As Elk Grove women take more prominent roles in politics, will they push for more changes unlike their male counterparts?




In recent days the ongoing strife between Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and a group of her critics has highlighted a national trend that is now in Elk Grove. Women are increasingly flexing the muscle in the political arena.

Regardless of where people stand on the conflict between the first-term Elk Grove Mayor and her critics, it is undisputable the most of the opposition to the city’s first directly female mayor is led by women. If nothing else, it demonstrates that women in politics are not a monolith.

While Singh-Allen’s critics from the group calling itself Elk Grove Hmong American’s have centered on comments they say are racist, a claim Singh-Allen says is incorrect, there is another more subtle aspect. Specifically, the women critics have said the mayor’s comment on the Hmong culture as controlling women might also be saying Hmong women are weak and easily dominated.

In this way, the criticism of Singh-Allen might not only be based on what they say is racist but that as women, they are weak and docile. Anyone who has listened to the months of comments made during Elk Grove city council meetings would objectively say these women speakers are neither weak nor docile.

Beyond this, what are other ways women are flexing their muscles in Elk Grove? In a phrase, policy initiatives. 

Since being elected as a Director of the Cosumnes Community Services District in 2018, Jaclyn Moreno, unlike her male colleagues, has led many policy changes to the moribund district. Most notable, Moreno pushed the voluntary change to by-district representation. 

On the Elk Grove City Council, Vice Mayor Stephanie Nguyen too has initiated a controversial city policy change to restrict the sale of certain types of tobacco aimed at the youth market. That proposed change is opposed by tobacco shops, convenience stores, gas stations, and various well-funded trade organizations.

Compare Nguyen’s policy stance to protect youth compared to her male city council colleagues. District 3 representative Kevin Spease, one of two new city council members, has not yet initiated any policy change benefitting residents.

More disappointing are District 1 and 2 representatives, Darren Suen and Pat Hume, neither of whom have done anything more than carrying water for real estate developers, much less lookout for the welfare of Elk Grove residents, especially children. Especially egregious is Hume, who has served on the Elk Grove city council since 2006 but, to our memory, has never done anything along these lines.

It is no mistake Moreno appears to be gaining more traction in her campaign for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors over former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis. Additionally, while Nguyen has not officially announced her candidacy for the 9th District California Assembly seat, she has more support from prominent elected officials, is viewed as more formidable than Suen, who is also weighing a candidacy for the same seat. 

And we would be remiss if we did not mention a long list of women in Elk Grove’s history who have been at the forefront of activism and keeping the city accountable. And yes, it was overwhelming women keeping the heat on the city council over the 20-year history of Elk Grove.

While women have kept their eyes on our local governments for years, increasingly, they are now controlling the levers of power and so far are stronger and braver than their male counterparts. As women exert their influence as elected officials, will they take stances like Moreno or Nguyen or be docile servants of big-money interests like all their male predecessors? 

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2 comments

Eye on Elk Grove said...

When I was looking for the exact quote below, the headline read, Shirley Chisholm is “Unbought and Unbossed.” Congresswoman Chisholm’s quote is as true today as it was in 1968.

“At present, our country needs women’s idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.”

And far as being “unbought and unbossed,” whom among you on the Elk Grove City Council can stand up and profess those same words?

D.J. Blutarsky said...

EGN writes, "More disappointing are District 1 and 2 representatives, Darren Suen and Pat Hume, neither of whom have done anything more than carrying water for real estate developers"...

Well, speaking of water...I recall Hume once saying several years ago at a Council meeting that water is the new gold. Well, in order to develop the future expansion areas, the City will need to prove that there is adequate water supply to serve the thousands of new homes that will be built.

Not to minimize single policy issues like tobacco shops, but right under our noses will be one of the greatest money heists by developers and those Council members carrying their water in our city's history.

Lots of new expensive water infrastrucutre and treatment facillies will need to be built to support all those homes. You don't think the developers are going to pay for it do you? Us ratepayers will feel it in OUR pocketbooks as we pay off the 30 year bonds that helped finance the future growth.

To describe Suen and Hume as water carriers for the developers is probably more closer to the truth than we realize, and this is a compliment and a big badge of honor they wear proudly!

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