Ranking the Elk Grove City Council Members

June 28, 2015 | As we approach the halfway point of 2015 and the 15th anniversary of Elk Grove's incorporation, now is a good ti...


June 28, 2015 |

As we approach the halfway point of 2015 and the 15th anniversary of Elk Grove's incorporation, now is a good time to rank the five members of our city council. This rankings will start with the best and work down. We invite you to post your rankings.

1. Pat Hume 

Vice Mayor Pat Hume has been in the city government from the beginning having served as an original planning commission until his 2006 election to the city council. This length of service gives Hume an unmatched institutional knowledge of the city. While there are a number of issues facing the city such as the sphere of influence application that seeks to greatly expand the city that we disagree with him on, Hume has generally never tried to hide what his agenda as a council member has been.

2. Darren Suen

As one of two new city council members taking oath just over six months ago, Suen has displayed a great depth of knowledge on planning issues, His background working for area real estate developers has served him well. Suen can grow into very good council member, but he ought to stand firm for his true beliefs, whatever they might be, and consult community members or staff for more historical information so he can understand issues facing the city.    

3. Gary Davis 

By virtue of being on the council since 2006 when he and Hume were swept into office, Mayor Davis has the second deepest well of knowledge on the dais. As our city's first directly elected mayor, Davis has erroneously focused his energies on projects that are risky to taxpayers, made promises that are increasingly becoming unattainable, while turning a deaf ear to mundane, but equally important issues such as addressing road maintenance. On the positive side, in the last six months the Mayor has not hatched any new plans and seems to be backing away from his bluster on things like attracting a Major League Soccer club.

4. Steve Ly

The good news for Steve Ly is that if we had ranked him early on during his short tenure, he would have been in the cellar. The new council member seems unprepared during council deliberations based on his irrelevant or softball questions. Ly needs to bone-up on his agenda packet, come to council meetings fully prepared and realize he no is longer on the campaign trail. Ly now has to get his hands dirty in the nuts-and-bolts of mindful governance. 

5. Steve Detrick

If you had asked the legion of supporters who walked precincts, made phone calls, and got-out-the-vote for the second term council member during his 2008 campaign, that Council Member Detrick would have become a disappointment, few would have believed it. Detrick has disappointed that legion on several fronts. In the last six months alone his silence on the flap with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) and his recent advocacy to have one of his sons awarded The Key to the City, have not helped. The good news for Detrick is short of some unforeseen legal crisis, he will probably continue to receive the money he needs from real estate developers to fund his activities.   

What are your thoughts?     


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15 comments

Anonymous said...

I too have been unimpressed with councilman Ly. He never says anything of consequence and offers nothing during deliberations. He recently had a lengthy dialogue on the dais but said absolutely nothing. I can't recall the issue but it was when councilman Detrick told him that's a load of crap.

Both Ly and Davis appear to be politician and not citizens/residents looking out for the interests of our city but interests of themselves. They just say what people want to hear and not what needs to be said. Ly is only using his election to the council as a stepping stone to bigger things so look for him to say nothing during his tenure.

Hume has a clue and lets you know why he's voting a certain way. I'm not a fan of his expansion of the city to the Cosumnes River but at least you know where he stands.

B.C. Forbes said...

The rankings are spot on. Hume deserves the top spot because though he has never hidden who he is, he has also evolved. For example, his first year on the city council, Hume refused to participate in the community grant process, saying giving out government money to subsidize social services was against his principles. The next year, he apologized for not participating the previous year, and then explained why he now understood they are needed.

Additionally, Hume showed integrity with his slap on the wrist for not reporting meals by the FPPC by paying the $1,000 fine out of his own pocket when he could have done so out of his campaign account.

Hume has also acknowledged publicly his receiving developer contributions, in an Elk Grove Citizen article, most likely distancing himself from Detrick’s actions by stating, “. . .I’m mindful of it and use it for its intended purposes.”

Suen is also very smart, but as stated, he needs to be a bit tougher and say what needs to be said even if uncomfortable to do so. At the last council meeting, Hume stepped up again.

Ly has been a grave disappointment. It is blatantly obvious he is totally lost on the issues and it is very embarrassing to the city. Ly even confuses his co-councilman. How many times have we heard them ask, “I am not following? What is it you are saying here?

Bottom line, because of what is written here isn't exactly positive, we need to stay ever vigilant and keep a keen eye on our local government.

Anonymous said...

1. Patrick Hume....For reasons stated. Clear where he stands on issues and why, in language the average Joe can understand.
2. Darren Suen.....Treading softly & can understand that for a period of time, but there comes a time when he has to get his feet wet & address the community issues with project before him.
3-4-5 Tough to rank this one...Take Davis first. Grandiose ideas that don't fit EG's wallet with no apathy for the communities concerns...selfish, self centered & bordering on mistrust. By that I mean speaks out of both sides of his mouth!
Detrick...Hugh supporter in 2008, but he just got too caught up in the power thing. Think the FPPC troubles started as a, what I will call "vendetta" for lack of a better word, and got totally out of control. Assume ?? the FPPC will sort things out. He has to personally address the issues however as it will never go away. Figure Davis is working on a challenger for the next election...his pattern of fixing problems.
LY...Softball player for sure and never says anything of substance that even makes any sense or addresses the issue. A GAME for him? Maybe! But for the time being his seat could just be occupied by a robot that wears a tie.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 18:48:

People preach accountability, and when it is done, you cry foul. A vendetta! Is that is what you call the FPPC finding an elected official guilty and calling him dishonest? That is rich and typical of why we have the elected officials we do!

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed.
Accountability is NOT a vendetta.
We have not received accountability from Detrick - doubt we will.
Keep up the pressure, and boot him out at the next election.

Anonymous said...

I believe the topic is about "Rating the City Council Members." We will most likely not all agree on someones ratings, but attacking serves no purpose.

Informed rural resident said...

It's interesting that so far the posters are in agreement as to the rankings and more importantly, the reasonings. This gives credence and validation to each posters opinions. They are not alone. The informed and discerning public seem to have similar takes on who exactly our council members are, even the newer ones. They are being watched and evaluated with every comment and vote they make.

My rankings:

1) -vacant - still waiting for someone I respect and I can agree with with on the direction and the future of our city

2) Pat Hume. Reasons are well stated by other posters above. I agree that he likely the only member that thoroughly does his homework and pencils out costs and weighs benefits to burdens and offers well thought out solutions to our issues. The others are on the dais for their personal benefit.

3) vacant - looking for redeeming qualities. Still searching.

4) Darren Suen. It seems obvious that he has the education, experience and intellect to have the seat on the dais. However, to date he's been reluctant to go against the grain of the majority and stand on his principles or even his beliefs. He needs to speak up, ruffle some feathers of his his co-council members and make EG a better place for it's residents. I still have hope, but Darren seems to lack self-confidence. While he looks for it, we all pay.

5) a three way tie.
Davis: only cares about his public perception, not results. He's established as a untrustworthy and lacking of loyalty and character. Mr. Sound Bite.
Ly: It didn't take long to see what we got when Ly took his seat on the dais. He is lazy, doesn't no his homework prior to the meetings. Lacks any substance with his sophomoric and off point comments. He needs to stop referring to "the kids" he deals with and put on his big boy pants and become an independent thinker. Unfortunately, from what I've heard he's not the sharpest pencil in the box. This fact is becoming all too apparent.
Detrick: What a huge disappointment. People had so much hope for his future and ours. He was to be the people's voice on the dais. He, like the others, is a puppet to the developers. Lacks honesty, integrity and worst; accountability. He's turned into his predecessor, Mike Leary.

It's evident many changes need to be made. Let's hope caring, smart, honest people step up and run next voting cycle.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Pat Hume is the smartest one in the room. He knows, staff knows it, the press knows it and the citizens know it. We continually hear, “I agree with my colleague.”

With that, are we even getting the best out of Hume? What is missing on the city council is someone to challenge Hume’s thinking. He was at his best when Paul Lindsay was debating him on his critical thinking. Hume wouldn’t dare drop the ball on one issue, or become a lazy thinker, when both were on the planning commission because Lindsay would call him out. We had a chance with Nancy Chaires. But as we saw at the last council meeting, Hume had to school Steve Ly several times which unfortunately occurs almost every meeting.

Gary Davis seems preoccupied these days and I get the sense that he isn’t really “feeling it” since the election. Could it be he now realizes the mistake he made backing Ly? There have been a couple of times when Davis even forgot to call on Ly.

Darren Suen is a smart guy but he and Hume are of like minds so don’t count on much debate there. It seems Suen just wants everyone to get along because he is a nice guy. However, “nice” isn’t always the best course for good governance.

My 3 minutes are up said...

If accomplishments are used as the criteria, then it's a 5-way tie for last place.

Anonymous said...

"accomplishments?" I can go along with that...Nuthin' new here in the city! All talk and no show......just spend, spend, spend & around the circle we go.

Anonymous said...

Since our city is 15 years old on July 1, how would you rank the Elk Grove City Council since infancy? After all, those formative years were equally important as well given the course we are on today.

In alphabetical order:

1. Dan Briggs
2. Jim Cooper
3. Gary Davis
4. Steve Detrick
5. Pat Hume
6. Michael Leary
7. Steve Ly
8. Sophia Scherman
9. Rick Soares
10. Darren Suen
11. Bob Trigg

Anonymous said...

Can agree with the rankings above, but not having lived here for the past 15 years wouldn't have any idea about 3 in the 15 year list.

As someone who has attended many council meetings and when unable to attend, listened live or to the videos. What I have found with new council members is when joining the city council they arrive with a plan, instead of being ready to listen and learn, and to be prepared to choose between confusing options on behalf of the citizens.
The city council has a poor history of uniting the citizens behind their ideas, preferring to just rule by decree. We need a council who can tell the plans that sound good on paper from the ones that make good in practice.

At the last council meeting we had the Railway property on the agenda. We have so many projects on the table now that anyone with one brain cell would know we can't possibly do them all. Sometimes I think our council just likes to hear themselves spew dollars. Pick one, finish that and only then move forward. They all should be on the bottom of the list.......

crafty old timer said...

I'll give it a shot.

1) Pat Hume
2) Rick Soares
3) Jim Cooper
4) Darren Suen
5)this is where it gets difficult, each has their patent flaws
Sophia Sherman
6) Bob Trigg
7) Gary Davis
8) Dan Briggs
9) Steve Detrick
10) Steve Ly
11) Mike Leary

That's kind of a pathetic list of city leaders. You would think someone by now would have stepped up and become the leader this city deserves.

Anonymous said...

This is much too complicated...we need to do a Feasibility Study!

Anonymous said...

In numerical order is impossible for this citizen.

So I will rank in categories:

At or near the top:
Pat Hume
Rick Soares
Jim Cooper
Darren Suen

In the middle because they didn’t or haven’t done much:
Gary Davis
Sophia Scherman
Bob Trigg
Steve Ly

At the bottom, some lower than others. Begs the question: How low can one go?
Dan Briggs
Steve Detrick
Michael Leary

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