Letter to Elk Grove Unified School District urges action taken against Trustee Singh-Allen, gives ultimatum

A letter sent to Elk Grove Unified School District Superintendent Christopher Hoffman and the Board of Trustees is urging action be taken against one board member who has allegedly made disparaging comments against the Hmong community.

The letter (which can be viewed below), written by attorney Ali Moua offers several actions that could be taken against EGUSD Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen including a formal letter of apology to the Hmong community and the suggestion that the Board of Trustees seeks an investigation by the Sacramento County Grand Jury. The complaint says Singh-Allen, who is running for Elk Grove mayor, made comments in social media demeaning to the Hmong culture.

Singh-Allen's comments stemmed from allegations that Mayor Steve Ly, who is of Hmong descent, used the Hmong clan to harass and threaten women in the community, including Singh-Allen and two other elected women officials in Elk Grove. The allegations of the harassment by Ly and associates have prompted the Elk Grove City Council to request an investigation by the Sacramento County Grand Jury about the mayor's actions since he joined the city council in late 2014. 

The letter says Singh-Allen's comments "will have a lasting negative affect on all the lives of the Hmong people in today’s society and the future" and he found no evidence "that Trustee Singh-Allen has spoken up or spoken out against any of the hateful or harmful public comments that were made against the Hmong community." Additionally, Moua claims the comments have endangered their children and have created a dangerous environment for them. 

Moua wrote, "While we recognize and respect that Trustee Singh-Allen has personal grievances against Mayor Steve Ly (who is of Hmong descent), her personal grievances should not be used as a tool to paint a broad brush against the Hmong Community as a whole." He added that generalization about entire groups of people are dangerous and "can result in hurtful and harmful racial stereotypes." 

One specific social media post Moua highlighted came after an online petition was organized seeking the resignation of Singh-Allen who responded with an image of a lion and the statement "a lion doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep." Moa wrote "To characterize the opinions of concerned Elk Grove residents and parents as 'sheep' is irresponsible" and "calling a person or group of people 'sheep' implies that they all behave the same way, or all behave as they are told to and cannot or will not act independently."

Also cited by Moua was a Singh-Allen Facebook post on June 30, where she was said to have written "the [Hmong] patriarchal clan system is a controlling and intimidating system used to attack and silence these women.” Moua added Singh-Allen's feud with Ly has "clouded her judgment and she has casted any person who speaks up to defend the Hmong community against her blanketed statement as 'attack dogs.'"

As a result of Singh-Allen's comments, which Moua acknowledged might not have been made with intentional malice, he said the Hmong community on social media has been called "gangster" and they have seen comments like the "Hmong culture generally considers women should be subjugated by men.”  

An added dimension of this letter is that Moua, who is also of Hmong descent, is challenging Elk Grove City Councilmember Darren Suen this November for the District 1 seat. Since his launch last January, Moua has campaigned independently and has not endorsed the mayor, nor has he been endorsed by Ly. 

The Singh-Allen campaign declined to comment on the letter for this story. Moua confirmed he authored the letter and noted he has three children attending district schools. 

Along with the school district trustees and professional staff, the letter was sent to all members of nearby school districts, the Elk Grove City Council and elected officials including State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond, Rep. Ami Bera, State Senator Richard Pan, and Assemblymember Jim Cooper. 

As a remedy, Moua presented three options to resolve the grievances. They include a formal letter of apology from Singh-Allen, a referral to the Sacramento County Grand Jury or third party for a formal investigation of what Moua says are her violations of the school district's ethics and education codes, sensitivity training, and if Singh-Allen refuses to accept any of the options, her resignation from the Board of Trustees. 

While Moua offered suggested actions, he ended the letter with an ultimatum deadline on August 31. He wrote, "Should we not hear back from you by that time, we will presume that the school board and school district does not intend to honor our requests and will proceed accordingly with the available legal remedies." 

Moua did not respond to a request seeking disclosure of what those possible remedies include.

UPDATED - In our original posting, it was stated that Mayor Steve Ly had attended Mr. Moa's campaign launch in January. Mr. Ly did not attend that event. 

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


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Randy Bekker said...

By this letter it is clear Mr. Moua is a sergeant of Mayor Steve Ly. As the letter lays out their grievances at no time has Mr. Moua denounced the Mayors abuse or the abuse by associates of the Mayor. Further more Mr. Moua has not publicly addressed the abuse of the other women, community members an elected officials. I think since Mr. Moua himself is running for office for City Council District # 1 against Darren Suen I find his involvement interesting. Is Mr. Moua now a sergeant of Mayor Ly? Why has he not denounced the a Mayor? If Mr. Moua was to win is he now in the pocket of Steve Ly if the Mayor is re-elected? It wasn’t long ago the Mayor stated he needed Council members that would work with him to get the Mayors agenda past. So Mr. Moua are you now an associate of Steve Ly? Sure looks like it to me. This letter is a continued political hit job to silence those speaking out. Shameful behavior Mr. Moua especially since you aw running for office.

Tone said...

I can understand your concern, but as you speak you sound just like Singh-Allen who continue to not hear our concern when many of us don't even support Mr Ly because we are have different politicial views. I myself is a conservatives who will not support a left leaning Democrats. You just basically heard us together into a sheep catagory just like Bobby Singh-Allen who keeps pushing the same agenda without hearing the hurt from the community. We as Asians comes in many diverse cultures, but to the eyes of the non Asians, we are all the same 'Chinese'. As of late we have been dealing with the racist from the virus. Even on social media, a couple had came out and told us, "go back to your country" Some of us were born here so this is our country. So please do not lump us into the same catagory as sheep, we are human being capable and able to think and breathe on our own...

XQ said...

@randy Bekker
You missed the entire point of this letter by bringing up Hmong patriarchy. You are general and entire culture you do not know! Okay maybe you have a few Hmong friends, so do I, but I do not take their stories and experiences and apply it on the entire Hmong community.
Instead of hearing the pain the her racist words have caused, Bobbie Singh Allen’s response you the community outcry at the 8/11 Elk Grove school board meeting is tone deaf and selfish. On 8/12 Bobbie Singh Allen’s response was (in summary): Steve Ly attacked me again!! Steve Ly sent his associates to attack me. Vote for me for mayor. I can bring communities together.

What else is her platform beside “I was bullied so vote for me”. As a mayor she will face more criticism on her decisions in city hall, will any criticism be returned with an outcry of “I was attacked! I was bullied” ??

As an elected official (albeit first appointed and then re-elected unopposed), Bobbie Singh Allen should understand how words can be powerful and dangerous. The Hmong American kinship have asked Bobbie Singh Allen to issue a public apology and take some culture sensitivity training or resign. Acknowledging when you make a mistake and apologizing is not a sign of weakness; it is a characteristic we need in our leaders. This is what we teach our children when they do something or say something wrong.

Atticus Finch said...

Finally, someone that can articulate a cogent argument in this he said- she said Days of Our Lives media drama devoid of any actual business related to the education of our children.

Last I checked, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and public health crisis with students engaged in remote learning stretching district resources to the max. Teachers and staff working hard to fulfill their duties and obligations to our kids. These are the issues that I care about. This has become an unnecessary distraction to the business at hand. I don't believe Moua has a card to play if the district ignores his letter. He would be hard pressed to prove any actual damages or suffering by the Hmong community. Are we talking class action suit here? For what? At most I think Singh-Allen could be censured for her comments which shows poor judgement. The only real legal question here is did Singh-Allen in fact violate any district policies by making these statements? I can tell you that some teachers and staff members could be reprimanded for making inappropriate and offensive comments to parents and teachers that would violate the education code. We all know it happens and continues to happen. But of course these individuals aren't public officials running for office.

Paraphrasing from the Book of Proverbs, pride comes before the fall. Singh-Allen should cut her losses and fall on her sword. Her strategy clearly backfired. Because she already holds a public office, those responsibilities should come before her ambition to seek another office. Since this entire debacle has showcased her lack of leadership, do you really want her as mayor? I don't. Elk Grove deserves much better than who we have currently sitting on council now. They ALL need to go.

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Ditto Atticus Finch! “It’s not time to worry yet...” or is it?

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