Celebrating Elk Grove's 21st Birthday - Some Political Fun Facts Part I 2000 - 2012

If Elk Grove were a bone and flesh person, this is the day it would be able to walk into Bob's Bar in Old Town, belly up to the bar, and legally order an alcoholic drink.

During our 21 years as a city, much has happened, particularly in the first 10 years of incorporation. We were for a period of time one of the fastest-growing cities, which led to becoming a focal point of the Great Recession's housing bust and endeavored to build a shopping mall that was demolished and will be home to a tribal casino.

As we celebrate our city's 21st birthday, let's look back at some of the politicians who have governed our city.

Charter Council Members

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Our first city council members, in order of their voting order in the 2000 ballot, were Jim Cooper, Mike Leary, Sophia Scherman, Rick Soares, and Dan Briggs. The top three finishers - Cooper, Leary, and Scherman were elected to four-year terms, while Soares and Briggs won two-year terms. 

Cooper, who appeared regularly on local TV news as the Sacramento County Sheriff's spokesperson, came in first and became the first mayor. Leary, also an officer with Cooper at the sheriff's department, and Scherman, were Directors of the Cosumnes Community Services District, which at that time was the Elk Grove Community Services District and enjoyed name recognition. 

The five council members were sworn in 21 years ago today at the Elk Grove Unified School District board chambers. The oath was administered by Judge James Henke, who presided over the Sacramento County Superior Court's Elk Grove branch, which closed in 2002. 

One fun fact is one of the Sacramento Bee's endorsements in the 21 candidates field finished 19th. Even back then, the Bee's influence was waning.  

The first council members booted from office

There were no changes to the Elk Grove City Council until November 2006. That year incumbents Briggs and Soares were defeated by Gary Davis and Pat Hume, respectively.

People voting in that election will recall the enormous amount of money poured into that contest and the vitriol, particularly in mailers. One of the incumbents famously distributed a mailer with an empty bottle of booze to highlight one of the challenger's DUI arrests.

Notwithstanding those negative tactics, Davis and Hume won their seats. As much as anything, there was a high degree of Briggs fatigue, particularly for his misogynist behavior from the dais, and unfortunately for Soares, that dissatisfaction leeched into his race.

Two down, one more booted

Much like Briggs fatigue in 2006, by 2008, voters grew tired of, and we can't say this more delicately, the sleaziness surrounding Councilmember Leary. In a three-way race, Leary lost, and Steve Detrick began his 12-year tenure and the District 3 representative.

Voters' perceptions of Leary were correct because not long after he lost his seat, Leary was indicted and convicted of real estate fraud committed against his former partner. Reportedly after he avoided prison time, Leary fled to Idaho with his sheriff's pension in hand.

To date, Leary is the only council member criminally indicted and convicted. This, too, can change. 

In 2010 voters changed things, and the city council took advantage 

Following the 2010 census, and a voter-approved initiative in 2010, 2012 saw significant changes to the city council landscape. In 2010, voters decided to have a directly elected mayor who would serve as a two-year term.

The election of a mayor meant that as part of the decennial redistricting, the city would go from five districts to four. Even before the redistricting process, it was apparent Scherman's district would be eliminated, and so it was. 

Although she was the only woman elected to the city council, Scherman reportedly had fractious relations with Davis, and Cooper, and following their lead, Detrick joined them

Check tomorrow for Part II - 2012 mayoral elections, appointments, failures to launch, and more

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