So long Fabian Núñez - The inglorious death of Elk Grove's soccer dreams

At their Wednesday night meeting, the Elk Grove City Council is likely to take actions that will effectively kill Elk Grove's dreams of soccer greatness. During the meeting, the city council will be asked to sell a portion of the 99-acres of taxpayers-owned property purchased initially to create a soccer mecca in Northern California.

The parcel was purchased in 2014 for about $4.4 million and at various times going to be a lure to attract a Major League Soccer expansion team to Elk Grove, a multi-field athletic facility, or a permanent site for the Sacramento County Fair. About 60-acres will now be sold to develop a parts warehouse. 

During the glory days of the MLS scheme, the city presented artistic renderings of a $120 million stadium. So far the scheme progressed that former Elk Grove City Councilmember Jim Cooper and former city manager Laura Gill traveled to Frisco, Texas to tour their MLS facility, which is the home field of MLS's FC Dallas, and Cooper and former Mayor Gary Davis traveled to Los Angeles to meet none other than the Soccer Don himself, MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

Hired to grease the wheels of the MLS process was Fabian Núñez. If that name is familiar, he is a former California Assembly Speaker who used his influence to get his son's murder conviction sentence commuted by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

Those efforts resulted in the MLS doing a driveby inspection in September 2014. Of course, the MLS had no intentions of locating to Elk Grove based on their stated desire to have new franchises play in downtown stadiums and eventually selected Sacramento as an expansion market, which to this day is not finalized.   

The idea to purchase the land and pursue the soccer dreams of glory were hatched primarily by former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis. During various meetings, as he has done with other groups, Davis rallied soccer parents and their kids, all dressed in their soccer uniforms complete with shin guards, and had them flood the city council chambers during council meetings to show support for the grand illusion.

As one person who attended one of the soccer parent-flooded meetings in 2013 related, he told some parents that if everything went as described by Davis, they might see their grandchildren play at the facility. This truth-telling was met with disbelief by the soccer parents. 

At one of these meetings, Nunez made an appearance touting the MLS scheme. Naturally, Núñez painted a rosy picture.

During the entire process, Davis convinced his city council colleagues to go along with the scheme. So far down the rabbit hole he took them, Davis and current councilmember Pat Hume and former council members Cooper, Bob Trigg, and Steve Detrick drank the soccer dream Kool-Aid. 

Of course, the scheme fell apart for various reasons, not the least of which was the multimillion-dollar price tag and delusional belief the MLS would even consider Elk Grove. Alas, all those soccer kids, many of who are probably in college by now and their parents will not get long-promised soccer fields, but it felt good to have Núñez and former Mayor Gary Davis get you all hyped up, didn't it? 

TomorrowIf Hume runs for Supervisor, on at least one issue he can say 'I told you so' 

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Steve L said...

Yeah, I recall Gary Davis’s promises to hundreds of kids, families and coaches that filled council chambers. The cost of the proposed project made it obvious that it would never be built. It was just a photo op and campaign concept created to promote Davis and Nunez. I felt so bad for all those citizens drinking the Kool-Aid that night. It really was despicable what Davis and Nunez put up that night. Now Davis wants to be our county supervisor???
He’s a loser and a sleaze. It couldn’t hold Don Notolli’s dog leash on his best day.

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