Should I? (or shouldn't I?)

By Michael Monasky |  I'm frightened by the choices we'll have this November for mayor of Elk Grove. Not one of the decla...

By Michael Monasky | 

I'm frightened by the choices we'll have this November for mayor of Elk Grove. Not one of the declared candidates has an actual platform other than habitual obeisance to developer interests that fund their campaigns. I have criticized the council members, the mayor, the city manager, the police chief, the director of finance...let's stop the litany here.

I have not declared my own candidacy for a number of reasons. At first, I just wanted to run against the developers' man in my district; but his seat isn't up for election. So the at-large mayor's seat is available, but requires about 20,000 votes to get into office.

An acquaintance has told me that I'd need $40,000 to seriously run for the office of mayor. I asked him if I should simply take it in 20,000 two-dollar bills for distribution. Obviously, vote-buying is unethical, but somehow not illegal, and I wouldn't do it anyway. I just need 20,000 votes, not $40,000.

Running for public office isn't for the faint of heart. And it isn't cheap. A 200-word statement in the ballot announcement costs $1,150, and could be more should the county registrar of voters decide so after the election.

In my mind, I believe that our community, Elk Grove, should have a vision that the best government is one which involves as many residents as possible; and a mission to engage our residents in participatory democracy.

If I were an alien visiting from another planet, this is what I'd suggest: Stop expansion of the city limits. Live within our means. Abolish our ineffective and costly Economic Development Department. Phase in District Planning Assemblies, focusing on neighborhoods. Pursue council elections by council districts. Ensure adequate police funding and explore diversion of some funding to enhance community mental health and public social services.

There's more: Pay as we go for road maintenance. Make trail building a priority. Explore re-joining Regional Transit, maintaining our commuter routes. Initiate bus rapid transit between us and other cities. Explore free public transit use by all residents. Stop burning green waste; process it into compost. Work cooperatively with regional entities, like the Habitat Conservation Plan. Strengthen the Climate Action Plan. Require health impact assessments in environmental reports.

Still more: Evaluate abandoned and threatened properties as affordable housing for qualified workers. Champion inclusive projects for affordable and workforce housing. Develop strategies to promote mixed-use commercial with residential. Propose a $15/hour minimum wage with full employment. Re-examine pay and benefits of city management personnel, aligned with regional cities. Replace city contractors with civil servants loyal to the people of Elk Grove. Require that the city finance director provide clear and intelligible reports.

Maybe you don't believe in any of this, some of it, or agree whole-heartedly. It remains that our days are numbered unless our leaders stand up and do battle with status quo developers; verily, we are in the Zero Decade for global warming, while this administration has enacted the weakest Climate Action Plan possible; and the opportunity to run for office, which began this week, closes Friday, August 12, 2016.

So, I'm putting it out there. Who will step forward to run against the political machines of Ly, Detrick, and Suen? Who will contribute to pay for the fees to get the candidate's statement on the ballot? Who will help set up a community website to manage a movement to take back our city, create planning assemblies, engage in participatory democracy, and hold regular discussions in our community about what we need, what we want, and what we hold dear, and to effect change upon our city government?

In plain terms, a candidate for mayor or council needs some webhosting, domain name, and website help; contributions to offset the cost of the website ($100), Candidate's Statement ($1,150 for now), and 100 yard signs (under $500.) It requires quick action, a lot of footwork, and as many folks who could walk districts from mid-August, September, to mid-October.

Who is up to the challenge against Ly? And who's running against Detrick and Suen?

Anyone interested can reach me directly at 916-832-5750. I carry my phone with me most of the time...and that time's-a-wastin'...

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