Elk Grove Mayor takes issue with Sacramento Bee story, says use of the word 'clan' puts Hmong community in danger

Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly. | 

In a widely shared email to a Sacramento Bee reporter, the mayor of Elk Grove has taken exception with what he says is reporting that has put members of the Hmong community at risk.

The email, from Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly, was sent to Sacramento Bee reporter Michael Finch and familial leaders of the Hmong community regarding a story they published last week. The primary focus of that story, which was co-reported by Ashley Wong, was a dispute between Ly and a former consultant from this 2016 mayoral campaign.

Much of the Sacramento Bee story focused on the dispute between Ly and Linda Vwj (Vu). In a story posted last week on Elk Grove Tribune, Vwj accused Ly, who is the first elected Hmong-American mayor in the United States, of using the Hmong community to harass and intimidate her after she criticized Ly over a social media post.

Ly was criticized for the Facebook post that some said seemingly tied the fire at a Hmong-owned business in South Sacramento to recent riots in Sacramento following protests over the death of George Floyd. Following the criticism, Ly deleted the post. 

The Sacramento Bee story also provided an overview of the traditional organization of Hmong families and the role they play within the community. In the Elk Grove Tribune story Vwj said the Hmong community's traditional patriarchal structure was leveraged by Ly to intimidate her, a charge that Ly has denied.  

In today's email, Ly noted that one of the Minneapolis Police officers arrested in the death of Mr. Floyd was of Hmong descent. He further said that the use of the word clan in the Sacramento Bee story to described the 18 Hmong familial groups put them at risk. 

Ly said, "Your use of the word 'clan' in this context, considering that one of the former Minneapolis officers is of Hmong descent, has caused irreparable damage making it dangerous for Hmong families in this region. The tone of this article is counterproductive for our region to come together and move forward."

Additionally, Ly criticized certain aspects of the Bee's reporting including that a police report was taken by the Elk Grove Police from Vwj. Ly also claimed the Sacramento Bee story ignored the Hmong's cultural "practice of peace and unity."  

Finch was contacted this morning by email and said a Sacramento Bee editor would offer a response to Ly's email. As of this posting, no response has been received.

As a solution, Ly has requested that the Sacramento Bee's editorial board hold a meeting with members of the Hmong community saying, "This may be one way of healing and progress for a better future together." 

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


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Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

It seems with with Mr. Ly's email to the Sacramento Bee, he made a few tactical errors.

Even on a local basis, the news cycle moves rapidly, and the dispute between Mr. Ly and Ms. Vwj probably had fallen off the radar for most voters. By questioning the Bee's reporting, he gave new life to Ms. Vwj's accusations.

Also, a politician going after a news outlet is a form of scapegoating. We have all seen how Mr. Trump has gone after the media when a story is reported doesn't fit his narrative.

If Mr. Davis enters the race, don't be surprised if this resurfaces.

Randy Bekker said...

From what I have read the use of the word is common. So what is Ly’s beef with the Bee a week later? Once again he is not taking any personal responsibility. Nothing about those he has harmed or the threat towards Jax’s an her family. My guess he is getting pressure from the Hmong community. I was reading a lot of finger pointing a few days ago.

A campaign issue for Ly could happen but those running in Council Districts that received the Mayors support they are quiet as a mouse. Crickets is what we hear. At what point do they come forward? This doesn’t seem like it is going to go away. Craft, Moua an Singh needs to address this issue. Where is the support for the women that Ly oppressed? Where is all the leaders of Sacramento/Elk Grove progressives? Where are their comments? We have heard from Jaclyn Moreno but that is it. I shouldn’t have to name names or embarrass those that should do the right thing. Supporting women an they should be heard an believed is the rallying cry of the Democratic Party but when one of their own finds themself in trouble. We hear very little, the time has come for this group in our community to step forward an speak out against this oppression of women that live in our community.

D.J. Blutarsky said...

Mayor ("Uncle") Ly, let's get down to brass tacks. What about the risks the countless Hmongs who illegally cultivate marijauna and work the grow houses take? Do you worry about them? Oh that's right, apparently you do:

"...The Hmong are traditionally farmers, and some of the Siskiyou County population had taken the opportunity to grow cannabis because of the high profit potential. This led to an aggressive series of raids by the sheriff’s department, which destroyed the cash crop, and code enforcement, which declared many of the properties uninhabitable...Last year Sheriff Lopey was contacted by the mayor of Elk Grove, which has a large Hmong-American community. Mayor Steve Ly hosted the sheriff at a number of Hmong community events, and Lopey has since attended similar gatherings in Sacramento and Butte Counties" (https://www.106x.com/2018/05/07/siskiyou-sheriffs-department-working-to-improve-relationship-with-hmong-community/)

"...The Hmong people discovered Siskiyou County in 2014. One of the reasons that we move into the area is because of the cheap property,” ...As for his reaction to the sheriff's belief in an organized, interstate drug cartel? The sheriff sees a land grab: “Well over a thousand land transactions, many parcels changing hands more than once.”

Sheriff Lopey: “We have water trucks running up and down the road providing water to these illegal sites. Garbage, human waste — you have shacks, you have ramshackle trailers being moved into these communities.” (https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/10/29/hmong-settlers-say-siskiyou-county-pot-grow-crackdown/)

"...But more than eight years after his death in Clovis from pneumonia and heart failure at 81, the next generation of Hmong leaders is struggling to find a new collective identity—and someone to emerge as their champion, godfather and guide.

That is the most important question facing our Hmong people,” Ly said in an interview.

He is revered as “Uncle Ly” though he was too young to serve in the Secret Army alongside his father and uncles. Trained as a lawyer and youth counselor, Ly is also serving as a bridge between Hmong pot growers and law enforcement as far away as Siskiyou County". (https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/who-will-lead-the-hmong/content?oid=28477846)

Atticus Finch said...

I agree with the Captain. Ly should have let this story die on the vine. He gave it new life. Going after the media only works if your the president, not if your the mayor of Elk Grove.

I laughed when I read Ly's argument against using the word "clan" and how it endangers the Hmong community. I think people understand that the MN cop in question is not affiliated with the Hmong people in Elk Grove simply because he shares the same race. For example, if my second cousin commits a crime in New York, in no way does that put me in harms way. Think Ly!

I also laughed when he complained the Bee didn't discuss the Hmong culture's values of "peace and unity". Maybe that's because the Hmong need to come up with something more print worthy instead of using a superfluous slogan. How about make love not war?

I hope the Bee editorial board doesn't touch this one with a ten foot pole.

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