Cozying Up to Development Interests, Elk Grove City Council's Newest Baller Darren Suen Raises $49,000



February 5, 2016 |

Unlike his fellow Elk Grove City Council Members, Darren Suen was appointed to his seat in 2014 and did not have to raise money for an election campaign. Like his colleagues however, Suen has quickly learned that if you want to be an Elk Grove City Council baller,  you need to cozy up to development interests.

Suen has done just that.  

According to campaign finance disclosures filed with the Elk Grove City Clerk's office, Suen reported that he raised $49,924, of which $1,000 was non-monetary, for the six month period ending December 31, 2015. For the entire year, Suen raised $51,123 and ended the year with $49,040 in his warchest.

Like his fellow Elk Grove City Councilmen, Suen has followed the time-tested recipe of tapping a wide variety of interests to fund his upcoming campaign. They include fast food, cigarette and malt liquor impresario Gil Moore, tract home developers like Taylor Morrison, political action committees like the California Association of Realtors, and for good measure, vendors like Willdan Group, who is one of the City of Elk Grove's largest vendors.

Of course Suen is employing the same tactic used by his city council colleague Steve Detrick. Raise an overwhelming amount of money so as to a.) simply financially overwhelm any candidate who enters the November race for the seat, or, b.) even better, have such an overwhelming amount of cash on hand, you will dissuade any opposition, run unopposed and cruise into that cozy relationship with your well-heeled patrons for the next four years.

Even though he has steadily grown unpopular with constituents and those several hundred individuals who still care about Elk Grove's future, Detrick ran unopposed in 2012. Undoubtedly Detrick will argue that he was unopposed because Elk Grove citizens are so satisfied with his performance. 

Let's be real about this - Detrick ran unopposed because most rational people know the odds are long on defeating anyone who has such overwhelming money even with his strong negatives. Well at least Detrick had his own skin in the game when he first ran in 2008. Unfortunately most people don't have the ability to tap into $100,000 of private funding for a campaign. 

The sad part is that politicians actually begin to fool themselves that these patrons are their buddies and that they are performing their job for constituents. In reality they are nothing but pawns in the game of the Central Valley real estate development that encourages nothing more than sprawl. Any chance of Elk Grove somehow magically transforming into an Irvine dissipated about 30 year ago.  

And let's not forget that Suen, like his mentor Detrick, supports maintenance of the good-old-boy system of Elk Grove "from" district elections. Yes, Suen is a quick study in how to seize and maintain power in Elk Grove. 

Among Suen's notable contributions are the following:

  • Gil Moore Oil Co. - $1,000
  • Taylor Morrison of California - $10,000
  • Schetter Electric Inc. - $4,250
  • California Real Estate PAC - $2,500
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 447 - $2,500
  • Republic Services - $2,500
  • Gyan Kalwani dba  Sheldon Business Park Ltd - $2,500
  • Willdan Group - $2,000
  • Richland Investments - $1,000
  • Richland Management - $1,000
  • Committee for Home Ownership $1,000
  • PG & E Corporation - $1,000
  • MMS Stratgies - $1,000
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical workers - $1,000
  • Howard Research and Development - $1,000
  • Northern California Carpenters Regional Council - $1,000
  • Harrison, Temblador, Hungerford & Johnson - $1000
  • Brian Cooley - $575
  • Pulte Home Corporation - $500
  • Reynolds & Brown - $500
  • Vintara Holdings - $500
  • Gillum Consulting - $250










 


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11 comments

Anonymous said...


Didn't take him long to sell out to the highest bidder did it? I could see this happening from his comments from the dias on Agenda items....floated a few good words and then voted otherwise. Something seems to happen with them when they take that chair before the people, they get caught up in some fantasy world and forget the people they serve. Another sorry councilperson IMO.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Suen, why is your campaign named, “Re-Elect Darren Suen for City Council 2016?” You were not “elected” to the Elk Grove City Council. You were “appointed.” Are you taking even more lessons from “The Mentor” by trying to deceive Elk Grove voters? What’s next, illegal of campaign funds?

Very sad indeed!

Connie said...

I have known Darren for many years and I do believe him to be an honest person. I also believe comparing him to one council member in particular, until he gives us good reason, is simply not right.

And no, my name is not Pollyanna!

Billy Bats said...

Hey Darren.....any red wine or family ski trips in your future?

Doc Bricker said...

Connie, I appreciate your honesty about Suen. But frankly I think your bar may be set too low for him to fail. Unless he crosses you personally or preaches urbanizing the Rural area, I can't see how he can do wrong. But outside of the idyllic Rural area, he and his four comprades will let the suburban sprawl machine run amok for the rest of us folks. Maybe it's time for each of the neighborhoods in the city to take off their blinders and work for the mutual benefit of each other.

Anonymous said...

Should it be called “back scratching,” “quid pro quo” or simply “business as usual” at City Hall?

Unfortunately in Elk Grove, money buys access and developers tend to invest the heaviest in campaign contributions because they yield the best return on their investment.

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Abraham Lincoln




Anonymous said...

As someone who has worked for Builders and Developers this is one way they get their projects off the ground with cheaper structures and conditions dropped. Next comes what I will call "back scratching" that is not reported on the campaign statement. For example....spouses BD-Xmas gift, referral for at home repairs by contractor at cost or even no cost, gift of tickets to sports events and even a hugh break should they wish to purchase a home in one of their complexes. Builders and contractors consider this the cost of doing business and it is a budgeted item. I will say that not every city council was accepting of their rewards and always kept themselves at a safe distance because sometimes there are loose lips that will eventually take you down. Might be good to tread carefully as I hear there is a hugh underground in EG.

Anonymous said...

Mr Suen is a former developer. He believes further development makes a city great. Ask him about the mall project and he'll tell you how is't going to be a catalyst for employment. Really? Employers are going to locate in Elk Grove because we have a mall? Give me a break. It's south Sac/Valley Hi all over again. Build further south and the older parts to the north decay. North Laguna is already suffering from blight. The wealthy from East Franklin will be moving on out as soon as they can. Who back fills all these homeowners?

Anonymous said...

Here comes thousands of low-income housing units and single-family dwellings.

Deep Throat said...

To Anon at 09:50:

There will come a time when there will be one ask too many, when there will be one too many strong arming for contributions, and one of the developers who can no longer look in mirror will finally step up and say enough! There are many ways to get the word out, even anonymously, because as we have seen, there are people with courage to take the complaints to the proper agency.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that express bus system to the Mall and now maybe even a Casino.

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