Ly & His Supporters Attempt
To Suspend Club Bylaws
In an eye-opening move, supporters of Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly attempted to secure the endorsement of Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club at their meeting on Tuesday. Ly’s supporters voiced their desire to bypass club bylaws and have an immediate vote on who the club would endorse for mayor.
This move drew consternation across the room as it became clear that Ly’s mayoral challengers did not expect a vote during the meeting on who the club would endorse for mayor. Steve Ly, who became mayor in 2016, is running again seeking a 2nd mayoral term. Vice-Mayor Darren Suen and local community activist Tracie Stafford are also running for Mayor of Elk Grove. Both Suen and Stafford were present at and spoke at the meeting voicing serious concerns with the motion put forth.
It was a lively and contentious meeting, with a floor discussion that lasted over an hour. Ly’s supporters, many of them new club members, indicated that they believed the process should be changed to have an endorsement vote at the Tuesday night meeting. A gentleman made a motion to suspend the endorsement procedure and then later withdrew it.
During the May club meeting Steve Ly brought over 100 people to participate in the endorsement proceedings. The club followed up with an audit. It turned out many of the individuals who joined the club in May weren’t eligible. Some of them weren’t registered to vote or were Republicans.
Steve Ly voiced his concern about the September club endorsement vote and said he wanted to see the process expedited. Ly asked, “I’m curious, what does the timeline look like?”
Club President Kendra Lewis stated the timeline of the process could be changed to August from its current target endorsement date in September. Lewis sought to explain the process of how endorsement is handled by the club. After her explanation, a Ly supporter made a motion that the endorsement vote should happen immediately.
“The delay should not take place, we have a lot of members here, so I want to call the motion. I want us to endorse Mayor Ly because he has supported our school system, our kids, and our community as a whole.”
Vice President Scott Matsumoto said the club bylaws could be suspended. However, many people, including past President Dan Schmitt and mayoral candidates Darren Suen and Tracie Stafford expressed concern that suspending the bylaws was an an attempt to circumvent the endorsement process of the club. The tension could be felt in the room.
Motion To Suspend Bylaws &
Have Immediate Endorsement
Vote Opposed By Key Players
Most noteworthy, past President Dan Schmitt was vocal in opposing the motion to suspend bylaws. “So we are talking about suspending the bylaws, so the club can take a vote to endorse Mayor Ly. Where is the fairness, we had a process, the process is to give all candidates an opportunity to come before this club to make their case.”
Melanie Herman spoke and strongly objected to suspending the bylaws. “To all the supporters of Mayor Ly, before you vote, to do this, you need to understand, that this is a hijacking of the democratic process. This is not going to help Mayor Ly, because the article that is going to come out in the newspaper tomorrow or the next day, is going to be ‘Mayor Ly supporters hijack a Democratic club meeting’ in order to endorse the mayor and not give the other candidate the process to go through the endorsement procedure.”
Mayoral candidate Tracie Stafford came right out and said that the maneuvers initialed were indicative of how some people attempt to disrupt the democratic process. She made it clear that she believed Mayor Ly and his supporters were trying to flout the rules. “This is the reason I am running for office, it’s about hijacking the democratic process. That’s what’s happening here, it’s not about July or August , it’s about bringing folks in to specifically endorse Mayor Ly.” She continued, “If this is what is happening in public, what’s happening behind closed doors?” “This is why I’m running for office.” Stafford’s public criticism of Ly drew applause in the room.
The gentleman who made a motion to suspend bylaws withdrew the motion upon seeing the reaction of Tracie Stafford, Darren Suen, and Melanie Herman. A motion was made to have the endorsement vote in July. This is before the close of the candidate filing date which is in August.
Tracie Stafford indicated that she was not surprised at all by the tactics initiated by Ly and his supporters. “When people show you who they are, believe them,” said Stafford. Stafford made it clear that she believes Steve Ly showed his true colors at the club meeting. “Mayor Ly clearly does not believe he can win the club endorsement honestly. I’m certain that this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of he is willing to do to remain in office.” Stafford indicated she would be ready for July.
Vice-Mayor Darren Suen indicated he was surprised with the motion to suspend the bylaws and secure an immediate endorsement. He made it clear that he too was ready for a July endorsement vote.
“It’s interesting that these individuals felt the need to circumvent a fair process to favor the current mayor. I am glad that all the candidates will have a chance to compete for the endorsement.”
While it’s clear that Ly and his supporters are trying to gain an edge, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen in July. Whatever the case, it’s clear that the next meeting of the Elk Grove – South County Democratic Club will be interesting.