Of Sophia, Cooper and Leary: Hubris personified

A story in today's Bee, "Bubble bursts in Elk Grove" (reg. required)can't help but remind us of the hubris displayed by t...

A story in today's Bee, "Bubble bursts in Elk Grove" (reg. required)can't help but remind us of the hubris displayed by the charter members of the Elk Grove City Council.

Going back to the heady first days of incorporation in 2000, the original city council members, including current members Jim Cooper, Mike Leary and Sophia Scherman, all fawned at those first several meetings about the prospect of Elk Grove having it's very own mall.

No doubt all they could see were sales tax dollars, and more importantly, political contributions, rolling in.

Fast forward seven years, throw in a few lawsuits along the way (one brought by Westfield, a major contributor to former governor Gray Davis) and much loathing in the community about the Lent Ranch Mall, as it was then called, and what do you get?

A glorified strip center, sans any high-end retailer and a project that is running at least six months behind schedule. And just to top it off, it, the Elk Grove Promenade that is, will come on-line just as all the strip centers approved by the charter city council are facing skyrocketing vacancies and mom and pop business failures all over town.

Not to worry though, His Majesty Jim Cooper (hey, if former council member Dan Briggs can call himself the "Godfather" of Elk Grove, we can at least bestow the this title of nobility on Cooper. After all, the city appears to think it is above the constitution) said he wanted some high end retailers too. Says Cooper:
"I wanted a Nordstrom there – I still do – but the demographics are tough. Retailers want what they want."

Well that's just dandy. Why in the first place did you and the entire council cave to the demands of General Growth when they renegged on their promised high-end mall?

Was it a lack of instestinal fortitude or fear of not being able to cash in on all those contributions from real estate developers?

What ever it was, the lack of foresight and poor decisions making by Cooper, Leary, Scherman and yes Briggs and Soares too, will be affecting the city for years to come. Let's just hope their decision doesn't turn Elk Grove into an extension of the South Sacramento-Florin Mall fiasco.

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Anonymous said...

Don't forget Patrick Hume. He was a charter member of the planning commission (appointed by Scherman) when the mall was approved.

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