Elk Grove's economic development focus went from 25,000 high-paying SEPA jobs to a Measure E cash grab

Forget about bringing 25,000 new jobs, the city of Elk Grove desperately wants more
retailers to generate Measure E sales tax revenues. |   


Recently, Elk Grove News contributor and producer of her More Than Minutes Podcast, Lynn Wheat, reminded readers and listeners of the city of Elk Grove's recent focus on economic development. In the context of the recently approved $300 million Sacramento Zoo project in the city's Southeast Policy Area (SEPA), it wasn't that long ago that the area was the cradle of the city's move into transforming it into a jobs center.


Specifically, Elk Grove's economic development director, Darrell Doan, and especially former Mayor Elk Grove Gary Davis said SEPA was going to be a jobs magnet that would correct the city's huge jobs-to-residents imbalance. Not only would the new jobs help the city economically, but they would also address the city's long-festering traffic congestion.


Ms. Wheat reminded us of Mayor Davis' oft-repeated and now-discredited claim that the 1,200-acre SEPA would bring 25,000 high-paying jobs to Elk Grove (see video below). What has instead materialized in the SEPA is more expensive houses catering to Bay Area transplants, shutting out local families and discrediting Mayor Singh-Allen's promise of starter homes and the $300 million Sacramento Zoo. 


Davis and Doan's exaggerated claims about 25,000 high-paying jobs coming to the SEPA, or 20.8 jobs for each of the 1,200 acres, as the character Warden Samuel Norton said in the movie Shawshank Redemption, "...vanished like a fart in the wind."  


So, aside from the 68-acre Sacramento Zoo Park in SEPA, what is the new focus of the city's economic development? A big clue was received yesterday in Elk Grove's weekly "What's new #InElkGrove this week" email.


The correspondence prominently features the scheduled grand opening of the Nordstrom Rack in the city's current preferred shopping center, The Ridge. Undoubtedly, in the near future the shopping center of the moment will be the city's Project Elevate facility.   


The email said, "The City is pleased to share the news about two new business openings this week. Nordstrom Rack, in The Ridge Shopping Center, will host a public grand opening on Thursday, May 30. Doors open at 9 a.m." The other opening is the Old Town restaurant, Slow & Low, which received taxpayer loan guarantees.


If you think about it, why should the city worry about attracting well-paying jobs for residents when it is far easier to to recruit retailers, and their generally lower-wage jobs while encouraging residents to spend their money and run up their credit card debt. The impetus behind this is Elk Grove Measure E sales tax.


Based on interviews with management at other similarly sized national retailers in Elk Grove, the Nordstrom store will likely generate at least $15 million in annual sales. For Elk Grove, that means about $150,000 in extra mad money from this location alone for Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen. 


Doan and his economic development department will undoubtedly focus on bringing in more non-food retailers who do nothing in terms of extra cash. It's a lot easier to recruit dry-good and big box retailers and develop more shopping centers than recruiting Bay Area tech firms with their well-paying jobs, who are moving out of state anyway.


As for additional mad money for the money-grubbing mayor and her city councilmen, to paraphrase the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, a couple hundred thousand here and a couple hundred thousand there, and pretty soon you're talking real money! 


Doan and the city bigwigs will continue to recruit more retailers to satisfy politicians' penchant for more taxpayer money and feed the conspicuous consumption habits of most Elk Grove consumers. So, just forget about those long-promised 25,000 high-paying jobs and embrace more shopping centers. 


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels. 



  
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Juan Trippe said...

The city council never met a sales or Mello Roos taxes they didn't fall in love with!

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