More Differences Between Elk Grove City Councilmen Suen, Ly Evident in Campaign Mailers

October 21, 2016 | As has been noted in the past, two Elk Grove City Councilmen of the same tenure length have vastly different gov...



October 21, 2016 |

As has been noted in the past, two Elk Grove City Councilmen of the same tenure length have vastly different governing styles. Now those differing styles have made their way into their respective campaign literature.

The two councilmen are Darren Suen who is seeking a four year term for District 1 and Steve Ly who is seeking to become Mayor. Although both men have served on the City Council for two years, the similarities end there.

Observers of city council meeting can tell you that during deliberations, the two men display vastly different styles in how they conduct business from the dais.

Suen, a civil engineer by trade, often asks detailed, in-depth questions that demonstrate he has read through the material that is under consideration. Conversely, Ly asks questions that either rephrase what has already been said by the presenter, or parrots questions of his City Council colleagues that indicate he has limited or no familiarity with what is before him.  

Indeed, Ly's mentor and biggest mayoral candidate supporter, Mayor Gary Davis, has not in our recollection ever asked Ly to be the first City Councilman to ask questions or comment during their deliberations. This is not coincidental. 

The vast majority of voters in Elk Grove who do not watch City Council meetings probably will never see this in action. But voters who are observant will have caught a glimpse of these different styles in recent mailers that appeared in mail boxes by each of the candidates this week. 

While both candidates include obligatory family portraits, the similarities end there. 

In Suen's piece titled "Working Hard, Working Smart," he includes pictures with fellow elected officials, a Veteran, and in keeping with the theme of hard work, a picture of the Councilman pouring over reports presumably in his City Hall office.

Inside the half-sheet glossy piece across from the aforementioned pictures are three bullet points with the heading "On The Issues." Those issues are creating more local jobs, reducing traffic congestion, and planning for the future.

To be sure, this is a conventional mailer with pedestrian issues. Nonetheless, Suen covers his bases by saying here is my All-American family, I care about Veterans, I understand the most basic concerns for people in Elk Grove, and I will work on these issues for you, my constituents.

While Suen takes an engineer-like approach and addresses issues he views as important to the electorate, Ly takes a much different path. Ly's first mailer does not address issues facing Elk Grove constituents, rather he tries appealing to voters by providing ambiguous biographical information open for interpretation and based on the service of others. 

His two-sided half sheet glossy piece includes a family portrait reminiscent of Mayor Gary Davis' family portrait where everyone was dressed in white in a white background. Ly and his son's are dressed in Jim Harbaugh-like khaki and blue dress shirts while his wife is in pink.

On that same side is copy that includes "I picked cherry tomatoes my parents grew, went to college..." The reader can't be sure what this exactly means.

Lots of children pick cherry tomatoes their parents grow. Is he trying to suggest his family's income was derived from a family-owned farm or they were migrant workers toiling in California fields? The reader cannot be sure, other than to leave it to their own imagination.

Likewise, on the other side of the mailer is a picture of a small child, presumably Ly, along with a picture of two men standing next to an aircraft. In the copy, Ly notes "my dad would recover American pilots and our family was put on a 'must kill' list."

While his father's service, like that of any of the other City Council or Mayoral candidates parents or children's military experience, or in Kevin Spease's case, his own military service, is admirable, how does this make Ly qualified to be the Mayor of Elk Grove? Using your own accomplishments is understandable, but exploiting the service of anyone but yourself for crass political purposes is reprehensible.  

Given his massive financial advantage, Elk Grove voters will undoubtedly see more marketing material in a variety of mediums from Ly in the next two and a half weeks. It will be worth watching to see if Ly addresses any of the pressing issues facing the city, mentions anything he personally accomplished or if he continues to wallpaper over his track record of office-hopping, leadership failures, and financial mismanagement.

For all we know, Ly may be telling devotees he will be Governor of California someday.














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