Councilmember Detrick's comments on issuance of proclamations for Elk Grove businesses misleading

Over a 10 year period, only two businesses in Elk Grove received proclamations that were not tied to some other form of recognition. | 

An examination of documents requested through a public records request from the City of Elk Grove revealed comments made by Elk Grove City Councilmember Steve Detrick about proclamations awarded to businesses were misleading.

The comments, made by Detrick at the May 13 Elk Grove teleconference city council meeting suggested that as a matter of routine, the city council regularly issues stand-alone proclamations to community-owned businesses. The issue arose after several residents expressed concern about the issuance of a stand-alone proclamation at the May 13 meeting to an Elk Grove business that was characterized as objectionable.

A review of documents, from January 1, 2010, through May 15, 2020, showed the city council in a variety of formats issued at least 801 proclamations. Many of these proclamations were for various civic groups, health causes, and to individuals like Boy Scouts, termed-out youth commission members, youth sports teams, people retiring, acts of heroism, and milestones like centennial birthdays.

At that May 13 meeting, Detrick, and fellow councilmembers Pat Hume, Stephanie Nguyen, and Darren Suen supported the proclamation, while Mayor Steve Ly instructed city staff not to place his name on the document. During the meeting, several women, many who were women of color, opposed awarding the proclamation to a business they characterized as bigoted.

Although many businesses have received proclamations, as Detrick claimed, in all but two cases between 2010 and May 15, those entities were issued proclamations after receiving awards from other organizations. The other organizations typically recognizing the businesses, several of which are outside of Elk Grove, were from groups like the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce or the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

As an example, in 2011, Sacramento's Firehouse restaurant received a proclamation by the Elk Grove City Council. Issued on February 4, 2011, that proclamation was awarded to the Old Town Sacramento restaurant for their 2010 induction into the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's Business Hall of Fame.

Only two businesses, both in Elk Grove in 2010 and 2011, were recognized with proclamations that untied to other groups like a chamber of commerce or some other recognition from trade organizations. In 2010 Keller Williams and 2011 Elk Grove Online received proclamations without any public objections that could be found in reviews of Elk Grove City Council meetings in the times near the issuance.

At that May 13 meeting, Detick, along with Hume, Nguyen, and Suen, did not address the numerous concerns expressed by citizens but defended their decision to issue the proclamation over Ly's objections. That proclamation was not included in the response to the public document request.

To issue the most recent proclamation, the four city council members changed the city's norm and procedures, which had previously allowed the Mayor to have the final say in issuing proclamations. Typically, issuing proclamations are not controversial.

"The point was to recognize a business," Detrick said at the May 13 meeting. "It wasn't saying we endorse their business, you know, we do these things all the time."

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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