Elk Grove City Council To Discuss Sister City Committee, Proposed Relations

March 9, 2014 | At their Wednesday night meeting, the Elk Grove City Council will take up how it handles any future sister city rel...

March 9, 2014 |

At their Wednesday night meeting, the Elk Grove City Council will take up how it handles any future sister city relationship.

In a city staff report prepared by Angela Frost, the document notes that following the February 26 council meeting were a city-subsidized visit and sister city relations with Katsina, Nigeria "there was a significant amount of public input on the process of the sister city selection, the cost of hosting the Emir and his delegation, and the association of establishing a relationship with a country that carries a large history of human rights violations and other practices the City does not condone."

In addition to describing the genesis of the unofficial Sister City Committee and the scuttled $15,000 taxpayer funded price tag for hosting the Emir of Katsina, Nigeria, the report also offers recommendations on how the city could proceed with the sister city committee and future relations.

Among the recommendations offered in the report are:

  • Maintain the current establishment of the SCC but amend the policy guidelines to incorporate a process for public input in the selection of sister city requests.
  • Establish a formal Council-appointed Sister Cities Committee with five members. The committee would propose organizational documents (by-laws, mission statement, and policies) that would govern the sister city process, subject to approval by the City Council.
  • Create a subcommittee of the existing Multicultural Committee that would be dedicated to Sister Cities. This group could use the existing SCC policy guidelines or create its own guidelines. This subcommittee would provide updates to the Multicultural Committee. All requests and recommendations of potential sister cities would be brought forward to the City Council for approval. This subcommittee would be comprised of members of the Multicultural Committee.
  • Combine elements of Option A and Option C by incorporating a process for public input in the selection of sister city requests, as well as using the Multicultural Committee as an advisory body to the existing structure of the SCC. Under this approach, the SCC would essentially remain independent of the City, and its members would not be subject to City Council appointment. However, all of the recommendations would go before the Multicultural Committee for input prior to seeking Council direction or feedback. This would result in an additional modification to the SCC guidelines. 
  • Dissolve the Sister Cities Program/Council.  
  • Other recommendations by the City Council

Wednesday's meeting starts at 6 p.m.

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Anonymous said...

Was reading this Agenda item Friday evening with a neighbor and we were laughing....we went from a committee with no input to something that would take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out. A committee within a committee within a city council. Only in EG would something be revised to confuse the people to their own ends. How about you just follow the rules set by the Sister Cities International as a starter? It's worked for every other community...only in EG would we need to revise something that was set in motion in 1956.

Anonymous said...

As you know, we have a Sister City in El Salvador. I am a very giving person and believe in helping others when I can. There are many needy persons here in EG who could use our help and our Food Bank is extending their coverage to the North due to many being left out of the system. This is not a large city and taking on another Sister City at this time seems to be spreading our resources very thin. The last city suggested had a population of over 400,000, almost 3 times our own. How we were to support a city that size is beyond me.

Maybe time to give this a rest and focus on EG's needy...charity starts at home. When the economy gets better then we can revisit adding another Sister City if that is what the community wants. Just sayin'

Regina Hawkins said...

Typical of the City of Elk Grove....just create bigger government when the current one doesn't work!

Time to vote out the incumbents and get new blood. And that includes not voting for Steve Ly. He has already proven that he is incapable of keeping his word.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest folks read the entire staff report, please? In true fashion, EGN is cherry-picking - perhaps it is for brevity or perhaps it is to incite.
But, I humbly request folks read the entire explanation provided.

Anonymous said...

Sister Cities International has absolutely no goal to bolster or provide economic support to other cities. The goal is person-to-person and person-to-community diplomacy and exchange of cultural ideas. I have read several comments from posters who have a misunderstanding on these goals.
On the other hand, if Elk Grove has a toy drive, for instance, for poorer children in El Salvador, that is different and not to be construed as economic support.

SteveB6509 said...

It is definitely worth reading the staff report. I do have a bit of problem with the structure. It seems one person who gets involved can choose their favorite city without much review. For example, why did we choose Montichiari, Italy over other cities in Europe? I don't have anything against this but just don't know why.

While this is set up as an independent 501(c)3, this does speak for our City and should act as a City committee. Otherwise, we might walk down the same road we have just gone down with Nigeria.

Coffee Bean said...

Councilmembers don't care about HOW they get the sister cities, as long as they get them and that they end up with five--one free paid vacation for each member every other year (because the sister city entourage comes out to us on the opposite years).

Anonymous said...

The city in Italy was brought to the council by Mr. Sorcie, the city in China by the Pres. of Sacramento Chinese Cultural Found. and not included in this video,the city in Nigeria by Mr. Ononiwu, a city he,if I'm correct, grew up in and at some later date during their private meetings was suggested and choosen. At least they seemed private since I have seen no Agenda or Minutes being provided to the community at large or noticed as being open. One such Video for 8-24-2011 can be seen here when Italy, China, Canada & the Philippines were mentioned. Go to 2:09:30 to review....


Lynn said...


This link to a Bee article is a little off topic here, however I think it speaks to how our local officials in many ways respond...or what might be guiding decisions.

There is so much going on in our city that needs our attention. This sister city issue is only really receiving attention because of Michael's comments and the many others that were said following the council meeting. It truly would of just happened if not for him. Thank you again Michael. Our leaders have been pushed to respond, staff pushed to work on this....NOW.
I look forward to the day when we have leadership within our city that is proactive and not reactive.
Hope all will read the link that I pasted here.
Mostly, I am going to hope that many residents attend the council meeting Wednesday night! It is time!

Anonymous said...

More like the city will be covering their asses at this meeting. I am sure there will be a slight apology from his royal mayor; however, the fact remains they were caught with their hands down their pants, not paying attention to city business because, quite honestly, there wasn’t any political money to be made on this topic; so as usual, the blinders were on; the microphones on stun; and our fearless leaders not questioning one detail....even after Mike M tried to save them. Watch for a very nice dog and pony show at this meeting. No answers to the multiple questions we have; but just a broad brush stroke to say they addressed the problem.

Anonymous said...

You're probably right, business as usual. All they need to do is complete their “Dog and Pony show” by turning up and giving a compelling sales pitch. The meeting turns into a show and tell discussion and council is left with only one choice either invest in the Pony or do nothing. The Strategic Dog and Pony show is truly a case of time wasted, going through the motions, and ultimately achieving nothing.

In the last two weeks we have had five businesses either shut down or move. Fresh Market, Kinetic Cycle, Radio Shack, Staples & ? Fitness. With the drought that means higher prices at the store and maybe loss of jobs when we had barely started to recover from the recession. At the rate we're spending we may need someone to adopt us as a Sister City.

The last thing I remember was some kind of feasibility study for an Animal Shelter...$30,000. Now I'm an animal lover, but at some point we have to face facts and our love of "feasibility studies" needs to stop. We do all these studies, but I have yet to see anything ever completed.

Jughead said...

Yes, a dog and pony show unless some of us in the public get up and talk to this fiasco.

Lynn said...

Ok...from the complainer....I will be there at Wednesday nights meeting. However, as I am the complainer the council hasn't taken me seriously ever...even when I spoke to them and share ideas...Even when I shared ideas that were others and from experts.....
So for those of you who express 'complaints' and dissatisfaction with the councils spending and decisions time to move beyond the comments on line and attend the meetings....otherwise it will continue as 'it is just her'...her comments don't matter....she is the only one. Please if you can attend do so!! This is about democracy; participation matters! As I told one individual....you can say it without it sounding like complaining...I need to learn something. So I am looking for others to show up and speak tot his matter. I do want to learn!

Anonymous said...

Sad to say but I think the ship has already hit the iceberg.

Look at all the cheap looking low income housing projects in this city.

Who approved the color schemes?

What is next?

A huge high density low income housing project painted purple like Barney the Dinosaur?

The SEPA is going to become an instant HOOD with over 2,300 high density low income housing projects zoned in the SEPA and mall area.

Even if you throw out all the incumbents, the ship has already taken on water and the orchestra is playing on the back deck.

Keep on building new subdivisions and the City will have to approve more low income housing rezones.

Keep on building new subdivisions and the current residents will have to cut back water usage by 20 - 75% when the next drought hits.

Anonymous said...

Watch out SEPA, timing is about right...here they come! Paint the high density low income housing Black & Silver to make them smile and just a hop, skip & jump to MLS. Email I just received...
Read in todays Bee that rental properties in Oakland that have been under rent control/subsidy are substantially bumping up in price and could be driving out existing tenants. I don't think they will find cheap alternative housing in the greater Bay Area if that is the case. Where do you think they will look for "affordable" housing... hmmmmm?

Connie said...

To those of us who pay close attention to our local government on a regular basis, there is a renewed lack of trust and confidence; and even worse, a new cynicism in the Elk Grove City Council has emerged.

I have watched with the way Lynn Wheat and Mike Monasky have been treated of late. We thought that behavior was long gone when we got rid of Michael Leary, but alas it has continued.

A good start to rebuilding trust and confidence is how the citizens who come before the council are treated. It does mean treating residents with respect, listening, and honestly evaluating those who propose reasonable solutions, and following through in a timely manner. Dealing with our citizens honestly and with impartially builds trust even when we don’t receive the answer we want.

When we residents finally believe that this government is genuinely concerned about producing the best possible set of results to benefit the largest number, and not their egos, cynicism will start to diminish.

Anonymous said...

"Keep on building new subdivisions and the City will have to approve more low income housing rezones.

Keep on building new subdivisions and the current residents will have to cut back water usage by 20 - 75% when the next drought hits."

"Watch out SEPA, timing is about right...here they come! Paint the high density low income housing Black & Silver to make them smile and just a hop, skip & jump to MLS. Email I just received...
Read in todays Bee that rental properties in Oakland that have been under rent control/subsidy are substantially bumping up in price and could be driving out existing tenants. I don't think they will find cheap alternative housing in the greater Bay Area if that is the case. Where do you think they will look for "affordable" housing... hmmmmm? "

Doesn't the planning department tell the city council what the long term impact of their approvals will be?

Lynn said...

To the above; nope I don't think our planning dept tells the council the long term impact...however to give planning the benefit of the doubt; I don't think the council would hear it anyway...most of the time the council gives planning the direction.....this lead to the path of hybrid zoning for the sepa area. Planning did offer some suggestions...council didn't like the suggestions so therefore the city has hybrid....my interpretation...more of the same..I think the council hears more from the who funds campaigns heavily and regularly....

Anonymous said...

What type of hybrid zoning will the Hood, I mean SEPA have?

Purple housing projects that look like Barney the Dinosaur?

Anonymous said...

Angela Frost is a true professional!

Anonymous said...

I agree with 19:18. Angela Frost is a sweet professional who is always kind to the public.

Anonymous said...

No body said anything about Angela Frost except "In a city staff report prepared by Angela Frost."

The city council failed us here in not doing their home work and just rubber stamped something a committee hadn't researched thoroughly or even vetted to the community. As is the pattern of the city council there may be a fall guy/girl for their incompetence. That is what should be addressed if it happens. A sweet/true professional is not in their vocabulary.

Anonymous said...

Angela Frost is well meaning and hardworking. The burden should fall on those who manage and oversee her work.

Don't let her become the scapegoat.

In this case the garbage has to flow back to the top where administrative oversight originates.

Who is the captain of this ship?

Where is the iceberg, captain?

Jughead said...

I don't know Angela Frost, but I'll take the word that she is a well meaning and a hard working civil servant. That is not the point, rather, Angela may well be the sacrificial lamb offered up by Laura Gill. Someone has to be left holding the hot potato and it probably won't be the city manager.

Boss, Bossy or Tyrant said...

It is a shame that behind the scenes Angela Frost is probably taking the heat because Laura Gill always has a fall guy or girl. There comes a time when the lucrative salary and benefits aren't worth your sanity. If you have ever worked in a hostile work environment you would know.

Why do you think we have such a high turnover rate at the city?

Laura Gill is a far cry from Sheryl Sandberg!

Anonymous said...

I used to work with Angela Frost and agree she is a hardworker and a good employee

Anonymous said...

Should they can the City Manager?

Anonymous said...

Let's start with the city council first...recall them all!

Anonymous said...

Angela Frost is hard working, and a real asset to the City of Elk Grove. She is not the decision maker just the worker bee that follows orders. The manager who directly oversees her(WHO IS THIS) and the City Manager seem to have no oversight on this project. Now there is a question on what other projects have been pushed through that were not properly researched and pushed through. Perhaps the ice rink in Old Town failure is another example.If they did manage closer or even cared, then this would have never happened in the first place. I'm sure Angela would have reported her progress to her superiors. They probably just choose to ignore the work thinking no one cares. Guess what WE DO!

Anonymous said...


Lynn said...

Regarding the Ice Rink; city manager took the orders from her boss; the council. They were well aware this was going to be a money loser for the the city....it was a hope to break even venture. Since tax payer money was funding this I wanted it "free" to all city kids so those parents who had recently lost jobs etc....could offer their kids something. We still never heard how profitable this was to the old town merchants....just that they liked it. It is always easy to find one person to blame....however in the case of our city there are many. We voters can start at the top by quit by the sound bites and empty promises, and this "destination" concept.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately, the city manager approves each agenda item. It would fall to the city manager to question the completeness of an item before it is placed on the agenda for discussion. Nothing, not one single item would make the agenda unless Laura Gill saw it/reviewed it first. The buck needs to stop there. She takes direction from council, but agenda items are in her wheelhouse. She has proven to be a terrible manager; firing any/all who do not agree with her or have contrary opinions. She demands 100% support with NO room for second opinions or suggestions. Now, we'd all like support from our employees; however not entertaining even a hint of a suggestion of a better way or better idea is ridiculous. We are paying these civil servants very good money and to not allow them to participate in creating solutions is a sign your city manager is out of control and on a head trip. Time to clean out the manager's office...change is good. Let's start with Gill and move on to cleaning out the council this election cycle.

Anonymous said...

Most of the sheep, I mean voters in Elk Grove are so absorbed in their iPads, children's activities, shopping, etc. that sadly they will just vote for the incumbent.

Whoever posts the most signs will win.

Whoever has the most money will post the most signs.

Whoever has the most money to fund those that will post the most signs will determine the future of the city.

Who has the money?

The developers.

What is the most likely fate of Elk Grove?

More boring subdivisions, strip centers and low income housing projects coming down on Elk Grove.

Destination City?

Yeah right, let's paint the first housing project purple like Barney the Dinosaur for people to come from around the region to look at.

Sprawling subdivisions are a dinosaur in a world of rising gas prices, lack of water, congested roads, smog.

Didn't the city learn from the last housing crash?

In the Franklin Reserve neighborhood of Elk Grove, California, south of Sacramento, the houses are nicer than those at Windy Ridge—many once sold for well over $500,000—but the phenomenon is the same. At the height of the boom, 10,000 new homes were built there in just four years. Now many are empty; renters of dubious character occupy others. Graffiti, broken windows, and other markers of decay have multiplied.

Susan McDonald, president of the local residents’ association and an executive at a local bank, told the Associated Press, “There’s been gang activity. Things have really been changing, the last few years.”


Anonymous said...

Out of a population of over 150,000 in Elk Grove, I'm betting there are only hundreds who really know and care what's going on in the community. People are so involved in their day to day lives that they are only interested when something directly affects them, such as traffic, crime, blight, etc. I know from talking to neighbors and others that the typical Elk Grove resident doesn't even know about plans to build an aquatic center, water park, civic center or attract an MLS team. And if they are asked their opinion, they shrug and don't really have an opinion. They have no idea about the finances of the city or where new funding comes from. That doesn't make them bad people; it's just human nature to first be concerned with your own family and how you are going to pay your own bills. Even the 200+ posts over the last couple of weeks on EGN were no doubt from the same group of people over and over. I guess my point is that I don't see much hope for change when there is general apathy except for a few people like Lynn, Michael and Connie who are willing to keep fighting the fight. People expect to elect representatives to make the best decisions for the community and that isn't just an Elk Grove problem; it's at every level of government.

Anonymous said...

All true Anon 9:00. However we no longer see Ms. Connie or several others speak at city council any longer...perhaps a question we should be interested in finding out the WHY to. Yes, Lynn & Michael are still there and it is my hope that many more will be there to speak tonight or at the very least as support for the two/three as maybe just a public DITTO if you agree. It is only when that happens that we will ever see any change. That is if they're even listening and not bent over some papers in their hands as is usually the case. They seem to have a problem looking people in the eye as they speak...inattentive, not interested or guilt I guess you could call it.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the video of last night's meeting and the same attitude remains. People who speak out are ridiculed. Steve Detrick referred to the "Monday morning quarterbacks" who commented on this website as to the shortcomings of the fatally planned Nigerian visit.

The fact is, if it weren't for those MMQBs, our city would likely have been the lead story on the 5 o'clock news locally and perhaps even statewide or wider when protesters engaged the foreign dignitaries when they arrived.

Thank you Michael Monasky for sparring our city such embarrassment.

Of course our mayor who signed off on the letter inviting the Emir and his entourage did not show one ounce of contrition or offer anything resembling an apology to Davies Owoninui or the citizens for his role in this debacle.

That's why no one shows up and speaks at these meeting anymore. We are no longer wanted or welcome.

Brett Rosario said...

Gary Davis showed last night that he is the spineless jellyfish that so many have said he has become.

It needed to be a leader last night and take accountability for his actions. He's the mayor, this happened on his watch. He signed the letter inviting the Emir here without proper vetting.

He owed the people of our city an apology and he refused to do so.

Like a child, he took his ball and went home.

Grow up and take responsibility, Gary. Your kids are watching. Set a good example.

Anonymous said...

My reaction was "that's it?" after 2 weeks of outcry from the community. I have to believe that much more went on behind the scenes than was implied last night. It was treated as if it was no big deal and we learned a lesson, etc., but at the very least, I'm sure Congressman Bera and Senator Steinberg, et al made it clear that it was a big deal. So interesting that Mr. Sorci didn't show up as he was the one responsible for using their names without their permission.

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