Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis, a member of the City Council for the past 10 years, announced that he will not seek re-election this fall.
Davis, 42, announced his decision Tuesday evening in a video posted on his Facebook page.
Davis, who has served five years as mayor, said in a telephone interview that he had young children when he first ran for a council seat. Now his children are 10, 12 and 14 years old and he wants to be able to spend more time with his family, recognizing that in a few years the children will be leaving home.
Davis also noted that his wife, Heather, was just sworn in as a new member of Sacramento County Board of Education, a seat she won in June.
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“Elk Grove is in a completely different place than it was 10 years ago,” Davis said, citing what he described as a change in the tenor of City Hall. “Ten years ago, the residents were frustrated and businesses were frustrated.”
Elk Grove, once a rural town in southern Sacramento County, became one of the fastest growing cities in the nation as thousands of homes were built there in last decade’s housing boom. Then the real estate market collapsed, with foreclosures dotting many blocks in the city of 160,000.
The city sprang back starting in 2012 as the housing market made a rapid rebound. Residents and rental investors both found Elk Grove an attractive market, as did retail businesses. The rapid changes have provided challenges that city government needed to address.
Over the past decade, Davis said, the City Council has worked to promote leadership at the neighborhood level and to give neighborhoods more of a voice in city government. Steps also have been taken to make city government more business-friendly.
Among other things, the city has worked to address homelessness in the community by working with the faith community and nonprofit organizations. “City Hall doesn’t have to do everything,” but it can foster cooperation within the community, he said.
Davis, who works for the California Charter Schools Association, said it is somewhat bittersweet to leave the council after a decade but added that he will remain active in the community.
A flier landed last week in Elk Grove mailboxes labeling Davis as a supporter of a casino proposed by Wilton Rancheria on the Highway 99 site of Elk Grove’s “ghost mall,” a project that stalled in the recession. The mailer was sent by an unknown party calling itself “Protect Elk Grove,” whose return address was an Elk Grove UPS Store and whose funding was unclear. The flier asked residents to call his office and attend Wednesday’s City Council meeting “to Protect Elk Grove from a Vegas-style Mega Casino.”
Davis has suggested in the past that a casino could have economic benefits for the city, but also said at a meeting last week that he was as curious as other Elk Grove residents about the pros and cons of the project.