Candidate’s challenge to local Congressman

Editor’s note: Congressional candidate Jeff Burdick submitted this open letter to U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove. He is running against the incumbent in the 2020 Democratic primary election.

Hello Rep. Bera, I am a Sacramento Democrat who earlier this month declared my candidacy to run against you in next year’s March 3 primary.

In your Congressional career, this will make me the first Democrat to primary you and it will give voters a well-needed choice. I look forward to a vigorous, but ethically run campaign.

My campaign also seeks to encourage stronger ethics in our elections, which has become very concerning. As such, I have created a political version of the Ice Bucket Challenge to encourage candidates for any office to run campaigns of the highest ethical nature. This comes in the form of “The Good Campaign Oath,” which pledges candidates to avoid any illegal or distorting campaign acts, to report any suspicious activities, including by foreign actors, and to ensure a harassment-free workplace for all staff and volunteers.

As part of my oath taking, I formally challenge you to also take this pledge, as well as all Democratic candidates for President. In your case, the oath should apply to your maintaining a high ethical standard in both your campaign and conduct of your current office. To take the oath, simply film yourself taking the oath and post it to Social Media using the hashtags #ITookTheOath and #FreeTheVote. The full oath text and the video of me taking Oath #1 is available at

If you or your team has any questions, I can be reached at And good luck in our contest moving forward!

Jeff Burdick

Democratic candidate for California’s

7th Congressional District

City’s potential ban on polystyrene food containers

Editor’s note: The Elk Grove City Council is scheduled to discuss single-use polystyrene food containers during their June 26 meeting. One of their options is a citywide ban on such containers. This letter was submitted by an employee of the Dart Container company in Lodi.

Dear Editor:

I have lived in Elk Grove for 30 years. I love living in this city and am proud to work for a responsible company that provides good-paying jobs to hundreds of people in this region.

I am fortunate to work in a city and for a company that cares so deeply to make a positive impact. Dart Container has a Lodi facility that employs 128 people with many that live in Elk Grove. The Lodi facility manufactures expanded polystyrene foodservice containers that are used by many local area restaurants to best keep hot food hot and cold food and drinks cold. They are affordable, made of 95% air, and are recyclable.

Dart does more than just manufacture safe, quality products, it also values environmental stewardship. For example, our company has invested in recycling infrastructure and innovation to reduce landfill waste. Over the years, millions of dollars have been invested to help local communities upgrade their recycling infrastructure to better capture all material – not just the material produced by Dart.

One of the programs we offer to local cities is a free-to-taxpayer recycling drop-off facility. This is what was launched in Elk Grove and is located at 9255 Disposal Lane Elk Grove. Anyone can drop off foam (expanded polystyrene) foodservice containers, cups and packaging material. Dart will then pick it up, take the material to its facility to prepare it for recycling. From there, the material is then used by secondary markets to re-manufacture into new products.

The foam drop off location here in Elk Grove has collected and recycled 2,275 pounds of foam material in the past 18 months. This is not just packaging material as our facility in Lodi also recycles used food containers.

Beyond this program, Dart is loyal to its community and has supported numerous local charitable organizations and schools over the years as well as volunteered at the annual American River clean-up since 2008.

We are committed to supporting effective ways to recycle products that will help achieve the community’s waste reduction goals. This is why a ban of products that are being recycled right here in Elk Grove does not make sense. While it may be a nice headline, it actually may harm the environment more than help.

First, there is no guarantee that any of the alternative products are recyclable. This could result in even more landfill waste.

A ban also does not change behaviors. If someone is prone to littering, they would litter the replacement cup regardless of the material. There is no evidence that litter decreases when an item is banned.

Instead of banning products that are made right here in our community that are safe and recyclable, let’s work together to make our community more sustainable for our children while preserving jobs and keeping our city affordable.

We appreciate the city’s leadership in developing partnerships that have made a difference in reducing waste. Let’s keep working side by side to accomplish the community’s sustainability goals.

Ronald Franco

Elk Grove