Opinion: Reality Check Needed – No More Pipe Dreams

By Connie Conley | April 23, 2015 | As told in an April 23rd Sacramento Bee article , the city of Roseville is becoming what Elk Grove ...

By Connie Conley | April 23, 2015 |

As told in an April 23rd Sacramento Bee article, the city of Roseville is becoming what Elk Grove only dreams of being - a destination city. That city is partnering with its neighbors to create a “mega sports complex expected generate tourism for Roseville and South Placer.” 

The article quotes Dominick Casey, Roseville’s director of parks, recreation and libraries, “It will absolutely be a regional draw.”
Working on a regional basis, the cities of Lincoln, Rocklin
and Roseville are well-poised to capture sales tax revenues
from their planned sports complex. 

With 23 hotels in the vicinity, there is little doubt that this complex was planned after the needed amenities were in place to draw the “proposed 500,000 people who will use the complex every year.”  That is very good planning that we have come to see from the city of Roseville.  Why is it that the city of Elk Grove can’t do the same?

But what is even more important from the article is that Roseville is publicly stating what is proposed as revenue, they are hoping to break even. No pipe dreams here. Not so in Elk Grove.

What we found out at an Elk Grove City Council meeting, on the consent calendar no less, is that the city of Elk Grove, meaning the Elk Grove City Council, purchased 100-acres of land for $4.6 million outside of the city limits. When active citizens found out, the Council then tells their constituency the purchase was done to allure an MLS soccer team to Elk Grove. 

Pipe Dream:  Fabian Núñez came to town with his grandiose ideas, and our Council fell all over him believing he could deliver a team. Reality check:  Not going to happen.  If the city of Sacramento couldn’t get an MLS team, what makes the Elk Grove City Council think they can? 

Pipe Dream:  Next we hear from the dais that David Beckham could bring his expansion soccer team to Elk Grove.  Reality check:  Anyone believe that one? 

Now back to the 100-acres. We now know by the new SOI application before LAFCo that this land purchase was a smoke screen to expand our city’s sphere of influence. That 100-acre expansion is now 580-acres. 

Pipe Dream:  According to the Council, they still want to build a 6,000 or 20,000 seat soccer stadium, depending on which Council member is speaking; hoping we will buy the next pie in the sky idea. Reality check: There is no money!

It couldn't be enough to build the youth sports complex so many of us have been advocating for since 2004? And even if we do finally build it -- letting go the pipe dream of a soccer stadium -- can we compete with Roseville's new complex?

Fact is, there isn’t sufficient money to build the approved aquatics center -- $14 million isn’t enough -- yet alone getting any company to answer an RFP to build it or operate it. Why?  Because no one with any business sense is willing to take the risk.  If our sister agency, the Cosumnes CSD won't touch it, what does that tell you?

Sad to say all the Council has done is spent money on land, feasibility studies, and talk.  Not one shovel has turned over any dirt.  It is time the Council has a serious reality check and stop talking about pipe dreams. 

Sorry fellows, but we have heard so much talk that we have grown long tired as we watch cities like Roseville steamroll over us. 

As the saying goes, it is now time to, “Put up or shut up!”

Copyright © 2015 by Connie Conley. All rights reserved.

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19 comments

Steve L said...

Now that is reality.

That is truth with no smoke screens, no hidden agendas.

What a novel concept.

Anonymous said...

I look at this City Council and what comes out of their mouths as being much like a Sewage Overflow. Sewage doesn't know political boundaries, it just keeps flowing downhill until it swallows us all.

Warren Buffett said...

As they read this with steak and lobster in their mouths in Washington D.C., they are probably grinning ear to ear. As long as they do what they are told by the developers who bankroll their campaigns, and throw in an occasional publicity stunt or soundbite, they will stay right where they are--in their top dawg perches. Only when the voters stop being suckered in by glossy flyers, flowers, potholders, you name it, will things ever change.

Anonymous said...

It seems pretty obvious to me that all the projects in the hopper can never be done in Elk Grove. It also is crucial to resolving what will happen to the millions in debt tied to those projects. We're talking about many hugh projects that can be done without community input, but they cannot be done fantastically without community input.

Our City Council has just never learned how to get to the "finish line". You do that ... one project at a time and when the dollars are available, with full community support. REMEMBER, it is OUR dollars! As said above "put up or shut up".

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head Warren. I have a novel idea, let's have a weigh in when they take office and another about a year later and measure the weight gain. It looks like they have all put on quite a few pounds at tax payer expense.

Lynn said...

http://www.elkgrovecity.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_109585/File/cityclerk/citycouncil/2015/attachments/04-08-15_8.16.pdf

This is the link to the consent item approved by city council to contract with Jones Hall for Bond Counsel services for a period of two
years with one two-year renewal for a total
amount not-to-exceed $600,000. Looks like the taxpayers will pay for the "pipe dreams" that private investors and our own CSD recognize as loosing propositions! Our council can do it because few residents attend meetings or know what is going on....most don't have time because of working so hard to make ends meet or they don't feel this will personally effect them.....I have heard a lot of residents complain but they are not taking their issues to where it matters; city hall!

Connie said...

It is very disheartening to know that since 2004, many of us had the foresight to know that a youth sports complex would do well in our city given we have 60,000 youth, many of whom play sports.

I, myself, wrote Big League Dreams for years until the owner finally called; telling me that I am very persistent. Yes, I can be persistent when it comes to what I think is best for our city. We even contacted a competing company, put in a town hall meeting, got our hopes up that the complex would soon become a reality, and then nothing. The rug was pulled out from under us on that project by the Council themselves.

So if the frustration is starting to show, it is because had the Council acted years ago, we would have been ahead of Roseville and booking tournaments as we speak. Then that economic development that we constantly hear of from the dais would actually be putting those millions into our city.

Anonymous said...

Yea, here they go. Better start digging deep into those pockets EG Taxpayers. They're pushing their pipe dreams down the road...helter skelter.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. The Roseville area sighted in the article has 23 hotels and probably includes areas of Rocklin and Lincoln but we have about 6 (unless I miss counted). No wonder they have the funds to get something like this done.

Connie, in 2004 we were pregnant with our first child. Now I have multiple kids playing sports and by the time this thing gets built my kids will just about be done with sports. Sad.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

Ms. Conley, I appreciate your ability to articulate what many of us who observe the workings of our local government think.

It is disappointing to see people like Mr. Detrick who came in promising to be the anti-Leary evolve into the reincarnation of Officer Leary. How unfortunate. Many of us were fooled by Mr. Detrick, but his gig will be over, voters willing.

As for Mayor Davis, he too is such a disappointment. Mr. Davis is nothing more than a hot-aired politician who makes a lot of grand promises to the audience of the month, only to fall flat on his face. His recent silence on the aquatics center, MLS debacle and "laser focus" on solving the jobs to housing imbalance with his colleague Mr. Ly is deafening.

God have mercy on the man who doubts what he is sure of.

Anonymous said...

2004? That's 10 years this has been tossed around and still no closer to seeing it being done. Every month or so they will have some mention of one of the long on-going projects just to peak the interest & make us think they're working on it. If any of them were actually employed by some Corporation as large as EG they wouldn't last a week.

While I can't trust anything that comes out of our Mayors or Detricks mouth, I'm not finding our two new councilmembers are anything but followers. Was really hoping at least one of them would be able to operate independently...maybe be a free-thinker.

Anonymous said...

I always get a chuckle when they make those bold statements from the dias about some project or the majority vote on some item. They think all those behind the scenes agreements made with each other or some developer or land owner are actually private...I say, if Hitler had our underground he would have won the war.

Fed Up Soccer Mom said...

Anon 17:32, We are in the same boat as you. Our three kids are playing in soccer and baseball now and will probably be finished in the next 2 or 3 years. When Gary Davis made all these promises the last few years for the pool and soccer fields and even the veterans hall we were very happy and continued to vote for him. It seems his kids are about the same age as ours. But now, I just see a bunch of broken promises. I think he cares more about his coffee shop than he does for getting these things done.

Anonymous said...

I've been saying for years that Roseville, while not perfect, has the advantage of being around other foothill communities and their wealth. Elk Grove has South Sac and empty fields. Money likes to be around others with money. Its sad that the history of Elk Grove has already been written for all intents. Lower end bedroom community with a move em in til you can afford to move on out.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up on Elk Grove.

Elk Grove could have and still can do better.

The way to do it is twofold:

Capitalize on our amenities, like our trails, parks and youth programs, improve our sidewalks, widen and improve safety for our bike lanes, be known as a wonderful place to live with your children, good schools, and a places, especially, to grow old in with good public transit.

Be known for all that, and improve and strengthen what we have.

After, and along with the above, link into the trends which are globally manifesting - city ties with agriculture, being energy and environmentally in the forefront, being transit connected and friendly.

What are Elk Grove's 'geographic' and 'environmental' strengths?

Tie into those.

Don't try to be a 'generic' city. Any city can do that.

Be the Elk Grove which is unique, uniquely Elk Grove, that is.

Give up the 'destination' (i.e., generic) concepts.

And, please, oh please, oh please, won't some good citizens run against Davis and Detrick in the next elections??!!

Anonymous said...

It's rather entertaining how fast our electeds lose touch with the people of the community who worked so hard to place them in office. They went from just a working joe to having their names on the city web site and seated above the people on the dias with a wallet full of money to spend. Then the Big Dogs come in wanting a piece of that pie and with all that power placed in their hands how can they say NO? Some people can handle success and still do the job they were elected to do...others such as mentioned here get caught up in the frenzy and lose their respect in the process. Those little people who put them there are no longer on their radar screen. It's amazing what a little power and money can do to people.

Connie said...

Anon at 21:13:

I applaud your post. When our city was “destined” to be a bedroom community by the original Council, and the county of Sacramento to some extent before that, factored out were the “jobs, jobs, jobs” that is the one and only platform we hear at election time. Somewhere along the line, the Council beginning in 2008 decided we needed to reinvent ourselves.

However, as you so pointedly wrote, we do have amenities and services of which to be proud. The Trails Committee has done a fantastic job, but as we saw with the last report, the Council needs to support that committee even more. We have other services which do our city proud: Elk Grove PD, and of course, the Cosumnes CSD which we all know does a stellar job in providing recreational and sports services, not to mention the fire department.

I have heard many a citizen say at public comment they would like Elk Grove to be the best city it can be. That can only be done if we take what is our core and continually to improve on the hand we were dealt.

Question? Have you ever heard of late any Council member say from the dais: “Yes, we are a bedroom community. That is our reality. We need to stop with all of this nonsense and strive to make Elk Grove the best it can be.”

Anonymous said...

Anon 21:13 & Connie... I totally agree with you, but it ain't gonna happen. They have dug that hole so deep and would have no idea how to even start filling it with some good financial sense. It's just not in their vocabulary. They think they're doing us a great service in moving us in the direction of a "Destination City" and I still haven't figured out what the heck that even means for a small farming community on the outskirts of Sacramento that maybe can be called a "Destination City". Darn I dislike that word...

Anonymous said...


Elk Grove is going to become a steaming dumpster fire of a valley arm pit.

Who cares if we are rapidly running out of water.

Just keep on grading the land and throw up the sticks and stucco.

By the developers, of the developers and FOR the developers.

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