If you were a non-incumbent Elk Grove-based candidate, would you allow yourself to be used as a fundraising prop?

Today a reader forwarded us an email about a fundraiser happening in Elk Grove in late February. The Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce's Political Action Committee is sponsoring the event.

A fundraiser during an election year is not an unusual event. There are two things of note about this February 25 gathering, however.

First, the event is inviting all the declared candidates to the event. Again, nothing out of the ordinary.

But here is the kicker - the chamber's political arm is inviting all the candidates - all of whom but a few pre-ordained candidates - have zero chance of being endorsed.

Let's look at the race for District 3 seat of the Elk Grove City Council. This race is of particular interest as there is no incumbent, and to date, it has already attracted four candidates, all of whom at this point are considered viable.

The four candidates are Maureen Craft, Amandeep Singh, Kevin Spease, and Lynn Wheat. Who do you think will be endorsed by the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce's Political Action Committee?

Our guess - and we would gladly give odds to any takers on this bet - is of the four candidates in the race today, the nod will go to the immediate past president of the chamber, Kevin Spease. This is not a reflection on Spease - he is an honorable, respected person.

However, it does point to the disingenuousness of the chamber's political arm. In essence, the chamber's political wing is asking Craft, Singh, Wheat, and many others to be used as props to raise money - even if it is a modest amount - to be given to Spease to bolster his campaign at their expense.

For those who follow such matters, the chamber's endorsements are as pre-ordained - not to mention as meaningless - as the results of a North Korean election. Nonetheless, it does come with a little cash and a bullet point on a candidate mailer.

So for candidates like Craft, Singh, Wheat, and others, do you allow yourself to be used as a prop by the chamber of commerce's political operation to raise money against your candidacy? 

Conventional political wisdom would tell any candidate to attend the meeting, press the flesh, and keep the smile on your face even though you are expendable as pawns in the game of chess. Of course, you will be meeting a few dozen of the regulars who circulate in the same circle with the various Rotary clubs and chamber mixers who will never vote for you even if they could.

Which brings us to another wrinkle in one set of Elk Grove elections, and that is the Elk Grove City Council. With the advent of by-district representation and elections, how many of these members even live in District 1 or 3?

As for the race in Elk Grove City Council District 1, does anyone think the chamber's political arm will endorse challenger Ali Moua over incumbent Darren Suen, who has already twice received their endorsement? Don't count on it. 

While we expect the various candidates will attend, they should ask themselves is it worth the humiliation to be used as a prop so the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce can present itself as something that it is not.  

As for the chamber's entrance fee, perhaps the money raised could be used for non-political purposes, such as aiding a worthy local charity. That would be less self-serving and avoid using sincere candidates for your pre-ordained candidates.  

Anything less than that just makes this event a dog and pony show. 

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Sounds like the Chamber is attempting to bring legitimacy to its impending endorsements by inviting the 'little' candidates. Be sure to clap on cue and smile when spoken to!

One thing is for sure though...the "Gone Fishing" sign will be hung on their front door on October 22nd when they plan to fly to Italy for a week. At $3,249 apiece, it's time to start their fundraising!


Spoons and Forks said...

Getting the chamber to endorse a woman like Michelle Kile, Lynn Wheat or Maureen Craft is as about as likely as getting Donald Trump to stop being a chauvinist pig. Ain't gonna happen.

Josie said...

The Chamber of Commerce describes itself as businesses’ “voice in Elk Grove". It now appears that it is also their army for hire.

Eye on Elk Grove said...

When I heard about this fundraiser, even though not a neutral candidate forum, I said, "Go, even though you don't have a snowball's chance in hell to get the endorsement." After all in years' past, only the chosen ones were invited to the Elk Grove Chamber PAC event.

However, after reading this EGN opinion piece, and the author’s sound reasoning about “the outsiders” being used as pawns, and mostly minority candidate pawns at that, to be exploited and then forgotten by the Elk Grove Chamber PAC to raise money for the anointed ones, Kevin Spease and Darren Suen, I changed my mind.

If Spease and Suen are truly about fair campaigns, building community, transparency, one or both being Chamber members, I would like them to ask the Chamber PAC that all monies received should be donated to a charity and not used as political contributions for their respective campaigns.

Absent that, my advice now to the "those" is to plan another event, or stay home and watch television. Either would be better than attending an event whereby most likely every Chamber member in the room doesn't give a damn about their platform. Most, I am sure will be polite because that would be expected of them.

And what candidate in the mix is not pro-business? That is what the Chamber looks for, right? In my opinion, this is a clear example of conscious bias on the part of the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce.

Unfortunately, the same will be true of the Elk Grove Citizen. Look for Spease and Suen to be given front page pictures and articles even when they are putting gas in their vehicles. The others will be relegated to page three.

D.J. Blutarsky said...

The game has been rigged ever since the City became a city. And before that, the game was rigged at the county level. Name one city council member, past or present, who was elected because of their grasp of the issues and their vision. Nope, the elections have been bought since Day 1 and this election cycle is off to the same start. Who says history doesn't repeat itself.

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