At last night’s Elk Grove city council meeting, the council was supposed to discuss the topic of the referendum on the casino, and make a decision on whether to rescind their earlier decision and also whether to call a vote. Late last week the federal government announced that they would approve the transfer of land into a trust for the Wilton Rancheria tribe. That decision seemed to render a vote as unnecessary. Earlier this week the Sacramento Bee ran an article that questioned if the decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs is a final decision. The city council and the city attorney is seeking to clarify the ruling by the BIA, and decided to postpone any decision on the referendum.
The council chambers were packed last night with casino supporters and opponents that anticipated a decision. Many residents spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting voicing their opinions, which lasted close to two hours.
In other council news, a new planning commissioner was chosen to fill the vacancy left by Sparky Harris. Mayor Steve Ly had wished to appoint Marlon Hill, who was unsuccessful in his bid for the Elk Grove School Board in November. The other council members did not agree with Ly’s choice, and suggested an alternative, Mackenzie Wiesar, who was then approved by the full council.
In the three meetings since Ly has taken over the gavel from departing mayor Gary Davis, Ly has felt the heat from city residents who have chastised him for his past votes and behavior. He has also found himself on the wrong end of some major council decisions during that time as well. In his first meeting as mayor, Ly suggested having a special election to fill the council vacancy due to his running for mayor. The other three council members, Pat Hume, Steve Detrick, and Darren Suen disagreed, citing the cost of a special election.
At the council meeting two weeks ago, Ly was stripped of his full time assistant by the other council members. Steve Detrick, who had served as mayor previously when the position was filled by rotation, stated that he didn’t think there was enough work for a full time assistant to the mayor. Ly pled for more time to be able to make a decision on the matter, but was rebuffed by his fellow council members who voted to have one full time employee that will work for all 5 council members and report to City Manager Laura Gill. Each council member and the mayor have the option to use a part time employee for up to $10,000 per year.