Latest Ly mailer with image, quote from Elk Grove Police Chief generates criticism from opponent

In an unusual move, Mayor Steve Ly's latest mailer to voters includes an image of Elk Grove Police Chief Timothy Albright. Ly's mailer, titled "Mayor Steve Ly Responds to False Accusation - Enough is Enough," addresses issues surrounding claims that Ly and associates had harassed several women, including a lifestyle writer and elected officeholders in Elk Grove. 

In the mailer, Ly included an image of Albright in his EGPD uniform. Accompanying Albright's official city portrait is a quote from a recent city council meeting. 

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That quote from Albright came during the July 22 Elk Grove City Council meeting. During that session, Ly asked Albright about an investigation after lifestyle writer Jaqueline Cheung filed a criminal report saying that Ly and his associates had harassed her and family members after writing about a social media post he made.

During that meeting, Albright's quote on Cheung's police report of threats, which in part was used by Ly in his mailer, said the following:

"Following a comprehensive review by my staff ... our detectives were unable to determine that a crime occurred. At this point, our investigation is considered closed." (see below). A QR code on the mailer directs viewers to the audio of Albright's complete statement during the July 22 meeting.

The mailer also includes a statement from retired Sacramento County Sheriff Sgt. Donna Cox. Her comment says in part that the accusations "are just false and unfounded." Cox, who has endorsed Ly, was a primary candidate for Sacramento County Sheriff in 2018 and has not served in the Elk Grove Police Department. 

Bobbie Singh-Allen, Ly's main challenger, is one of the women who claim to have been politically harassed by Ly and his associates. A Trustee with the Elk Grove Unified School District, Singh-Allen, said after her appointment to fill a vacancy on the board in 2012, she was harassed by Ly and associates.    

In a statement issued this afternoon regarding Ly's mailer, Singh-Allen's campaign manager Pablo Espinoza called the claims on Ly's mailer deceitful.  

"It is concerning that the sitting Mayor is using an outdated, out of context statement from the sitting Police Chief to mislead Elk Grove voters for political gain," Espinoza said. 

At a subsequent meeting on August 12, after facing mounting pressure, the Elk Grove City Council sent a request to the Sacramento County Grand Jury to investigate the complaints against Ly during his tenure on the Elk Grove City Council, that started in December 2014. If the Sacramento County Grand Jury initiates an action, assertions by Singh-Allen and fellow EGUSD Trustee Nancy Chaires-Espinoza, who also claims harassment, would not be part of a possible investigation as they occurred before Ly's city council tenure. 

Regarding the involvement of the Sacramento County Grand Jury, Espinoza claimed, "cases of possible criminal wrongdoing and misuse of his office remain the focus of a Grand Jury investigation."  

One of the women who has accused Ly of not addressing harassment during his city council tenure and whose claims could be investigated by the Sacramento County Grand Jury is Cosumnes Community Services District Director Jaclyn Moreno. Elected in 2018, Moreno was part of a slate of Democratic candidates assembled by Ly.

After Cheung's accusations arose earlier this summer, Moreno followed her with an account of her experiences published on that said a former aid to Ly harassed her during the 2018 campaign and that Ly did not adequately address them. In recent days Moreno has taken to social media to criticize the mailer.

"Shame on Mayor Ly for intentionally misleading voters with this flyer suggesting that all the incidents have been investigated (they have not) and that Sgt. Cox was involved in the investigation," Moreno said in her social media post. "I have never been spoken to by any law enforcement agency regarding the harassment that I endured. The harassment and intimidation that I experienced has not been resolved." 

Reached today, Ly acknowledged the use of Albright's quote and image would be controversial but stressed the chief's appearance on the mailer was not an endorsement by the police chief of his candidacy. Although a high ranking executive for the city, Albright reports to city manager Jason Behrmann, not the five-member city council.

Ly said he consulted city attorney Jonathan Hobbs who said the use of Albright's quote and image on the mailer is legal. Additionally, Ly stressed Albright was not aware that his image and quote would be used on the mailer.   

"My opponent isn't going to be happy, but these are facts," Ly said of claims on the mailer. "Everything in the mailer is accurate." 

In a statement issued yesterday by the EGPD after a press release by the Singh-Allen campaign where they claimed further investigations were underway, the police department affirmed their commitment to investigate any allegation of criminal activity. They also noted, "The statement issued by Chief Albright during a July 22, 2020, City Council meeting (Video) was related to a specific case which was investigated and closed as no crime was found to have been committed." 

The statement also said, "Since the July 22, 2020 City Council meeting, the Elk Grove Police Department has received additional reports from multiple parties. Those incidents remain under investigation." 

They did not say who was involved or the nature of the activities under investigation. 

The dust-up with Ly's mailer is the second time Elk Grove City Councilmembers were criticized for the inappropriate use of city resources during the current election cycle. Two weeks ago, District 3 Councilmember Steve Detrick was criticized for soliciting Elk Grove city employees on behalf of Kevin Spease, one of five candidates running for the seat Detrick is vacating.

An open letter from District 3 voters urged Spease, who has been silent on the emails, to disavow Detrick's actions. The letter claimed that Detrick had solicited city employees to attend his campaign events.  

With one week until voting closes, Political Data Inc. reports that as of Monday, October 26 37-percent of 106,906 Elk Grove registered voters have returned their ballots. Democratic voters are participating at the highest rate with 44-percent returning ballots and independents and Republicans returning 30 and 34-percent respectively. 

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