Open Letter to Elk Grove Vice Mayor Darren Suen

April 6, 2018 |  

Open Letter to Elk Grove Vice Mayor Darren Suen,

As it is your democratic right to run for any office you see fit, we want to congratulate you on announcing your candidacy for Mayor of Elk Grove.  Accordingly, democracy is the theme of this open letter to you as you are now running for another democratic office.

Therefore, we ask you:  Do you believe in democracy?  Do you believe in free and fair elections?  Do you believe in participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and in civic life?  Do you believe in the protection of the human rights of all citizens? 

Does it not mean that in a democracy the people choose their leaders and it is their right to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office?
Is it not also true that in a democracy, the people are sovereign?  The people are the highest form of political authority.  So why have you denied the people of Elk Grove their sovereign right to vote for their local representatives? 

When there was a vacancy for the District 4 seat after Election 2016, you were a strong advocate for the appointment process, denying the people the right to fairly elect their representative.  Why?  Is it that you honestly believe you know better, and are smarter, than the people of Elk Grove?

Likewise, your colleagues on the Elk Grove City Council, Steve Ly, Steve Detrick and Pat Hume have also denied the people of Elk Grove their democratic right [Hume and Detrick three times; once by Ly] by appointing vacancies instead of giving the people their democratic right to freely vote for who will represent them. Is that the definition of democracy? Or have you and your fellow council members set us on a path to an autocratic local government? 

In a democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the state cannot take away from them. Did you not take away our basic right to vote by opting for the appointment process?

[As a reminder to readers, there have been three appointments thus far resulting from the last three election cycles. Those appointments have been, in order, Robert Trigg, Darren Suen and Stephanie Nguyen. Darren Suen directly benefited from that appointment, going so far as to label his rightful election campaign to the Elk Grove City Council as “Re-elect Councilmember Darren Suen.”]

Bottom line, being appointed to the Elk Grove City Council gave you an advantage when you officially ran for the office.  You were never elected to the Elk Grove Council prior to Election 2016 – YOU WERE APPOINTED! Was that not misleading the voting public by stating “Re-Elect Darren Suen?"

The office you currently hold, and the office you seek, comes with it the power that flows from the people to you, as a leader of our local government, not the other way around. Moreover, you only hold that power temporarily. However, by the continued appointments, the Elk Grove City Council has instituted a system of government of supreme power not in the people’s hands.

Obviously, you would not be running for Mayor of Elk Grove if you didn’t think you are going to win. Therefore, we are hereby requesting you resign your District 1 seat so that a free and fair election can be held to fill what could be yet another council seat vacated seat midterm.

In closing, if you are, in fact, a protector of democracy and truly believe in a government of, for and by the people, you will do the right thing and resign your current seat so that an election for your vacated seat can occur in November of 2018. 

To reiterate, if you truly believe you are going to win, you should not give yourself a safe place to fall in case you lose. No more Elk Grove City Council Catch 22s!

So, we ask again: Are you a scholar and a protector of democracy and all that comes with it as an elected official?

The people of Elk Grove must now demand, as our right in a democracy, that all five seats on the Elk Grove City Council must be filled by a free and fair vote of the people. No more hijacking of democracy in Elk Grove!



National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Sacramento County African American Coalition


Dennessa Atiles
Constance V. Conley
Linda A. Ford
Suzanne Pecci
Lynn Wheat

Post a Comment Default Comments


Eye on Elk Grove said...

There is continued outrage on the National level that outside forces, meaning Russia, were successful in undermining the last election and therefore, our nation’s democracy.

There should be that same outrage when Elk Grove City Council members do the same by undermining our local government by denying the people their democratic right to duly elect our representatives by their continued appointments and by their continued refusal to hold special elections. This could possibly be the fourth election cycle this occurs.

And as an Elk Grove voter, if aren’t outraged, you should be!

One Voice, One Vote!

D.J. Blutarsky said...

All these comments are logical, fair, and just. Problem is, the power elite only answer to judges. Very few times has the Council been backed into a legal corner and thrown in the towel. The two most recent instances was when they backed down from the marijuana moratorium and when they reversed their decision of the development agreement modifications to facilitate the casino.

So unless we can pool our money to finance referendums and lawsuits, the wheels of democracy will continue to sit by the side of the road with flat tires.

Connie said...

First up, thank you D.J. for your continued wise commentary.

As an Elk Grove resident who has been involved in several campaigns, including getting one candidate to move and run for Elk Grove City Council and mentoring another who was so green, he didn’t even know who the Elk Grove Planning Commissioners were and how they got their positions – no good deed goes unpunished – here is what I believe what occurs when active residents learn from the past.

Because Gary Davis didn’t resign and there was an appointment process; because Jim Cooper didn’t resign and there was an appointment process; because Steve Ly didn’t resign and there was an appointment process, now that a fourth possible appointment process could be before us, we learned that there is a distinct pattern and practice of behavior stemming from the Elk Grove City Council. It is no wonder those same people got out in front of trying to thwart another appointment?

We certainly cannot depend on the Elk Grove City Council learning by their past actions in that they would voluntarily institute by-district voting because of the continued appointment process, and if Suen happens to win, call for a special election, now can we?

Reality is, Darren Suen won’t resign, but at least it is out there that he was asked to do so. Will Suen come forward and state during the campaign, if he happens to win, he would finally support by-district voting for a two-fold reason, to save the taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees because of a sure-thing lawsuit at the hands of Steve Detrick, Pat Hume, Stephanie Nguyen and himself, and allow a democratic vote of the people to select his successor?

Fair questions to ask during what is going to be a battle of a campaign. Last time we saw a bloodbath campaign in Elk Grove was when Michael Leary had to go. A la Olivia Pope, get the popcorn and wine ready!

Follow Us



Elk Grove News Minute

All previous Elk Grove News Minutes, interviews, and Dan Schmitt's Ya' Gotta be Schmittin' Me podcasts are now available on iTunes

Elk Grove News Podcast