Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Kevin Spease on Dec. 19 announced that he would resign from his position as a commissioner to focus on his campaign to be elected to the Elk Grove City Council’s District 3 seat.
Three days earlier, Elk Grove Vice Mayor Steve Detrick announced his decision to not seek re-election as the District 3 representative, and he endorsed Spease to replace him.
Also planning to run for that seat in the November 2020 election is Maureen Craft, who challenged Detrick for the same seat in 2016.
Spease, who was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2014, ran for Elk Grove mayor two years later. He finished in second place behind current mayor, Steve Ly.
The former commissioner explained his decision to resign.
“I take the work of the Planning Commission very seriously,” he said. “It’s an endeavor that requires a lot of focused attention, because it does very important work. I also wanted to start focusing on the campaign.”
During the Dec. 19 meeting, Spease mentioned that he spoke to the mayor and told him about his decision, and that he would remain on the commission until his replacement was selected.
However, Spease told the Citizen the following day that he would not return to his commission seat.
“I sent (an) email (message) to the mayor, the council and the city clerk this afternoon (on Dec. 20) that I tendered my resignation last night, which was Dec. 19.”
With his departure from the Planning Commission, Spease believes he can better his chances of winning the election.
“I recognize the amount of work that it takes to have a winning campaign and I want to make sure that I devote that time,” he said. “I’m going to be taking a lot of time, doing a lot of walking, meeting with people, going into living rooms, and (spending) more time with people than I did in the past.”
Under the City Council’s new, by-district voting system, in which voters only choose among candidates running in their local council districts, Spease noted that he will be able to meet more people. Council District 3 covers the Camden area as well as northern Laguna and the Monterey Trail High School area in north Elk Grove.
“The geography is smaller, but it just means that I’ll be able to really get out and make even more contacts,” he said.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to get out and meet with residents at a hyperlocal focus. It always surprises me at the unique, diverse ideas that people have, and I want to hear those things and incorporate them into what the future of our city looks like.”
In recalling his learning curve as a commissioner, Spease expressed his appreciation for the longest-term commissioners, Frank Maita and George Murphy, for the mentorship.
“I sincerely appreciate your help and your guidance and at times, your patience,” he said.
Spease’s resignation announcement came as a surprise to his fellow commissioners, including Commission Chair Mackenzie Wieser.
“We’re sorry to see you go, but we know you’ve have bigger fish to fry, and we support you in that,” she said.
Murphey and Commission Vice Chair Andrew Shuck also expressed their enjoyment of working with Spease on the commission.
Shuck added that Spease was a mentor to him on the commission.
Spease said that he is well-prepared to take the next step in his political career.
“It’s more than just love; I’m committed to Elk Grove, and I have a very broad background in many facets of the city and community and I’m the best person to take on this City Council leadership,” he said.
With his departure from the commission, Spease mentioned his desire for the City Council to work well together in selecting his replacement.
“I am looking forward to the mayor and the council working together in a collegial and collaborative manner for the selection of the next planning commissioner in the best interest of the residents of the city,” he said.