Open Letter in Response to Elk Grove City Council Member Patrick Hume's SOI Comments

Protesters in front of Elk Grove City Hall, April 14, 2010. |  
February 19, 2018 | 

UPDATED - Video below \  

In a February 16 article in the Elk Grove Citizen, Elk Grove City Council member Patrick Hume stated regarding residents who oppose the current Sphere of Influence (SOI) application before Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), “If they come to the table with genuine concerns, I think there are mitigation policies that will help everybody walk away getting a little bit of what they want.” 

(As a footnote, this SOI application is the first step towards the city of Elk Grove’s plan for annexation to extend the city’s boundaries followed by more urban development. The approval of the SOI will dramatically increase the speculative value of the lands included in it, which given Elk Grove’s history, means more housing projects.)  Hume, himself, has been quoted as saying Elk Grove needs more “rooftops, rooftops, rooftops.”

As an elected official of the city of Elk Grove, Hume’s statement is an insult to those who have been actively involved from the beginning regarding both SOI applications. Hume is inferring the opponents don’t have “genuine concerns;” therefore, he can’t be bothered to address them. On the contrary, the Citizen article clearly expressed legitimate concerns of opponents including Elk Grove residents Lynn Wheat, Suzanne Pecci and Bill Bird, executive director of the Sacramento County Farm Bureau, as well as other opponents who testified before LAFCo on February 7th.

Hume categorically knows, and seems to have selective amnesia, dating back to 2009 and the first SOI application, which many of these same residents opposed, and caused LAFCo to reject the city of Elk Grove’s SOI application because of “genuine concerns.”

After that devastating defeat, Hume’s apparent game plan, get himself appointed to LAFCo and take over that agency’s board. Evidence of that is Hume is now chair of LAFCo, the same year the SOI application would come before LAFCo for approval. Coincidence? Hume set the table all right by stacking the deck in his favor, and that of the developers, who contribute handsomely to his campaign account.

Back in 2009 before Hume isolated himself from his constituents on the SOI issue, he wasn’t afraid to speak openly at public meetings to the Wilton Action Group (WAG) and many others who came out strongly against the first SOI application. Hume braved two SOI Town Hall meetings hosted by the Elk Grove Community Connection (ECCC); both standing room only attendance. Since the city of Elk Grove held no SOI meetings of their own, and because of public outcry, the EGCC hosted meetings to give residents a voice, including a rally at city hall before a council meeting, to remove the floodplain from the initial SOI application which was successful.

But nothing since then and Hume has withdrawn. Hume has not hosted one town hall meeting either for his District 2 constituents or on the SOI since 2009 when the EGCC hosted a District 2 leaders meeting. Why is that Mr. Hume? 

The counter argument to Hume’s quote is that he has refused to give the opponents, which includes residents, other interested parties, and the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS), a seat at the table. Is that because their genuine concerns have some validity?  Has that deterred them?  Not one bit! The opponents have simply brought their own chairs, fighting to make their voices heard. 

But the thing is, and what Hume seems to forget, as an elected official, he supposed to be accountable to all of his constituents, and that includes people who don't agree with him. Public service also includes standing up and listening to people who don't agree with you – who aren't your friends, who don’t give you lots of money, and don't ask you nice questions – is part of the job. Is Hume simply unable to handle a difficult question or two?

2018 is an election year and Pat Hume wants four more years on the Elk Grove City Council, which he states, will be his last term; forgetting to note, that is, if he is reelected. Well, let’s see what table Hume sets now. Will he host a town hall meeting giving the residents and others a chance to come forward, absent a buzzer, to address their genuine concerns regarding the current SOI? Or will he simply continue to recoil with developers circling their wagons around him. 

In closing, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Will Hume respond with a town hall meeting or will he continue to retreat? 

Connie Conley, Founder
Elk Grove Community Connection


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D.J. Blutarsky said...

In fairness to Hume, we must first understand the difference between a puppet and a puppeteer. Then we must ask ourselves if Hume is merely speaking as a puppet or a puppeteer? If he is merely a puppet, then we can forgive him, for he is speaking the words of others. If he is speaking as a puppeteer, then we must conclude he is also part of the development lobby and stands to profit from his decisions. If that is the case, then there could be some legal ramifications.

Puppeteers manipulate the puppets. In Elk Grove's case, the development lobby, primarily the homebuilders, have successfully infiltrated city council's across the entire Sacramento region. So in that respect, Elk Grove is nothing special and is just another easy mark for land speculators who build those nice big two-story stucco boxes.

Hume, as well as the past city council members, and probably all future council members, are put in office to further the development business. So, let's give Hume as break here--he is nothing special as far as setting city policy or leaving his legacy for residents to enjoy.

If on the other hand (no pun intended), Hume is acting as a puppeteer, then we must conclude he has something to financially gain by the city expanding and building more rooftops. Mind you, this is not an accusation, because if it were true, the legal tracks would have been sufficiently covered at least as long as he is in office, so as to avoid sharing a cell with the ex-city manager of Bell.

Charlie McCarthy started life as a block of wood. At the request of Edgar Bergen--who was a ventriloquist--a carpenter carved a dummy based on a kid Bergen knew.

Election time is near!

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Well stated as usual D.J.

Let the readers decide: Pat Hume works for the family business, Emerald Park Company, which is a homebuilding company. Said company has been a member of the North State BIA – couldn’t verify if they still are – and Hume was just awarded “Friend of Housing” by the BIA just last month.

Knowing that fact even when first running for office back in 2006, Hume never hid from his background, but we always thought we would get a fair shot. One now has reason to believe those days are behind us.

Additionally, one only has to watch one Elk Grove City Council meeting to know who runs the show. Hume speaks and then the others just chirp in agreement. I wish I had hundred dollars for every time we have heard, “I agree with Councilman Hume. . . “

Hume is no dummy and has always prided himself on being the Master of the Game. Frankly, I think the other four are intimidated by him knowing in a debate on any given agenda item they could never compete; that is if they ever tried to disagree with him. Example of late: Just one peek at his repulsion to naming the aquatics center “The Grove!”

Not so in the days when Hume was on the Elk Grove Planning Commission with Paul Lindsay. Lindsay was an equal match for Hume and vice versa. Because they were intellectual equals, both with excellent command of the English language, they often challenged each other’s thinking and positions on any given agenda item, coupled with fact that they sometimes had opposing opinions, the cream rose, and Elk Grove residents were the better for it. Even if they agreed, they would sometimes challenge each other just for sport.

“Those were the days my friend. . .”

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