The following is an OP-ED piece
I feel it is necessary to rebut some of the things that outgoing Mayor Gary Davis is saying about the upcoming mayoral election. In today’s Elk Grove Citizen is a front page story of how Davis is “advising” Steve Ly’s mayoral run along with a photo of the two. Lower down on the front page is a story about how the future Veteran’s Hall will no longer be a stand alone separate building because of financial reasons. You may wonder how the two are tied together. The Veterans Hall is one of many projects planned for the city that doesn’t have the funding to finish them.
A couple of weeks ago after receiving criticism from this site for saying that he supported Steve Ly because he was going to continue the on the path that Davis set out, and that his challenger Kevin Spease was concerned with pot holes, the Mayor took to his own Facebook page in search of a group hug. At the time we pointed out that under Davis’ leadership the City had set out on numerous goals to become a “world class” city, but none had come to fruition. The “world class” aquatic center that could possibly host US Olympic Trials with a Sunsplash-type entertainment area? Now we are looking at another Wackford Center, which is fine, that is what the city needs. The Veteran’s Hall that was going to be a stand alone building? Now it will be part of the proposed Senior Center, which is only going to be a reality because the existing Senior Center is going to help pay for the new one. Let’s not forget about the failed attempt to land a pro soccer team or the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on plans for a Civic Center over the years. If this is the legacy the Mayor wants his protege to continue with, then no thanks. The picture says it all. That in itself is a reason not to elect Steve Ly. We don’t need Gary Davis to have any influence in how the city operates in the future. Big plans and no results. We also don’t need Davis and Ly trying to influence other council races in Elk Grove. It is time to move on with new leadership.
In the article Davis says that Ly running for mayor after serving less than one year as vice-mayor is a “natural next step”. The vice mayor is an appointed position. It has no real authority or power. It’s not a next step to anything. He also says that no one else has the experience to run. I would question that. Ly has two years on the city council. Kevin Spease has been on the planning commission longer than Ly has been on the city council. In his position he deals with projects before the city council sees them and has more knowledge of the process in that regard.
Here are some things we do know. Steve Ly ran for the Elk Grove School Board in 2012 and won a 4 year term. He left in the middle of that to run for City Council in 2014 when Gary Davis’ former council seat became open. Now two years into his 4 year council term he wants to leave to run for mayor. The office of Mayor of Elk Grove is just a notch on the belt, a step up on the ladder to a larger goal of running for higher office for Steve Ly. His tenure as mayor would be short if he won. As we have said previously, he needs to finish a term somewhere first. He turned his back on the voters who elected him to serve on the school board. If Ly were to win the election to become mayor the city council will be forced to choose between picking someone to fill out the term or having a special election that could cost between $375,000 and $750,000. Who benefits here? Certainly not the residents of Elk Grove who will pay for his folly in way or another. The office of mayor is elected every 2 years. In 2 years Ly can run when his seat will be up for election and the residents of the city can elect a successor.
Contrast that with Kevin Spease. His family moved to Elk Grove and he grew up here. He later left to serve his country. He then returned to start a family and two businesses here. Service is a part of who he is. From serving his country to now volunteering in the community through the service clubs he works with. He doesn’t have plans to run for higher office. He wants to be mayor of the city he chooses to call home. Being a business man and being on the planning commission, he knows what the city needs to do to attract businesses and jobs. He knows the city needs to focus on what the people living here want, not chase fairy tales that don’t have happy endings.
In an online article in the Citizen, it mentions the support Ly has. In looking at the names on the list, not one besides Mayor Davis is from Elk Grove. The people supporting him are lifelong democratic party Sacramento politicians. Ly is a democrat hoping to run for higher office so that is the tie in. They are toeing the party line in a non partisan election. Next month he is having a fundraiser in his former hometown of Fresno. Do we want outside politicians and money from other cities influencing who our next mayor is? What will this money and support get us? Probably lots of slick campaign mailers and robocalls. Don’t be fooled.