Political support for Elk Grove Mayor evaporating as former allies condemn alleged actions, call for resignation

Team Elk Grove invokes American civil rights icon in latest mailer ...
In 2018, the slate of candidates dubbed Team Elk Grove included CCSD Director Jaclyn Moreno and Elk
Grove Mayor Steve Ly. | 

UPDATED 9:15 a.m. |

As the controversy over accusations that Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly has been associated with individuals who have harassed and threatened women linger, the political fallout continues.

In a 2,500-plus word piece posted yesterday on Medium.com, Cosumnes Community Services District Director Jaclyn Moreno detailed some of the experiences she had with Ly and his campaign staff during her 2018 run for office. The information laid out by Moreno did not paint a flattering picture for Ly. 

Among Moreno's main accusation is that one of Ly's three hired campaign workers harassed and make disparaging comments about her throughout the Fall 2018 campaign. Moreno first ran for office that year and was part of a slate of candidates headed by Ly that included Sacramento Municipal Utility District Director Rosanna Herber, Cosumnes Community Services District Director Rod Brewer, Cosumnes Community District Director Orlando Fuentes who challenged Elk Grove City Councilmember Stephanie Nguyen and Andres Ramos who challenged Elk Grove City Councilmember Pat Hume.

Making matters worse, Moreno said when she confronted Ly with information of the behavior by the staff member, no actions were taken to correct the situation.  Instead, Moreno said she was told that person was a valuable part of his reelection organization and wrote that Ly told her "that enduring harassing behavior is just a part of the experience of an elected official."

Although not mentioned by Moreno, the campaign staff member in question is believed to be Tyson Sorci, who is no longer associated with Ly. Sorci was a 2018 campaign consultant and a part-time city employee who was released by Ly and the city after he allegedly intimidated protesters at an event held by the mayor in February 2019. 

Moreno's revelation comes on the heels of a piece written by Elk Grove Unified School District Trustee Nancy Chaires-Espinoza about her experience with Ly during the 2014 Elk Grove City Council District 4 race. Chaires-Espinoza, who lost that race, claimed that among other things, Ly engaged in a so-called whisper campaign intended to smear her reputation. 

For Ly, yesterday's claims by Moreno led to an immediate backlash. Among prominent political figures supporting her assertions was Fabrizio Sasso of the influential Sacramento Central Labor Council.

In a posting on his Facebook page, Sasso said he believes Moreno's claims and that nobody should be subjected to harassment. Sasso added, "if you know Jaclyn like I do, you'd know she's a straight shooter and doesn't play politics."

Since winning his seat on the City Council in 2014, and Mayor in 2016, Ly has been the beneficiary of large campaign contributions from various construction trade unions. It is unclear if these donations to Ly in the run-up to the November election will be affected by the controversy.  

Also commenting yesterday was Amar Shergill, chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party. Shergill, who has aligned with Ly on local issues like by-district voting and preserving Elk Grove's directly elected mayor, said the mayor should resign.

Shergill said that the investigation he called for last month should be initiated, but as the various claims pile up, "we do not need further facts to determine that Mayor Ly no longer deserves the position he has been honored with." Those initial harassment claims came from Ly's 2016 campaign manager Linda Vue.

Since Vue's claims, there have been other accusations leveled at Ly that several of his associates have harassed Vue and other women. One woman claimed that stress brought on by the threats and harassments of Ly's associates led to her miscarriage. 

Ly did not respond to an email request seeking comments on Moreno's piece nor the comments of Sasso and Shergill. Throughout the ordeal, Ly has denied any wrongdoing on his or the part of associates and has denounced threatening behavior. 

Along with the continuing backlash, the events have led Elk Grove Unified School District Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen to enter the mayoral race one week ago. Prior to Singh-Allen's entry, the field of candidates challenging Ly was relatively low-profile. 

Another loss of a political ally for Ly has been Rod Brewer, part of the 2018 Team Elk Grove slate. In an entry on his Facebook page yesterday Brewer, without mentioning Ly, with whom he has been affiliated for the last several years, praised Singh-Allen's community involvement.

Brewer did not mention any of the allegations nor did he criticize Ly, but he did offer his endorsement of Singh-Allen's mayoral candidacy. He noted that "Being a consensus builder comes second nature to Bobbie because she has always been about bringing people together to work for the common good."

While Moreno did not go as far as Shergill to suggest that Ly resign, she offered several remedies. Among other things, Moreno suggested the City of Elk Grove strengthen harassment policies for more accountability of elected officials.

The next meeting of the Elk Grove City Council is on Wednesday, August 12, where the claims made about Ly will be on the agenda for possible disciplinary action, including an official censure. Extensive public comment on the matter is expected. 

"Make no mistake, because Mayor Ly has shown an inexcusable, detrimental pattern of behavior as an elected official, he should be held accountable," Moreno noted in her piece.

UPDATED to include Brewer's endorsement. 

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.



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Randy Bekker said...

Ly made his choices an those he associated with. He could of at any time taken control to be a leader but that didn’t happen. Ly must accept the fall out as he has only himself to blame. A few weeks ago I said he needed to resign. It has gotten more clear as each women that was abused by Ly or his direct associates recount the abuse publicly. As of today some of Ly’s strongest local political supporters have admonished him an publicity asked for him to resign. It should not be up to the council to censure or put some type of rehabilitation in place or ask the grand jury to look at Ly’s political issues an abuse towards the women he has harmed. We are within 3 months to an election. It is clear with the fallout Ly is losing support daily. The citizens of Elk Grove deserve better in their elected officials. The only thing Ly needs to do now is to resign before the next Council meeting as this needs to end. The city doesn’t need to be dragged into this personal issue of the Mayor choices any longer. Enough is Enough!

D.J. Blutarsky said...

I have the perfect solution! Ly can move and become a Board of Supervisor for Siskiyou County!

Atticus Finch said...

If I were Ly, I would let the voters decide in November who they want as mayor rather than resign. He's got the war chest to hire some savvy operators to rehabilitate his "campaign". Run some slick radio and internet ads. Get some polling done to see where he stands with the residents. Go on the offensive. Before all of that though, I would swallow my pride and offer up a big mea culpa. He's down, but not out. Can Ly reinvent himself in a few months? With lots of cash on hand, he can sure try to do a makeover and change his public image, but that won't change who he is as a person...

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