Elk Grove Council Member Gary Davis Addresses Possible Run Against Lungren

In recent weeks there has been much speculation about who may run against Republican Dan Lungren in the 2010 election for California's 3...

In recent weeks there has been much speculation about who may run against Republican Dan Lungren in the 2010 election for California's 3rd district. The speculation has included a movement to draft Lt. Gov. John Garamendi to run.

Lungren, who was unable to carry a majority of the votes against a financially weak campaign by Dr. Bill Durston in his most recent election, is being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

One name that has been mentioned on several occasions is Elk Grove Council Member Gary Davis. When asked by Elk Grove News about a possible run, Davis provided the following

There has been some recent speculation regarding my interest in running for Congress – proof of just how fast rumors spread on the internet! Please allow me to share some thoughts.

First and foremost, my top priority is serving Elk Grove. Given the changes we have made in the past few years: essentially reforming our entire city government, strengthening our neighborhoods, fighting crime, working aggressively to bring good paying jobs to Elk Grove, and much more, I believe my statement is proven with a track record.

Last year, when I was Mayor, I had the opportunity to go back to Washington, DC, along with then Vice-Mayor Hume to advocate for our city. The Congressman from our district was not interested in providing any sort of support for Elk Grove. You can read more detail in this Sac Bee article.

Earlier this week we were back in DC advocating for specific assistance for Elk Grove. In particular, we have submitted for grant funding through the Department of Justice (DOJ). These particular grants are for more police officers. One would provide 15 new police officers for 3 years (long enough to get us through this fiscal downturn). The other would be for a team of 5 officers to specifically target foreclosures and ensure they don’t become crime magnets.

In the meeting, a member of the DOJ staff commented that our Congressman is ideologically opposed to these types of requests. It was at that moment I realized our Congressman’s inability and disinterest in advocating for local communities is actually harming us. Elk Grove has been hit especially hard by foreclosures and our police are working really hard to keep crime down – but we need more officers patrolling our neighborhoods.

Having grown up in Ranch Cordova (my parents and sister still live there), I also know what issues they are struggling with. I have family in Carmichael (grandparents), Folsom (brother and sister), and friends in Citrus Heights, Galt, Wilton, Arden Arcade (all communities in the Congressional District) and I know they are having the same struggles.

In the end, we may obtain the DOJ grants. If so, however, it will be against our Congressman’s extreme ideology.

One thing is for sure – I will never shy away from a fight when it comes to advocating for local interests. Can you imagine how much greater our city (and neighboring cities) can be if we had a Congressional representative who actually provided local leadership and wasn’t stuck in an extreme ideological corner?

This is not a decision to be taken lightly and I am still contemplating it in the deepest regard. I hope you will take the time and send me your thoughts and suggestions. Feel free to email me at GaryDavis2010@gmail.com

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Tim Murphy said...

When the citizens of Elk Grove decided to incorporate, we did so that we could determine our own destiny through local control and local decisions. With that vote, we said we would be accountable and responsible for the services a city has to provide: i.e. police services, road maintenance and improvements, development, growth and preservation. Each level of government is responsible for specific duties, but over the years we have seen more government bureaucracy established when Federal and State governments duplicate efforts best left to local government decision-makers.

It is neither the priority nor responsibility of the federal government to provide police officers to cities. This DOJ grant Gary speaks of was resurrected from the 1990’s Clinton-era COPS bill. The COPS Bill was an act of political maneuvering that allowed Clinton and Democrats to no longer be seen as being “soft on crime.”

Politically, the bill also allowed marginalizing anyone who opposed the Federal government’s meddling in this local government responsibility. Opponents could simply be dismissed as not supporting cops on the street, just as Councilman Davis has claimed of Lungren. Gary is hoping we will think that when he writes “I realized our Congressman’s inability and disinterest in advocating for local communities is actually harming us.”

In truth, if Gary believes more cops are needed on our streets, then that responsibility falls at his own feet. If Gary wants more cops, he needs to advocate for it in the City budget and work to make it happen. This is why he was elected – to address local problems, and not pass the buck on them.

For the record, I was part of the delegation that went to Washington DC last week that included Mayor Hume and Councilman Davis, and I can attest that Congressman Lungren has repeatedly advocated for the federal priorities of the entire 3rd Congressional District. Lungren has helped bring over $100,000,000 to the region for federal flood control projects including: improvements to levies on the Sacramento and American Rivers, the joint federal project including the new spillway at Folsom Dam and improvements to the levies along the South Sacramento Stream beds, which is critical for his district. He has also delivered transportation funding which benefits Elk Grove, including secured $3,000,000 in federal funding for improvements to the Sheldon/99 Overpass in 2005, a $5,000,000 funding request for the I-5/Kammerer Road Extension and another $5,000,000 request for the Grant Line Road Interchange grade and road improvements. Lungren fights for his district when the federal nexus is clear and well-established. I like that Lungren wants to keep local priorities in the hands of those who know how to best deal with them without interference from Washington – the hands of our locally-elected City Council. I should think Gary would appreciate this.

Gary’s claim that Congressman Lungren does not understand the local needs of the 3rd Congressional District is patently untrue, and frankly, is made solely by Gary to serve his own political ambitions.

Unknown said...


I have great respect for you and understand that you are an adament Lungren supporter. However, there are a few points worth clarifying.

1. Rep. Matsui is the one that has been fighting for and securing flood control improvement funding.

2. The Sheldon interchange money was a carryover from the good work of previous Congressman Doug Ose (whom if he was still in office - I would not be contemplating this decision).

3. The $10 million you mention for Grant Line and Kammerer has not been delivered. In fact, he rejected them last year (read the SacBee article I posted). They are among the items I have been advocating for the past few years.

This is not about me or Dan Lungren. This is about the fact that our community is hurting in this economic downturn. We need jobs and we need more police officers.

I will always fight for Elk Grove. The last few years I have found myself advocating for Elk Grove in Washington because our Congressman won't. That must change.

Tim said...

Gary –

Your point clarifications reflect your perspective, not fact. Mrs. Matsui has not been the only person to fight for flood control. In the Sacramento Bee’s endorsement of Mr. Lungren over Bill Durston last year, they wrote that Lungren has “worked to win funding for Folsom Dam and levees.” The Sheldon work was started with Ose and completed by Lungren. Furthermore, if you examine his appropriation requests (http://tiny.cc/fb3xc), you will see that water and flood issues are a priority, as is public safety. Last, you conclude that Lungren is not fighting for his district because his priorities and criterion for his appropriation requests differ from yours. And I think you would have to agree that even though the $10M request has not been delivered yet, it does diminish the fact that he is fighting for the interests of his district.

Regarding your post, the major difference I see is that you are willing to be more lax on whether an appropriate federal nexus related to appropriation request (earmark) exists. I don’t think there is a voter out there that won’t disagree that the earmark process in Washington has gotten totally and completely out of control. If you look at Mr. Lungren’s appropriation requests, they all have an appropriate federal nexus to them. As such, back to the point of your original posting, local law enforcement is a local government responsibility. That means as our councilman, it is YOUR responsibility. I do not disagree with your position, nor would I suspect Mr. Lungren, that Elk Grove would benefit from having more police officers. However, the City shouldn’t be asking the federal government to pay for it, because when you involve the federal government, there are strings attached – strings that run contrary to Elk Grove’s long-standing history for local control over matters that affect our city. The City must evaluate this need for more cops on the street against existing priorities and budget accordingly – just as every responsible household must do when they need to tighten their belts.

To emphasize that point, allow me to share a terrifying statistic I heard from several Members of Congress on the DC trip last week. The budgets proposed by President Obama’s administration will double in five years the total deficits run in every presidency from George Washington to George W. Bush -- and will triple it in ten years. Now more than ever, fiscal responsibility must be exercised at every level of government. Because, when it comes down to it, whether funds come from local, state or federal coffers – it is we and our children and grandchildren that will be paying for it for decades.

It is well-known that you have higher political ambitions, and that you will need to point out the differences you feel exist between you and your opponents. As someone who closely follows matters in the 3rd Congressional District, I may be compelled to offer my personal observations. But I will endeavor to do so in a manner that encourages debate and reflection by the electorate – and maybe the candidates as well.

Despite our broad difference on this matter, I continue to have a great respect for you -- I think you have done a very fine job on the city council, and I certainly appreciate your commitment and dedication to public service.

Tim said...

Whoops -- Typo at end of first paragraph -- the last sentence should should read:

And I think you would have to agree that even though the $10M request has not been delivered yet, it does not diminish the fact that he is fighting for the interests of his district.

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