With SOI Meeting Looming, Wilton Action Group Turns up the Heat

With less than a week to go to the much anticipated Elk Grove City Council meeting where the city’s Sphere of Influence of application...

With less than a week to go to the much anticipated Elk Grove City Council meeting where the city’s Sphere of Influence of application with LAFCO is scheduled to be discussed, the Wilton Action Group is turning up the heat on its activities.

The Wilton Action Group, or more commonly known as WAG, has become an instrumental player in Elk Grove’s controversial application that could eventually annex thousands of acres of unincorporated Sacramento County that lies primarily on the city’s southern side. Much of the proposed area that Elk Grove hopes to put under its sphere of influence includes the environmental significant and sensitive Cosumnes River floodplain which lies on Wilton’s western border that it currently shares with Elk Grove.

It is that common border along the Cosumnes River that has sparked a flurry of activity from WAG in the last several months. Aside from having a large contingent Wiltonites attend any city council meeting where there matter was being discussed to their active particiaption in all four recent listening sessions regarding the SOI, WAG is actively mobilizing their community to let it be know that they do not want the floodplain included in Elk Grove’s SOI.

A drive along Wilton Road this week reveals eight signs posted roadside to a fence imploring residents to attend the Wednesday April 14 city council meeting. WAG has also placed sandwich board signs in front of the Dillard and Wilton stores.

In a signal of the broad coalition that has developed to the floodplains inclusion in the SOI application, WAG and The Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club will both participate in a rally prior to next weeks city council meeting.

“Our goal is 200 Wiltonites for the April 14th rally,“ said WAG’s president, Bill Kutzer. “We've done it before and we can do it again.”

The Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club media relations coordinator Connie Conley praised the efforts of WAG in the battle to preserve the floodplain and Wilton's rural character.

"We are pleased to be joining the Wilton Action Group (WAG) in their effort to remove the floodplain from the SOI as a fair compromise,” Conley said.  What we have seen in WAG is an inspired group of people joining together to actively protect their community, not only for themselves, but for future generations who simply want to enjoy the rural lifestyle."

No Johnny Come Lately

Although WAG’s visibility has grown significantly, the group is no new-comer as it relates to Elk Grove SOI application. In fact the groups organization is directly attributable to the SOI application.

According to WAG, during a March 18, 2008 meeting in Wilton Taro Echiburu of Elk Grove’s planning department presented a map that showed Elk Grove coming across the river into Wilton. According to a WAG chronology the “reaction by concerned (irritated) Wiltonites was the beginning of the Wilton Action Group.”

In that time WAG has continually monitored the process having members attend Elk Grove and relevant Sacramento County meetings.

With less than a week to go, WAG will have an answer as to whether their efforts will help convince a majority Elk Grove City Council members drop the floodplain from the SOI application.

Council member Gary Davis has actively supported removing it and Steve Detrick has signaled he would accept removing the floodplain from the application while Pat Hume and Mayor Sophia Scherman have generally supported the SOI in it entirely. The deciding vote will likely come from Jim Cooper who is also currently running for Sacramento County Sheriff.

Should the vote not go the way it hopes and given their long-view on the issue, it is unlikely to see WAG members disappear. Their efforts to preserve the Cosumnes River floodplain and Wilton’s rural lifestyle will undoubtedly continue.

As WAG says on their website and all their communications “Wilton IS a good place to be.  Elk Grove thinks so, too.”

Bonus: Read the entire chronology of WAG in the link below.

1.  WAG literally morphed overnight as a result of a meeting at the Wilton Firehouse on March 19th, 2008.  Taro addressed the crowd (packed house as result of word spreading literally by mouth like wildfire in community after we heard that they were coming across the river) and the more he said the more the crowd began to speak up.  There were threats of lawsuits as the map he used clearly showed them coming across the river with 5 parcels.  Wiltonites are not afraid to speak their minds and I would say the crowd got pretty hostile.  Within a week they had amended the SOI request and pulled back across the river.  The sentiment that night was we needed to "chase them back to Grant Line Road."  Another quote I remember from that night was "Why don't you guys do yourselves a favor and get back across the river."

2.  WAG has steadily grown in numbers and activity ever since.

3.  WAG Petition: During the month of July, in 27 days, we gathered over 2,700 signatures that specifically requested that the floodplain be removed from the SOI.  On August 6th, 2008 we presented the packet of signatures to LAFCo and addressed the Commission with 3 speakers who spoke directly to the floodplain.  Ever since that time the overwhelming sentiment in all of the "listening" sessions is 95% or higher against the floodplain.  I wonder if anyone in County remembers that petition or is really listening to what is going on.

4.  We also have had a great deal of fun in the process.  On September 27 the "WAG Militia" was in the parade with its Infantry, Air Corp, Tank Corp, Navy and Cavalry---flag was "Don't Tread On Me"--a great time was had by all.

5.  Speakers we invited out in 2008 included Taro Echiburu, Peter Brundage, Ron Lowry, Mark Hite, Charlotte Mitchell, Rich Radmacher and Karen Buhr.


On February 19th Laura Gill addressed a large group of WAG folks at the Wilton Firehouse, corner of Dillard and Wilton Roads. She basically tried to come across as a home-spun country girl from (S/N Carolina?) and went into the dog-pony show of "writing" down our concerns. Wiltonites soon saw through this and began, once again, to get pretty vocal. Gill was visibly upset; we thought she was going to lose it; Pat Blacklock stepped in and saved her bacon.

It was a revelation that she was not up to facing the public. Especially a group that did not trust Elk Grove to begin with; she was their messenger and WAG folks were not up to playing games.

We had a least one monthly meeting and sometimes more every month our first year, 2008; sometimes more.  In 2009 we had less meetings in Wilton and attended more events in EG or downtown Sacramento.

It has been a hard and time-consuming battle but we are up to the task. Instead of growing weary we are growing in strength and numbers each year. While the City works full time at this SOI process with paid staff and City officials we donate our time and money because we are battling for a rural-lifestyle that is our life.  It sounds corny but we are concerned about quality of life while some of the Elk Grove City officials are driven strictly by quantity--money and power. We are in it for the long haul unless and until the floodplain comes out of the SOI.

Post a Comment Default Comments

Follow Us



Elk Grove News Minute

All previous Elk Grove News Minutes, interviews, and Dan Schmitt's Ya' Gotta be Schmittin' Me podcasts are now available on iTunes

Elk Grove News Podcast