Elk Grove Democratic Club Outlines Agenda, Tightens Endorsement Processes For 2018 Midterms

January 10, 2018 |  

With their first meeting of the year, and with a new president at the helm, the Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club staked out a far-reaching plan for the 2018 mid-term elections.

The group, which is the second largest Democratic club in the county, elected Kendra Lewis as its president in December. At last night's meeting, Lewis outlined plans for the club members for the coming year. 

Along with adherence to the national Democratic party platform, Lewis outlined goals to be pursued in Elk Grove. Among them are local civil rights issues, by-district voting, and endorsement procedures. 

Civil rights issues in Elk Grove have come to the fore in the last several months following incidents last summer where a local African American owned business was targeted by hate messages, and an apartment building was tagged with hate graffiti. More recently a social media incident where a Pleasant Grove High School Student posted a racist message have stirred an outcry, particularly from an African American student at that institution who said in published reports that racist activity is rampant there and unaddressed by school administrators.

"This is not isolated, this is a civil rights issue, and it needs to be addressed," Lewis said. 

Lewis noted that there is a meeting of the Elk Grove Unified School District on January 16 and there will be people who will attend to address how student concerns about racial complaints are administered. 

Shifting gears from the EGUSD to the City of Elk Grove, Lewis said the club would also focus on a push to move the city to a by-district form of representation. In a by-district system, council members are elected by voters in the specific district versus the current from-district in which voters from the entire city vote for representatives from each of the four existing districts.

In her comments, Lewis noted that while a majority of three Elk Grove city council members are Democrats, only Mayor Ly supports switching to a by-district. The other two, Stephanie Nguyen and Darren Suen have joined Republicans Pat Hume and Steve Detrick and support preservation of the from-district form which heavily favors incumbents.

"We will be definitely be spending a lot of time, and this is our club's big, heavy lift, this year is by-district," Lewis stated. "I call it participatory democracy." 

Lewis noted that the cost to run a from-district campaign in Elk Grove costs at least $200,000 and that it effectively leads to the exclusion of other candidates. She also noted that when there have been vacancies on the city council, which has happened three consecutive times, council members have decided to make appointments.

In each of the three appointments, council members have cited the high cost of running a citywide special election as justification for their decision. If the city were on a by-district, the cost of a special election would be substantially lower.

Lewis also outlined the club's endorsement process for the June primaries and the November general election. Those seeking endorsements will be asked to answer a questionnaire specific to Elk Grove and the south county concerns.

Additionally, the club will not consider endorsing any Democratic candidate who has endorsed a Republican candidate. Noting a story on Elk Grove Council Member Pat Hume in a recent edition of the Elk Grove Citizen, Hume claimed he had been endorsed by council colleagues and Democrats Nguyen and Suen. 

"Those Democrats who are asking for our endorsement, and they endorse Republicans, and if anybody who was paying attention to the Elk Grove Citizen this week, our Democrats just endorsed a Republican," she stated.  

Lewis said it is "not acceptable in any way, shape, or form" for a Democrat to endorse a Republican.

"We are going to hold them accountable," Lewis said. "Darren Suen and Stephanie [Nguyen] who has announced and had a fundraiser, we are going to have to ask her why she is endorsing. If a Democrat decides to run against Pat Hume, what does that mean, and why."

During this discussion, club member Amar Shergill noted that Democrats Nguyen, and Suen, who is believed to be running for mayor, are teaming with their Republican council colleagues Detrick and Hume against the one Democrat on the council, Mayor Steve Ly, who is sole person in support of the by-district movement.

"There are four council members working as a team, Democrats and Republicans, against the mayor, a Democrat, one of those four can run for mayor, and they can work that team to eliminate the only Democrat who actually supports any of our issues," Shergill said. "And the reason that is happening, I don't think it requires any intellectual feat on my part, is because they look at the Elk Grove Democrats and they say these people are not going to hurt us, so we can afford to do whatever we want. 

Shergill added, "So it is up to us, to look at ourselves and say 'How proud are we of being Democrats' and are we going allow them to roll all over us."

Along with conducting other business, Assemblymember Jim Cooper appeared at the beginning of the meeting to present a California Assembly Certificate of Appreciation to immediate past club  Dan Schmitt.  

During the course of the meeting, Lewis also took the opportunity to criticize the City of Elk Grove for a faux pas committed during the recent Holiday season. The City was widely criticized for insensitivity for a Kwanza greeting graphic that contained images for that celebration, and Hanukkah. 

"We needed to remind them that Kwanza and the Jewish holiday are not the same," Lewis said. "Given the fact they get paid six figures, they should know better. That is inexcusable, that is insulting and it is ignorant."

California Assemblymember Jim Cooper (l) presents Dan Schmitt, immediate past president of the 
Elk Grove-South County Democrat Club with an Assembly Certificate of Recognition.  


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1 comment

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

I am actually surprised the City Hall nitwits didn't use a star and crescent ornament on a Christmas tree.

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