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

Meet the Candidates Forum


Monterey Park City Council candidates Joe Ray Avila, Peter Chan, Larry Sullivan and Hans Liang attended the forum at City Hall on January 29. Tom Guzman did not attend the forum because of a conflict in his scheduling.

The Soroptimists of Monterey Park/Rosemead and the League of Women Voters presented the forum. It is being replayed on the city’s website and the city’s cable stations.


City Clerk candidates Neal Alvarez, Jeff Schwartz and Vincent Chang attended the forum with City Treasurer candidates Stephen Lam and Joseph Leon.

Maureen Bateman welcomed the audience on behalf of the League of Woman Voters and the Soroptimists of Monterey Park/Rosemead to this forum. It is their pleasure to hold this event. It is helpful to hear from the candidates for this local election. The League was founded in 1920 when women were able to vote. They serve the voters by promoting ideas.

The candidates for City Clerk and City Treasurer all introduced themselves to the voters.

Jeff Schwartz stated that he first addressed the city council in 1978 after the failure of a hillside. He visited the Monterey Park City Council as a student in college. He became involved in the city on many issues. He helps residents register to vote. He pledged to protect the votes with paper ballots and electronic ballots. He asked for your vote on March 5.

Vincent Chang said the City Clerk is the best possible position to serve you. They are the keepers of the official records for the city with the information to be provided to all qualified folks who request it. He would support all qualified voters. The clerk’s office is available for all of the residents regardless of their languages. He believes in action. He asked for your vote on March 5.

Neal Alvarez said he has been a resident since 1973. His background was working for the Los Angeles Museum Center until his stroke in 2000. He now is a set designer. He loves history. The clerk runs the elections and keeps the history of the city. We need the languages coordinated so all people can participate. We need the elections to run fairly. He asked for your vote on March 5.

Stephen Lam spoke about the recession and the scandal of Bell. We need honest fiscal leadership. He has a decade of financial experience. He knows how to run a small business. We need local business owners and residents to understand the finances of the city. He will put the city first. He will not accept any salary or benefits. He asked for your vote on March 5.

Joseph Leon, an attorney for 19 years, stated he and his family are longtime residents of Monterey Park. He currently serves as the city treasurer and helps determine the city’s reserves are invested wisely and safely. The city’s investment policy has won several awards.  He puts the city first and wants the best for our city. He asked for your vote on March 5.

The Council candidates all introduced themselves to the voters.

Joe Ray Avila has been a resident for 45 years and plans to spend the rest of his live here. He wants a safe place to raise his family with good schools. A period of change needs adjustment. He feels he is Joe Public. He believes he can fix problems since he is a handyman. He wants to be the everyday voice in the city. He can’t be bought.

Peter Chan is a resident of Monterey Park for over 30 years. He loves Monterey Park and has been involved in the city since the 1980s. He wants a safe city for everyone. He will work with the police and fire departments. He helped the police reach the immigrant community. He wants to keep the city clean and safe. He want to make the city more efficient and keep the library opened seven days a week. He will work for all of the people.

Larry Sullivan is a 17-year resident. He has spoken to the city council. He leads himself without any outside influences. He will bring business experience to the community. He will be prepared for the meetings. He is ready to be a public servant and work for you.

Hans Liang, a Probation Officer, is an 11-year resident. He works with the Monterey Park police and other police departments. He will keep the city safe. He will work for nationally recognized stores in the Market Place. He will work with you.

Several written questions were submitted by the voters for the council candidates to answer about the county fire service issue, the youth in the city, business ownership in the city, traffic issues, the quality of our streets, the current lawsuit against the city, the Market Place, raising revenue in the city, the seniors, their most important issue, harmony at City Hall and going green.

The candidates had three minutes to answer each one of the questions. The total forum can be viewed on the city’s website and the city’s cable channels.

Their answers to the county fire service issue:

Mr. Avila said no to the long response times from the county police and fire departments. We need to keep our city fire and police department. No to County Fire.

Mr. Chan stated we have had our own fire department since 1916. We need to keep our good fire department. Going with the county we will not be saving money in the long run. We can’t lose our advanced life support paramedic service.

Mr. Sullivan stated we have the best fire department in California. The decision is up to the voters. He is waiting for the AD Hoc Committee report to be presented to council.

Mr. Liang said we need to keep our paramedic ambulance service. The county response time is longer. We need to keep local control.

Their answers to business ownership in the city:

Mr. Sullivan is retired and does not own a business in Monterey Park.

Mr. Liang works for Los Angeles County and does not own a business in the city.

Mr. Avila is a self-employed handyman.

Mr. Chan stated his business in not in Monterey Park.

Their answers to the current lawsuit against the city:

Mr. Chan stated it would be hard to predict the outcome of the lawsuit. He favors a financial settlement out of court.

Mr. Sullivan said he doesn’t know all of the facts. The city should looks at the hard facts and mitigate at that time.

Mr. Liang stated he would need all of the facts before making the decision to settle out of court or to go to court.

Mr. Avila said go to court and don’t settle out of court.

Their answers to the harmony at City Hall:

Mr. Sullivan said we need a knowledgeable city council to study and resolve the issues and work together.

Mr. Liang, who was born in the USA, stated we need to deal with people and not their ethnicity.

Mr. Avila said we need to respect each other. We have had some problems regarding ethnicity.

Mr. Chan stated we have overcome most of our differences. We respect and reach out to each other. We can learn from each other and move on.

The forum ended with the city council candidates closing remarks.

Joe Avila said he is not a big debater. He knows right from wrong. He wants to work for the people. He asked for your vote. He is a man of action and he gets the job done.

Peter Chan said it is an honor to serve the city. He loves Monterey Park. He will serve all of the people and work with all of the stakeholders of this city for the best decisions. He will balance the budget, improve the revenue and use our resources wisely. He asked for your vote.

Larry Sullivan promised to come prepared to the meetings. We need to work smarter and give back to the residents. He plans for retail sales and a healthy environment for the city. He asked for your vote.

Han Liang said he is the next generation of leadership. We need new ideas to move the city forward. He will do his duty for the best in Monterey Park. He will bring people forward. He asked audience for their support.

Please be sure to vote on March 5

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