Open Letter to Amar Shergill & Doc Souza on By District, Proposed Community Police Commission



November 8, 2017 |  


Open Letter to Amar Shergill and Doc Souza,

In a free society, a component of democracy opens channels for the free flow of information and ideas for the development of diverse opinions within a community. 

Currently, we have two diverse online petitions circulating in Elk Grove regarding by district voting and the formation of a police commission. The petitions are authored by Amar Shergill and Doc Souza. In favor of both is Shergill; opposing both is Souza.

The Elk Grove Community Connection (EGCC) is extending an invitation to both of you to hold a community forum whereby the petition authors can openly debate the merits of their respective petitions before the Elk Grove voting public. 

[As a note, the EGCC has hosted more than 20 community forums in both Elk Grove and Galt on matters important to the people of Elk Grove. Hosts and moderators have included members of the Elk Grove City Council, most forums becoming special meetings, and have been standing room only attendance.]

In hosting this forum, we would invite a mutually agreed upon moderator. If you are interested in participating in an open public forum to debate your position on these two vitally important issues before the community, please send an email to Dan Gougherty at Elk Grove News.net, editor @ elkgrovenews.net.

Linda Ford
Elk Grove Community Connection

Below is the story on both petitions posted on this site on Monday, November 6.

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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1 comment

Randy Bekker said...

Since this article was just posted an accurate update of voting numbers would have been better. Mr Souza’s petition is in the 900 range and Mr. Shergill’s pettion is around 635.

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