Will Wednesday Night be the Final Act in the Elk Grove, Moore Billboard Charade?

August 25, 2014 | On Wednesday night, the Elk Grove City Council will hear a request to place a massive 76-foot tall billboard just...

August 25, 2014 |

On Wednesday night, the Elk Grove City Council will hear a request to place a massive 76-foot tall billboard just south of the Bond Road-Laguna Boulevard exit on Highway 99.

The request is coming from Fairfield, Calif.-based Monument Partners, which specializes in construction of those behemoth billboards planted along freeways. Monument Partners, which is owned by Bruce Bishop, also represents fast food and gas station developer Gil Moore, who is seeking a similar sized billboard on surplus land he bought from the taxpayers of Elk Grove on Highway 99 near his Sheldon Road-West Stockton Boulevard development.

Regular readers of this site are probably well-versed in the entire process by which Moore was able to financially persuade members of the Elk Grove City Council to relax the city’s formerly strict billboard requirements. Moore said the placement of the massive, many say unsightly, structures were needed so he could land an all-important McDonald’s at his development.

After numerous hearings, a very biased and tilted workshop favoring Moore’s proposal and even a denial from the Elk Grove Planning Commission, the city council, perhaps motivated by the tens-of-thousand of dollars they raked in from Moore in the form of campaign contributions, approved his request to castrate the citizen-built billboard ordinance.

Even though the planning commission, with the exception of Commissioner Sparky Harris turned down Bishop’s recent request for the first of his two billboards that he will seek, few doubt the 76-foot sign request will be turned down by the city council this Wednesday night.

Oh sure, a few concerns about the slippery slope will be expressed, and it may not even be the normal unanimous vote. But it will be justified under the façade of economic development, or perhaps aiding small businesses even though most locally-owned small businesses probably don’t have the capital to rent a panel on the billboards.

There is one final note we’d like to note on the whole process of Moore’s fast food billboard charade. Regular city hall observers may recall first hearing of this proposal in March, 2012 when Moore and his wife Marites, in a faux display of humility, appeared before the city council meeting pleading (see video) for the billboard as if he were a small business operator and not the multi-millionaire gas station operator and oil distributor that he is in actuality.

Recently Elk Grove News submitted a public information request with the City of Elk Grove regarding Moore’s purchase of surplus property from the city where he and Bishop will erect his billboard. A review of the 221-page document response shows that as early as November 19, 2011, a full four months before Moore and his wife came hat-in-hand to the city council, there was correspondence from Moore’s representative Stan Mette seeking, among other  things, possible fee reductions and to “identify location of offsite signage.”  (See this and other documents below.)

Not surprisingly, before Moore or any city council members made a peep about the controversial billboard change, much of the groundwork, not to mention campaign contribution, had already been laid. Other documents released also show the accommodations made by city staff ensuring their bosses, city council members, wishes were met well before the matter made its way to the public. (See documents below.)

So as this process nears its completion, it would be most surprising if the massive billboards were not approved.

To request a link to the 221-page documents released regarding Moore’s purchase of surplus property, email news@elkgrovenews.net, and please write “document link” in the subject line.      

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Anonymous said...

All of this for one developer and another McDonald's! How many McDonalds does one city need?

And now a 75 foot sign so that the sometime traveler on Hwy 99 can get a burger and fries?

What about those of us citizens who live here, pay taxes, buy local every day and not just once in a while, and will be forced to live with that monstrosity?

How about putting that damn monument sign at the corner of Sheldon and Power Inn Roads and let the Council member who fought for it look at it every day. Bet he would have something to say about it then.

Something really sticks here with this entire process!

Mad Hatter said...

No surprises here. All these things are wired well before they ever see the light of day at the planning commission, much less the council.

Southside Frankie said...

Good investigative reporting. This took some time to compile and sift through, but it certainly tells the tale of how things get done in our city, damn the best interests of those of us who live here.
With each new decision passed by our council we become more cheapened and low class. With more homes, comes more strip malls and more low income housing. It just never stops.

When will anyone see the light and start applying the principles of "smart planning?"

We are heading toward becoming a "truck stop" along the highway.

Anonymous said...

I agree Anon 20:44...great reporting.

I have no doubt that the City Council will OK this massive 76' sign with the elk on top. Their thinking is that BIGGER is better...OLYMPIC size pool, MLS STADIUM when all the kids want is a place to play soccer...and the list goes on and on. JOBS?Well those got lost somewhere in the shuffle for more grandiose things.

How many of you misssed your exit from the Freeway because the 55' signs were not tall enough? Why would the city even think that masses of people will be making a stop in EG when they just left the city or are just 20 minutes from the city? Just keep hoping that "smart planning" will kick in at some point.

Anonymous said...

One only has to look at the property that is being proposed for the new fast food restaurant and gas station to see that MR. Moore owns the City Council. Fire danger, homeless hotel and a eye sore to the neighbors. We need to all show up at the CC meeting and let the council know that it's not about money for their campaign but what's good for the City.

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove is starting to look like a dump. Empty weed filled lots, vacant regional mall, deteriorating strip centers, litter on the sides of the road.

Take a trip to Stockton. This is what Elk Grove will be like in 15 - 20 years.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure your listening guys (council).. 8.23 needs to come off the consent calandar. Why are we buying land for parks? $6M? What about using that for roads? It makes us wonder if there isn't some hidden purpose for the purchase.

Anonymous said...

How about "Smart Planning?" Developers build the parks!!!

Connie Conley said...

The Owen Family Rocks! That one is very smart, articulate family. We have all known for many years that Rachelle – belated happy birthday we share – is very intelligent and we are happy she is a champion for the rural area.

However, for the last few years, we have come to know Father Ed and Brother Jeff. It is obvious those same qualities are part of the Owen DNA.

But tonight Father Ed showed some real chutzpah during the business sign agenda item asking any of the council members who took money from Gil Moore to recuse themselves. They didn’t, of course, and Elk Grove is getting a new monument sign; but it was a priceless moment for those us who pay attention.

Thank you to the Owen family for being such an important part of citizenry of Elk Grove!

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