ELK GROVE – With a history as a pastoral farm town lying in the path of a Delta breeze, Elk Grove is not exactly known as a belligerent city.
That may be changing.
"Businessmen and politicians in Texas have been poaching California jobs for quite some time, and we have one message for them, and that is, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis said at a late afternoon news conference Wednesday.
The immediate catalyst is a recent ad run by a Texas developer urging Sacramento-area businesses to consider relocating to a business park called "The Woodlands" about a half hour north of Houston.
Turnabout, Elk Grove decided, is fair play.
In a few days, the city begins running an ad touting Elk Grove's weather, educated workforce and streamlined packages and business incentives designed to lure quality jobs and businesses there.
The ad features a pickup truck on a dirt road with a bumper sticker that says, "Don't Mess With Elk Grove," and ends with the line, "In Texas, they like everything bigger, but in Elk Grove, We like everything better."
The Texas ad may be just an opening salvo.
"We are aiming to become the most jobs-aggressive, business-friendly city in the state of California," Davis said.
Davis acknowledged California is not always known for its business-friendly ways and pointed out the city has the lowest ratio of jobs to population of any city in the Sacramento area. He also said the long-time bedroom community could cut commute times and help its bottom line by attracting good jobs within the city.
As for the provocative ad …
"We hope that this will generate some buzz and excitement within the community of Houston and beyond, and we also hope that it will generate some dialogue here in the California and the Sacramento region," Davis said.
Davis said Elk Grove has already had success luring quality jobs, including a deal to bring in 1,500 jobs by relocating California Correctional Healthcare Services (CCHS) to his city.
"After analyzing all the options that were available on the market, we decided that Elk Grove was going to be the most cost-effective and best option for our needs," CCHS spokeswoman Liz Gransee said.
As for Davis, he's planning to attend an annual mayor's conference in Dallas soon.
"Hope I'll be welcome," he said.