Does Elk Grove Vice Mayor Steve Ly Even Bother to Read Staff Reports Prior to Deliberation?

June 2, 2016 | Last week's Orwellian Animal Farm treatment - all people are equal, but some are more equal - by Elk Grove Vic...

June 2, 2016 |

Last week's Orwellian Animal Farm treatment - all people are equal, but some are more equal - by Elk Grove Vice Mayor Steve Ly during the recent joint City Council-Planning Commission meeting is now well documented.

However, in case you did not read an earlier post, let us quickly summarize Ly's unequal treatment of public speakers.

Speaking during public comment on the city's General Plan Update, Elk Grove smart planning advocate Lynn Wheat was immediately cut off by Ly as her allotted three minutes lapsed. "Please wrap up," a surly Ly said.

A few minutes later, another speaker, Sacramento-based attorney Tim Taron, speaking on behalf of a specific proposed housing development in Elk Grove, spoke for almost five straight minutes without one interruption by Ly who was conducting the meeting.

For those who follow such matters, during the city's almost 16 years will note that Ly is following the well-worn path of several of his predecessors and some current council members. Ly and others will snarl and bite like a meth dealer's pitbull at members of the public, but will be lapdogs for developers who finance their campaigns, and in Ly's case, his personal entourage. 

As usual, one EGN reader also pointed out another observation - did Ly even bother to read the staff report of the joint meeting? 

On page 9 of the staff report, it notes the following:

"Property Owner Requests Staff is beginning to receive requests for changes to the land use map from specific property owners. As these requests come forward, staff is asking that they be made in writing for review and consideration by the Council and Commission at a future Joint Study Session. While the General Plan Update is not the appropriate forum to discuss specific development projects, this is an opportunity to discuss how some sites fit within the larger context and establish a new or different direction on a case-by-case basis."

During his five-minute public comment, Taron did just that - he spoke about the plan with such specificity that he even made veiled threats to the city's planning department that if they did not get their way, they would withdraw. 

Obviously, Taron is free to say whatever he wants during his three minutes. Nonetheless, that leads us to two questions - first, why didn't Ly stop him at the three minutes, which has already been covered, and second, why didn't he advise Taron that the General Plan Update was not the "appropriate forum to discuss specific development projects."

After all, how many times over the years have we seen over Council Members harshly admonish from the dais citizens who just finished speaking during their three minutes? Probably hundreds of times.

Conversely, has a developer or any other city council crony ever been admonished following their three minutes? If that has happened anytime over the last 16 years, we could probably count those occurrences on one hand.

What is most troubling as our reader pointed out is the following - if Ly had read through and comprehended the staff report, he would have advised Taron, as he cut him off at the three-minute mark, that the joint meeting was not the "appropriate forum to discuss specific development projects."

We suppose those rules apply only to citizens, though. All rules are to be applied equally, but some people get more equal treatment of the rules!

As for Ly, it is evident that he did not bother to read the staff report otherwise he would have issued the advisory to Taron or he just doesn't care. Furthermore, if Ly did not read and comprehend something as crucial to the city's future as the General Plan Update, will he even read, much less understand what he votes for when the Elk Grove's 2017 budget is deliberated? 

Not a good look in either case.

Having observed Ly since his December 2014 swearing in, it is apparent when he speaks during deliberations he does not have the desire or ability to add anything of substance or ask meaningful questions of staff or project proponents because he probably doesn't read those staff reports either. When the Vice Mayor does speak, his comments are typically nothing more than parroting his colleagues or restating the points already presented.  

Then again, his lack of curiosity makes him the developers dream Council Member.


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Ace of Spades said...

I think too much emphasis is being placed on Ly's performance as the stand-in Mayor that night. Almost any one of them would have followed down that same bumbling path, with the possible exception of Hume. Remember the Unknown Comic with the bag over his head. On any given night, you'd be hard pressed to tell which one was the stand-in Mayor if they had been dressed as the Unknown Comic!

Steve L said...

This article is right on. Ly has shown absolutely no interest in carrying out the job duties that we have entrusted in him. He shows little interest, no specific concerns, and on top of that he's become a Donald Trump-like embarrassment with his actions not only on the local, but national level.

Mr. Ly please apply yourself, your time and your staff to helping you carry out your duties. Stop with the hob-hobnobbing and photo ops and simply do your job.

Josie said...

It appears, at least to me, that Councilmember Ly is out of touch with reality and living in a world of his own. This sense of self-perception of power will impel him to make the critical mistake that I believe will precipitate his downfall.

You are either a blessing or a burden; an asset or a liability; a problem solver or a problem. Your choice Mr. Ly!

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