City Council Deadlocks 5 Times, Fails to Appoint New Council Member

The Elk Grove City Council sought to fill a vacancy left when Gary Davis was elected mayor, but couldn't reach a consensus.

The Elk Grove City Council will have a vacancy for at least two more weeks. 

The four people on the council sought to appoint a fifth member Wednesday night, but numerous votes resulted in ties and the group punted the item to its next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 23. 

"So we're going to pull the Band-Aid off this slowly and go through this whole thing again in two weeks?" Council Member Pat Hume asked.

The candidates who applied to represent District 4, a seat vacated when Gary Davis was elected mayor in November, were:

  • Edward Busuttil, a San Joaquin County Assistant District Attorney. He said safety should be the No. 1 priority of the council, adding government should be "effective and efficient."
  • Nancy D. Chaires, an Elk Grove Planning Commissioner who said she works hard to protect the best interests of local residents and wants to ensure they have the best representation possible.
  • David Conner, the CEO of RECON Networking, Inc. He said the city should be business-friendly and create job opportunities for residents to work close to home.
  • LaWanna Montgomery, a recent mayoral candidate who has run for council two other times. She said her strength lies in working with people.
  • Oscar O'con, a business consultant who is involved in several Elk Grove organizations. He named supporting small businesses as one of his highest priorities, and was backed by the chair of the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee.
  • Jeffrey Owen, a youth soccer coach and Vice President of Operations at School Innovations & Advocacy. Owen said his top two priorities would be the civic center and Southeast Policy Area.

During Wednesday's meeting, the council voted to appoint Chaires, O'con, Conner and Owens, coming up with a 2-2 tie each time. Each time, the votes split the same way: Davis and Council Member Jim Cooper only voted in favor of Chaires, while Hume and Vice Mayor Steve Detrick voted in favor of each of the three others.

The council members also debated a ranked-choice method of appointment that would have each of them gives points to a first, second and third-choice, and then appoint the candidate who receives the most points. The council tied when voting on whether or not to try that method.

If no decision is reached within 60 days of Davis assuming his position as mayor, the city will be forced to call a special election.

Cooper said his fellow council members should "make a decision and stick by it," so waiting two weeks shouldn't have any effect on the outcome. He said Wednesday's repeated deadlock showed the council should call for a special election.

"I don't want to bring it back," he said.

Community member Michael Monasky, who voiced concerns when the council voted to decide whether it would appoint a new council member or hold a special election, criticized the process.

"I thought this was a democracy," Monasky said. "When a few people decide who should rule, that's an oligarchy."


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Tom Waltman January 11, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Margaret, well stated... They are a nefarious bunch. Never seen a more shifty-eyed group in my life. Politicians that don't have a plan, agenda, whatever you want to call it, probably shouldn't be elected. Hopefully their "plans" coincide with the public good. I believe these folks all have plans, and that, for the most part, they are working towards the public good. We may disagree on the plan, but that doesn't make it necessarily bad.
Mark Paxson January 12, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Tom ... the facts don't support your allegations anymore than they do M. Legison's. In one election, out of all the city elections in the history of Elk Grove, the Firefighters contributed big. 2006. Other than that, they have been almost entirely absent from city elections in Elk Grove. It's not about looking at "individual contributions in isolation". I've now looked at almost all of the campaign disclosure statements for the past thirteen years. What is crystal clear is that almost all of the candidates who currently sit on the council, as well as most of their opponents receive a majority of their donations from business owners and developers. Considering the pro-development record of the City Council during most of its history, it's pretty hard to figure out how anybody could think they're in the hands of unions and business-unfriendly. The idea that this council is dominated by the Democratic party and supported by the unions is ludicrous. The idea that the Firefighters have played an overwhelming role in city politics is ludicrous. If you think they have -- please tell me how it is that they do so without providing significant funding to the candidates, except in 2006.
Tom Waltman January 12, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Mark, you do know what independent expenditures are, don't you? If you look at my original post, I am not arguing anything about Democratic party control or union domination, that is your straw man. I am simply acknowledging that unions have played a major role in the political funding and process here (remember the charter commission), and that the city has only recently been business-friendly. If you want to argue that, please talk to Sarah or Gary and get some competent insight on our history here. It is a little early for revisionist history in our town.
Mark Paxson January 13, 2013 at 03:00 AM
No, Tom, actually it's M. Legison's straw man. I'm multi-tasking ... refuting your non-factual allegations as well has his/hers. Yes, I'm fully aware of independent expenditures ... all of which must also be reported. Those reports show that firefighters were heavily involved in one election and one only. Again, you believe Firefighters have played a major role in city politics ... the way they do that is by funding candidates in elections. They have been virtually non-existent in EG council elections with the exception of one year. If you have actual facts to suggest otherwise, feel free to share them. But continuing to repeat the same thing without actually backing it up with those facts ... well, hate to say it, but it's a straw man. It's really kind of funny actually having to argue about whether or not EG is business friendly. Virtually every person I know who lives in EG would disagree with that sentiment, considering the rampant and unfettered development that went on until the Great Recession.
Mark Paxson January 13, 2013 at 03:01 AM
Funny thing is ... on this point, I agree with you. I think the EG City Council has consistently been one of the more incompetent group of politicians this area has seen over the past decade. I don't necessarily ascribe it to being "nefarious," I just think they're incompetent.


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