The 12 Days of Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis;
Day 12 - Dude, Have I Got a Message For You!

December 3, 2016 |  

In 11 days from today, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis will leave office. When Davis passes the baton to Mayor-elect Steve Ly on Wednesday, December 14,  he will have served the people and City of Elk Grove for 10 years. Only will former Councilman Jim Cooper, who served for 14 years, and current Councilman Pat Hume, who will have served longer than Davis the very next day, will have had longer tenures on the Elk Grove City Council.

In honor of his last 12 days in office, we'll take a look back at some of the most memorable aspects of Davis' tenure. Day 12's installment is called Dude, Have I Got a Message For You!    

If there has been one constant for Mayor Davis, he has very particular techniques for messaging. That messaging has included the use of catch-phrases to the point where they became punchlines, or to make bold, some might say ridiculous statements, on any host of topics. 

One of Davis' favorite catch phrases through the years has been the term laser focused. When the Mayor talked about bringing jobs to Elk Grove, he would say things like we are laser focused on bringing jobs to Elk Grove; we are laser focused on building the aquatics center; we will be laser focused on bringing Major League Soccer to Elk Grove, we are laser focused on fill-in-the-blank!

We suspect the Mayor used that line so much he even realized it had become a punchline and as such, he seems to have dropped it from his répertoire. 

Another thing the Mayor was quite fond of saying during the opening of the City Council meeting, in hopes of appearing to care what Elk Grove citizens had to say, was This is your house! When explaining how the rules of public comment work, the Mayor would preface his remarks by saying this is your house as if the City Council listens, much less acts on the concerns of constituents. 

The problem with this was that if a speaker went slightly over their allotted three minutes, or offered pointed comments directed at the Council, they were summarily told to move along. In the last several months Davis has eased this expression from his vocabulary (see video below, particularly near the end).

In about 12 days from now, unless Ly takes up those terms, they will be gone from City Council meetings, but not forgotten.

As for making bold proclamations, we can't say Davis is as well versed as President-elect Donald Trump, but he had his moments. Like the President-elect, Davis has used Twitter to say things of a dubious nature.

Our favorite was in 2014 when Davis tried calling out Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson on Twitter. Davis, who at the time thought Elk Grove was a serious contender to land an expansion franchise from Major League Soccer, tweeted to Kevin Johnson, who had successfully kept the Sacramento Kings from leaving town, Don't be a ball hog!  

The Mayor also tried to start a Twitter hashtag with #ElkGroveBleedsSoccer. To date, there have been three Tweets with that hashtag, two of which were from Davis.

Why Davis tried calling out Johnson and what good he thought it would bring is still a mystery.

Speaking of Tweets, the Mayor also took to Twitter in 2015 except this time he set his sites a bit higher - this one went after the Howard Hughes Company and two of its largest investors, hedge fund managers Bill Ackman and David Weinreb.

As with the ball hog message to Johnson, did Davis think his Twitter comments would speed things up at the unfinished Outlet Collection at Elk Grove by calling those three out? Strange.

Speaking of the unfinished ghost mall now known as the Outlet Collection at Elk Grove, let's not forget Davis testosterone-laced comments directed at HHC, the shopping center's owner. Davis famously said he would fly to the Texas headquarters of HHC and "light a fire under their butt" to get the shopping center build.

Apparently, Davis' match did not light-up under HHC's butt given the dearth of construction activity at the ghost mall. Like Detroit Lions' fans have been saying for 60 years now, there's always next year.

Speaking of Texas, this brings us to the coup de grâce in Davis' messaging. Interestingly, Davis most distinctive messaging came in a taxpayer paid advertisement in the Houston Business Journal.

Hoping to snag some business out of Texas, Davis instructed City Staff to place an ad in the Houston Business Journal recruiting businesses to locate to Elk Grove. Aside from what appeared to the theft of a campaign slogan from one of his 2012 mayoral rivals for use in the ad, and getting his smiling mug on local TV news, what did Davis realistically hope to accomplish with this solitary ad purchase and why did his fellow council members not put a stop to this nonsense? 

As with much of Davis' messaging techniques, there seems to be no logic to any of this other than to give the appearance he cares and is doing something. To borrow an old saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.   

Tomorrow's Day 11 installment - Run, Gary, Run!

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