizon and anticipate future events. They are like kids in a candy store, wanting everything, then later throwing up after they realize they can't digest all they've swallowed.

Slippery slope, indeed.

Mayor Davis wants Elk Grove on the national map. He may get the notoriety that Skokie got when the Nazi Party rallied there. Destination City for sure.

Anonymous said...

What I found surprising about this decision was that is not even an established school. They have only been operating for a little over a year, have 30 students, classes 2 days a week, no permanent location and caters to one ethnic group of our population. This is just sooo wrong. Our taxpayer dollars should benefit the community as a whole, not one ethnic group solely.

Anonymous said...

Patronage pure and simple. Not only for Councilman Ly, who certainly knows how to play the game, but the mayor as well. The mayor’s attempted to shift that additional $12,000 to the Hmong school in its entirety was an uncloaked attempt to secure the allegiance of a very well organized block of voters.

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