Elk Grove City Council Vacancy to Be Filled by Expedited Appointment Process

November 14, 2014 | By a 4-1 vote at their Wednesday night meeting, the Elk Grove City Council decided to fill a coming vacancy creat...

November 14, 2014 |

By a 4-1 vote at their Wednesday night meeting, the Elk Grove City Council decided to fill a coming vacancy created by the resignation of Vice Mayor Jim Cooper by an expedited appointment process.

With his election to the California State Assembly, Cooper resigned his District 1 seat effective yesterday. To fill the vacancy, the city council can either call a special election or by appointment.

After hearing a report from City Clerk Jason Lindgren on their options, the council collectively decided an appointment would be the preferably option. The split vote, with Mayor Gary Davis on the losing side, was when the appointment should happen.

The majority said the appointment should be made prior to the December 10 meeting, when District 4 Council Member-elect Steve Ly will also be sworn in. Conversely, Davis fought to have the appointment made after his protege Ly, is sworn in.

Council members Cooper, Steve Detrick, Pat Hume and Bob Trigg said by making the appointment prior to the December 10 meeting, the council will be fully loaded and be ready to conduct city business without delay. All agreed the appointment was preferable to holding a special election citing costs and that it was appropriate for Cooper and Trigg to participate.

For his part Davis, said he favored appointment but said it should be made after Ly was sworn in. 

"Once Steve Ly gets sworn in, then he can be part of making an appointment," Davis said.   

Davis went on to say that by voting on the matter that evening there was one member who was appointed, Trigg, and one who was resigning, Cooper and that he didn't feel it was right.

"It think it taints the process even more than we tainted it last time," he said.

Davis was referring to the January, 2013 appointment process that brought Trigg as a compromise appointee to the council after several deadlocked votes with Cooper and Davis on one side and Detrick and Hume on the other. That vacancy was created when Davis vacated the District 4 city council seat after being elected Mayor.  

Cooper noted he resigned effective November 13 so that there would be ample time before the end of the month to initiate and complete the appointment process. He also noted that both he and Trigg were still council members as of that meeting.

"Mr. Trigg is still up here and he still has a vote, and is part of our process," Cooper said. "I'm still up here, I haven't left yet. I've been here 14 years on the council, long than anyone here, longer than you and I love you to death, but one this one I agree to disagree with you."

The approved process will allow a two-week period for qualified District 1 residents to submit applications. A special meeting will be held on or around December 3 where the council will make their appointment from the pool of applicants and the appointee will be sworn in at the December 10 regular meeting.

Additionally, the council directed staff to put together a policy for how future vacancies should be handled in the future.

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Anonymous said...

Fascinating! Since Cooper is gone as of yesterday it will be Hume and Detrick against Davis on December 3rd, with Trigg being the swing vote. This hurts Davis since Trigg will vote with "staff's recommendation" as he always does and avoid a special election. Since Hume/Detrick won’t agree with Davis it will leave Trigg to vote with Hume/Detrick to make it 3-1. This will swing the council in their favor leaving Davis and Ly outnumbered for the next two years.

What are some possible candidates that live in district 1?

Anonymous said...

It is a done deal, Darren Suen. Payback from Cooper for his choice not being elected and for Davis supporting Ly over Chaires. Plus Cooper backs Suen and was basically able to cast a vote for him by doing the process this way.

Anonymous said...

The City of Elk Grove letter and application reference can be seen here. Says you must complete an ethics training course...must be a new requirement now.

As for filing an application...the three Amigos already have someone waiting in the wings, so don't waste your time. Democracy in action....


Anonymous said...

This makes me so incredibly angry! I am furious.

We do not elect council members to choose other council members.

I want an election!!!!!!!

This is not democracy.

Calling out The Fix said...

Good for Lynn Wheat for calling out the fix publicly at public comment. That was some courageous "sunshine" in government that is very much lacking in Elk Grove!

Please don’t waste our time, and more importantly, the other unknowing applicants who think they have a fair chance at an unbiased process. Just go ahead and appoint Darren Suen. We all know the fix is in.

And frankly there was no attempt to hide it. There was Suen sitting right next to Steve Ly at the council meeting for everyone to see, including the council.

How is this any different than two years when Roger Dickinson made the pre-announcement at Gary Davis’ mayoral candidacy hoopla-la show with Davis applauding Dickinson’s prediction that Nancy Chaires would be Davis’ successor?

And is the appointee going to state publicly, following Lynn’s lead and Bob Trigg’s pledge: So Mr. Suen, when you are appointed, are you going to publicly state that you will not seek the seat in 2016? Fat chance!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Cooper was backing Suen in 2010 when Cooper tried unsuccessfully for the Assembly. Cooper supported Suen starting a website and announcing that if Cooper won the election, that Suen would be a perfect replacement. So, this is a one man race. Suen has been chosen. He is a developers best friend and that is what all those council members have in common. Open up the SOI land..and build, build, build to the city limits of Galt.
At first I did not get Lynn's tongue in cheek comment about Suen..but afterwards, she explained her motives. She wanted the council to know that SHE knew Suen was in. That Wheat lady is pretty smart indeed.
And what about not running again..that was a big issue last time when Trigg ran...all council members were adamant that the "replacement spoke on the wheel" not be interested in running the next cycle. Is Suen ready to make that promise?? I hightly doubt it. Will this council even ask that question?

Anonymous said...

When will the citizen's get a listing of the candidate's that submitted applications. I see the cut off date, but when will the city provide the listing to us, the public. We should have ample time to vet the candidates just like the council. Anyone know that timeline?

Anonymous said...

Do we, the citizens, have any legal recourse in this situation?

Anonymous said...

The 'citizens' can vet applicants all they want to, but it won't do any good if the council selects whomever they want.

This is a travesty.

Peppermint Patty said...

Does anyone honestly think that the fix is not in on this? The only difference is who it will be. On one side you have Mayor Davis and the other side is Council Members Detrick Hume and Trigg. The loser in this battle is the public. Barring some magnificent screw up, whoever gets the appointment will be the presumptive favorite in 2016. Don't be surprised if this person runs unopposed to boot.

By that point in time, we will have coronated four of five council members as de facto permanent members having run unopposed. What a rotten shame we have allowed our local government to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Anonymous said...

If you want an election then you had better figure out how to force the issue. Maybe a lawsuit, I don't know. I don't care anymore. I fed up with the apathy of the citizens. The house is already up for sale and retiring at the end of the year. I'm out of here!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We know that Darren Suen monitors this blog, he has posted under his own name before. Will he pledge to not run for the seat if he is appointed?

SteveB6509 said...

I have a problem with someone pledging not to run. I want someone who is interested in holding the office. This would require someone who likely is interested in running again to hold office (or at least they would not promise not to run).

Anonymous said...

SteveB. I agree 100%

Anonymous said...

I understand, as I would like someone who is committed, too, for more than fulfilling half a term.

But, that should be up to the VOTERS, not four men.

But, that becomes a real issue, since incumbents tend to be difficult to unseat.

That may, in fact, be the plan, plot, ploy, strategy - to slip one of their own on now - and expand the SOI.

Our 'electeds' should be elected by the voters from the get-go.

If Sacramento will have an election to fill a vacated seat, then so can we.

Or, is our council too corrupt to stand for democracy?

And, why the BIG rush?

We need some sunlight, some time, and a chance to vote.

Anonymous said...


The council can appoint whomever they want, the public has 90 days either to accept or reject the appointment by getting 3% signature to force a special election. I suggest someone start getting signatures now.

Anonymous said...

I suggest someone call Brad@ County Office of Voter Registration and file paperwork. Its not that difficult. Once Brad confirms the challenge, voters have 30 days to get 3% signatures of register voters. Brad then confirms voters and then special election is set for the next available date.

We felt sorry for the last "appointed" school board member or else we could have booted her from office.

Jughead Jones said...

Unless I drank to many MALTED milkshakes tonight (it is Friday afterall!) I read the link noted above at 19:45 and as I interpret the information, we would need anywhere from 10 to 15 % of registered voters. Golly, if it was only 3 % i could get Veronica, Betty, Moose, Archie and maybe even Reggie to get those signatures!

Anonymous said...

It seems this 2 week time frame for applicants is extremely short. How is the city noticing voters that a position for city council is open so that the whole District 1 will be aware there is an opening?

If you will notice the letter writtten by the city is dated November 19, 2014 which in effect gives applicants 1 week notice. This just does not seem to be legal....


Anonymous said...

Oh, c'mon, nowdays with Facebook and websites, 10% is easily achievable. The question is, does Elk Grovians give a HOOT!!!!

Warren Buffet said...

Apathy is a hard thing to shake, after all you are competing for time spent with the soccer kids, shopping at our chain stores, eating at our fast food joints, watching Dancing With The Stars, waiting at our camera intersections, hanging out at one of the cookie-cutter neighborhood parks, dodging shoplifters and their pepper spray, or if you're on the east side, waiting for the trains carrying who knows what?

Good luck on a referendum...

Anonymous said...

Yes, this city suffers from APATHY and the City Council plays off that. That is the reason our hard earned tax dollars are so easily thrown to the wind with little respect for the residents wants and desires. There will come a time when the people will revolt, but that will most likely be when Revenue Bonds are placed on our heads to pay off for years to come.

I, for one, found it very interesting that the very person who put us in a position to fill a seat by appointment was the person to make the motion...Mr. Cooper. IMO he should have recused himself from the discussion and vote. As you know, he resigned the next day.

BTW....what is with this letter dated November 19th anyway? (See Anon. 21:37 reference)

Anonymous said...

Where's the outrage against the school district for not holding a special election to fill Ly's seat? Seems like many levels of government fill vacancy's by appointment rather than special election. Voter turnout was historically low and Ly won his seat with something like 7,000 votes. How pathetic would turnout be for a special election for just a city council seat? The winner of the seat would probably have fewer than 3,500 votes. How is that any better? Those voting will still vote for who has the most mailers and yard signs.

I do think it's odd they are rushing to fill the vacancy prior to Ly getting a vote.

And stop saying this is a Democracy. We are a Representative Republic. Know the difference please.

Lynn said...

I had spoken with Mr. Ly and requested that if he was serious about being able to serve Elk Grove and the students better in a council position that he step down from the school board so that there would be an election for his seat. This would support the ideals of electing our representatives instead of appointing them. We are losing our democratic process!

Anonymous said...

@ Anon @ 10:50

Yes, I do know that the US is a representative republic. As a matter of fact, I was a history teacher in the district for many years.

Yet, the majority of people reading this blog would have been put off, if not completely confused, if I said that our city council is subverting our representative republic form of government.

Everyone knows, colloquially, that a 'democracy' is where citizens have the right to vote to elect those 'representatives'.

So, get off your high horse.

Also, and far, far more importantly, voter turnout should NEVER justify NOT having an election. Now, that is truly undemocratic and smacks of a rationale for voter suppression.

Anonymous said...

I really truly hope that not everyone is just venting but someone will actually pickup the phone and call the voting office and file the proper form. FYI, its cheaper to share the cost of a special election between city of elk Grove and the egusd.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 17:40 I never said I wasn't in favor of a special election. I just find it odd there is so much complaining about an appointment when it happens in many levels of government. When appointments happen in those levels of government do the people complain about losing our democracy (representative republic)?

I'll stand down to the History teacher since that's some justification for being a...

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