Another View: Hold Off on the SOI and Let the People Decide

By Sarah Johnson Special to Elk Grove News The push for southward expansion toward the Cosumnes River has been going on for years. The ...

By Sarah Johnson
Special to Elk Grove News

The push for southward expansion toward the Cosumnes River has been going on for years. The forces behind the incorporation of Elk Grove as a city, Lent Ranch Mall, etc., have been steadily working to bring this about. They convinced us that “LOCAL CONTROL” was something we wanted to have, but we didn't realize that those words had a different meaning to them than they did to us. We were naïve enough to be lulled into thinking about how great all that “LOCAL CONTROL” was going to be.

Soon after becoming a city, we were beckoned to public meetings to begin work on the General Plan. Looking back now, I can see the “red flags” waving madly. We were given maps and asked to put colored stickers on them to show what we wanted where. Later they hung the maps in the lobby of City Hall. We noticed that the maps displaying the most red stickers (red meaning no or stop), were missing from the display. When we asked about it, vague non-answers told us we must be mistaken. Wording that we thought we understood the meaning of was later interpreted in ways with entirely different meanings.

We were dumb! We thought endorsed was the same as approved and other things just as insidious.

When we found the rate of growth in Elk Grove to be alarming, we were subjected to “presentations” about growth control which basically amounted to smoke and mirrors. The City of Davis has had strict growth control for many years which allows a comparison. In Davis home values have been maintained and the rate of foreclosures has been much lower than Elk Grove. Does anyone realize that more growth to the south will result in lowering our property values? The 8,000 acres that remain undeveloped within the City of Elk Grove has been changed to now supposedly be 3,000 acres. All this done by manipulating numbers. More smoke and mirrors!

The original City Council displayed an arrogance that led us into embarrassing conflicts with other entities around the region including SACOG, Sacramento County, the other cities and Regional Transit. We also had a city manager with such a confrontational style that he alienated many of the people in the region that he should have been forging relationships with. Three of the five council members did not participate in the incorporation effort, at least not in any public way. They only became visible during the election campaign. That has to tell you something about what the personal agendas were, but we were too naive to realize what was going on. The other two were actively involved in incorporation, but it turns out, were not supposed to run for office because of their involvement. They resigned from the incorporation committee at the last moment apparently to get around that rule.

Now, they are telling us that we should want this southward expansion. Why? Because we can't let the County control that area! The County controls it now!

Over the past ten years, many citizens have worked tirelessly to try and maintain a balance or a level playing field, if you will. But we are often hindered by a number of factors such as the huge numbers of new residents who arrived here on the housing boom who had no time to assimilate. They were working families who had to drive to jobs every day on crowded roadways, who had to cope with all the rigors of daily life, which left many with little time or energy to notice what was going on at City Hall. Then there are the NIMBY (not in my backyard) folks who are only interested in how something effects them personally.

Finally people are now taking notice. Partly, I believe, because of the slow down of the economy. Slowly people are becoming more educated about how government actually works. There are still some who mistakenly think that the City shouldn't allow certain types of businesses, like more drug stores, more nail salons, without understanding about zoning entitlements, a system bought and paid for by development interests. The same interests that promised us “LOCAL CONTROL” ten years ago are back at work at City Hall preparing the paperwork for the southward sprawl.

Taking the floodplain out may sound like a good idea at first, but upon closer examination, you have to see that splitting the control between the City and the County is a bad idea for obvious reasons. The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the city and the county is horribly flawed with vague language that will be open to interpretation in the future. One council member in particular seems to be reluctant to discuss this at all, and certainly seems to want to keep the entire area under the control of Elk Grove even though it has been shown that that council member is doing the bidding of a handful of landowners, most of whom live outside the City, and is ignoring the pleas of City residents. Another council member is telling people some ridiculous story about grant money. Okay, show us the details on that. Where did the grant come from, how much is it, what are the restrictions and time frame on spending it, and what specifically is the City planning on doing with it? I will not believe the story at all absent those details. Even then, it does not add up to a REASON to claim that area for Elk Grove! Are we completely stupid, or just perceived to be?

And then there is the issue of water! Is the real impetus control of water? There is not enough water to allow any more development in that area. What's the hurry?

We cannot, in good conscience, allow the last free-flowing river in California to fall into the hands of a city who has repeatedly demonstrated their arrogance, incompetence, and hidden agendas. If we leave things as they are for the time being, we do no harm. If we allow any incursion into this sensitive and beautiful area, we do irreparable harm and leave a terrible legacy for our children and grandchildren!

Put the entire SOI application on hold for now and later, put it to a vote of the people. That is the ONLY fair way to deal with this! This is truly “LOCAL CONTROL.”

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Unknown said...

As guessing games go this is an easy one. The first council member is obviously Patrick Hume and the second can only be none other than Sophia Scherman.

For all who attend the council meeting tomorrow night prepare to listen to Hume go on and on ad nauseam regarding his plan create the "crown jewel" that could be produced if only the SOI go through with the floodplain intact. Conservatorships, public/private partnerships, etc., with nothing to back it up.

And don't be fooled, Hume has commented to the citizens. Check out comments under WAG leaving no stone unturned below. Right back at you.


Sarah Johnson said...

I believe what is there now is the "crown jewel". What will be there after the carpetbaggers get through will be deplorable! "Crown Jewel", is that anything like "world class" or "thriving"???

Malleus Codex said...


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