Bobbie Singh-Allen announces bid for Elk Grove mayor, challenging embattled incumbent

Sacramento Bee,  July 28, 2020

Bobbie Singh-Allen, a longtime Elk Grove school board member, will challenge Steve Ly for the city’s mayoral position in November, saying alleged harassment toward her and other women “fueled my fire” to run against the incumbent mayor.

Singh-Allen announced her decision early Tuesday along with a number of endorsements she has garnered from lawmakers in the region, including Rep. Ami Bera and Assemblyman Jim Cooper, both Democrats

Singh-Allen, who is a registered Democrat, has served as a trustee for the Elk Grove Unified School District since 2012.

Since June she has been one of four women who accused Ly of failing to stop his supporters from directing online harassment toward them or other people viewed as adversaries. Ly was also accused by his former campaign manager, Linda Vue, of trying to pressure her into removing damaging comments on Facebook.

Singh-Allen said her run for higher office was not expected. In her campaign announcement, she said the recent events, which have roiled the political landscape in Elk Grove, are what motivated her to jump in the race along with the support from other elected officials.

“I have been asked several times when seats have opened up; this has not ever been a part of my bucket list items. I have been solely committed to the school district and education,” Singh-Allen said in an interview with The Bee.

She joins a list of at least two other candidates vying for the job, which is part-time and unpaid, but could be the most serious contender to face Ly who has handily won both of the last two mayoral elections. Singh-Allen will have about 100 days to mount a campaign if she hopes to unseat him.

SINGH-ALLEN’S HISTORY IN ELK GROVE POLITICS

 

Singh-Allen, who is also Sikh, came to the United States as an immigrant from India when she was four. Since at least the early 1990s she has worked in local government, including for former Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna Jr., according to the school district’s website. She has lived in Elk Grove since 1992, serving on a number of regional and community boards.

Both Singh-Allen and Ly share a brief but complicated political history.

In 2012, Singh-Allen was appointed to serve on the school board representing Area 4 in the westernmost part of the district. She joined the school board around the same time that Steve Ly began serving as the Area 6 trustee.

Ly first sought an appointment to the district board but Jake Rambo, a lawyer and administrative law judge, was picked over him. Singh-Allen said in an interview that she spoke in favor of Rambo’s appointment at the time.

After Ly trounced Rambo in the 2012 school board election he became the trustee anyway.

Singh-Allen’s harassment claims about Ly date back to that time. She said he cast aspersions on her appointment and tried to have her removed. She said his attempt was followed by a barrage of attacks online from his supporters — almost as if it was coordinated. And it wasn’t the last time.

Since Singh-Allen began criticizing the mayor’s behavior last month, an online petition recently surfaced on Change.org calling for her to resign.

“I’ve been under a lot of stress from all of this since it started. I can now use that stress because those tactics aren’t going to stop. He’s going to continue using his associates to come at me,” Singh-Allen said of the online petition.

“That just fueled my fire.”