Protesters greet Elk Grove Mayor Ly at chamber of commerce function

Mayor Steve Ly discussing the hospital proposed by the for-profit California Northstate University with protesters in front
of the Thai Chile restaurant on Elk Grove Blvd.  | 

A group of people opposing the construction of a 400-bed hospital in a residential neighborhood staged a protest at an event on Monday, April 22 where Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly was the featured speaker.

The protesters, most of which are members of NEST - Neighbors Ensuring Stonelake Transparency - positioned themselves in front of the Thai Chili restaurant on Elk Grove Boulevard to express their dissatisfaction with the $750 million hospital proposed in the Stonelake neighborhood. The proposed hospital is part of an ambitious expansion of the for-profit Californa Northstate University pharmacy and medical school.

Ly, who was the featured speaker at a 5:30 p.m. meet and greet sponsored by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce conversed with the protesters. In his comments, Ly acknowledged their participation in the political process and stressed the final decision will be made by the Elk Grove City Council after a lengthy process.

"I think that this is really healthy that we are having this conversation," Ly said. 

When asked about whether or not he supports the proposed hospital at this moment in time by one of the protest participants, Ly demurred saying it was unfair for the applicants to state his position. Ly has signaled his support for the CNU project starting at their December 2018 announcement for the hospital.

"I say this, let's have this conversation and move forward, together," he added. 

When questioned by Elk Grove resident and smart planning advocate Lynn Wheat about how much he supports the general plan, Ly expressed irritation. After Ly said he supported the city's general plan, Wheat followed up by asking if he would vote for a general plan amendment for a project that would not be in compliance with the general plan.

After Wheat pushed back on Ly's comments "that it is more complicated than that," he told Wheat "you are welcome to run for the city council or the mayor's position" to which Wheat noted she had so in 2012.

Ly then broke from the impromptu meeting and returned to the chamber of commerce function inside the restaurant. Before the dozen-plus protesters waved signs towards eastbound commuters on Elk Grove Boulevard (see video below), one of the protester organizers and NEST member Kathy Engle discussed the meeting and project. 

 "We are going to continuously show up everywhere to voice our opposition to a project that does not belong on the west side in Stone Lake," Engle said. "It does not conform to the general plan."

Expanding on that, Engle said it is more appropriate for the project to be located in the city's 1,200-acre Southeast Policy Area. SEPA, as it is called is currently undeveloped, and as promised by former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis (see the video of Davis' comment here), would be the city's employment center and home to 25,000 new jobs.

"That is where it belongs, that was where they planned for it," she said. "There is a lot of space out there and that's where it should go."

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