Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Meet The Candidates


Monterey Park City Council candidates Anthony Wong, Delario Robinson, Teresa Real Sebastian, Stephen Lam, Mitchell Ing and Joe Avila were invited to the first forum held at East Los Angeles College.  The Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, East Los Angeles College and the Pasadena Star New sponsored this debate on February 3rd.

Chamber Vice President Randall Avila, Pasadena Star New Senior Editor Frank Girardot and ELAC Vice President Richard Moyer selected the questions pre-submitted by the audience to the Chamber.

The candidates were asked several questions in three categories: business and local economy, public trust and quality of life in Monterey Park.

Anthony Wong stated the city needs more tax revenue for safety services. He spoke about the three hotels approved by the city to be built on Atlantic from Hellman to Garvey that will produce a 12% bed tax. These funds will improve our sales tax base.

Delario Robinson said the city needs more stability to attract major chains.

Teresa Real Sebastian said she plans to bring in more retails stores to increase our 15% sales tax base by streamlining our rules for development and have staff work with the developers.

Stephen Lam wants to have quality shops and development in the city.

Mitchell Ing said we need more major businesses since we have so many restaurants in the city that only produce 1% of our sales tax base. He spoke about the Market Place, which will house Home Depot, In & Out and more stores.

Joe Avila did not answer the business question. He suggested that Monterey Park bottle and sell water for revenue. We don’t need big businesses.

The candidates were asked how to bring in new businesses to the city.

Mr. Robinson said the image of Monterey Park is the problem. We need to work together.

Mrs. Real Sebastian said the city needs to educate the retailers on Monterey Park. We will have Home Depot and In & Out. We need that type of businesses.

Mr. Lam said we need quality shops with the hotels. He is OK with all of the restaurants.

Mr. Ing stated that Monterey Park has a perception about our purchasing power. Currently Bank of America located at Garfield and Garvey has approximately $600 million in deposits.

Mr. Avila suggested we need to iron out all of the problems with the stores.

Mr. Wong stated the city is known as business unfriendly. Council has been working to change the city’s image.

The candidates each answered the question on public trust.

Mr. Ing stated he always wants transparency. It begins with hiring the city manager.

Mr. Avila said he would need more information to answer the question.

Mr. Wong stated the Council could only hire the city manager and city attorney.

Mr. Robinson said the residents need more information on the issues.

Mrs. Real Sebastian called it a huge issue. People need to see what the government is doing.

Mr. Lam agreed that transparency is important.

The candidates were asked quality of life issues that included public safety.

Mr. Wong stated that public safety is important in Monterey Park. He would add more police officers with the 12% bed tax from the hotels.

Mr. Robinson agreed that public safety is the number one concern to serve and protect.

Mrs. Real Sebastian said burglaries are due to the early prisoner release program. The police always respond quickly to the calls.

Mr. Lam agreed public safety is the number one concern. The police can do a better job. We need more reserves to hire more police officers.

Mr. Ing stated our police department does more with less. Our Neighborhood Watch Program is very successful. We need to hire more officers.

Mr. Avila said our police department does a good job. They respond quickly. We need to provide more funds for them.


Monterey Park Council candidates Delario Robinson, Mitchell Ing, Stephen Lam, Anthony Wong, Teresa Real Sebastian and Joe Avila were invited by the Rotary Club of Monterey Park, the League of Women Voters from Pasadena and the Monterey Park Journal to the City Hall Council Chambers on February 9th. This forum was aired live with replays on MPK’s cable station until the election.

Dorothy Keene, Madge Nichols, Sondra Hauge and Jane Wallace asked the questions submitted by the audience and timed the speakers for this forum. They reminded the candidates of their rules at the beginning of the event.

One of the questions asked was about the safety issues in the city.

Mr. Avila suggested that we need speed bumps in the neighborhood, hire more traffic cops and educate the drivers.

Mrs. Real Sebastian said traffic is an issue. Speed bumps can cause the fire department to slow down. We need to mitigate speeding with traffic signs and education the public on the rules of the road.

Mr. Wong stated we need an education program for all the drivers, bike riders and walkers. Don’t drive drunk! Hire more police officers.

Mr. Lam said we need more police services to educate the residents to drive more carefully.

Mr. Ing said the latest accidents bring to light we need to educate the people. Public safety is his first concern.

Mr. Robinson stated we need to have the traffic lights synchronized and have motorcycle police to issue more traffic tickets.

The candidates were asked about the five new hotels being built in the city.

Mr. Wong said the three approved hotels would have 600 rooms that would produce 12% bed tax to pave the streets, hire more police officers and firefighters and landscape the streets.

Mr. Lam supports the hotels that would provide more jobs and income for the city. Due to limited land we can only build hotels.

Mr. Ing said he is against five hotels. He could accept two hotels due to heavy traffic. The bed tax would go to public safety and the infrastructure.

Mr. Robinson said that three hotels have been approved so we could use the funds as a cash cow to hire more staff, equipment and more money going to the library.

Mr. Avila said we would need to rent out every room to make it work. He suggested that we sell water from the city.

The candidates were asked about the sale of city property to a developer and overpaying to purchase land for the city.

Mr. Avila said if it was good for the city.

Mrs. Real Sebastian said she was reluctant to sell city property like the 25 units to LINC for $2 million at 3% interest for 55 years. It is not prudent to overpay for property that was appraised for $450,000 and the city over paid the seller $50,000.

Mr. Wong said the use of the property was for low-income housing. We need to provide housing for them. He agreed to sell it.

Mr. Lam agreed to sell the city’s property for low-income housing.

Mr. Ing voted not to sell the 25 units to LINC for a term of 55 years. He disagreed on buying the property on Isabella for $500,000. It was $50,000 over the $450,000 appraised value.

Mr. Robinson stated he agreed to sell the property to LINC and he agreed to the sale of the property on Isabella for the fire department. It is OK to overpay for the property.

The candidates were asked about the business signs law.

Mr. Lam stated he supports the Latin ABCs with the Chinese signs.

Mr. Ing said the city attorney crossed off the verbal second language. We should require the Latin ABCs on the business signs for public safety, which is a priority.

Mr. Robinson said he would not vote to antagonize any people. 95% of the signs are in English.

Mr. Avila stated all signs should have English on it. They need to have an English translation.

Mrs. Real Sebastian supports the Latin ABCs for safety purposes and it helps people to locate the business. Currently we have businesses that comply with English on their signs.

Mr. Wong said the Chinese signs are currently putting Latin or English on their signs.

At the end of each forum the candidates asked the voters to vote for them and why their could best govern the city.

Mr. Robinson wants to change the image of the city so it would be better.

Mr. Ing said he has live in Monterey Park for the last 32 years. He and his wife of 25 years have more time to devote to the city since their two children are attending college. He will continue to support the veterans, the students and the arts as he listed his many volunteer accomplishments for the audience.

Mr. Lam said he loves Monterey Park. He is running for City Council since he has his business and home here. He works with the police and fire departments. He will make it a better community.

Mr. Wong said Councilmembers should love and be kind to people. It is like teamwork and we need the revenue to support it. We have a good team that is improving the city’s services.

Mrs. Real Sebastian stated her heart and soul are here in Monterey Park. She spoke about her Clean-Up committee, her creation of the Holiday Snow Village and Geraniums Festival and saving the trees at Edison Trails. She voted against the Olson project and has helped to balance the city’s budget for the last for years. She presented term limits to the Council that they approved. She also listed the numerous committees and commissions she sits on as a Councilmember.

Mr. Avila said he is not an over complicated person. He wants to serve the older people and the students. He is Joe Public. He loves the city and wants what is best for our community. He is a man of action!

For additional data on the two forums please read the Pasadena Star News or the San Gabriel Valley Tribune issue dated February 5 about the first forum and watch MPK’s cable station for a replay of the second forum.

Please use your vote wisely and don’t forget to vote on March 3rd.

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