The Sacramento City Council’s vote to appeal a judge’s recent ruling on a fuel station in Crocker Village is a slap in the face of every taxpayer in this city.
The judge ruled that the council’s vote to deny the permit was unlawful and that Councilman Jay Schenirer was not “a neutral, unbiased decision maker.” The Jan. 3 order was clear: The council was to give me a fair hearing within 60 days and Schenirer would recuse himself because he broke the law.
So why commit to an expensive and lengthy appeal? Why is the council afraid to hold another hearing? Something is very wrong here.
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With the appeal, more than $1 million of precious taxpayer money will have been spent on lawyers by the city to deny me a fair hearing. This suggests that council members’ top priority is to protect the reputation of one of their own and support his biased actions to help a small group of affluent, well-connected Curtis Park residents.
The fact is that council members are blatantly ignoring what is best for the entire city of Sacramento. How else can you explain their outrageous use of taxpayer money when their efforts to delay the Crocker Village project have resulted in more than $7.4 million in lost tax revenues and $32 million in impact fees.
Most galling, their refusal to properly address the issue has punished nearly 100 Crocker Village homeowners, prevented completion of the city’s second largest infill project and denied Oak Park residents an opportunity out of poverty with high-paying jobs with Safeway.
Think about that for a moment: Safeway has agreed to hire more than 200 people residing in Oak Park for union jobs averaging $26.50 per hour including benefits! This offer helps in immeasurable ways an area that has the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the city without spending one dime of public money.
While the city offers millions of dollars in incentives to attract employers to Sacramento, why does it turn its back on those most in need when Safeway promises 200 union jobs at no cost to taxpayers?
The time has come for Mayor Darrel Steinberg to end this conflict. If I am willing to go back in front of a biased council with six of the seven “no” votes still participating, what are they afraid of?
Paul Petrovich is president of Petrovich Development Co. He can be contacted at Paul@petrovichdevelopment.com.