Singh-Allen hears opposition, support on harassment controversy during Elk Grove Unified School District meeting

UPDATED 3:05 p.m. August 12 |

An ongoing political battle and controversy made its way to tonight's Elk Grove Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting with about eight dozen comments submitted during the public comment segment on non-agenda items. Those comments centered on claims and counterclaims between EGUSD Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen and Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly.

The controversy centers on claims by Singh-Allen, her fellow EGUSD Trustee Nancy Chaires-Espinoza, and Cosumnes Community Services District Director Jaclyn Moreno that Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly and associates in the Hmong community have engaged in a pattern of harassment and threats against women. The allegations against Ly surfaced in June by his 2016 mayoral campaign manager Linda Vue.

Chaires-Espinoza and Singh-Allen claimed that since 2012 Ly had made political threats, and Moreno's alleges he did not adequately handle her claims that Ly's mayoral campaign employee in 2018 routinely harassed her. In June, two Elk Grove women including Vue accused Ly, who is of Hmong descent, of deploying members of the centuries-old Hmong clan system to harass and threaten them, something that Ly claims is not tied to him and Elk Grove Police investigated but found no criminal wrongdoing.

The initial comments read by EGUSD public information officer Xanthi Pinkerton were from people who took issue with published comments made by Singh-Allen regarding the Hmong clan system. The comments said Singh-Allen's statements about Hmong culture were derogatory.

Typical of the comments came from Joshua Yang, a parent with students in the EGUSD. Yang urged Singh-Allen, who is challenging Steve Ly for the Elk Grove mayoral position, to learn about the Hmong culture and retract the statement that was published in an Elk Grove Citizen story.  

"I would like to comment that it is irresponsible of Bobbie Singh-Allen, an elected official, to state her opinion and broadcast that the Hmong clan system is a controlling and intimidating system used to attack and silence women," Yang's comment said. "By the way, her statement is incorrect, and she should not be the jury and executioner of an entire culture."

Another comment came from a person identified as V Garcia, who identified themselves as a retired district educator. In addition to criticizing Singh-Allen, Garcia also condemned Chaires-Espinoza.

"For Trustees Nancy Chaires-Espinoza and Bobbie Singh-Allen to speak about the [Hmong culture - inaubible] is embarrassing," Garcia's comment said. "You two do not deserve to sit on that board to oversee 63,000 students, many who are Hmong."

Speaking on behalf of Singh-Allen was Paul Lindsay, who said Ly's alleged pattern of behavior toward women was unacceptable. In his written comments, Lindsay noted in an online petition he posted that will be presented during the Wednesday, August 12 Elk Grove City Council meeting, over 6,800 people have signed calling for Ly to resign.

"You will receive comments tonights calling for Ms. Singh-Allen's resignation from the board, these comments are generally in retaliation for speaking out against Mayor Ly and his supporters for a pattern of harassment, intimidation and bullying," Lindsay's comments said. "Mayor Ly chose not to take responsibility for his actions but choose to deflect, claiming it was an attack on the Hmong culture."

According to Pinkerton, there were 109 comments submitted. Of those 46 condemned Singh-Allen and about 42 in support. Of the comments submitted anonymously, 32 were against Singh-Allen and 16 were in support.

The controversy should generate significant public comment at tomorrow's Elk Grove City Council meeting. At that meeting, the city council will explore what steps it could take to address the claims leveled against Ly. 

Although the city council is supportive of widespread calls to formally censure the mayor, city attorney Jonathan Hobbs has advised against doing so without an opportunity for Ly to offer a defense and follow due-process protocols. Tomorrow's city council meeting starts at 6 p.m.

UPDATED: The number of comments updated to reflect the actual count according to school district spokesperson Pinkerton.

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


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1 comment

Atticus Finch said...

The issues that Singh-Allen and Chaires-Espinoza have with Mr. Ly have nothing to do with school business. Wrong forum here ladies. You have a job to do.

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