Path to $50 million - Taxpayers to again pay for city staff, elected officials to wine and dine at Sacramento Zoo event?

Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen was the featured speaker during the Sacramento Zoo's September 2023 
Twilight Safari Gala. | 

When Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and her city council approved the $300 million construction and relocation of the Sacramento on May 8, one of the most pressing finance questions remained unanswered.

That question was how the zoo operator, the Sacramento Zoological Society, would meet its promised $50 million obligation for construction and relocation.

Even after the city of Elk Grove said its taxpayers would pay over $200 million for their benefit, SZS representatives speaking at that meeting were vague and indignant - how dare you question us! - when details were sought during city council deliberations about how much cash they had on hand, much less how they would raise the millions of dollars.

Part of that answer came in a recently distributed SZS email promoting a fundraiser. And this fundraiser is a step above a bake sale.

The SZS will host a semi-formal event on Saturday, September 28, called the "Twilight Safari Gala." The event will held between 5:30 and 9 p.m. and will cost $300 per person.

The event organizers say, "Enjoy an array of drinks and appetizers, as well as a silent auction and big band entertainment from Peter Petty and his Terpsichoreans followed by a delicious farm-to-fork dinner and live auction."

More importantly, the notice says, "All proceeds from Twilight Safari will help the Sacramento Zoological Society in our efforts to build a state-of-the-art New Zoo in Elk Grove."

As is typical for this type of event, the SZS has four sponsors, including Sacramento Accounting & Advisory Group, LLP, Sutter Health, U.S. Bank, and Yee Law Group. Naturally, the SZS is seeking other sponsors.

Although the number of available tickets is not disclosed, it is a pretty good bet several Elk Grove elected officials and city staff will be guests on taxpayers' dollars. After all, there is a track record of Elk Grove taxpayers footing the bill for weekend entertainment for elected officials and bureaucrats.

At last year's event (see document below), Mayor Singh-Allen, two city council members - Rod Brewer and Darren Suen - and four city executives and some of their guests attended, costing taxpayers about $3,600. Interestingly, none of the elected officials or city executives disclosed this gift of generosity from taxpayers in their annual statement of economic interests.

In a video prominently featuring Mayor Bobbie Singh Allen, the mayor all but promised the zoo would be relocated seven months before the first hearing on the project was held (see video below). So it goes.

As the SZS society inches toward its $50 million goal, the city of Elk Grove will probably cough up another $3,600 so our dear elected officials and city executives can wine and dine under the stars on a late September evening. The mayor, city council, and city hall bigwigs have this Let them eat cake sense of entitlement, so what a few more thousand dollars!

The more critical question about taxpayer money is what happens if the SZS fails to meet its $50 million goal. Who will pick up the slack for the "state-of-the-art" zoo?

Look in the mirror, Elk Grove taxpayers, after all, since you are already picking up a $200 million-plus tab, what is another $20 or $30 million more?

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1 comment

Steve L said...

Taxpayers need to wake up. This zoo will cost them thousands in new taxes and fees and will for generations. It will also likely bankrupt our city when funding promises fall short. Get your head out of the sand, taxpayers.

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