EGN's 2013 Elk Grove Year in Review

December 30, 2013 | Below is our annual best of, worst of and other assorted categories list for the City of Elk Grove. While this list i...

December 30, 2013 |

Below is our annual best of, worst of and other assorted categories list for the City of Elk Grove. While this list in by no means inclusive, it is a fair representation of what happened in our fair city over the last 12 months. 

David Slaying Goliath, For the Time Being at Least Award – Undoubtedly this award goes to an assortment of groups including, but not limited to, Elk Grove GRASP and ECOS, as well as scores of concerned citizens for defeating the City of Elk Grove Sphere of Influence (SOI) Application. Every now and then the small guys and common sense prevail over the big-moneyed interests. For now at least.

Best Press Release Never Issued Award – During the November LAFCO meeting where the SOI was torpedoed, not only were two Elk Grove Council Members in attendance, the city’s executive management team and city planning contractor Phil Carter were all there and they anxiously awaited a vote that didn't go their way. Undoubtedly the city had a self-congratulatory press release in the can for the 11 o’clock news with SOI team captain Council Member Pat Hume ready to mug for the cameras that night, or Mayor Gary Davis the next morning. It never came and of course local news never reported its defeat because they didn't get the memo. (See Best Example of Why People are Turning Away From Local TV News Reporting.)
At least there won't be a sequel. 

Best Weekend at Bernie’s Imitation – Although he was well regarded when he led Elk Grove schools, as a council member, on the dais Bob Trigg seems to be doing his best at imitating the ill-fated Bernie. On the plus side, Trigg has promised not to run for an additional term so we’ll be spared a Weekend at Bernie’s II.

Most Grandiose Plan of the Year from the Elk Grove City Council to Come to Fruition – Without a doubt it has to be Elk Grove’s tourism push and their unrealistic-unbridled lust to make our suburban bedroom community a destination city. Hey, we all love Elk Grove and it is a nice place to live, but really, do we need to spend $40,000+ trying to convince people to spend a weekend here instead of say, Carmel? Get a grip on reality fellas!

Most Grandiose Plan of the Year From the Elk Grove City Council Still Under Consideration – In our estimation it has to be Mayor Davis’ scheme to bring Major League Soccer to Elk Grove. From the get go, it has been ill-fated and snake-bitten, with the newest kick-in-the-groins coming during a recent news conference held by Don Gerber where the MLS Commissioner rattled off a list of cities the league hopes to operate in the next five years. Of course that list did not include Sacramento, much less Elk Grove. Better luck next time.

Worst Twitter Hashtag for Elk Grove – Someone, possibly The City of Elk Grove, earnestly started a hashtag on Twitter called #InElkGrove. Unfortunately it is populated with tweets like “#InElkGrove us people have nothing else better to do. So we all go on our iPhones and go on twitter and tweet stuff like #InElkGrove” or “#InElkGrove there's either a Starbucks or McDonald's on every corner”. Might want to rethink this marketing strategy.

Worst Ordinance Change of the Year – The Elk Grove City Council's liberalization of the hard fought freeway sign ordinance. It will create more visual blight, but hey, one guy and a fast food giant think it is the Bee’s Knees!

Best Example of Why People are Turning Away From Local TV News Reporting –These local newsrooms actually are making Ron Burgundy look like Edward R. Murrow by comparison. Enterprise reporting is not in their vocabulary.  

Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread Award – Read more about the recipient of this award here.

Too much Bola consumption can lead to this
The Bola Award – Bola, is a Tagalog word that roughly means heaping false praise on someone or something to get something, and this honor goes to former California Assembly Speaker and pro soccer Svengali, Fabian Nunez. Obviously the crafty SoCal pol knows an easy mark when he sees one. How else can we explain his Bola-like assertion, and the Elk Grove City Council’s agreement, that Elk Grove actually has a credible chance to recruit a Major League Soccer team if only they, we taxpayers that is, build a $100 million stadium. Bola, Bola, Bola!

Worst Attempt to Imitate Lincoln's ‘Team of Rivals’ Concept – Mayor Davis’ attempt to appoint former mayoral candidate rival and city council antagonist Sophia Scherman to the city’s planning commission. Davis’motion was met with utter silence from his fellow council members when he placed her name in nomination earlier this year. Barring some sort of weird political play, this is still a head scratcher.

Best Festival of the Year – Elk Grove’s Multi-Cultural festival which highlights our city’s diverse population.

No moore Hawaiian shirts?
He Finally Got the Memo From Mr. Blackwell Wardrobe Award - After appearing before the city council and planning commission countless times in his famed Hawaiian shirts, Gil Moore’s last appearance of 2013 saw the gas and fast food impresario sporting a vest, sans Hawaiian shirt. Or was that a bullet proof vest as one of our astute readers pointed out?

Best Local Example of How Walmart Sponges Taxpayers - While much has been written about the ill-effects Walmart has on American's in terms of the costs they stick taxpayers with, Elk Grove has not been exempted. While Walmart's are well known crime magnets, in one September shoplifting incident this year, a Sacramento City Police Department's helicopter was dispatched to apprehend a couple of fleeing shoplifters. 

Biggest, Most Spectacular Local and National Media Collapse of the Year - The award unfortunately goes to Patch. What started off as a great idea has devolved into a bunch of local sites that basically post stories from other news sources. We miss you Cody.

Mayor Davis is the year's big winner.
Biggest Sandbag of the Year – Without a doubt, Mayor Davis’ sandbagging of Nancy Chaires during the city council appointment process by voting for ninth-hour dark horse candidate and City Council Member Pat Hume’s protégé, Bob Trigg. Whether or not you agree with his political affiliation, Davis not only threw his fellow Democrat under the bus by back-pedaling on his alleged support of her candidacy, he sandbagged his party. The ever calculating Davis was undoubtedly afraid the $500,000 special election costs would he hung around his neck like the proverbial albatross. Using the word of his campaign contributor Gil Moore, perhaps it is time for the mayor to get some cojones. Furthermore, using your logic, Mr. Mayor, why not dispense with all elections - they are way too expensive after all. Oh, we forgot, we needed that money for yet another consultants fee of $700,000 to study an aquatics center.  

Most Cowardly Political Act of the Year – See Biggest Sandbag Job above.

Best Lesson for Youth on the Perils of Drunk Driving – From being the all around scholarly, athletic girl next door to a con serving five years, Elk Grove’s Heile Gantan’s drunk driving conviction for her role in the death of a passenger in her car is a stark reminder of the perils of drunk driving. Come to think of it, it is a good lesson for drivers of any age.

Economic Development Incentive Award that Never Happened Award – Remember the West Sacramento fellows who pitched the City Council about converting the Brewery? Whatever happened to those guys?
Perhaps this circle was to big.

Quote of the Year Award – “I may have drawn the circle to large,” Richard Shepherd, Elk Grove’s director of public works said in response to concerns regarding a map showing a major portion of the Elk Grove Regional Park being used to accommodate a proposed interchange at Whitelock Parkway and Highway 99.

Best David Cooperfield Disappearing Act – Tie, between Elk Grove Economic Development Director Randy Starbuck and Kristyn Nelson, Elk Grove Community Events and Projects Coordinator.

As far as we know Starbuck is still drawing his $150,000 + annual salary, but we have not seen him make any appearance before the city council in the last several months much less reporting any significant economic development beyond the opening of another sandwich shop. Perhaps he is trolling conventions in Las Vegas pimping the Elk Grove Promenade, or is it the Outlets at Elk Grove, or whatever it is now called, for the Howard Hughes Corporation. As for Nelson, we are not really aware of any special high-visibility events coordinated or organized by her that were not already in existence prior to her hire. But hey, we do have food truck events galore!

Speaking Truth to Power With Poise Award – Local restaurateur Marie Mertz showed how to do it earlier this year when the mayor tried putting words in her mouth. Well done Marie.

Juan Valdez Award – This goes to our very own mayor, Gary Davis. Showing his entrepreneurial chops, his honor started hawking his Grace Coffee brand at local food truck events, fun runs and Elk Grove grocery stores. Who knows, maybe the mayor will start his own coffee plantation right here in Elk Grove. Now if he can pull that off, that would make us a true destination city!

Best Use of Political Office and Influence to Earn a Commission Award – This has certainly been a busy year for the mayor and his burgeoning business interests. If starting his own brand of coffee wasn't enough, earlier this year the mayor stealthily started a company named Civic Innovations Public Affairs that appears to act as an agent with contractors who have done business with the city. Could the mayor be trying to cash in on his title and gain entry to other government entities to earn a few extra bucks? It will be interesting to see his next economic interest statement.
Coming to your neighborhood.

Most Tired Fad of the Year Award – In our view, it has to be the whole food truck scene. What were once roach coaches are now rolling feeding troughs for all those so-called foodies. Enough already, we get it!

Best Fast Food Design of the Year Award – The newest McDonald’s on Bruceville doesn’t have one outdoor trash can. This is like having a fast food joint without, well, an outdoor trash can.

Robert Rizzo Award for Padding Your Firm’s Billable Hours - It was curious how city attorney
Hobbs, Carter gorging at the trough?
Jonathon Hobbs sat for about four hours during the November LAFCO meeting and uttered not one word. How much did that cost taxpayers much less similar activities? Perhaps he was preparing to mug for the camera too. Honorable mention goes to city planning contractor and Pacific Municipal Consultants' principal Phil Carter.

Most Accomplished City Council Member Award – Even though her term ended in 2012, we have to give this award to former City Council Member Sophia Scherman. While our current council chases pie-in-the-sky schemes, a couple of projects shepherded by Scherman came to fruition this year including the East Stockton Blvd. soundwall and the bus turnout on Elk Grove Blvd. in front of Joseph Kerr  McKee Junior High. Were they big, sexy projects like an aquatics center or a soccer stadium? Obviously no, but they were nuts and bolts type projects that directly affect and improve the live’s of constituents.

On a side note, the fact that no current member can point to an accomplishment ought to tell us where their collective thoughts are.

Best City Commission/Committee of the Year Award – Tough call between the Multi-Cultural Committee and the Trails Committee. The MCC once again organized a great festival but this award has to go to the Trails Committee. If not for their pushing and prodding, would the new trail connector over Highway 99 actually have come to fruition? Probably not. Well done trails committee!

Most Overblown Awards Given by an Elk Grove Media Outlet – Obviously we would like to bestow this on ourselves, (see all the above!) but that would be just plain tacky. Instead, this award will be “bestowed” on the Elk Grove Citizen. In their earnestness to purvey the Gospel of Elk Grove, the Citizen has so many awards from Citizen of the Year Award, Artist of the Year to the Newsmaker of the Year Award, just to name a few, that it simply renders them all meaningless. And really, to paraphrase Peter Griffin on “Family Guy,” aside from white people and Kanye West, who takes these awards seriously?

And with that, we wish all our readers a Happy and Prosperous 2014!

Post a Comment Default Comments


Anonymous said...

Glad to see someone's watching the store these days.
Hard to believe you couldn't find a category for our illustrious city manager.
Perhaps Elk Grove's worst dressed, least hygienic looking $200,000 a year employee?

How about the people's choice, Detrick, for his Jeckle and Hyde impersonation before and post election. Now we're stuck with Mike (Hyde) Leary all over again.

Otherwise, pretty well thought out, and pretty much on target.

Anonymous said...

Great article! Love the picture of Phil Carter dozing off next to Hobbs. Maybe counting sheep, but most likely counting his bucks. Hold onto your wallets, I think 2014 is gonna be an expensive year for EG taxpayers.

Lynn said...

Great Article! Thank you for dedication to presenting the "other side of the story". It does take time and energy to investigate and get past the nice sound bites.

Anonymous said...

Have checked the Events calendar for this Destination City and see there are no festivities planned this New Years Eve. Not even an Old Town New Years Eve ball drop at our Million $$ railway property. What are we to do? We have tourists & teens wandering the streets and no where to go, except perhaps for a Big Mac or a bargain at Walmart.

Just another failure on our cities part...many starts and no finishes!

SteveB6509 said...

I often like your reporting but sometimes you allow your political views to creep in towards what is normally good reporting. The WalMart incident involved an assault where someone was hit in the head a few times. I believe this justifies a pursuit. With this exception, a good review of the year.

Anonymous said...

As someone once said, "Twenty-thirteen set us up with a few cliffhangers. We look to 2014 with same anticipation one might feel as the meat of the novel is finally laid bare.

Anonymous said...

"On a side note, the fact that no current member can point to an accomplishment ought to tell us where their collective thoughts are." Dan, this statement alone stands as a true measurement of this council. You are right...who amongst them can point to one accomplishment for our city this past 12 months? Not one thing comes to mind. For all their publicity seeking; food truck gorging and developer-driven rubber chicken dinners; none of our representatives can name one damn noteworthy cause or project they championed for us, the people. Not one damn accomplishment. What a shame. At least Sophia always kept the veterans close to her could always count on her to step up for our hero's. Here's hoping 2014 brings us new faces and new hope for our city.

One Bright Spot said...

In watching the council's actions after the “selection of Trigg,” it that wasn’t Gary Davis who established control and leadership of the council, it was Pat Hume. As Elk Grove’s first elected mayor, Davis should have and he failed.

Though I loathe what occurred, Hume orchestrated his master plan very cunningly when he said at the last minute, “I have an idea but I will wait. . .” And then he nominated Trigg.

That my friends, set the stage for the entire year, Hume, with Detrick and Trigg in tow, ran the entire show. And least we forget, as the council would like, all the money that has been wasted this past year.

The one and only bright spot this year was the SOI being defeated and that victory belongs to the brave citizens who refused to give up! This continues to give us hope for the future.

Happy New Year!

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

Good point One Bright Spot about the city council's spending habits. To paraphrase President Reagen, to say the city council spends taxpayers money like a drunken sailor is to disparage our sailors!

Anonymous said...

Do you mean the the bus stop in front of Kerr Middle School? Maybe I don't understand the joke. Otherwise, I enjoyed your article!

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove has become a big joke and a laughing stock in the Sacramento area.

Bunch of podunk politicians who only listen to you if you have money.

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