Part I January - March: EGN's 2023 Year in Review

As 2023 began, it was all laughs for Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and her city council men. | 



As the days of 2023 come to an end, it is time to take a look back at some of the significant stories affecting Elk Grove. Even though 2023 was not an election year, the Elk Grove City Council and the city government provided many stories, with several of them painting the city in an unflattering manner.

During the first quarter, there were indications one Elk Grove City Council member was deeply flawed, and a city project in peril. Also, as the year started, we saw Elk Grove get swept into nationwide culture wars and learned the first hints that cowardly decisions by Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and her city council can come back to haunt them.

January 

Flooding greets the New Year

An atmospheric river in the final days of 2022 led to widespread flooding in Elk Grove, Wilton, and other Sacramento County communities. The rainstorm effects were felt for several days, and Elk Grove declared a state of emergency.

 New officials representing Elk Grove  

The new year brought two new legislators representing Elk Grove in the State Senate and Assembly. Former Elk Grove City Councilmember Stephanie Nguyen took office in the California Assembly, while former Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique took over in the Senate.

As part of Sacramento County, Thien Ho became the new District Attorney, former Elk Grove City Councilmember Assemblymember Jim Cooper became Sheriff, and former Elk Grove City Councilmember Pat Hume was sworn in as the District 5 Supervisor. 




It didn't take long for Elk Grove's newest council members to get informal

After being elected in 2022 and taking their oath, it took a little while for the Elk Grove City Council's two new members to get informal on the dais. When they sat for their third meeting, Rod Brewer and Sergio Robles decided to throw aside tradition and not wear ties while conducting official business.

Since then, we are happy to report that Brewer and Robles have returned to proper attire while representing the people.  




For Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, its all laughs all the time! 

If it wasn't bad enough, Councilmember Rod Brewer and Sergio Robles shed their ties while she was conducting the people's business, Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen was a non-stop laugh factory.

We wish she would share the joke because who doesn't like a good laugh now and again? 



Putting their money where the animal's mouth is

One of Elk Grove's biggest proposed projects is the relocation of the Sacramento Zoo. In January, the city committed $800,000 of taxpayers' money for various uses, including environmental reports. The city had already committed $1.33 million with the allocation, and the meter is still running. 

Councilmember Sergio Robles shows he is just a potted plant on the dais

It is fair to say Sergio Robles is the most unqualified person to take an oath for the Elk Grove City Council. He was a planning commissioner before he was overwhelmingly elected in District 4, so you would think he would have been prepared for deliberations.

As seen in this video, Mr. Robles was unprepared with material for his consideration. As Elk Grove residents would learn in the coming months, this was the least of his shortcomings.  




February

Father of the Elk Grove Pappas Investments' Village project was a bad omen for things to come

In early February, Elk Grove News reported on the Pappas Investments, also known as the Father of Elk Grove, newest project, The Village. As suggested at the time, that project could hurt the city of Elk Grove's adjacent Project Elevate.

  

Elk Grove holds workshops on Measure E windfall taxes

After Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen used her powers of persuasion in the 2022 election and convinced voters to raise consumer sales taxes to $23 million annually, as promised, Elk Grove and the Cosumnes Community Services District held four workshops. During the four workshops, the city and the CCSD gathered input on how to spend the extra cash.

Among the top concerns expressed by participants were public safety and homelessness. The city began collecting the regressive tax last spring. 

Pappas Investments The Village project puts city officials in a tough spot

With the announcement of The Village project, one Elk Grove small business owner appealed to the Elk Grove City Council. That appeal by a co-owner of A Seat at The Table bookstore put Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and her four councilmen in a tricky position.

While Singh-Allen frequently bellows on behalf of small businesses like the bookstore, a mammoth big box bookstore such as Barnes & Noble generates far more tax revenue for Madame Mayor and the city coffers. Despite the pleas, as seen in the video, we all know that for city governments and politicians, it's all about the Benjamins! 



Elk Grove Police releases video of officer-involved shooting

In compliance with state law, the Elk Grove Police Department released body camera video of a February 1 shooting.  

Suspect shot, killed by Elk Grove Police

On February 22, a suspect was shot and killed by Elk Grove Police. The incident occurred at the Holiday Inn Express on Laguna Boulevard. 

A link to the body camera video of that incident can be viewed here.

Vexed! Elk Grove's economic development director unable to answer a simple question

If there are a couple of things about being Elk Grove's economic development director, you still have your high-paying, cushy job even if you can't answer a question about your accomplishments. Such is the case for Elk Grove's economic development director, Darrell "Bojangles" Doan.


This video shows that even when spoon-fed a question, Bojangles can't coherently say what he has been doing in his souvenir-laden office. 




Elk Grove Unified Trustees get a taste of things to come

To say the Elk Grove Unified School District Board of Trustees had a difficult 2023 is an understatement. Like school boards nationally, Elk Grove has been caught in the crosswinds of the post-COVID-19 culture wars.

As seen in this video from a late February meeting, during public comments, the trustees heard across-the-board complaints from parents and culture warriors in general.  As we'll see, this was just the start of lengthy public comment periods during school board meetings. 

March

High interest in Measure E oversight committee

As part of Measure E, Elk Grove was obliged to form a citizen oversight committee. Interest in serving on the committee generated 19 applicants for seven positions.

Some of the applicants apparently thought the commission was in an advisory capacity to direct how the sales tax was used. The oversight function is more like an audit committee that ensures funds are used as promised. 

Regardless, while there were many qualified applicants with audit-like experience, Mayor Singh-Allen made selections using a political calculus.    

Parents flip out over reported drag show at local high school

As part of the ongoing culture wars ensnaring Elk Grove schools, many parents expressed anger at an Elk Grove Unified School District meeting, The parents who spoke during public comment expressed shock at a student-performed and planned drag show at a multi-cultural event at Pleasant Grove High School. 

Oak Rose project spillover for 2022 - Elk Grove ignored threatened lawsuit by AG  

One of Elk Grove's ongoing political problems is the Oak Rose supportive housing project. The project was rejected by Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and her city council in July 2022. 


Even when facing a threatened lawsuit by California Attorney General Rob Bonta if they did not reverse its denial, as the deadline approached in March, the city, perhaps trying to call their bluff, didn't say a word.


As 2023 progressed, the Oak Rose project continued festering. Bonta's letter to Mayor Singh-Allen threatening a lawsuit can be viewed here.  


While the city council plays the fiddle with the lawsuit looming, their supporters call the Oak Rose project poison 

In the first meeting of the Elk Grove City Council, after learning the California Attorney General accused them of violating state fair housing laws, several people spoke in support of the city.



Elk Grove auto dealers made a legitimate pitch to 'get you in this car' 

Measure E took effect in Elk Grove on April 1, and being the sales people they are, auto dealers made a legitimate pitch to get you in that car. 




He never met a free lunch he didn't love!



During the first quarter of the year, California politicians and many public officials must file a report of economic interests. Included in that report, these officials also report the gifts they received the previous year.   

As we have seen for many years, Elk Grove City Councilmember Darren Suen has never met a free meal or open bar for which he didn't fall head over heels! As we'll see, at least he controls his alcohol intake enough not to drive drunk or dial up a ride share.

Next edition Part II - April  - June



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