Joint statement to Elk Grove City Council - 'Unacceptable to honor ... an awardee that has credible and disturbing allegations against them regarding racism, bias, and bullying'

We write to you regarding events of grave concern which transpired during the Elk Grove City Council meeting on May 13, 2020. The Agenda included the ratification of an award to an Elk Grove resident by Councilmembers Suen, Nguyen, Detrick and Hume. We take no position here regarding the propriety of that award. 

However, a number of community members provided testimony during the public comment portion of this Agenda item. Their testimony included multiple allegations of racism, bias, and bullying by the award recipient against Elk Grove residents. Rather than temporarily pause the award to allow for an investigation of the concerns, the Council ratified the award (Mayor Ly voted against) while stating that they were not aware of any such troubling history and had generally positive experiences with the awardee.1 

As you are all aware, Elk Grove has had a deeply troubling recent history regarding racism. Businesses have been attacked with feces, students bullied with Confederate flags, and residences marked with racist graffiti, among a long list of despicable acts. Thus, we were dismayed to learn that, upon hearing public comment that an awardee had credible allegations of racism, bias, and bullying against him, you took no action to investigate. Rather than ask even a single question regarding the allegations, you pushed forward and made the award immediately. This is unacceptable. You all should know better and your constituents certainly deserve better. 

Since the award has already been ratified, delivered, and publicized, we suggest the following remedy:

1. An Agenda item at the next Council meeting to discuss the impropriety of the process that was followed. 
2. Referral of the matter by Council to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee 
3. The Committee shall retain an investigator with experience on issues of bias and racism 
4. The investigator shall deliver a report to the Committee regarding the truth of the allegations against the awardee 
5. The Committee shall make recommendations to the Council regarding the award 

It is unfortunate that this discussion is necessary, however, it is unacceptable to honor, without a reasonable discussion, an awardee that has credible and disturbing allegations against them regarding racism, bias, and bullying. We trust that you will accept our recommendation and move promptly to address this matter. 

Dennessa Atilles 
Aliane Murphy Hasan, Kamran Malik, Council on American Islamic Relations 
Manuel Lares, Lorenzo Patino LULAC 
Amar Shergill, American Sikh Public Affairs Association 
Betty Williams, NAACP 
Sonia Lewis, Elk Grove Community Advocate 
Sital Singh Nijjar, Kings Sports & Cultural Club 

1. We note that the awardee has supported the Councilmembers in their political campaigns but this was not discussed during the deliberation on this Agenda item.

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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D.J. Blutarsky said...

I trust the judgement of the City Council. As we are often reminded, Councilman Detrick has served for 12 years on Council, so if he says a person deserves a plaque, then I believe his acquired wisdom.

As we are often reminded, Councilman Hume is taking Master's courses, so if he says a person deserves a plaque, then I believe him because he is intelligent now.

As we are often reminded, Councilwoman Nguyen runs a non-profit and is pushing for "workforce" labor training, so if she says a person deserves a plaque, I know it's good for residents.

And as we are often reminded, Councilman Suen is an engineer, so if he says a person deserves a plaque, then I know he can explain it to me so I can understand.

Steve L said...

I just don't understand why the council (sans the mayor) would take the effort to to acknowledge this man over so many other worthy citizens that do so much for this community. I understand that he has given $$ to many of your campaigns, but as each member of the council has stated in the past almost ad nauseum, $$ contributions don't come with any privileges or benefits.

I'm not a fan of this man, but I am civil and courteous to him when we occasionally meet, as he is to me. He does have a group of members who are very racist, biased, and certainly bullying towards those who share a differing point of view.

But this is America and people can say whatever they please (generally speaking), I just think our city council, as community leaders, should award a man with such shallow and narcissistic views an award especially in light of today's political and racial upheaval.

We should all try to be more tolerant and supportive of our fellow man. We should all try to listen occasionally rather than attack or ridicule.

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