With Steve Ly mired in scandal, Bobbie Singh-Allen is best choice for Elk Grove mayor 

Sacramento Bee Editorial Board, October 12, 2020

Elk Grove voters have an obvious best choice for mayor: Bobbie Singh-Allen.

Incumbent Mayor Steve Ly has two opponents: Singh-Allen, an Elk Grove Unified School District board member and attorney/community activist, and Brian Pastor, a clinical documentation consultant.

Singh-Allen is a member of Elk Grove’s Sikh community. Pastor is an immigrant from the Philippines. All three are reflective of Elk Grove’s culturally diverse community.

Pastor is sincere and committed to community service, but the office of mayor isn’t a good starting point for him or the city. Ly, who is seeking a third term, has a myriad of ethical challenges that Elk Grove citizens simply can’t ignore.

Fortunately, they have an energetic and talented alternative in Singh-Allen.

Ly, who in 2016 became the first Hmong mayor in the nation, has an inspiring American story. Born in Laos, Ly and his parents came to the United States when he was four. He worked in the fields in the San Joaquin Valley and graduated from UC Davis.

Unfortunately, Ly has had too many missteps. In June, he tweeted about a fire at an Elk Grove auto body shop owned by one of his friends. In the original post, Ly implicitly attributed the fire to Black Lives Matters protesters. As it turns out, the fire had nothing to do with BLM.

Faced with criticism from the community, Ly took down the inaccurate post. However, local Hmong clan leaders started making anonymous, veiled threats to two women who were among Ly’s critics. Ly denied having any involvement with the threats, calling them “out of my control.”

It’s not directed by me,” Ly said. “I don’t have that type of ability or power within the Hmong community.”

The story doesn’t end there.

Jaclyn Moreno, a former political ally of Ly’s and a member of the Cosumnes Community Services Board, said she was subjected to constant sexist harassment from a member of Ly’s campaign team. She repeatedly asked Ly to intervene.

“I told Steve about every single one of those incidents. I just felt like he was so negligent in his response,” Moreno said in an interview with The Bee.

Other women reported similar harassment.

Finally, on Aug. 18, the Elk Grove City Council voted 4-0 to ask a Sacramento County Grand Jury to investigate the allegations. Ly eventually issued a vague apology for the behavior of his supporters and staff but stopped short of accepting responsibility.

In an interview with The Bee Editorial Board, Ly said: “I think it’s important to have predictable leadership…one thing that separates me from all politicians is that I am not obligated … I am not obligated to anyone, [as in] a PAC or other politicians. I stand alone.”

We agree with Mayor Ly that Elk Grove needs predictable leadership. We also agree that Ly stands alone — but in the wrong way.

Singh-Allen told The Bee that she was running for mayor “to end the constant infighting on the City Council, who have all endorsed me, and to bring good governance, which includes respect, honesty, transparency, and integrity to the seat. Elk Grove deserves a mayor that works with the council and all of its stakeholders to focus resources toward a shared vision and goals for the best interest of our residents.”

We believe Singh-Allen can do that. So does virtually every elected official in Elk Grove, including the full Elk Grove City Council and Assemblyman Jim Cooper. They have endorsed Singh-Allen. So have Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and state Sen. Richard Pan.

Ly’s political chaos has sapped the city long enough. The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board endorses Bobbie Singh-Allen for Elk Grove mayor.