Guest Opinion - Councilmember Darren Suen Trying To Eliminate Elected Mayor Position Despite $600,000 Cost To City During a $13.7 Million Budget Crisis

Third Person In, Vice Mayor Darren Suen Formally Enters 2018 Elk ...
Darren Suen (behind podium) announcing his candidacy for Elk Grove Mayor in April 2018. | 

Councilmember Darren Suen’s suggestion that the Elk Grove City Council consider eliminating the elected mayor position may be the worst policy idea to ever come before the Council, particularly when City staff have explained that the entire process may cost the City over $600,000 at a time when the City is facing a $13.7 million budget shortfall. 

The wisdom of having an elected mayor is simple, however, since Suen insists on bringing it before the Council this Wednesday, May 13 at 6 p.m., we must address it here briefly. The Mayor is the only official in the city that is elected by every resident. The officeholder represents the City to the rest of the world and has significant responsibilities in governance, including appointment of planning commissioners and acting as Chair of City Council meetings. The alternative to an elected mayor is for the Council to appoint one of their own, despite having been elected only by the residents of a single district. In short, an elected mayor is the hallmark of democratic representation in local government. 

Before continuing, it’s important to review the brief history of the elected mayor position: 
  • 2010: Elk Grove votes 78% in favor of a change to elected mayor 
  • 2012 and 2014: Gary Davis elected mayor 
  • 2016: Steve Ly defeats Republican Kevin Spease, Suen supported Spease 
  • 2018: Steve Ly defeats Darren Suen, Republican Kevin Spease supported Suen 
  • 2020: Darren Suen calls for Council to consider eliminating elected mayor position 
It is no secret that Suen and the Republicans have been trying to unseat Mayor Ly for over five years. After having failed to do so in 2016 and 2018, including spending $500,000 in 2018 alone, Suen is now joining with Republican councilmembers in pursuing the elimination of the elected mayor position that he was just recently trying to occupy. To say this about-face is brazen would be an understated description of a plan that exceeds even Suen’s recent attempt to gerrymander his own council district (‘Darren-Mandering’ - Suen Gerrymandering District) to eliminate a neighborhood that opposes him.

Finally, the pursuit of this change during a public health crisis is a serious breach of Suen’s duty to the residents of Elk Grove. He is very aware that many of his constituents are facing unemployment and are behind in rent or mortgage payments while we all try to keep our loved ones healthy. At a time when few have the opportunity to review City Council meeting agendas, it is a craven abuse of power to attempt to push through a fundamental change to Elk Grove governance that requires an expensive citywide vote and special election. 

If you oppose this move, make your voice heard by the entire Council as they prepare for the meeting on May 13 at 6 p.m.: 

1. Email the City Clerk, Jason Lindgren at and request your comments be read at the next Council Meeting. 
2. Send a video or audio recording to the City Clerk at to be played at the next Council Meeting 
3. Leave a voicemail for the Council at 916-478-2286 to be played at the next Council Meeting. 

Amar Shergill
Executive Board Member of the California Democratic Party
Elk Grove Father of Three


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Randy Bekker said...

Mr. Shergill as the State leader of the Progressives in the Democratic Party doesn’t want to lose pulling the Mayor’s string. Mayor Ly being their water boy would carry anything for them to get their support. Funny as Mr. Shergill continues to attack Mr. Suen while giving our mayor a pass. It was Mr. Hume that brought it up an it is not the 1st time Mr. Hume brought the issue going back to a revolving mayor. Funny how facts don’t seem to matter to Mr. Shergill.

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Isn't the Elk Grove Police Department officers contract coming up in the next fiscal year? That $600K could go a long way for public safety and not Detrick/Hume/Suen/Nguyen's dog and pony show trying and eliminate what 78% of the electorate voted to approve.

None of those four ever got 78% of the vote!

In these difficult times, instead of trying to improve their constituents' quality of life, these four are focused on self-serving political behavior. Suen, Hume, Suen and Nguyen are letting their personal hostility and bitterness get in the way of solving real issues for real people in their districts.

Since all four are really Republicans, Ronald Reagan's argument, "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem" is very true here.

"Sour grapes make the best whine!"

White Hat said...

Another Opinion piece by Amar Shergill. Since when has Amar cared about Elk Grove? He hasn't. All he cares about is the democratic party, the party that is slowly destroying this state. Eye on Elk Grove talks about what the people of Elk Grove voted for 10 years ago, but forgets we also wanted a mayor who would be around for more than photo shoots and Shergill's waterboy.

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