Guests Opinions - As Elk Grove Mayoral campaign heats up, groups stake positions on Ly and Singh-Allen

Like each of the 50 United States, California elections and politics have its laws' and quirks. In recent years, aside from its growing Democratic majority, what has set California apart is our two-top finisher system.

It has become more common to see the two finalists for many positions be of the same party. While this has most often happened in Democratic strongholds, it has also happened in certain conservative Republican areas off the state. 

While the City of Elk Grove has grown more liberal in the last several years - there is only one Republican appearing on a city council race this year - we don't have a top-two finisher rule for local elections. Nonetheless, the top two contenders in this year's hotly contested Elk Grove Mayoral race are Democratic candidates, Mayor Steve Ly and challenger, Elk Grove Unified School District Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen.

As with any race where the two challengers who also happen to be of the same political party, invariably intra-party fissures develop. The Mayoral race in Elk Grove is no exception. 

To that end, in the last few days, we have been approached by two groups seeking to make their case on behalf of or opposed to one of the two candidates. One of the opinion pieces below advocates against Ly has six signatories, including well-regarded retired educator and Sacramento-area civil rights icon Marielle Tsukamoto.

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The other is from five Democratic Party members (three from Elk Grove, two from Sacramento) who might be best described as disaffected Democrats as it relates to the Elk Grove mayoral contest.  The five Democratic Party members who submitted the second piece asked their names not be used but identifies have been verified, are not supporting either candidate, but have devoted more of their attention to Singh-Allen.

We would be remiss if we did not note the mayoral race has a third candidate who is actively campaigning, Brian Pastor. Although he does not have the visibility or name recognition of his two competitors, he has waged a credible campaign. 

Even though Pastor has a difficult path to victory, as history has demonstrated, nothing is beyond possibility in a three-way race where the top two contenders are bloodying each other. 

We hope these opinion pieces are of value to voters who may be undecided as voting continues now through November 3.


continued next page - three pages total 


Joint Statement by Black and Asian Community Leaders on Racism and Mayor Steve Ly 

For too long, we have all witnessed the devastating impact of racism in our communities. The impact of this disease - yes, racism is a disease - has resulted in an incessant culture of discrimination, generations of lost opportunities, and the systematic murder of people of color. Every single day in our nation, lives are literally being shattered by the devastating effect of racism, and the last several months have served to emphatically underscore that stark reality. 


The silver lining, if there is one, is that the painful stories from our Black community, our Asian families being targeted by COVID-19 fear mongers and so many others are forcing our communities to have critical discussions about the perpetuation of racism. This is an opportunity for our nation to come together and fight to eradicate this deplorable disease. We must take full advantage of it and not look back. We owe it to our communities of color, and Bobbie Singh-Allen proudly stands in unequivocal support of affecting this much-needed change in the American value system. 


Unfortunately, Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly has opted for distortion and misrepresentation of this difficult time by seeking to paint Bobbie Singh-Allen as a racist, something that has been thoroughly discredited repeatedly. His continued efforts to tarnish Bobbie's name simply highlight the unethical lengths he is willing to go to smear a political opponent, even if it means using Elk Grove's Hmong community - of which he is a member - to dishonestly further his own political ambitions. 


In continuing to promote these false accusations, Steve is taking attention away from the actual racism that is rampant in our communities, but that does not seem to bother him. Steve Ly's actions are inexcusable, they sully the office of the mayor, and they are exactly what we do not need right now. 

Chester Madison

Governing Board Member, Elk Grove Unified School District


Chris Mateo 

Past Board President, Philippine National Day Association 


Marielle Tsukamoto 

Past President Florin Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League 


Alfred Rowlett

Former Governing Board Member, Elk Grove Unified School District 


Loreen Pryor-Trowel

Black Youth Leadership Project


Jenny Bach 

California Democratic Party Secretary 


Neither Mayor Steve Ly nor Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen deserves your vote for Mayor - It is what it is 

Elk Grove voters are selecting a mayor and ballots are now arriving in mailboxes. Both leading candidates are deeply flawed. Mayor Steve Ly’s conduct has been the subject of much discussion, and rightly so given his unacceptable behavior. 

Multiple credible allegations related to harassment have been brought forward, including a confirmed charge regarding racism, misogyny and bullying by a campaign employee that he failed to correct. Mayor Ly’s refusal to adequately apologize has made a bad situation worse. 

Although a police investigation was closed without evidence of criminal conduct, we agree with the decision of the Elk Grove City Council in referring the matter for investigation by a Grand Jury as Mayor Ly has engaged in serious breaches of ethics that must be addressed. Further, we commend the women that have come forward and we commit ourselves to supporting efforts to rid our society of harassment in the workplace and in political spaces.

Bobbie Singh Allen’s political activities have not been the topic of serious examination, therefore, we review them here. Ms. Singh-Allen has served multiple terms on the EGUSD Board as well as being involved in a number of non-profit organizations. 

She published claims against Mayor Ly regarding harassment by his allies in 2012 due to her refusal to support him for appointment to the EGUSD some months before he won that seat in an election. She has spoken out on social media and beyond, supporting women that have voiced claims or dissatisfaction regarding Mayor Ly. She announced her campaign for Mayor on July 28, 2020 and referenced the harassment as a key reason for her campaign. Since that time, she has described multiple serious instances of harassment related to her challenge of Mayor Ly.

Trustee Singh-Allen is employed by a hotel industry special interest group. In that role, she opposed legislation that provided panic buttons for hotel employees at risk of sexual assault and paid leave for employees assaulted on the job. She has consistently put corporate profits of others and her personal finances ahead of the welfare of working families.

While fostering strong business relationships is generally appreciated, Singh-Allen’s behavior has crossed the line into anti-worker and anti-labor-movement actions. The organization she leads routinely works to defeat legislation to improve the lives of working families. As Democrats, we expect elected officials to take positions based on what is best for our community, not what is best for the person that pays them.

In the Trump-era, being a Republican leader has taken on an entirely different meaning. The Republican Party apparatus in California has been converted to serve the interests of a bigot misogynist in the White House. Local Republicans that support Trump or fail to speak out against him are a very real part of the problem. In recent elections, Singh-Allen has assisted Republicans in defeating Party-endorsed Democrats that have better experience and skills to represent our community.

In 2018, Singh-Allen worked with a Republican for City Council to defeat a strong Democrat and LGBTQ candidate, Andres Ramos. She also worked to elect a Republican over endorsed Democrat Maureen Craft in 2016. We must note that both of these candidates are well-qualified people of color that would have brought new diversity to the City Council as compared to the white men she supported. 

During this current election, when it is more important than ever that we elect Democrats, Singh-Allen is again endorsing a white male Republican for Council ahead of well-qualified Democrats, people of color like Maureen Craft and Amandeep Singh. There are a number of other instances where Singh-Allen has sided with the Republican Party. Her track record of endorsing Republicans has left her ineligible to be endorsed under the bylaws of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County.

None of the above should be construed as a defense of Steve Ly. The poor qualifications of his opponent do not make him a better candidate. Our city is in the unfortunate position to have two poor choices for Mayor. 

As Democrats, we consider it our duty to provide this information to voters so that they may make an informed decision. In future elections, we will work with the Democratic Party to have better quality candidates competing for your vote.

We, the unsigned authors, are Democrats, men and women, that have chosen not to sign due to the harassment that has become prevalent in the race for Mayor by supporters for both campaigns. Our backgrounds include those that have supported Mayor Ly in previous elections and those that have supported Trustee Singh-Allen. We are disappointed that the attacks that have become routine prevent us from signing our names here. However, we have confirmed every fact and provided the publisher with an opportunity to confirm.

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