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

Concerned Citizens Editorial


So what did you think about National election? The guy who took the high ground – no personal attacks, no guilt by association, no half-baked innuendoes – that guy was the one who won.

Now we have another election underway here – for Monterey Park City Council. It pits 2 incumbents, Sharon Martinez and David Lau against challengers John Abajian, Joe Avila, Betty Tom Chu and Luis Estrada.

In our editorial last month we expressed the hope that civility would govern the conduct of this race. The success of the Obama “make nice” strategy added to that hope.

Then came the January 12 Soroptimist City Council candidates forum. Here’s how the Pasadena Star News headlined its story of that event: “CANDIDATE ASSAILS RIVALS AT MONTEREY PARK FORUM.”

The headline impetus came from an incident during the opening candidate statements. Moderator Pat Chin warned the offender that further personal attacks would not be tolerated. (Guess who was the attacker and who was attacked.*) From there, candidate comments were essentially vitriol free – until the closing remarks. One of the challengers then took the opportunity to remark about the incumbents: “If they didn’t vote for your interests in the last 8 years what makes you think they will now?” (Another guess.**.) No specifics were cited.

Two days later, the City’s 2 Democratic clubs – Monterey Park and United – sponsored a forum for the 3 Democratic candidates, Martinez, Lau and Estrada. (Democratic and Republican Party rules prohibit their clubs from convening forums for any but party registered candidates – even in non-partisan races.) But while Estrada had confirmed  his intent to participate, only Lau and Martinez showed up.

The 2 incumbents, who have demonstrated a similar mind set generated little controversy during the evening while commenting on City finances and development, transportation issues and measures to improve our environment.

This appears to be a race without a major issue. Some of the challengers will probably try to resurrect discontent with the City’s trash hauler, Athens. And Tom Chu and Estrada, endorsed by the police and firefighters, will have to walk a tightrope when it comes to those supporters favorite issues: turning our fire department over to the County and reducing safety employee retirement age from 55 to 50.

In the absence of a wedge issue issue, character and decency take on greater importance.

Next month we will provide you with our City Council endorsements and the reasoning behind them. In the meantime, let us have your thoughts.

* Attacker:Luis Estrada; Attacked: Sharon Martinez and David Lau
** Betty Tom Chu

1 Comment

  1. Nancy…Looks good. A couple of comments. You left the logo off the Concerned Citizens editorial. In the reply box, I think you mean to have “Mail” read “email.” And I think I would put an asterick on “Mail” and “Name” with “*Required” below the box….Terry

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