Dueling Online Petitions Circulating in Elk Grove, Share Overlap on By-District Issue



November 6, 2017 |  

In recent days two online petitions from opposite sides of the political spectrum have started circulating in Elk Grove. While the two petitions which are posted on Change.org address slightly different issues, there are two that overlap - the question of by district representation and the formation of a police commission in Elk Grove.

The two petitions were organized by Elk Grove residents Doc Souza and Amar Shergill. Souza's effort seeks to gather signatures opposes changing Elk Grove to by district representation and the establishment of a community police commission, while Shergill's petition includes changing Elk Grove to by district voting among several changes they desire for the city.

Currently, Elk Grove City Council members are required to win election to office on a citywide vote and live in one of four geographically defined districts. In a by district system, council members are elected by voters in one of the specified districts, not on a citywide basis.

In Souza's petition, he is seeking support voicing opposition to changing to a by a district. Currently, another petition independent of Souza and Shergill's advisory efforts is being circulated in Elk Grove in hopes of placing the question of switching to a by-district system on the November 2018 ballot.

Souza has characterized the efforts to change to a by district and a police oversight commission as outside interference of Sacramento politicians. The text also says Elk Grove should maintain the current system of "good old-fashioned police work."   

Shergill's petition, which is titled "Equality Elk Grove" lists five issues. Included are by district, the formation of a community policing commission, hate crime tracking, a curriculum at Elk Grove Unified School District School's on racism and hate crimes, and further conversation of race relations within the community. 

In Shergill's text of the petition says "The Elk Grove City Council is encouraging dialogue to build an atmosphere of tolerance and cooperation but we must also pursue specific achievable civic goals that will give voice to equity-seeking communities and build an infrastructure that protects the rights of all citizens."

While petitions posted on Change.org are obviously non-binding, based on the participation rates, they can be presented to governing bodies to influence policymaking. Souza's effort is to maintain status quo and is a response to the progressive efforts spearheaded by Shergill to push Elk Grove into directions more common with larger municipalities. 

Elk Grove has grown from about 30,000 residents in the early 1990s to its current population of approximately 172,000. In that time, Elk Grove has evolved from what longtime resident and City Council member Pat Hume called a "redneck" enclave to become one of the nations most diverse and integrated communities. 

As of posting time on Monday morning, Shergill's efforts have obtained 544 supporters while Souza has 477 signatories. 


 




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3 comments

D.J. Blutarsky said...

Just keep screwing around with the political status quo in this town and Amazon will never come! We already lost NRC Manufacturing and Bimbo Bakeries!

Randy Bekker said...

A few things left out Shergill’s petition has been cirrculating for around a month and has a high number of Sacramento resident signatures an support. He has also has allied himself with outside groups from Sacramento. Sacramento Democratic Party, Resistance Sacramento/ Elk Grove, Sacramento NAACP, Black Lives Matter, Sacramento Black Biz, as well as other outside interest to help influence the outcome.
Souza’s petition has been circulating a few days with only local Elk Grove influences with no outside influences. The truth Shergill’s group has tried to get the city council to enact his ideas with no input from the residents of Elk Grove. Souza’s petition and information shows the importance if nothing else it’s important for the citizens of Elk Grove to have a say in their future.

An Elk Grove Voter said...

I find Shergill a man of honor who posted facts in his online petition.

Souza, on the other hand, appears to be controlling his message by failing to let potential signers know it is already California State law that the city of Elk Grove can institute by district voting by passing an ordinance.

Isn’t it also interesting that Souza is not an advocate for letting the people decide; yet the title of his petition says as much? That is exactly what Shergill is asking, put the by district question up to a vote of the people. Isn’t that what we do in a democracy?

Is Souza just doing the bidding for council members who are opposed to by district voting?

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