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Elk Grove State of the City Address 2010

Elk Grove State of the City Address 2010

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Published by Cody Kitaura
Elk Grove Mayor Sophia Scherman's 2010 State of the City address, given March 26.

For more information, see:
Elk Grove Mayor Sophia Scherman's 2010 State of the City address, given March 26.

For more information, see:

More info:

Published by: Cody Kitaura on Mar 31, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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10th Annual State of the City Address
FeaturingSophia Scherman
Friday, March 26, 2010Valley Hi Country Club9595 Franklin Blvd.Elk Grove, CaliforniaIf you were to ask people where they were on March 8, 2000 @ approximately 9:45a.m., youmay get few answers. I know
where I was. I was at the corner of Elk Grove Boulevardand Emerald Oak Drive, waiting for the light to change. That was the moment that it actuallyhit me! We were a city. A city in charge of our own destiny: responsible and accountable onlyto ourselves. And as I watched the traffic go by, I also came to realize that I was nowresponsible for their needs. I had been elected by the people, to help lead them and to be thevoice of those who could not speak for themselves.Now you may ask was I nervous? Oh yeah! You bet!It’s a memory that’s been on my mind a lot lately – especially as I’ve been thinking about thisevent and these remarks. At ten years, we can take a few moments out of our lives to reflecton who we are, how far we’ve come, and where we’re headed.You see, ten years ago, we had a clear call to action. What is ours today?After four decades in Elk Grove, I’ve certainly had some time to consider who we are. We arepioneers with a pioneer spirit. We were settled by those restless to take control of their owndestinies. They were good stewards of the land, good neighbors to weary travelers on thewestward trail.We are a community of givers. A spirit of giving that I truly believe is unequalled. We give hopeto others. Let me share with you what I mean. Our last newsletter asked for donations forWomen Escaping a Violent Environment, an organization also known as WEAVE. We receivedso many donations that we had to install 50 gallon drums to collect all the contributions thatcontinue to come in, each and every day, from people in our community who were moved tohelp those in a painful life transition, to make their transition just a little easier. I am
passionate about this program – and my passion stems from being a survivor.We are a City of pioneers and givers. We’ve been aggressive and unafraid to do things a littledifferently. But think about what that’s allowed us to accomplish.
Let’s talk for a few minutes about the progress we’ve made – how far we’ve come as a City in just the past year.We’ve made communication a key priority – and we are listening.This year we spent some time on research, surveying the community, and holding focus groupsto get a better feel for public sentiment about city policies; about the direction we’re headed.We learned what we’re doing well, and gained new insight about where we need to focus.We’ll use this information as a tool throughout our planning process this year.I’ve held monthly morning meetings for the past eight years, and believe me, I’ve heard fromsome very vocal citizens. I welcome these thoughts, ideas and even criticisms. It helps me stayfocused as I do the job the voters elected me to 10 years ago.While the Charter Commission process may not have ended as we would have planned, itallowed for great discussions, for conversations that needed to happen.You know, when it comes to regional partnerships, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. It isa process; it requires relationship building and nurturing trust. And we’ve grown in ourunderstanding of the power of partnerships when it comes to getting the job done.We’re leveraging the power of new technology to improve access to public information and toimprove the way we serve residents and business. With the Digital Records Initiative, we’vemade the municipal code searchable, and made it easier for the hearing impaired to participatein public meetings. We’ve put in place a contact management system that ensures we cantrack and respond to citizen requests. This spring, we’ll be able to review and approve buildingpermits on line – saving precious time and money for everyone.We also want to make sure that all residents in our community are being served – our youngpeople, our seniors and our residents with special needs.Last year, our Elk Grove Youth Commission adopted an action plan, participated in communityevents, a summer retreat, and they earned a grant that they’ll use to create a video to educatetheir peers about the dangers of substance abuse and coping with peer pressure. Our annualSenior Day brings together more and more seniors each year, providing support, education andinformation. Our Disability Advisory Committee continues to break new ground and improveaccess for all residents.I’d like to talk for a moment about public safety. It was a cornerstone of our push for Cityhoodto begin with. And each year for the past 10 years, we have made major improvements. I don’tknow about you, but I get tired of political platitudes and dry statistics when it comes to publicsafety – I’d rather talk about the actual impacts we’ve made toward making Elk Grove familiessafer.
So what did we do to make Elk Grove safer?Our Domestic Violence Resource Team - the DVRT - provided crisis intervention to 216 ElkGrove families in the middle of crisis. One hundred twenty eight families have been relocatedfor safety, connected with attorneys or received restraining orders. Two WEAVE workshopseach month provide resources for anyone in search of more information about domesticviolence and sexual assault. And thanks to their outreach program, the DVRT madepresentations to 98 organizations and 159 members of the community. They are making realprogress in getting people the help they need. I pushed for creating this unit with strongsupport from Lieutenant Art Olsen, who believed in my proposal and ran with it.The Problem Oriented Policing (POP) unit continues to make strides at preventing crime, anddiverting youth on the edge from taking that first step toward a life of crime. The juvenilediversion program allows young offenders the opportunity to atone for their actions and takeresponsibility for their own lives. From writing letters of apology to their victims or theirparents, to counseling, community service and education, this program offers them a freshstart, a second chance at making better choices. Getting to know our youth by name – beforethey become offenders – is very important to our POP officers. We know that career criminalshave a direct cost on law enforcement and indirect cost on society that is unsustainable. Themore successful we are with prevention today, the safer we’ll be tomorrow.Our police department continues to connect itself with our community, through our beatmeetings and the new “Coffee with a Cop” program. Public safety is a team effort that requiresan open dialogue between the community and those who enforce the law.We promised one another a decade ago that we could better control our destiny and our ownsafety if we took control. I’m confident the results are speaking for themselves.I’d like to take a moment to call special attention to some of the help we’ve received fromCongressman Dan Lungren – and I know we have some representatives from his office with ustoday. Thanks to Congressman Lungren, we recently received a $750,000 grant for anEmergency Operations Center here in Elk Grove. Working together with our neighbors in theCity and County of Sacramento, the Cosumnes Community Services District and the HomelandSecurity Agencies both here in California and in Washington, we will be able to coordinate andshare information in the event of a natural disaster or crisis, giving us the ability to respondquickly to any event.In ten short years, we’ve created a police department from scratch, we’ve tackled the toughissues together, and we’re seeing an agency grow as innovators, becoming more and more apart of the community they serve.We’re also investing in the future by investing in our foundation.Improvements to our infrastructure must continue – we can’t afford to take a break in a

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