Political Plutocracy in Elk Grove -
Alea iacta est

Suetonius to Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 BC as he led his army across the River Rubicon in Northern Italy "Alea iacta est." ...

Suetonius to Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 BC as he led his army across the River Rubicon in Northern Italy "Alea iacta est."

On a recent edition of Billy Moyers & Company, journalists Matt Taibbi and Chrystia Freeland discussed the growing plutocracy in America. As is typical after watching Moyers, it got us thinking about plutocracy in America, not to mention in our own backyard.

Just for clarification purposes, a plutocracy is defined as:

The rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy. 2. a government or state in which the wealthy class rules. 3. a class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.

While some will argue that the United States is not plutocratic, regardless of your political persuasion, all you have to do for evidence is have turned on your local TV station or listened to a local terrestrial radio station to hear the barrage of paid political advertising. Who is funding these commercials?

Is it the 47 percent derisively referenced by Mitt Romney? Or is it the top one percent in this nation who control a disproportionate share of our nations wealth? Is it your next door neighbor or some billionaire brothers?

If you are a registered voter when going through your mail over the last few weeks you have undoubtedly received numerous mailers for Congressman Dan Lungren or his challenger, Dr. Ami Bera. Just who funds these mailers and what are their political motivations?

Likewise, registered voters in Elk Grove have received numerous mailers for Elk Grove Council Member Gary Davis. Unlike his other five opponents, as of the last campaign financing statement, Davis has amassed an overwhelming financial advantage.

With this significant advantage, Davis can effectively overrun voters with his milquetoast message. His opponents combined have less than half of the funding and simply cannot reach voters with their message the way Davis can.

This is not to say Davis is a bad guy. We are confident he is a good family man and we know for certain he loves Elk Grove.

But does this make him the best candidate in the field or is he the presumed front-runner simply because of his overwhelming financial advantage?

If you consider the fact that it now takes at least $100,000 to mount a serious run for the city council, can anyone but an incumbent or an extremely wealthy person have a chance to raise the money needed to face an incumbent and have any chance of winning? Is it a coincidence that Council Members Jim Cooper and Steve Detrick are unopposed on this November's ballot?

To raise the money needed to run an Elk Grove city council campaign, you need lots of deep-pocketed donors who will fork over the cash to finance a run. Will these big time donors be giving away their money out of civic pride or are they looking for a quid pro quo?

If you really believe the former, give us a call and we will be glad to sell you the deed to the Tower Bridge for $100.

Obviously pols like Davis have and will argue they are not personally wealthy and by default they personally are not plutocrats. Perhaps they are not, but what about their donors?

Would Davis be so supportive of the city's much desired expansion under the guise of attracting jobs if he was receiving major donations from say the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters or some other environmental group? If they funded Davis to the degree the various residential real estate developers and building trade unions are, do you think he might take a different position?

We maintain that over our city's brief 12 year history, Elk Grove has quickly developed into a plutocracy with big monied donors pulling the strings of their puppets. Quite simply if you want something done, or not done, simply fund politicians who will gladly carry your water.

So as we wind down towards the first direct election of our mayor, we hope voters consider the effect the results of this election will have on the growing plutocracy in Elk Grove.

Alea iacta est - The die has been cast. Or has it?

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Anonymous said...

A clear cut rationale for campaign reform. The writer is correct in that money does equal power...but does money equal the best person for the job? Only the voters can say. I would suggest that the candidate with the MOST signs and glossy mailers losses. But citizens are notorious for being hood winked into thinking fancy pamphlets determines the integrity of the candidate. I think we all have experience with this and wish the residents would do their homework on each candidate to determine who is best for Elk Grove (yes..all the candidates say they LOVE EG, but some of the candidates do not attend council meetings or participate in community focus groups, etc )...so the LOVE the place, but don't find it necessary to participate in the process except at election time? Hopefully others will see through this rouse. Time to limit each candidate to a spending limit.

Bye Bye EGN said...

Gary Davis is going to win this election because he deserves to win; plain and simple. Your continued articles are getting very old and after November 6, Elk Grove News will be reduced to another boring Blog that will fade away.

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove has repeatedly displayed a willingness to throw out well financed incumbents. That is how Davis won in the first place. Dan Briggs lent himself over $100k - so did Rick Soares. Heck, even Steve Detrick gave himself a $100k loan. Wonder why he didn't make it a donation instead of a loan?

Davis won because of his broad & diverse community support and vision for the future. That is exactly why he'll win this election. He has worked hard for Elk Grove. Just take a look at his endorsement list:



County Supervisor Don Nottoli

County Supervisor Phil Serna

Elk Grove Mayor Jim Cooper

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson

Davis Mayor Joe Krovozo

Woodland Mayor Skip Davies

CCSD Board Member Gil Albiani

CCSD Board Member Rod Brewer

Keith Gruenberg, Retired CCSD Board Member

Elaine Wright, Retired CCSD Board Member

Doug McElroy, Retired CCSD Board Member

Los Rios Community College Trustee Kay Albiani

Elk Grove Planning Commissioner George Murphey

Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Sparky Harris

Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Nancy Chaires

Bonnie Pannell, Sacramento City Council

Kevin McCarty, Sacramento City Council

SMUD Board President Nancy Bui-Thompson

SMUD Board Member Genevieve Shiroma

Brian Cooley, Sacramento County Board of Education

Brian Vlahos, Roseville City School Board

Senate President proTem Darrell Steinberg

Senator Lois Wolk

Assemblymember Roger Dickinson

Assemblymember Richard Pan

Assembly Member Joan Buchanan

Assembly Member Alyson Huber

Marie Jachino, Elk Grove Food Bank Services

Tom Rehman

Jim Bentley, Educator & 2011 American Civic Education Teacher Award recipient

Karen Zamarripa, California State University

Carri Ziegler

Bill Mehan

Bill Ayers

Sarah Johnson, Old Town Elk Grove Activist

Teresa Rodriguez

Linda Ford, Elk Grove Community Connection

Connie Conley, Elk Grove Community Connection

Sandi Russell, Elk Grove Soroptomist

Heather, Grace, Adam, & Eli Davis

Seth & Sandy Fletcher

Sharon Turley

Lori & Eric Saari, High School Football Boosters

Pablo Espinoza

Leo Fassler

Dannetta Garcia

Dominic Vessigault, Laguna Sunrise Rotary

Judy Covington, Elk Grove Area Realtors

Sharon Anderson, Camden Passage Community

Carol Tousley

Barbara Fisher

George Brown

Alison Bridges

Bill & Ann Wittich, Rotarians

Marty Martin

Paul Frank, PDF Realty

Darren Suen

Rob Stutzman

Mark Cornfield, School District Superintendent

David & Ginger Simpson

Amy Tong

Fred Fischer

Jack Edwards

Shane Singh

Dilip Patel

Mukesh Patel

Mariano Jauco

Dhaval Shah

Stephen & Kathleen Edel

Lael & Amy Miller

Ana Bertolucci

Sandy Waite

Anne Baird

Alicia Amaro

Paul & Natalie Johnson

Mark Sams, Elk Grove Piranhas Board President

Melia Peters

Richard & Margie Wall

Brian Maytum

Robert Longer, Communication Workers of America, Local 9421

Diane Hollingshead

Gary Chau

Sandra Friend

James Levan

Harold Jones

Macario Ramirez

Gary & Debbie Sareeram

Coreen Lee-Rogers

Star Cruson

Ruth Flores

Mulegeta Tessema

Linda Tucker

Justin Denton

Shirley Jones


The Sacramento Bee

Elk Grove Chamber PAC

Sacramento-Sierra Building & Construction Trades Council

Sacramento Regional Builders

North State Building Industry Association

Metro PAC

Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Sacramento Association of Realtors PAC

Carpenters Local Union No. 46

Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, Local 162

District Council 16, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Operating Engineers, Local 3

Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley PAC

Stationary Engineers, Local 39

Anonymous said...

and look at who "owns" Gary Davis!

Not a scenario that is good for the City of Elk Grove. I'm not saying that Mr. Davis is not a good man, but I do have reservatons when he does not place the city/community first in finishing his two years as council person and saving us $400,000. for a special election for his replacement. Do you think it is worth that amount of money to have him as Mayor for the next two years? I just can't see how that benefits EG in any way and don't know how he can justify that either. Thinking many taxpayers may be giving that second thoughts too.

Peppermint Patty said...

The problem with endorsements is that often they are the result of agendas and political deals. They are like sausage - they seem good until you know how, and why, they are made.

Anonymous said...

The problem with endorsements is your candidate doesn't have any!

Anonymous said...

Endorsement don't mean too much to me. I see them as a crutch...too many backs to have to scratch. Davis seems like a nice guy, but he doesn't love Elk Grove enough to save us 400,000. Money always talks...and money will win this election no matter how good or bad you are. Davis is somewhere in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Endorsements from other elected officials, businesses or unions come with strings attached. Don't fool yourself.

And who isn't to say that politicians do favors to earn those endorsements. For those of you old enough remember, lets go back to the early 70's - the time of Richard Nixon.

Do you think Jimmy Hoffa was pardoned on Christmas Eve, 1971 because Nixon has some sort of Dickenesque epiphany?

No. It was just another one of his political maneuvers. How do you think he earned the name Tricky Dicky - By putting on magic shows for kids?

Do you think it was a coincidence the Teamsters then endorsed Nixon for reelection in 1972?

For Davis, such is the case with the SOI. Did he get the endorsements and cash from union bosses based on being a nice guy or was it some some sort of possible "understanding" to push the SOI and make sure there is a project labor agreement in place when all those houses are built on that farmland.

Think about it. Why are all the union bosses and developer lining up behind him?

amused in fast food city said...

The #2 finisher in the Mayor's race ought to get the interim appointment if Gray...Gary, "critics rightfully complain that he is too close to land speculators and that he supported Elk Grove's ill-conceived proposal to extend its sphere of influence 8,000 acres to the south into farmland and important wildlife areas" Davis wins, instead of a fellow handpicked Democratic hack who has no Elk Grove achievements to cite, other than sitting on a rubber-stamping, ineffective and disorganized planning commission.

Either way, I am convinced that the "I'm going to be next mayor" Detrick, "last term" Cooper and Hume, and if he wins, "resume building for Assembly and a full-time government salary" Davis quartet will fish a name out of the bowl and gush about how they have saved the taxpayers money!

Oh how lucky we are!

Anonymous said...

Detrick didn't loan himself $100K, is father lent him the money. That's why the big push immediately after being elected to recoup that $100K....he had to repay his father.

And a plutocracy speaks to the personal wealth of individuals. The money in each candidate/elected official campaign account is not their personal wealth; although some would certain like it to be. So this is not some little fiefdom wherein the candidates/electeds stand and rule over all of us little serfs; although some act as if. Davis, Cooper and Detrick all have full time jobs that support their families. The progressively bleached Sophie is retired and who the heck knows what Hume does for a living.

Aspiring Aristocrat

Anonymous said...

For a slam-dunk winner Gary and his posse seem to be a little nervous.

It is interesting, listing all those "local" endorsers and then realizing that all of those endorsers add up to just 4% of his total war chest.

Chew on that for awhile....

Anonymous said...

From what I've read I would venture a guess that Gary Davis' backers have "chewed" on it and decided to spit it right back 'atcha. It appears that EGN has taken up a firm position of supporting one candidate, which is EGN's right, but is disproportionately and agressively attacking another.

Just a short number of days left and hopefully the binge and purge politics will come to a halt....at least until the next election.

Food junkie

Peppermint Patty said...

Davis will still win this race if for no other reason he has name recognition which comes from having vast sums of cash. That's the game as we have established it.

If his supporters think this site is tough on him, just wait for when he makes his assembly run when Dr. Pan is termed out four years from now. (Anyone want to take a wager on this? Where's Mitt Romney and his $10,000 when you need him the most?) Davis ought to take the advice of his benefactor Gil Moore who commented he was the only one with a certain set of something.

Either grow some and run with the big dogs or stay on the porch.

Anonymous said...

Be careful with those rocks Patty. If anyone benefitted from Gil Moore's check book it was Detrick. Also, it appears that Moore is a little fast and loose with the facts. His "cojones" statement was in reference to the other property owners located at the Sheldon Road/99 Interchange. He stated that those property owners were not interested in the area and Elk Grove at large; that those property owners have not done anything to benefit the citizens of Elk Grove. Come to find out, he was talking about Mr. Winn and Mr. Tsakopolus; both gentlemen apparent took great exception to Moore's comments.

Mine are quite fully developed and intact. It just is more fun to watch you supposeded "big dogs" destroy each other. Once the election is over those of us watching from the sidelines will just depose of the remains and move forward.

Peace out.

Peppermint Patty said...

Anon right above, I think you are missing the bigger point. Davis and his Kool Aid drinkers are overly sensitive to criticism from a bunch of local yokels of which I am one. If he does seek higher office, he needs to toughen up and grow some.

Local Resident said...

PP. . The Davis supporters aren't being overly sensitive at all and if you look at his list of active residents, we are "local" as well.

But calling Davis supporters Kool Aid drinkers, seriously now?

Desperate measures for some while Gary Davis just measures up and he will be Elk Grove’s first elected Mayor!

Betty from EG said...

Local resident is likley right. Davis will likely be our first elected mayor.

However, don't confuse being elected as being the "best candidate" or the "best mayor" of all the candidates.

It simply means that most of our community is ignorant as to local gov't and more citizens voted for him than any other candidate.

Rather easy to do when you have $100,000 more to spend than every one of your counterparts.

It may be a bit embarrassing to see that he gets elected with 35% of the popular vote though. - Not exactly a rousing endorsement. - November will tell.

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