This is an opinion piece. it’s not a news story, although some news will be shared.
Recently the Elk Grove Police Officers Association, a group that represents Elk Grove Police officers, endorsed Kevin Spease for Mayor of Elk Grove. The EGPOA had interviewed Gary Davis, Kevin Spease and at the time the only other mayoral candidate Joel Broussard. This was done before Davis decided not to seek re-election. After meeting the 3 candidates, the EGPOA had decided to endorse Spease, and not the current Mayor. The endorsement of the EGPOA was a heavily sought one. Not endorsing the current mayor would have been a blow to the campaign.
After the EGPOA announced their endorsement of Spease last week, city councilman and mayoral candidate Steve Ly called the endorsement a “back room deal”. I would call that sour grapes and very unbecoming of a local elected official. With everything the police are facing nationwide and the attack from some politicians, this is not the time to throw them under the bus over a political endorsement. It shows very poor judgement and poor character on the part of both Ly and Davis. In an article in today’s Elk Grove Citizen, Davis called the endorsement of Spease, “an amateur move.”
The remaining councilmen, Darren Suen, Steve Detrick and Pat Hume have condemned Ly’s remarks. Last week Suen and Detrick issued a joint statement affirming their support of local police officers. In the article in today’s Citizen, Pat Hume said he would like to see Ly issue a formal apology.
In my opinion this is disgraceful behavior on the part of Davis and Ly. At a time when the country is dealing with the ugliness of the national election, it would have been nice to not have to deal with that here. There is no reason for it. Run on the issues, what you can do, what you think is best for the city. Very disappointed that Gary Davis has chosen to go down this path. Coupled with his terrible idea to make the Mayor a full time paid position, that was soundly defeated at an ensuing city council meeting, it shows poor judgement and really reinforces the decision of the EGPOA not to endorse him even if he had run for re-election. This follows his pipe dream of trying to land a major league soccer team here, even after Sacramento jumped into the mix, when there was zero chance of the MSL coming here. It even prompted an embarrassing tweet to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, calling Johnson a “ball hog” for trying to keep the Kings AND get a major league soccer team. That was all over the social media and local media proving to be an embarrassment for the city of Elk Grove.
Four years ago Steve Ly ran for the EGUSD School Board and was elected to a 4 year term. Two years into that term, he ran for city council and won. That forced the EGUSD Board to appoint someone to fill the remainder of his term. Now two years into his current term on the city council he is running for Mayor. Should he win, the the city council would have to decide whether to appoint someone to fill his seat, or have a special election. The past two times this has happened, the council chose to appoint someone. That doesn’t sit well with many members of the community who believe the person should be elected. The problem is that a special election is very costly. According to an agenda item for a council meeting on December 9, 2015, the cost for a special election could be anywhere from $390,000 to $780,000. Either way it’s bad for the city and the residents.
Here’s a better idea. How about maybe Steve Ly finish a full term of elected office before running again. This is two times that the voters have chosen him to represent them only to see him climb the ladder for another position. He ran on a platform of caring about kids only to leave after two years on the school board. It is widely believed that Ly has higher political aspirations which would mean the office Mayor is just another stop along the way. The citizens of Elk Grove deserve much better. We deserve a Mayor that has no other plans for higher office. We deserve a person that puts Elk Grove first and foremost. That person is Kevin Spease. He grew up here, has two businesses here, he and his wife Angela are both prominent members of the local service clubs. Spease is also a military veteran. He helps local veterans that get in trouble with the law by assisting them in “Veteran’s Court”. He has also served on the City Planning Commission and is familiar with the planning process and working with local businesses. He knows what it will take to bring businesses and jobs here. He has the support of many prominent local residents and business leaders. This is why the EGPOA endorsed him for Mayor.
Elk Grove doesn’t need to be a “world class” city. It’s not who we are or what we need. That idea has been a failure. We have all these projects that started out with big ideas, but have not gone anywhere. We need to make Elk Grove the best city it can be and the city the residents deserve. We need to fix our roads. We need to continue to make it easier for businesses to operate here by making the process less costly. If the process was easier and less costly, we would have more businesses opening. More businesses means more jobs, more sales taxes, more income staying in our community. What is better one business paying $20,000 to open or two paying $10,000? These are not actual numbers but just an example. Opening a restaurant is a very costly adventure. That is why we have so many chains that can be successful and so few smaller ventures that can make it. They simply can’t afford the expenses.
Updated at 5 pm on 8/19/16
This is the response of our current mayor to my comments on the Elk Grove Citizen Facebook page about his calling the EGPOA endorsement an “amateur move.”
I should go for a walk. I’m sorry, I take politically based criticisms of our local police officers very seriously Mr. Mayor.
More below from our Mayor, who later deleted his comments.