GRASP Argues Opposing Case to Elk Grove's Proposed Expansion

October 3, 2013 | At last night's monthly meeting of the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) at the Sacramento ...

October 3, 2013 |

At last night's monthly meeting of the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) at the Sacramento County Administration Building, the local grassroots group Elk Grove GRASP made a presentation opposing the City of Elk Grove's plan to expand the city by up to 8,000-acres.

The Sacramento LAFCo is the agency that will decide whether or not to approve the City of Elk Grove's sphere of influence (SOI) application to bring 8,000-acres on the city's southern border under its purview. Although LAFCo could put conditions on it, an approved SOI application is tantamount to the city annexing the property.

Arguing the case for GRASP were Nikki Carpenter and Lynn Wheat. The two longtime Elk Grove residents have often appeared at city council meetings in opposition to the SOI and voicing concerns on the effects of suburban sprawl in general.

In opposing the SOI, the two described current conditions in Elk Grove including numerous changes to the city's general plan by way of zoning changes, congested traffic and the inability of the city to attract new jobs. They noted that while the city has attracted two non-retail employers, a pharmacy school and the state prison health authority, who were recruited from Rancho Cordova and Sacramento respectively, it did not create new jobs for the region.

"Elk Grove's job creation has offered opportunity for relocation of jobs from within our region," Carpenter said. "However, it has not created new jobs."

Carpenter and Wheat acknowledged the city has the region's worst jobs to home ratio which is the city's main argument that the SOI is needed to correct the imbalance. While stressing the importance of churches to a community's character, the two noted that the city has approved rezones of existing commercial and light industrial uses to allow for churches thereby taking out potential employment centers.

"We believe and know that churches have an important place in the fabric of our community," Wheat said. "Now there are more than eight churches located in commercial properties as well as business parks which could have been revenue generating."

During the public comment portion, several Elk Grove residents spoke in support of GRASP and opposing the SOI application including Steve Lee who pointed out that there is a current inventory in excess of 3,000 acres available for development within current city limits.

Lee also said a market study commissioned by the city states the current inventory provides enough land for the city to develop through 2029.

"This document was signed by City Manager Laura Gill, so she is aware of these facts," Lee noted.

Gill was in attendance and was accompanied by City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs, Assistant City Manager Becky Craig, City Planning Director Taro Echiburo, Planning Commissioner Nancy Chaires, City Council Members Steve Detrick, Pat Hume and Bob Trigg and Pacific Municipal Consultants Worldwide (PMC) owner Phil Carter. PMC is the city's longtime and original contractor for planning services and has been a regular campaign contributor to current and past city council members.

Hume, who was accompanied to the podium by Detrick and Trigg, said the application is exclusively a planning tool for the city and to ensure that any future development will be dictated by the city and not Sacramento County.

"It establishes that Elk Grove wants to have a say of what happens in our backyard," Hume said.

Also commenting on the application was Sean Wirth, conservation chair for the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club. Wirth said the SOI area would encroach on the environmentally sensitive Cosumnes River Preserve and the Stone Lakes Wildlife National Reserve, both of which supports a host of wildlife and remove a prime source of land for development mitigation.

Wirth noted in 1993 the county established the urban services boundary which was an ultimate growth limit for the county and was not arbitrarily placed. Rather he said the South Sacramento boundary was established in recognition of the natural resources that "were so valuable, they would not be touched" and if Elk Grove acquired these properties, they are not obliged to recognize the boundary.

"The SOI has been characterized as a very benign thing, no impact at all, something that will happen in the future," Wirth said. "It is an actual impact out of the gate and that impact is our ability to converse what amounts to the best resources for habitat in our area."


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Wirth Rocks! said...

Pat Hume may be slick with his "we just to want to have the discussion" BS, but it is the same song he has been singing for years. Is that all you got Hume?


And good for Sean Wirth. He spoke facts and is a very smart man. Not like Hume with his continued boorish rhetoric.

And so funny that Hume had to be accompanied to the podium by Detrick and Trigg as if he needed those two as his bodyguards!

Yes, we all know who is running the SOI show: Pat Hume and his minions!!

Three Council Stooges said...

EGN, did you get a picture of Moe with Larry and Curly Joe addressing LAFCo?

Yep, that is what we have for a council, The Three Stooges!!

"Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!"

Saul Goodman said...

Why did the city have to take Mr. Hobbs? He is a private contractor paid by the hour so they paid him at least two hours to see on his butt for what? Billable hours? Doesn't the city have two salaried staff attorney's who could have attended? Nice use of money, where do I sign up?

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

I commend Elk Grove Grasp for taking this matter up and presenting to Lafco.

It is hard to fight against all the power and money behind the SOI, but every now and then the small guy wins. Ever hear of David?

Connie said...

To Members of GRASP,

I am putting this out there publicly because years ago we stood together with WAG and got the flood plain removed from the SOI. The video is on You Tube, with signs and buckets of manure to boot. That was a great evening at city hall. One of the best as I recall.

Brings to mine a song by Mary Hopkin . . .

“Those were the days, my friends
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
Those were the days
Oh, yes, those were the days
La la la la la la
La la la la la la”

So the idea is out there to reduce the SOI to 4,800 acres. Is that something GRASP would consider or not? I am asking because I need to be better educated here.

So the Captain is right again. When we small guys stood together, the citizens prevailed. Walmart and Vintara Park are just two examples!

Jill said...

With regard to the Vice Mayor, it is pretty amazing the path he has taken. From the corner of Sheldon and Power Inn gathering signatures in opposition to the Super Wal Wart to appearing before LAFCO at the side of Council Member Hume advocating for the SOI.

In retrospect, Mr. Detrick's interests were purely parochial. Once he got a taste of the money and power, he got intoxicated and forgot what got him elected in the first place.

Well I hope the Vice Mayor heeds the old advice that the people you meet on your way up are the same ones you meet on your way down.

Anonymous said...

Jill...from above.
You hit the nail on the head! Well said. Accurate and sad. I am sure on his way down; it will somehow be someone else's wrongdoing that did him in. He is not the kind to take criticism well. A spoiled little rich boy that failed to understand that money can’t buy it all (now it did buy Gil Moore his sign, but that too will eventually catch up to them all).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well said Jill...........

I have found through observation and reflection on this city councils past history that I have no faith they can make informed choices and decisions for the present or future of Elk Grove.

Still have no idea why Detrick and Trigg stood at the podium while Hume was speaking.....nothing but a distraction from the speaker and wondering if the paper Detrick held in front of him was his speech. Guess not!

Mayor Davis wanting to reduce the SOI to 4,800 acres....that's an odd one I must say. Who's he throwing in the mix to come up with that number?

Silent Dogood said...

I am sure this will upset most of you on this site, but oh well.

What place did Lynn Wheat come in when she ran for Mayor? 4th? Behind a career politician trying to grasp to one last election, a guy nobody had ever heard off and oh yeah the guy who go 49+% of the vote.

How many times has Pat Hume and Steve Detrick been elected, that's right twice each. Heck nobody could even be found to run against Detrick. I know, I know the developers would buy the seat anyhow but at least put someone up against him to present your vision.

So what am I saying? Obviously the majority of the people either don't care or support the expansion of the SOI. If they supported Lynn Wheat and GRASPS vision for the city we would have Mayor Wheat, but we don't.

The Truth Hurts said...

I believe Wheat's main ideological platform was campaign finance reform and she accepted no political contributions to make her point. The Citizen ran an article shortly after the election that showed the cost per vote each candidate received. Heck, Gary Davis didn't even spend his own money to file his paperwork to run. And I believe a recent filing shows Detrick bought a fancy new laptop at Best Buy with his war chest money. How much do you think Chaires will spend of her own money? Do you want your leaders to be bought and paid for? If so, keep on the road we're on and attack the community leaders speaking out for change.

Bob L said...

To Silent above:

Sadly, you are correct. The majority of the people "don't care."

Everyone is busy, with careers, kids, finding ways to pay the mortgage and trying to figure out the future of health care and how to pay for it.

Until someone builds something right in front of their homes, they will be ignore what is going on around them and ignore the decisions the CC is making that determine the future of the city.

Our council members count on this. It's unfortunate, but it's the truth.

Still, people like Lynn Wheat, and Sarah Johnson take time to look out for the future of our city. They should be commended, not ridiculed.

Campaign finance reform is needed here. Put Ms. Wheat on even ground with the incumbents monetarily and she'd blow them away. She's the one who cares about our city's future and not just padding her pockets with developer $$.

By the way, Silent, what the heck have you ever done to make our city better?

Jill said...

I respectfully disagree with Dogood's assertion that most people are in support of the SOI. I think most people in Elk Grove simply don't know about it. Aside from the limited number of people who troll around here or EGO, did the Citizen much less the Bee report any of this activity?

As for TV, whenever there is a report coming out of Elk Grove, it is usually some fluff piece with Hiz Honor telling yet another fabrication. If people actually had the information about the impact the SOI will have on traffic, house values, crime, the environment, etc, they might take notice.

The politicians can simply whistle Dixie, skip along their merry way while they collect bundles of money from developers and building trade unions who want the SOI more than anything else.

As for Chaires, it was reported she attended the SOI meeting. I can't help but think she will be just another political hack in the pocket of Phil Carter and his group of developers. What a big disappointment she is turning out to be!

Anonymous said...

You have a right to your opinion and this is the place to post it. I do however, disagree with your conclusion. Ms. Wheat took no money; ran a campaign on $1,000 of her own money...she walked many streets, blocks, neighborhoods and attended many community events. She engaged the citizens and gave them something to think about. She was/is all about Elk Grove and how reckless decisions now will harm the future of Elk Grove. It is my opinion that most people in EG have no idea what the SOI is and the city likes it that way. The last public meeting the city had about the SOI was in 2010. Now that's real have an item that will substantially change your footprint; your city; your police and fire rates; your schools, traffic, your shopping habits; your taxes, your driving route; build over open space, pave over flood land, induce sprawl and increase pollution as well as many other daily activities and you're not shouting it from the rooftops?? You are not engaging your can't even put a flyer in the utility bill to get your attention? Nope...the city would rather have you ignorant...and that's what we have. Ignorant and apathetic citizens...why do you think Hume and Detrick get elected year after one pays much attention. Sad but true.

JeffO said...

I agree with a lot of what's been said above, up until about a year ago I was one of the city's masses with my head down and out of touch with who our council members are, what political aspirations and alliances are in place and the poor decisions being made on behalf of the voters. It's amazing how quickly you can see how important the proposed plans will make or break our cities future from the SEPA, civic center, SOI, ongoing rezoning, soccer stadium etc.., it's scary how little the city does to keep its citizens informed, how the council is so quick to say they have the support of the people yet everyone I ask doesn't have a clue and often disagrees with city leaders.
Politics is a game of controlling information, capitalizing on voter apathy in doing any research beyond the voter booklet, incumbents almost always win (a major reason Trigg was appointed so no one had an advantage) and the biggest war chest gives you the greatest chance at winning.
I'm thankful for people in this town that have poured so much of their time into the cities well being, I may not always agree with their take on things but I've learned a lot about the issues from them. I wish we had more citizens involved and folks like Lynn should be recognized as contributing members of our community instead of being talked down to because they're holding our elected officials accountable.

I can only hope that we continue to refresh out leadership with strong caring qualified community members when current council members switch to self serving or egotistical points of view.

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