Protestors on Monday confronted Mayor Steve Ly at a local restaurant during a business event held in his honor by the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce. They expressed opposition to the proposed CNU teaching hospital planned for Elk Grove’s Stonelake neighborhood.
While holding signs saying, “Mayor Steve Ly sold out” and “CNU Hospital The Next Ghost Mall?,” the dozen or so residents voiced concern over the development plans. Reportedly, Neighbors Ensuring Stonelake Transparency (NEST) organized the protest. The community group opposes the plan in its current form, arguing the project is better suited for Elk Grove’s Southeast Policy Area. Known as the SEPA, the area is about 1200 acres in size. According to the City of Elk Grove, “At its core, the SEPA is an employment-oriented development—that is to say, it is a community that supports and encourages the development of employment uses.”
Mayor Ly engaged briefly with the protestors outside of the event held by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
“I think that this is really healthy that we are having this conversation,” said Mayor Ly. Ly emphasizes that all citizens do have the right to freedom of speech and to peacefully assemble.
In recent months, murmurs of opposition to the project have grown into a chorus. Critics of the project say increased traffic, business displacement, job loss, and transparency around the project are concerns. However, proponents argue the project will bring much needed healthcare, employment and tax revenue to Elk Grove. Furthermore, officials recently scaled back estimates of job gains for the project.
California Northstate University’s College of Medicine first opened its doors in Elk Grove in 2015. The for profit university now plans a $750 million, 250 bed teaching hospital expansion that would sit on 11 acres and cover almost half a million square feet.
Elk Grove officials met with CNU officers as early as 2017 to discuss financing for the hospital, according to emails obtained through public records requests.
Important to note, if approved the hospital could begin servicing residents in 2022.
Upon request, Mayor Steve Ly issued a statement regarding his interaction with NEST members at Thai Chili. “I think open dialogue is important. But sooner or later you have to talk to the policy makers and decision makers. It’s more effective if you are cordial and respectful because if you’re not then you just become noise in the background. All the NEST people have my personal cell phone. I will have a one on one talk with anybody in a mutually respectful manner. They wanted me to make a comment about the hospital application to build the hospital but the application isn’t even completed yet. At the end of the day, I’m one vote on this. I don’t hold all the cards. Let’s keep talking.”