City Council To Hear Appeal From St. Maria Goretti Proponents at Wednesday's Meeting

The full agenda for the Wednesday, September 9 meeting of the Elk Grove City Council has been posted and it has two hearing that could pres...



The full agenda for the Wednesday, September 9 meeting of the Elk Grove City Council has been posted and it has two hearing that could present political challenges for council members, particularly those facing reelection in 2010.

The first is an appeal from the proponents of the proposed St. Maria Goretti Roman Catholic Church proposed for Bradshaw Road just north of Sheldon Road. The planning commission rejected their application design plan and conditional use permit at their June 4 meeting.

Elk Grove city planning department has recommended to the city council they uphold the rejection of the planning commission. The Diocese of Sacramento has sought to build the church and school facility on a 19 acres site currently zoned for agriculture-residential housing with a five-acre minimum.

Political Implications

In past meetings, several members of St. Joseph's Church, including the very popular Fr. Peter Bosque appeared in support of the proposed spin-off church. Likewise, several nearby residence who identified themselves as Catholics or members of St. Joseph's strenuously oppose the project.

For Mayor Pat Hume, his vote on the matter could be crucial to his political future.


Voting to reverse the planning commission decision would be highly unpopular in this district, which he represents. Likewise, a vote to uphold the rejection could help mobilize Catholics on a district-wide based to vote against Hume either for another term as a council member, or should he seek to run as mayor as has been speculated.

Much of this of course depends on if, and when, the city decides to put the question of becoming a charter city to the voters and in what form. This matter will also be heard Wednesday night.

Undoubtedly, each council members will apply a political calculus in how they vote on this religiously charged issue. Should Hume again be the deciding vote, he faces a big decision: vote to appease constituents in his district by denying the appeal.

Doing so could give any future political opponent, should Hume run for mayor, a great campaign item - that being Hume is anti-Church, with soft undertones of anti-Catholicism and by extension anti-family. (regardless of Hume's faith of choice).

Should make for some interesting politics.


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5 comments

Anonymous said...

Oh man, this is delicious! Pat Hume, caught like a rat in a trap. He has the choice of voting against the Catholic church or selling out his constituency in the last election. Either group if properly motivated can turn out large numbers of people who are highly motivated to see him into new employment and will walk the precincts until their shoes wear out to make that happen.

But that's not the end of it, Hume when asked point blank at a candidate's forum (put on in 2006 by EGCAPP, founded by Steve Detrick by the way) when it was acceptable for the City Council to change zoning code jumped out front of the question (as he is prone to do) and made a solemn statement that it was never acceptable for the City Council to change zoning code. This one thing, credibility of zoning code was the principle issue in the 2006 election as his opponent (Rick Soares) was one of three council members who were ready and willing in 2005 to vote for a major revision of existing zoning code for a super Walmart store proposed in the Calvine Special Planning area which would have dramatically reduced the security and value of thousands of homes surrounding the site. Luckilly for the surrounding neighborhood Walmart came to their senses long before the EGCC got their hands on that issue and they never got to cast that vote.

But the bitterness remained for two election cycles and that one issue helped to propel Rick Soares, Dan Briggs, and Mike Leary out of Elk Grove politics. And now Pat Hume doesn't even get a chance to cast a face saving vote, he's toast either way! Oh this is just too sweet!

Anonymous said...

The first commenter is mistaken on several issues.

1. Hume's constituency is the entire city. Councilmembers are required to live in a specific district, but are voted on city-wide. Hume should be looking at this from the perspective as what is best for the City of Elk Grove, not a candidate district.

2. The church application does not require a change in zoning or to the general plan. This project requires a conditional use permit.

Since all the impacts can be mitigated, as demonstrated by the environmental study, the questions Hume should consider are 1) does this project benefit the City of Elk Grove?; and 2) Is Bradshaw Road a rural road?

The opposition is a small group of vocal opponents. Support for this project is in the thousands. The author of the first comment is undoubtedly one of the opponents. Their comment is to create the illusion of a political dilemma, pressuring Hume to deny the appeal.

Anonymous said...

Comment to 8:24 p.m.

The project, yes, will benefit thousands, as you have stated.

Thousands of residents who do not live in Elk Grove and would not be voting for Pat Hume anyway and probably have never even heard his name.

And frankly, since when do we hold votes for hostage here in Elk Grove? Are you saying, "Hume, vote to reverse the denial because there are thousands of Catholics verses a small group of vocal opponents? Interesting.

Also, a point lost on the proponents is that the majority draw of parishioners live in Sacramento County, in the Vintage Park and Churchill Downs area which was the Church's first site until the "gifted" property became available.

The rural area simply does not have the demographics to substantiate the size of the Church. Factoring in Sacramento County, along with "future development," seems to be the rationale for a 900+ seat church.

And you read like someone who is has a problem with "rural" community in Elk Grove. They are the most active and the most vocal because they have the most to lose. Once you pave it over, it is gone forever.

And isn't it nice that Elk Grove is fortunate to have a rural area for everyone to enjoy?

After, all, lifestyle is a choice. Some choose to live in urban Laguna. Likewise some choose to live in Ag/Res, have horses and farming, etc. Isn't there a place for everyone here in Elk Grove?

After all, Elk Grove's "roots" are rural. And the rural community has gone on record that the only problem with this project is the with the size of the Church.

And isn't this really an urban Church in a rural area?

(And before the Rock Church argument comes into play. That was approved by Sacramento County and if it came before the Elk Grove Planning Commission today, it would been denied as well because it doesn't fit the General Plan.)

The author of the second comment is undoubtedly a proponent of the project as the first is an opponent.

And that is what we refer to as democracy. Funny how that works.

Hopefully Hume, and let's forget the four others whose votes are just as important and just as equal, uphold all five of their appointed planning commissioners votes to deny the project based on the General Plan and the Zoning Code.

And yes, we are opponents of the project but we are also Catholics.

Insania said...

I've got no dog in this fight; I only offer the observation that Bradshaw Rd. is most decidedly non-rural.

At that intersection, today, it's a two-lane road. Perhaps it appears rural, yes, but only by ignoring the XX thousand daily thru-commuters. I offer that in seventeen years traffic will mandate its widening, as was done from Hwy 50 to Florin.

By then, of course, we will have more than just the addition of a church to contend with as we slice Sheldon in half with a bypass freeway or six-laner or whatever you want to call it.

Once it's paved over, its gone forever. Someone give me cause to believe that an additional ~45,000 southern neighbors will be commuting to work on a two lane Bradshaw Rd.

Anonymous said...

Poster # 2 hit the nail on the head. The vocal minority are just that- vocal and in the minority. Unless you change the rules or include language in a future Charter, elected members must live in one district but run city wide are held accountable to the entire electorate.
This eliminates a Councilmember only thinking on behalf of one area versus the good of the whole.
I think poster one's comments are not based in reality and offer a poor analysis into good governance.

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