'Yes, Yes, No, No' - Elk Grove City Council Deadlocks on Appointment

After hearing presentations from all six candidates seeking appointment to the Elk Grove City Council, testimony from their various suppo...


After hearing presentations from all six candidates seeking appointment to the Elk Grove City Council, testimony from their various supporters and their own lengthy deliberation, the Elk Grove City Council failed to achieve a majority vote on any of the four candidate names' who were placed into nomination at Wednesday night's regular meeting.


The vacancy was created when Gary Davis was elected Elk Grove mayor in November and vacated the District Four seat. Rather than hold a special election that is estimated to cost up to $500,000, the council decided to see if a consensus appointment could be made.

After hearing from candidates Edward Busuttil, Nancy Chaires, David Conner, LaWanna Montgomery, Oscar O'con and Jeffrey Owen, it became apparent after placing four of their names  in nomination, nor another motion to try a ranking-type ballot, that a majority of the four council members could agree on an appointee.

Council Member Jim Cooper, who appointed Chaires to the Elk Grove Planning Commission in 2007, placed her name in nomination and got another yes vote from Davis, but was rejected by council members Steve Detrick and Pat Hume. Conversely, when Conner, O'con and Owen were nominated and seconded by the Detrick-Hume team, Cooper and Davis voted no.

At the center of the deadlock votes was Chaires who had a large contingent of supporters at the meeting including recently elected Elk Grove Unified School District Trustees Steve Ly and Tony Perez. Well before Davis' election as mayor, Chaires, who also received early support from Assembly Member Roger Dickinson, had openly declared her interest in seeking appointment to Davis' seat should he win the mayoral race.

Hume, who like Chaires served as a planning commissioner, noted her outstanding record and credentials and said his no vote was not reflective of her qualifications, rather the process the council had decided to follow to fill the vacancy. Hume went on to say that he favored a vote of the people to determine who fills the vacancy.

"The process got tainted," he noted.

The council also considered a ranking-type voting method with support from Detrick and Hume but rejected by Cooper and Davis. Noting that the method was recently tried in Yuba City and it too failed to reach a consensus agreement on a vacancy on their city council, Davis voiced skepticism

"I am not for it," he said.

At one point, the Cooper-Davis and Detrick-Hume blocs had three motions and counter motions on the floor.

Notwithstanding the deadlock votes and jockeying competing motions, Cooper urged the council to make an immediate decision on scheduling the special election noting that neither side was likely to change positions. Like every other motion, that too failed to reach a consensus.

The council demurred a final decision until their January 23 meeting, when if a consensus appointment cannot be made, statute requires that a special election be scheduled to fill the vacancy.

"So we are going to pull off the band-aid slowly and go through this all again in two weeks," Hume wryly noted.

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31 comments

Tom said...

Looks like they are all auditioning for a job in Washington DC. Fine display of childish unwillingness to compromise.
SMH

Charlie McCarthy said...

What will happen during the next two weeks you may ask? The wizards, puppet masters, and money givers are gonna be doing some frantic backroom political horsetrading and deal making that's what. Then in two weeks time, everyone comes out smiling and proclaiming, problem solved! Sound bites and photo-ops make the world go 'round.

Sarah Johnson said...

It really is behavior like the 112th do nothing Congress. We did not elect the Chamber of Commerce to run our city. It is a conflict of interest of have a Chamber board member on the Council.

Glenn said...

Sarah:

There were motions to place Conner, Owen and Chaires on the council as well and each failed to find a majority vote.

Fault lies with one party only here, Gary Davis, whose insecurities would not allow him to step aside and save us taxpayers $500,000.

Obviously, a procedure needs to be vetted out before the next election so we aren't right back here again in a few years. - Geez!!

Anonymous said...

Why is the school board involved at all? Perez and Ly are doing a bad enough job learning to run the school district. They should play send in the clowns every time those two show up.

Local government in Elk Grove is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Detrick and Hume must have thought they were on Comedy Central. Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert they are not. Both acted like the jokes they are!

Connie said...

Though I believe that Nancy Chaires is the best candidate and the support was there by getting the nod from Gary Davis and Jim Cooper -- and they didn't budge -- I actually felt badly for Oscar O'con.

Steve Detrick and Pat Hume were so convinced that Oscar was the right person for the job, they vacated their own decisions twice within a matter of minutes.

That speaks volumnes that they actually didn't believe Oscar was the right choice; otherwise both would have stood by him.

Larry Tate said...

I have to agree with Mr. McCarthy. With 2 weeks to the next meeting a lot of strings can be pulled.

Perhaps a well-timed "donation" to one of the two recalcitrant council members will help persuade them to change their vote. Money talks, b@llsh*t walks.

Anonymous said...

To Me, It Appeared Cooper And Davis Refused To Come Off Their Marching Orders, While Detrick And Hume Tried To Find Someone Acceptable Beyond Their First Choice. One Has To Wonder Why It Is SO Important For Nancy To Be There For The Next Two Years?

Silent Dogood said...

I agree with the above comment. Detrick and Hume where looking for a way to save the City the expense and embarrasement of having to hold a special election. When they saw that their obvious first choice in Ocon was not going to get approved they offered alternatives.

However, Cooper knows that if he goes against the Democrat leadership then his new campaign for Assembly is over before it starts. For those of you who don't know Chaires' hisband works for the Democratic Speaker of the State Assembly. If he doesn't vote for her they will find someone else for that Assembly seat.

Davis is the question. He needs to do what is right for the City. Find one of the other applicants and agree to that person.

Come on Gary save the City the $500,000 and be a leader and build a consensus on the Council. You wanted to be Mayor so bad no Lead.

Jarvis-Gann said...

Connie said:

"Steve Detrick and Pat Hume were so convinced that Oscar was the right person for the job, they vacated their own decisions twice within a matter of minutes."

Maybe they knew who they did NOT want for the job, so passionately, that anyone else would be acceptable?

Think about it--the Democratic machine talks about being business friendly, but it is a fact that the Democratic super-majority in the Capitol is now contemplating a real estate parcel tax, repealing parts of Prop 13 to eliminate businesses from enjoying its current property tax limits, and amending the Constitution to only require a simple majority to enact new taxes--and this on top of a new statewide sales tax increase and a State business license fee which took effect in 2013.

If someone tells me again that local elections are not partisan, I swear I will vomit. A Democratic majority on Council will follow the lead of their cronies in Sacramento. Tax and spend, tax and spend. Got us a cell phone tax that was cleverly written on the ballot and who knows what else will come down the pike to help pay for a soccer stadium, mall reopening, civic center, university, more state offices, and oh yeah, skating rink!

Let's not be so quick to write off Detrick and Hume's action as being indecisive.

Anonymous said...

From my perch, I saw Hume/Detrick as trying to find a middle ground. With all the "any of you would do a good job up here" compliments flying, why wasn't Davis or Cooper willing to throw out a second name?? I appreciate the willingness of Hume/Detrick to find a way to save us the $500,000. I do think that Davis is the key. He "led" us here; he needs to show some leadership and work with those on the council willing to work with him. Knowing that Chaires husband works for "the machine" makes me all the more nervous if she gets appointed. Sacramento leading us around again by our noses. DAVIS...MUST STEP UP HERE...

Anonymous said...

Something else that has come to my attention and I picked up on it some at the meeting from a statement Mr. Cooper made, was that Mayor Davis sent emails to all candidates about the Forum...5 minutes & then questions, without consulting with the other council members who remained in the dark about the process until the meeting was in process. I find this UNACCEPTABLE behavior! I do know that was not stated on the Agenda.

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget that if the "chosen one" gets on Council, then Davis has the authority to appoint her replacement on the Planning Commission. Feeding the Machine from the bottom up. Everyone riding each other's coattails all the way to the Assembly and feeding from the public trough.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

Last night was an inauspicious start to the Davis era.

The mayor was unable to muster an agreement much less act decisively. To his credit Cooper recognized the differences between the two sides were irreconcilable and called to get the election scheduled right away while Detrick and Hume were willing to consider more than one of the candidates.

Davis is mayor now and he must realize that some decisions he makes will invariably upset some of his constituency, which includes the Sacramento Democratic hierarchy. That comes with the leadership responsibility entrusted to him as Mayor.

So far he is failing. He can't kick every hard decision down the road like he did last night.

Mayor Davis, to paraphrase Lido, you need to lead, follow or get out of the way.

Altos said...

Davis looks like a mistake already. He showed ZERO leadership and poor reasoning last night. He wanted to put off the vote for two more weeks so that the candidates could speak to the community and garner support.
HELLO!!!! The citizens don't have a horse in this race, we have no say so. It's up to our electeds to make the decision and Davis was pathetic in rationalizing the need to put the decision off for two more weeks.
Cooper saw the writing on the wall and manned up, Hume and Detrick tried dilligently to find a solution while Davis twitched and stammered trying to argue for his well established pre-ordained successor.

Not running the proposed vetting process by the rest of the council before the meeting and deciding unilaterally how it would be done lacks "democratic" principles and leans more toward an exercise of tryranny.

Gary Davis is off to a rocky start. Hopefully, he'll realize that he needs to do what is right and change is vote to one of the other seemingly competent candidates and save us the $500,000.

This is your mess Davis, clean it up.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth says:
I watched from the audiance. I was concerned when this issue came up that apparently no one else on the council had been emailed the "rules of engagement" for the evening. WHY? Was it no wonder that questions were few. The council did not know the format and were caught off guard. I found Davis's question about climate change to be odd until I heard Chaires's pat answer. I doubt climate change will be a "hot' topic in EG. Why not talk about your stance on the SOI or the mall or jobs. That question was a softball for Chaires...unfair advantage to the favorite child. I liked the final candidate's use of his five minutes. He spoke to the issues instead of talking about himself. I liked that he addressed the issues he felt were important. At least we got to know a little about where he stood on the issues. He did a great job with only five minutes. I would be happy for that young man to be my council representative. Chairs leaves a bitter taste for me. She "seems" bought and sold by all the horseplay that came before. She may not be responsible for all the jockeying, but she seemed to condone it..by her very silence on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Sarah,

Allow me my opinion and an opportunity to disagree. Maybe we need someone on the council who is small business oriented. Since 2000 we have had developer puppets sitting on our council. Mr. Rezone comes to town and requests changes to our general plan and magically general plan amendments occur and we as residents are told this is to build a better bigger city with jobs. But wait...the city has become business friendly; fees to developers have just about been eliminated. How did this help the owner of the Shell Station? The rezones did not help residents or the owner of the Shell station.
Lynn

Anonymous said...

I attended both the Saturday evening open forum and the council meeting on Wednesday evening. Davis was absent from the Saturday meeting and Cooper left right after the opening statements. Dietrich and Hume were in attendance for the entirety of both. On Wednesday evening,Cooper failed to ask any candidate a single quesiton and Davis asked a question specifically tailored for his choice all along...Nancy of course! It is truly a shame that this appointment was preconceived and that both men have agendas of their own. It is sad that they gave none of the other candidates a chance, and even failed to learn more about the others through questions. How do you fairly vote amongst six when you know very little about five of their agendas and don't bother to care enough to ask them any questions??? Cooper and Davis are playing the game of politics and it is unfortunate that our city is run by people who think only of their own personal agenda and not the good of all. There was no compromise in anyway from Davis and Cooper to try another way of voting (the point system used in Pasedena and Yuba City) which made them appear childish and made no sense NOT TO DO after repeated YES, YES, NO, NO votes. Is it because Davis knows that if the votes goes that way...Nancy may not win??? UH OH...what happens then????

Anonymous said...

Davis and Cooper couldn't put aside their own needs to look at what's best for the community. They should have choosen to at least try the point system vote that was introduced so that this could have been fairly executed. Instead...they choose to extend the vote another two weeks so the candidates could "speak to the community" and gain more support. What the heck does that matter Gary Davis??? You've had your mind made up on Nancy since before you became mayor and Cooper as well so he can have advantage for his bid for assemblymen. Such a joke!!!! Give opportunity to someone else...somebody who is not affiliated already with you!!!! I didn't have my mind made up when I attended on Wednesday but after hearing the candidates I would have voted for Owens in a heartbeat. He may have been the unknown to all of you...be he showed thoughfulness about our city, and integrity with his choice to withdraw in hopes that it would encourage a decision to be made that night. It is a shame that he is no longer in the race...I will now support O'Con and hope that he is given a fair opportunity although...that's probably too much to ask from this panel!!!

Anonymous said...

Advice for Nancy Chaires...next meeting don't illicit support from school board members Ly and Perez...It was torture listening to them...and really...it's more of a reason NOT to vote for you. They need to focus on doing their jobs correctly first and foremost!!! Public speaking...not a strongsuit for either!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....two more weeks to campaign and solicit support???

WHY???? There is no point!!! The council is making the choice...so grow up and make it already!!!

We all know that Davis won't budge cause' he has had Nancy prepped and groomed for his seat for awhile. This was the plan all along!!! I bet he is bummed that he doesn't have enough power to just make the decision on his own!!! And Cooper...you need Nancy (or should I say her husband) so that God forbid...you can get that assembly seat!!!

It is so sad that Gary couldn't find the inner strength to give up his seat while running for mayor so we could have done this the right way and elected by public vote this position...but oh right...that was his plan all along!!!!

Now...we will go to the vote on the 23rd...where I'm sure it will be tied yet again...and then we will have to go to special election which will cost the city a fortune...but like Gary commented at the Wednesday meeting...oh well!!!!! Nice.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....two more weeks to campaign and solicit support???

WHY???? There is no point!!! The council is making the choice...so grow up and make it already!!!

We all know that Davis won't budge cause' he has had Nancy prepped and groomed for his seat for awhile. This was the plan all along!!! I bet he is bummed that he doesn't have enough power to just make the decision on his own!!! And Cooper...you need Nancy (or should I say her husband) so that God forbid...you can get that assembly seat!!!

It is so sad that Gary couldn't find the inner strength to give up his seat while running for mayor so we could have done this the right way and elected by public vote this position...but oh right...that was his plan all along!!!!

Now...we will go to the vote on the 23rd...where I'm sure it will be tied yet again...and then we will have to go to special election which will cost the city a fortune...but like Gary commented at the Wednesday meeting...oh well!!!!! Nice.

Anonymous said...

Is the two week window so that campagin contributors have time to deposit checks into certain electeds accounts?
No explainable reason to kick the can down the road two weeks.
This council had a duty to appoint someone, and they failed miserably under the watchful eye of Gary Davis.
Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Mark says -

To the poster above me...of course Davis and Cooper want it to come to a special election. There are pots of money awaiting this secial election just waiting for Nancy...so to Davis and Cooper...who cares if the special election costs the city $500,000...at least they know that Nancy has all the money to run a campaign so I'm sure they are confident that she will win this way!!! Unfortunate that their in order to fill their personal agendas...they are willing to cost the city close to $500,000.

Anonymous said...

To Mark and to the poster above him -

At the public forum on Saturday...the candidates were asked about how they would handle "Special Interest Parties" becoming involved. The truth is...they are already involved with one candidate...Nancy Chaires. Let's be honest...Davis and Cooper know it...and that's a shame!!!

Anonymous said...

If you watch back the public forum from Saturday... There were clearly two winners... Chaires and Owen. It should have come down to the two of them only.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Owen and Chaires were the best speakers. They were both intelligent, humble, and appeared to have genuine care for where our city is headed. I am baffled that a consensus could not be reached by the council but we know personal agendas are involved. Owen withdrew his name hoping that a decision could be made that night to save the city from unnecessary spending in a special election. One could still not be reached which is unsettling because now Owen is no longer involved and Chaires won't get votes from Humes or Detrik. Too bad because they were my favorites and now I don't know where this is headed.

Anonymous said...

With Owens out, I would take a closer look at Ed Busuttil, the DA from San Joaquin County..who lives in EG. I have heard it said the council doesn't want any part of him because of his higher ethical threshold and because he is "independent"...that is, he won't need special interest money and he won't cave to contributions. He publically stated twice he has NO interest in running in 2014. This combination makes him seemingly a good choice. No special election; no 500,000 bill; smart, intelligent, no strings, knows how to put a budget together (over 20 years of budgeting experience). Why not put this to bed and let this "no stings" guy fill the void. Then 2014 Nancy can run a campaign and "earn" her spot, like she indicated was important. Problem solved. Someone please tell me why this won't work.

Anonymous said...

I do think that the above poster makes a great point about Busuttil. Since he has stated on record that he has no intention of running again in 2014...he makes it a fair game. He will do the work needed and then step down to allow for a true election by the people. Although...we know Nancy will have a ton of funding behind her when that happens...at least it's a race decided upon by the people of Elk Grove. I do hope that Owens decides to give it another go because I liked the guys demeanor...he seemed real and approachable and I think it could be a great battle of wits...Can't wait to see what happens in 2014...but for now Busuttil seems like a fair choice.

Steve said...

To "With Owen out,"

It is very clear to the citizens who follow our local government even occassionally, the reason that Ed Busuttil would NEVER be selected by the council as a replacement is because he has noo special interests, no favors to repay to developers for their contributions. He has ethical standards that he has to professionally abide by in his daily business.
He would throw a wrench into the curerent "quid pro quo" that our council has gotten themselves into.

Our council doesn't want to be exposed or policed. It would only lead to their embarrassement and exposure.

Actually, if you are a citizen, Busuttil is the ONLY ONE you should consider for the reasons stated above.

Let's cease at least the whisperings and innuendo of back room deals and political shennanigans.

This guy, with his promise not to run in two years will owe no one any favors he has to only follow his heart and the will of us citizens.
- This really is a no-brainer.

- Let'd get to that special election and get the vote out for a candidiate we can hopefully trust.

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