Candidates for Elk Grove Mayor, City Council share positions on elimination of mayor's position and term limits

Tonight the Elk Grove City Council will consider two items that if adopted and then approved by voters could have far-reaching effects on governance and representation. Those proposals would eliminate the directly elected mayor's position and establish terms limits on all councilmembers.

The proposal that would eliminate the directly elected mayor is expected to generate extensive public comment and a vigorous debate among councilmembers. The idea was proposed by Elk Grove Vice Mayor, who is not seeking reelection to the District 3 seat this year.

Among those affected should the directly elected mayor's position be eliminated and term limits are established are successful candidates in this November's election for mayor and District 1 and 3 city council positions. 

Mayoral and District 1 and 3 candidates were asked for their positions on the proposals. Specifically, the candidates were invited to respond to the following questions:
  • Do you support the elimination of a directly elected mayor for Elk Grove?
  • Do you support term limits for all council members, including the mayor? 
Below are the responses from District 1 and 3 and mayoral candidates in alphabetical order.

Incumbents Mayor Steve Ly and Councilmember Darren Suen were not invited given their positions will be presented during tonight's deliberations. 

District 1 candidate

Ali Moua

I do not support the elimination of a directly elected mayor for Elk Grove. Having a mayor elected by all of Elk Grove residents would serve as a greater voice in regional affairs in the city. In 2010, 78% of our residents chose the right to vote for their mayor of choice. Elk Grove is one of the fastest-growing cities and needs an elected mayor. Eliminating an elected mayor takes away resources that could be used for other more important measures to improve Elk Grove. Questioning our resident’s right to choose their mayor would shock the conscience of our community.

I support modified term limits for all council members and the mayor, with both offices holding 4-year terms. Many cities utilize consecutive term limits for their elected officials. Modified term limits would balance our residents’ right to select a candidate they may see as the most qualified for the position, reducing potential abuses of power by incumbents who stay too long in office and encourage political participation by newcomers. In a time of crisis, we need strong leadership. Recently, all council members initially voted against tenant protection during the coronavirus pandemic. Our city needs leaders that will protect our residents in time of crisis.  

District 3 candidates 

Maureen Craft

No, I do not support the elimination of a directly elected Mayor.

In 2010, Elk Grove voted overwhelmingly at 78% on Measure K for the opportunity to elect their Mayor (see link below).

Why in 2020 would we take steps backwards? Elk Grove's population is 180,000. It is imperative that we have a Mayor to lead our city. 

Term limits at the City Council level are not necessary. Our most tenured Councilmember has served for 14 years. We should focus on transparency, good governance in our local government, responsiveness, public safety, and doing the work for this great community.

Amandeep Singh

I certainly do not support the elimination of directly elected mayor for Elk Grove.

There should be no term limit for council members and mayor too. Since the council member and Mayor are elected for a specific term, the citizens get the chance to remove them if they feel a particular member is not performing. Also, by placing term limit restrictions the citizens lose a real good candidate as is evident from Obama leaving the White House after two terms.

Kevin Spease

I do not support the elimination of the directly-elected mayor for Elk Grove and I do support reasonable term limits for all council members, including the mayor.

Lynn Wheat

Seven years ago the citizens of Elk Grove had the choice to directly elect a mayor or to retain the rotating mayor structure. This item was placed on the city council agenda after almost two years of study and outreach by a resident-led commission (charter commission). A majority of residents voted to directly elect their mayor to a two-year term.

I do not support the elimination of the directly elected mayor on the ballot at this time. The decision to place the previous action on the ballot was based on two years of careful analysis by a resident commission. The latest process will evidently be based on one City Council hearing and no public outreach as the deadline to place a ballot measure rapidly approaches.

Honestly, I cannot take a position on term limits as I see positive and negative results either way.  What I do believe in is a process that includes intensive citizen outreach and participation before such a proposal is placed on a ballot. 

Elk Grove Mayoral candidates

Michelle Kile

I oppose the elimination of the elected mayoral position.Elk Grove needs an elected official although it is the same weight in voting strength on the council (1/5 vote) it gives the citizens of Elk Grove the choice to choose the face of Elk Grove. The mayor is chosen by the city from an all-district vote not a single district. If we go to a rotating mayor appointed by the council that member will represent the whole city but was only elected by their district with the newly adopted by district vote policy.  Not sure that is in the best interest of all of Elk Grove.

I am in favor of term limits for all council members and the mayor. I would suggest a three-term limit, if you cannot get your projects and improve Elk Grove in 12 years maybe public office is not meant for you. I also believe the Mayoral term should be increased to a 4-year term so that they can actually work to improve the city instead of constantly running for re-election. 

Glen Padayachee

NO. Elk Grove needs leadership; strong leadership that we have been missing. We should not eliminate the directly elected Mayor position. Periodically rotating the responsibilities of a mayor between the council is problematic because each council member will have their own priorities and agendas and as a city, we may not accomplish some of the goals that are important to us such as law enforcement, education, infrastructure (traffic congestion), and housing.  

YES. Term limits are beneficial because it allows for a competitive democratic process for electing individuals to office on a regular basis. Term limits allow our community leaders to serve the City of Elk Grove and bring fresh new ideas that they may not otherwise have been able to share had they been required to make a longer-term commitment. In addition, it will be easier to remove passive, ineffective or troublesome elected officials of our city and replace them with active and motivated new leaders.

Brian Pastor

It is important that the mayor be elected by the community as a whole. I value the voice and vote of the people.

Yes term limits should be in place to coincide with most major cities, which have a four-year term with a maximum of two terms. This approach can give other candidates a chance to improve on a system with new ideas. 

Mayoral candidates Justin Brown did not respond to the email invitation to comment on the matter. 

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1 comment

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

It will be noteworthy to see how Mr. Suen handles this matter during tonight's deliberation.

If as I suspect placing this on the ballot is unpopular, and a majority of the council decides to proceed, Mr. Moua will have an instant campaign issue he can use against Mr. Suen. Even if the city council decides against the idea, it will be important to see how Mr. Suen acts during deliberations.

Voicing support for the elimination of the mayor can give the appearance that at a minimum Mr. Suen is a poor loser given the 2018 mayoral results. Unless Mr. Suen comes out and and strongly renounces the proposal, support of this idea can used to bludgeoned him during the campaign. Let's not forget how the negative ads from independent expenditure committee worked for him in 2018.

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