Elk Grove's Most, Best, Worst and Other Winners of 2012

Most overblown Elk Grove food fad of 2012 - Food trucks. Enough said. Most overused Elk Grove political catchphrase of the year - M...

Most overblown Elk Grove food fad of 2012 - Food trucks. Enough said.

Most overused Elk Grove political catchphrase of the year - Mayor Gary Davis had two finalists in this category. Between his often repeated "laser focused" when referring to efforts to bring more jobs to Elk Grove (see Weakest economic development justification for 2012 below) and "I love Elk Grove" we had to go with the latter as the former was so 2011. One must wonder whether Davis ever heard and understands the meaning of “thou doth protest too much.”

Best Elk Grove-based NGO of 2012 - The unqualified winner of this is the Elk Grove Food Bank Services. Headed by Executive Director Marie Jachino, the EGFBS provides service way beyond providing food to at-need families in our community. Bravo Zulu EGFBS.

Most Delusional plan of the year - Elk Grove’s pursuit of a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. Call us crazy, but short of some taxpayer funded multi-million dollar sweetheart subsidy for the Fabian Nunez’s gang, will MLS really locate a team in a media market as small as Sacramento when there are larger, more lucrative markets they have yet to shake down for a subsidy? Save the taxpayer’s money and get a dose of reality.

And still it sits unfinished. 
Elk Grove’s most infamous anniversary of 2012 – Last July marked the fourth anniversary when construction came to an abrupt halt on the Elk Grove Promenade. With only seven more months until the next anniversary, we have to wonder what fate that snake-bitten project has.

Most Troubling Elk Grove crime trend for the year – Unsolved murders. If we include last year’s hit-and-run death in Old Town, Elk Grove currently has four unsolved murders on the books.

Elk Grove’s strangest political agreement of 2012 – Michael Monasky and Elk Grove Council Member Pat Hume. With Monasky from the left and Hume from the right, both agreed during the November 14 city council meeting that the vacancy created by Gary Davis' mayoral election should be filled by a special election and not appointment. Hey, if these two can agree, just think of all the possibilities. See the video here.

Talk about rough and tumble politics!
Strangest Attack on a 'Sophia Scherman For Mayor' sign – Without a doubt mayoral opponent LaWanna Montgomery’s alleged defacing of one of Scherman’s signs was well, bizarre.

Will a backroom deal help get Elk Grove
Planning Commissioner Nancy Chaires
get appointed to the City Council?

Elk Grove’s most presumptive-arrogant-hubristic-political statement of 2012 - There was no shortage of candidates to "win" in this category but the statement that showed the most hubris and arrogance came from California Assembly Member Roger Dickinson who all but promised to get Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Nancy Chaires appointed to the seat Davis would vacate should he be elected mayor. Davis won, Chaires has applied for Davis’ old seat and her visibility at public events has increased. Short of some backroom deal, we wonder if the two remaining Republican city council members are to willing vote for Chaires once her name is placed in nomination (come on, we all know that is the plan) and cede control to the opposition party? And you thought these seats were supposed to be non-partisan.

Best new Elk Grove event of 2012 – The Running of the Half Elk barely beat out the city's first multi-cultural festival in this category. Tip of the hat to Mayor Gary Davis for organizing this event. It had the best of all elements – promoting a healthy lifestyle and a good promotional tool for the city even if it was centered at the Elk Grove Automall. Mayor Davis might want to focus on this type of realistic activity rather than chasing pipe dreams like bringing an MLS team to our fair city.

Foreclosures being turned into suburban tenements. 
Most troubling Elk Grove real estate development of 2012 – The boom in rentals. Elk Grove was smacked hard with foreclosures and the good news is that some of those abandoned houses have been bought by so-called “investors.” The bad news is that these “investors” are Wall Street hedge-fund types who will be collecting rent from tenants and probably won’t give a crap about the condition of their investments. Hey hedge fund investors win, tenants lose and neighbors lose – to paraphrase Meatloaf, one out of three ain’t bad!

What else are bored teens to do
in Elk Grove?
Most innovative use of abandoned foreclosuresAbando parties. You have to hand it to some enterprising teenagers – find an empty house, break-in, send mass text messages promoting the party charging admission and when the cops show up, everyone simply flees. Who needs further proof today's youth are nothing if not enterprising.

Best Elk Grove sports story of 2012 - To be honest, we have no clue, but if you visit John Hull’s ElkGroveSports.com you will read all you will ever need to know about local sports.

Best Elk Grove candidate forum of 2012 - The first of the year was the best. That one was sponsored by EGN, Elk Grove Patch and the Sacramento Bee. Hey, if we don’t say it, who will?

Mayor Gary Davis and
EGUSD Trustee Steve Ly. 
Biggest Elk Grove political promise of 2012 – Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) Trustee Steve Ly made this year's biggest promise. During a candidate forum sponsored by the Elk Grove Education Association (EGEA), Ly not only said that he generally opposes charter schools, when asked about mayors interfering with school board he said "it is not within their scope." It will be worth watching to see if charter school advocate and fellow Democrat Mayor Gary Davis, who strongly supported Ly, returns to the EGUSD with another charter school petition and whether Ly will fulfill his promise to the EGEA or bend to the wishes of his political mentor.

Worst reason given to establish a new charter school in Elk Grove - During an October candidate forum  former Elk Grove Unified School District trustee Jake Rambo said he was approached by an unnamed Elk Grove City Council member to convert Elk Grove's Harriet Eddy Middle School to a charter school. Rambo said he asked the council member why it should be converted to which, according to Rambo, the council member replied " 'Because we don't have any.' "

Elk Grove City Clerk
Jason Lindgren.
Elk Grove civil servant of 2012 – Elk Grove City Clerk Jason Lindgren. As the city’s clerk, Lindgren quickly and efficiently answers public information inquiries from citizens and media. And he is a nice guy to boot.

Elk Grove’s media person of 2012  – Felicia Mello. Although Mello is no longer with us – she left for greener pastures in Las Vegas but is still alive – her presence at Elk Grove Patch will be missed. Mello established Patch’s Elk Grove presence a little over two years ago that fostered healthy competition among the various media outlets that ultimately benefits the people of Elk Grove.
Elk Grove Democrat Dr. Ami Bera defeated
incumbent Congressman Dan Lungren.

Elk Grove political machine of 2012 -  The best oiled political machine of the year hands down goes to Gary Davis, Jim Cooper and the entire Sacramento Democratic Machine. Aside from having Dr. Ami Bera represent Elk Grove in Washington DC, in no small part because of millions of dollars spent on his behalf by Super PAC's, the city council has two Democrats and conceivably could have three within days if Nancy Chaires is appointed to the vacancy created by Davis’ election as mayor. Not bad considering Elk Grove was once a Republican stronghold. In fact when Elk Grove incorporated in 2000 Cooper was the only Democrat elected to the council and that was based mostly on his law enforcement credentials. Also our city is represented in the state assembly and senate by Democrats. The only question remaining is who among the local Dems will be the first to take a run at the state assembly? All in all, not a bad year for Elk Grove Dems.

Chicago real estate developer
made generous donation to Mayor Davis.
Most expensive Elk Grove mayoral campaign of 2012 -  This award goes to hiz honor, Mayor Gary Davis who scooped up tens-of-thousands of dollars from an eclectic group of donors. Davis tapped both ends of the barrel and got contributions from Chicago real estate developers to labor unions. According to calculations by Elk Grove Citizen reporter Bryan Gold, with all his cash Davis spent over $1.92 per vote to win the inaugural mayoral race.

Frugalist Mayoral campaign of 2012 - This distinction goes to Lynn Wheat who spent a mere 19 cents per vote according to Elk Grove Citizen reporter Bryan Gold. Wheat, who eschewed contributions and limited her campaign spending limit to $1,000 nonetheless was creative in the one truly grass roots campaign in the mayoral race. Not surprisingly Wheat made campaign finance reform one of her campaign's themes.

Fast food jobs disguised as
economic development.
Weakest economic development justification for 2012 - The  weakest justification to strip Elk Grove’s strict highway billboard ordinance to allow a local developer to get a billboard for his non-freeway project was offered up by various city council members who said allowing the billboard would help the city’s economic development efforts. The jackpot?  – minimum wage fast food and convenience store jobs not to mention more visual blight. Now that's being laser focused on bringing good jobs to Elk Grove!

"Doc" from the Love Boat dropped
anchor at EGN this year.
Most famous visitor to EGN in 2012 – We've had a lot this year from dear old St. Nick to Basketball Jones to Greg Louganis.  At the top the heap  though is none other than Dr. Adam Bricker. That’s right, “Doc” from the Love Boat graced our site. See what the good doctor had to say about honoring former Elk Grove City Council Member Sophia Scherman.

Elk Grove theme song for 2012 - Given that we were visited by "Doc" from the Love Boat and city leaders pine to become a destination city (see most dubious idea for Elk Grove below), it is fitting that 2012's winning song is The Love Boat Theme. Listen to this great version here by Jack Jones

Most Mayanesque prediction of EGN’s fate – This one you have to read for yourself. We are still alive and kicking, or are we?

Most scathing criticism of EGN in 2012 – Is money the root of all evil?

Groupthink was one of the contributing factors
in the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Most dubious idea for Elk Grove in 2012 – Making Elk Grove a “destination” city. In the city’s quixotic determination to bring money to the city coffers and re-brand our town, there is a dangerous groupthink developing on the city council and in the bowels of the city’s bureaucracy that thinks Elk Grove can be turned into a destination city. We're not kidding! In our book a destination city has some significant historic, cultural or geographic attraction that brings people here voluntarily not because it is the site of a softball tournament. While building a softball complex might draw softball parents to the city for a couple of days for the occasional, though not guaranteed, tournament, what other reason will people have to visit our otherwise nondescript suburban city? Stop for gas and a Big Mac on Sheldon Road and Highway 99? Nothing against softball families, but Elk Grove will never have the cache` of a Napa Valley or Mendocino to make us a true destination. Go ahead and build the softball complex or aquatics center and while like Mayor Davis we all love Elk Grove, please drop the illusion that we will ever be a place where people will come for a vacation. It is unhealthy and could lead to our own Bay of Pigs financial fiasco.

Most revealing Elk Grove poll of 2012 - A poll conducted by Friends of the Swainson's Hawk released in September revealed how little Elk Grove citizens were aware of the massive sphere of influence (SOI) application the city is pursuing to annex up to 8,000 acres. Not coincidentally, once the poll respondents were informed of what the SOI meant, a majority opposed it.

Best reason why Elk Grove needs campaign finance reform - Jim Cooper and Steve Detrick. Both council members were unopposed in their respective reelection bids this November. Could it be they were unopposed because both had overwhelming financial resources that effectively restricted anybody from mounting a serious campaign?

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