District 1 Councilmember Suen, Elk Grove city manager hear criticism of their handling of CNU project - audio included



Note: The entire audio and a video of some of the images from the meeting are posted below

In a session that lasted just under three hours, Elk Grove District 1 City Councilmember Darren Suen heard many pointed comments and questions from about 60 participants at a community meeting he conducted last night at the Dreaming Dog Brewery in Elk Grove's Stonelake neighborhood.

Although Suen heard comments on topics ranging from traffic to homelessness, the primary focus was on California Northstate University's (CNU) proposed $900 million 400-bed hospital. Plans for the hospital, which Suen participated in during the much-publicized formal announcement last December, has generated substantial controversy.

During the meeting, Suen, who will be seeking reelection in 2020 by voters in District 1, was asked several pointed questions about financial support he has received from CNU and why he has not listened to concerns from residents in Stonelake, Lakeside and Laguna West neighborhoods. Suen was accompanied by his political consultant Corin Choppin of Capitol Campaigns, Elk Grove city manager Jason Behrmann, and California Northstate University spokesperson Brian Holloway of Holloway Land.

While many of the speakers expressed appreciation for the meeting, they were uniformly opposed to the proposed 12-story structure that would be built on the site of the existing Stonelake Landing shopping center. Along with homeowners, Suen also heard pushback from two current business owners in the shopping center over the tactics used by CNU, who owns the property. 

Below are reference points in the recording of the proceedings. 

1:00 - Jan Smutley-Jones, moderator of the meeting
4:05 - Darren Suen opening comments. "There has only been one person on the council who has been unabashed about full support, and it's not me."
6:50 - Stacie Anderson - Why has the city been highlighting the CNU project while not providing similar information on the already approved Dignity Health hospital.
10:00 - Suen mentions CNU December 2018 press conference
10:58 - Connie Conley asks Suen about his comments at December 2018 press conference; "this is not your district."
15:40 - Suen comments on attendance at CNU press conference
16:00 - Business owner Matt Weaver, "you got intoxicated" with the allure of the press release
23:00 - CNU spokesperson Brian Holloway; promised to meet with a community which was met with audience laughter 
27:37 - Weaver to Holloway - your role here is to push businesses out of the Stonelake Landing shopping center
38:35 - Amar Shergill and Suen. Shergill questions Suen on a host of issues. "I'm troubled by your behavior. " Suen says "I know you are aligned with the mayor" Steve Ly, Suen's political rival 
42:50 - Shergill asks Suen about TEFRA bonds, Suen asks Shergill "who did you support for mayor"
48:00 - City manager Jason Behrmann make first voice appearance
50:50 - Homelessness problem discussion
59:40 - Behrmann responds to question on Laguna West levee report
1:01:40 - Daisey Hughes asks Suen how many petition signatures need to convince him to oppose CNU's hospital plans
1:05:27 - Weaver to Suen; it has taken 11 months and the new by-district voting to get you to appear
1:07:00 - Weaver "I've tried with bonehead (former Elk Grove Mayor gary) Davis"
1:07:44 - Weaver "Gary Davis is a bonehead"
1:09:00 - Weaver "the money is in the entitlement"
1:10:20 - CNU are snake-oil salesmen
1:11:21 - Weaver "I'm gonna make a whole shit-ton of noise on the way out"
1:12:18 - CNU is "lying through their teeth"
1:19:25 - CNU is not maintaining vacant land and "it is becoming a fire hazard"
1:34:30- Suen says Elk Grove city attorney Jonathan Hobbs told him he cannot come out in opposition to the project
1:35:20 - Suen "I have concerns" about project
1:40:50 - Suen "I felt slighted" when CNU did not invite me to ceremonies in my district
1:50:25 - Political consultant Corrin Choppin defends Suen 
1:57:50 - Gary Davis will not talk to residents unless he supports hospital "I'm not buying a Honda either "from Elk Grove Honda
1:59:45 -  CNU is making Elk Grove look ignorant
2:01:35 - Kathy Engle questions Suen about TEFRA vote where he was absent and campaign contributions; can you recall a time when you voted against a contributor
2:05:28 - Engle question Suen about campaign contributions from City of Elk Grove contractor Willdan
2:17:14 - Comment to Suen, this group is the "smallest fraction" of District 1 voters opposing CNU; PR people for CNU are lying and misrepresenting the project
2:26:13 - Elizabeth Brown, co-owner of Dreaming Dog Brewery; from the start CNU CEO Alvin Cheung has lied to us, 
2:31:28 - Closing comments from Jan Smutney-Jones; "the applicant is making you [city councilmembers and city staff] look like fools" and "this [project] has stink all over it"





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1 comment

D.J. Blutarsky said...

DIXON (CBS/AP) – Prosecutors say woman who convinced Solano County residents she was going to bring a multi-billion dollar movie studio to the region, was actually defrauding investors.

Carissa Carpenter has pleaded not guilty to charges that she scammed investors out of more than $5 million with claims she had Hollywood backing to build a $2.8 billion dollar movie studio complex in Dixon.

Last March, Carpenter made a major announcement at the Dixon City Council meeting that her company, Morning View Studios, had the rights to purchase 333 acres of farmland to build a state-of-the-art facility.

She promised it would create thousands of jobs, and bring $1 billion dollars to the area each year. Dixon’s City Manager, Jim Lindley told CBS “These kind of projects happen every day across the country. It’s hard for people to grasp that it’s going to happen in Dixon.”

The project was slated for completion by January 15, 2015.

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