A Visit to Elk Way - Will Elk Grove's Next Mayor Actually 'Build Strong Neighborhoods'

July 20, 2016 |

On my way home from the Cosumnes Community Services District meeting this evening, I decided to take a drive along Elk Way in Central Elk Grove.

I was prompted to explore the older neighborhood after hearing complaints from two residents at last night's meeting held by the City of Elk Grove at the Grange Hall regarding the General Plan update. The complaints came from an elderly mother and daughter who, as the original owner of their house, said they have lived on that street for over 55 years.

The mother and daughter, dressed in matching turquoise blouses with their identical four-wheel walker seat aid attended the meeting to discuss what can be characterized as negligence by the City. Their complaints focused on two items - police response and street lighting, and they were, by their accounts, intertwined.

First, they spoke about vandalism on the recent Fourth of July. They claimed in their neighborhood on the night of the Fourth, 17 cars had windows smashed out by either clubs or M-80 fireworks. 

Furthermore, they claimed that when they called 911, they were told units would not be able to immediately respond. Given the antidotal accounts of vandalism on the evening of the Fourth, dispatchers obviously had to triage calls. 

What was more astounding was the claim they both said they have heard on the night of the Fourth and for several years when making service calls. They claimed to have been told that because their particular area has no street lights, only patrol units with two officers can respond to their neighborhood.   

The claims about the requirement that only two-officer patrol units need verification. However, a visit to the neighborhood at dusk tonight confirmed that along Elk Way for about three-tenths of a mile to just before Lujan Drive, there are no street lights.

When asked if they wanted street lights, the mother-daughter duo said absolutely. They said they were told that they are not allowed to have street lights because the neighborhood is considered a rural area from the time it was built under Sacramento County jurisdiction. Again this needs verification.  

Interestingly, several homeowners received $30 refunds from The City after an observant Elk Grove resident had discovered they were assessed for street lighting that does not exist. 

To the credit of residents along Elk Way and side streets, several homes have installed bright security lights to secure their properties. 

During the recession, this older neighborhood was hit hard by foreclosures. A drive along Elk Way revealed all the homes occupied, but there were some in disrepair. Conversely, there were several houses that looked to have been remodeled in the last few years where pride of ownership was evident.

With Elk Grove preparing to elect a new mayor this November, the candidates may want to consider looking at some of our older, less visible neighborhoods and talk to the residents. They do not have the deep pockets of Christo Bardis or Louis Pappas, but they are the ones elected officials are supposed to be serving. Who knows, maybe installing some street lights they could help strengthen this neighborhood.

Moreover, there is one last observation I would like to relate. While driving slowly on the 8700 block of Elk Way, I heard a dog fight.

One person was walking two dogs, one of which was a pit bull, along a sidewalk. A dog from a house ran toward the pit bull, who immediately clamped their jaw around the other dog. As the owners of the dogs tried to separate them, they were only broken up when another person wisely sprayed them with a garden hose. 

Not to cast aspersions on the neighborhood, but among various populations, pit bulls are a popular security device for homeowners who are trying to protect their property. We doubt if any of the five city council members have pit bulls in their neighborhoods.  

Thankfully it was not a child who was attacked by the pit bull. 

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W. Morris said...

There seems to be a pecking order at City Hall on what areas of the squeaky wheel city get the grease. Not mentioned in this article is the condition of the pavement along those east side residential streets as well as the cracked public sidewalks.

Yes, some blame can be attributed to the county for not holding developer's feet to the fire when approving their subdivisions years ago, and so unlike the newer areas of the city, there are no open-ended tax assessments to cover long-term infrastructure maintenance items and even police services.

As my father used to say, "no money, no workee". But of course he was not referring to the use of taxpayer's money by government. Managing the basic essentials of a city budget and providing a high quality of life seems to be what we expect our city to do each and every day. Maybe we need to commission another feasibility to see how we can convert the east side into a destination and offer some incentive money.

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Elk Grove is a "Tale of Two Cities". We have older neighborhoods where services and infrastructure are neglected, and when the city takes action, it harasses homeowners. Then there are newer neighborhoods where all the attention is focused. The older neighborhoods are like the crazy uncle locked away in the attic.

At least the residents along Elk Way are not paying the onerous Mello Roos fees that add thousands of dollars a year on top of the regular tax bill.

Josie said...

Perhaps now that Mayor Davis and Vice-Mayor Ly have been made aware of the problem they can schedule another Neighborhood Clean-Up like they did in the Franklin area along with lunch afterwards. ?? Is that not in the area of the Elk Grove Senior Center?

Unknown said...

There are many issues in many neighborhoods. However, the breed of dogs being walked or kept in yards is completely unrelated to the safety issues the residents brought up. I regularly walk my old, gentle pit-mix in my newer well-kept neighborhood, and the most vicious breeds that bark and charge us are small "lap dogs." Please do not perpetuate the myth that certain breeds are inherently dangerous and are kept in a certain type of neighborhood, as this distracts from the real issue of city funded inequality.

Unknown said...

Agreed. The breed of dog at the end of the article seems very out of place and looses credibility with me. As an owner of a 6mo old pit mix, I can attest that he is afraid of his own shadow and is harmless.
Let's stick to the subject. Street lights, yes. Police response times to calls, yes. Perceptions/judgments of animals based only on breed? Save that for a different article.

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