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Elk Grove Citizen

Advocates for Your Livelihood

Jan 06, 2021 12:00AM ● By By Patrick Larenas

Several speakers addressed the gathering at the Milagro Centre, including (left to right): Sue Frost, Sacramento County Supervisor for District 4; Michael Helmrich of The Mandarin Restaurant; Liz Mishler of Bella Bru CafÃ(c); and Michael Donoho of The Waffle Experience. Photo by Patrick Larenas

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CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) – The Milagro Centre in Carmichael last week hosted a gathering of restaurant and salon owners severely affected by the latest Covid-19 shutdown measures. Almost 30 community leaders and struggling business people presented their case to enlist community solidarity. Event organizer was Arcade realtor Lillian Fulton. Through her activism and ad hoc website, she has taken on the task to organize and advocate for small businesses.

Fulton said that after decades of working for other companies, she finally started her own business in January of 2020. A few months later, like many other enterprises, she was forced to shut down.

“But I survived,” said Fulton, “because my business is considered an essential business and my Association of Realtors stood up for me.” Fulton is conscious that many associations are not giving valuable advice and aren’t being responsible to their respective business communities: “Many businesses which are considered non-essential need someone to go bat for them!”

Speaking at the event was Jack Frost, Executive Director of Sacramento Taxpayers Association. He suggested that many have been lulled into complacency because they continue to work: “These people at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or those working at home are not affected, but we are!” He warned those gathered that people are walking away from their constitutional powers.

Sue Frost, Sacramento County Supervisor for District 4, also attended the gathering to inform merchants. She said, “The information and the metrics we are getting from the state is not reliable. It’s been difficult as a Supervisor for me, because I come from the financial sector. So usually, if you have the correct information, then you can make the right decisions.”

She said that the State’s rationalization to shutdown certain industries, such as the restaurant industry, does not make sense, given the numbers provided, and may be unfairly targeting them.

“I believe if the [COVID] information we get is right we will save lives,” she said. The community “wants to play by the rules, but if what the state is doing is not right, we need to push back.”

Lillian Fulton said this State policy, of economically favoring some and greatly harming others, has been especially grave for veterans–many of whom have committed suicide: “A lot of the people who are losing everything are veterans. They went to war for our country… and [now are taking] their lives… You could not find a parking lot at the Arden Fair Mall, but they say NO to you!”

The Waffle Experience owner, Michael Donoho, a First Gulf War veteran, told those attending not to wait till it’s too late; “I fought in foreign countries where people waited too long… . How much longer can you go depleting all you have and living off of welfare? If you stay open you will get the full community support… . I never thought I would be involved in this civil disobedience… .[but] it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.”

Also attending the event was Roseville resident and candidate for California Governor, Michael Grover Coltharp II. Grover said, “There is no California law for wearing a mask.” Grover has a background in law enforcement and instructed the restaurateurs in attendance: “If an officer gives you a ticket, don’t argue with them for like four hours, don’t talk to them. Just take the ticket and tell them to get off the property.”

For more information about the effort to reopen businesses in shutdown visit