12 Days of Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis; Day 1 - With No Significant Stamp Left on Elk Grove, Will Davis' Legacy Lie With Ly?

December 14, 2016 |

Today Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis will leave office. In honor of his last 12 days in office, we have looked back at memorable aspects of the Davis' administration, and we will peer into the near-term prospects for his mayoral protege, Steve Ly.

After 10 years in office as a City Council Member and as Elk Grove's first directly elected Mayor, shortly after 6 p.m. tonight Gary Davis will no longer hold elected office. As we have done over the last several days, we have explored Davis' stamp on the City.

There were two major initiatives solely spearheaded by Davis - the Soccer Stadium and fields and the aquatics center. 

The aquatics center planned for the City's Civic Center could happen. Even though the City has not identified an operator for the facility, Assistant City Manager Jason Behrmann said on Monday, December 13 that construction will start in 2017 with an opening by the summer of 2018. 

With regards to Davis' soccer schemes, Elk Grove is not even in Major League Soccer's discussion of 10 possible cities vying for an expansion franchise. Besides that, unless the City Council was willing to issue junk bonds to build a stadium, there is almost no chance Elk Grove could build the type of stadium the MLS wants for their teams.

As for the soccer and other athletic fields planned for the 99-acre Grant Line site, that too is problematic. Given the City has a $70-million road maintenance backlog and no identifiable source to fund this, the prospects for this project are diminishing with each passing day.

Since the Mayor has unsuccessfully shepherded these projects, his legacy will fall on the shoulders of his protege and Mayoral successor, Steve Ly. Does Ly have the ability to finish the proposals started out by his mentor? 

Because the aquatics center has $14 million in earmarked funding and several staff members working diligently on it, it could succeed. Nonetheless, where will Ly get the funding if it exceeds the $14 million budget, and further, what happens if the City is unable to secure an independent operator.

Aside from the soccer stadium failure and the vanishing prospects for the soccer fields, Ly will also be tested on other projects with Davis' fingerprinted ladened on them. This will be the case for the Wilton Rancheria Casino that has developers drooling like a St. Bernard over the possibility it could open a wide swath of land for more rooftops. Developers are looking at Ly to deliver on this crucial project, and he better deliver or else. 

As Mayor, enough people in Elk Grove City will be scrutinizing Ly to see if he can deliver on these and other things. Once the Holidays pass and the afterglow of his media victory lap fade like a bad hangover, it will be time for Ly to put the campaign behind him and get after the unglamorous work of governing as Mayor of all people.

Ly will ultimately determine Davis' already wobbly legacy. We hope soon to be former Mayor Gary Davis is comfortable with that thought as he rides off into his charter school sunset. 


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