Video Elk Grove Freshmen Councilmen Suen, Ly - a Study in Contrast

Elk Grove's newest councilmen Steve Ly (l) and Darren
Suen are a study in contrast. |
July 15, 2016 |

For the first time since 2006 when Gary Davis and Pat Hume were sworn into office, the Elk Grove City Council installed two new members in December 2012. Those two were Steve Ly, who won the election for the vacancy in the District 4 seat and Darren Suen, who was appointed to the District 1 seat vacated when Jim Cooper was elected to the California Assembly.

In that time residents of Elk Grove have been able to view the two novices and make their observations as to how well suited they are to perform the business of the people. Likewise, we have viewed both councilmen and have a mid-term assessment.

As the title of this story suggests, Suen and Ly are a study in contrast. Our view is that Suen has demonstrated superior comprehension of the issues facing our city and comes to the council meeting prepared to ask meaningful questions that enable serious deliberations.

An example of this was on display at Wednesday's meeting during a presentation on the proposed senior center for the Elk Grove Civic Center project (see video below).

After hearing the staff presentation, Suen asked a design question that indicates that not only he was paying attention, it shows that he reviewed the material before hand. By contrast, only after hearing Suen's questions did Ly query the staff member.

As is typical for Ly, his question was inane. Anyone who regularly watches council meetings is familiar with Ly's modus operandi.

A colleague will ask a probing question that helps for a more thorough deliberation, and after hearing the question, Ly either parrots the question or asks or makes an inane question or comment.

Furthermore, hedging his lack of familiarity with the subject matter, Ly will make a bridge statement like, "on the other hand..." or some facsimile thereof. This shows that either he has not even formed a sort of preliminary assessment of the item enough to express a thought with a degree of confidence, which is ironic given his massive ego whenever he is in the spotlight, or worse, he is just doing an Elk Grove version of Neville Chamberlain voter appeasement. 

From our perspective, this indicates Ly comes to the meetings with unprepared. Worse, his inane questions show an incredible lack of curiosity. 

Suen, like all of his colleagues, is not unblemished during deliberations. We have frequently criticized him for his use of slang names when addressing city staff member, most notably Christopher "CJ" Jordan.

Even though Suen addressed Jordan as "CJ" during deliberations Wednesday night, he quickly corrected himself. While Jordan said that the nickname was acceptable, it is disrespectful to the audience, especially those infrequent viewers of proceedings, who may not be familiar with who "CJ" is. 

Having said that, Suen quickly corrected his mistake. Furthermore, when addressing a female speaking during proceeding a few weeks ago, he properly used "Ms" instead of the person's first name. 

Notwithstanding policy disagreements we may have with Suen as well as his lose use of nicknames, he has demonstrated that of the two new council members, he takes his role seriously and possesses the curiosity and intellectual capacity to conduct the people's business in a responsible, humble manner. 

Sadly, the same cannot be said for Ly.   

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