Money Matters, But Don't Discount Ideas in Local Politics

If all goes according to plan, sometime later this evening Mitt Romney will win the Florida Republican primary and move on to the nominatio...

If all goes according to plan, sometime later this evening Mitt Romney will win the Florida Republican primary and move on to the nomination. Even though Newt Gingrich has promised to fight on, the reality is that aside from his own "moonbeam" moment, Gingrich has been sunk by Romney's organization and more significantly, money.

Romney's ascension as the standard-bearer of the GOP has nothing to do with any bold ideology of someone like Ronald Reagan’s or even a catchy slogan like George W. Bush's so-called "compassionate conservatism.” Romney's victory only reinforces the notion that money is indeed the mother's milk of politics.

The sad fact of the matter is that money's importance has trickled down to local elections. A review of recent financial filings will show that for someone to mount a serious bid to win a seat on the Elk Grove City Council, they need a minimum of $150,000 banked to be a serious candidate.

As with national politics, the local money comes with strings attached. Although as a group they have been hobbled, real estate developers will continue to be the money players in Elk Grove politics.

And that is what could make this coming election an interesting exercise in the battle between money and ideas. The 2012 Elk Grove City Council and mayoral election might become a case study.

The battle could boil down to a three letter acronym – SOI.

On the money side will be the pro-expansion and annexation (via Elk Grove's Sphere of Influence [SOI] application) backed by the well-funded real estate developers. On the other side is Elk Grove GRASP, which is advocating no further expansion of the city.

Undoubtedly if Elk Grove Grasps’ (EGG) grass root ideas take root, real estate developers will not be to happy. Will they bombard our mailboxes with attack ads on EGG’s ideas?

How about the candidates? If they support EGG’s ideas, will developers attack them, or worse, gasp, withhold money? Will EGGs’ ideas be more powerful that the money of developers?

If the ideas being advanced by EGG resonate, it could be an interesting battle this fall for the soul of the Elk Grove City Council. Let’s hope that ideas trump money.

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Anonymous said...

As long as our Council lets the tail wag the dog, we will continue to see our home equity be diluted with more rooftops and overbuilt strip malls with more yogurt shops and nail salons. The builders are here for a quick buck and don't care how much equity they leave for the rest of us. Bigger is not necessarily better.

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