Former Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly on Jan. 17 announced that he is running for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat in the June primary election.

District 5 encompasses more than 650 square miles and includes the Galt, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta communities.

Also vying for the District 5 seat are Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume, Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) Board President Jaclyn Moreno, and Isleton resident Vernon David Swart.

Don Nottoli has represented this district since 1994. He told the Herald last year that he will not seek reelection in 2022.

While standing in front of a group of his supporters at Elk Grove’s Backer Park, Ly told attendees of his campaign kickoff that he is running on several issues, including homelessness.

“In order to deal with (homelessness), we have to look at how to deal with poverty, in general,” he said, “and it’s not just homelessness. It’s making sure that we have the resources in place, so that we can actually address the homelessness crisis. This is a crisis that we see all over Sacramento County.”

Ly stressed a need to create policies pertaining to the housing crisis, the job market, and mental health issues that are associated with homelessness.

Another issue that Ly ranked as one of his top political issues is public safety.

“We are beginning to see over and over and over again selective prosecution,” he said. “We’re beginning to see over and over again that certain crimes by certain individuals do not warrant prosecution. These are things that are unexcusable for me. I think it’s incumbent for local boards, municipalities to make sure that public safety is top priority.”

Ly added that he desires to make sure that local law enforcement agencies have the finances to address issues in their jurisdictions.

Economic development is another issue that he described as an important issue to him.

“We have to make sure that we have the businesses that we’re welcoming in, so that we can move to the next (level),” the candidate said. “We can make sure that we have the jobs, and we have the workforce that’s ready for it.”

Ly also spoke of the importance of training for positions in trades, noting that “college isn’t for everyone.”

“These are things that are important along the lines of education — education not only in the form of college, but trade school, providing for all kids, for all people, who may want to switch their field,” he said. “This is about economic development and developing jobs in the future.”

Ly told the Herald that he is beginning his campaign with a lot of experience. He cited his history on the Elk Grove Unified School District board and the Elk Grove City Council.

“If you look at my track record, I’ve served on the (Elk Grove) school board, I’ve served as a council member, as a vice-mayor and a mayor elected (and) reelected,” he said.

Ly also shared his belief that he is the best choice for voters in this supervisorial election.

“I think I am the candidate that offers more,” Ly said in pointing to his other experiences, including working with youth in juvenile hall and helping with planning in Elk Grove.

“These are things that I think are critical for the candidate who would be elected, and I am willing to put my name on the ballot for consideration.”

Ly addresses heated 2020 mayoral election

At his campaign kickoff, Ly said that he was treated unfairly in the 2020 Elk Grove mayoral election, in which current Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen defeated him. His four years as the city’s mayor began in 2016, when he became the U.S.’s first Hmong mayor.

“This decision, (to run for county supervisor), it took us a long time to get here after unfair treatment in the last election,” Ly said. “It caused us to reflect whether we want to continue public service. But oftentimes, I always say, ‘Look, public service is not for me as a person. It is for the community.’”

During Elk Grove’s 2020 mayoral election, allegations were made that Ly’s associates or supporters harassed several local women who politically opposed him. Ly denied allegations that he had anyone harass people. Among Ly’s accusers were Singh-Allen and Moreno.

In response to these harassment allegations, Singh-Allen, in June 2020, used her personal Facebook page to refer to the Hmong familial clan system as a “controlling and intimidating system used to attack and silence these women.”

As for Moreno, she alleged that Ly “failed to act” regarding her harassment allegation, and instead sided with her “abuser.”

Moreno also called upon Ly to “dismantle the patriarchy” in the Hmong familial clan system.

After reviewing the harassment allegations against the mayor, the City Council, in August 2020, voted to request a Sacramento County Grand Jury investigation regarding those allegations. All four council members, including Hume, later endorsed Singh-Allen for mayor.

At a press conference last November, Ly referred to the council’s grand jury referral as “frivolous,” and added that it resulted “in nothing.”

Prior to making her allegations, Moreno joined Ly and campaigned with him on the Team Elk Grove coalition of candidates in local races in 2018. That year, Moreno was elected to the CSD board, and Ly won his second term as Elk Grove mayor.

While not mentioning any names during his campaign kickoff, Ly spoke about politicians who “continue to push a political interest by disparaging other communities and targeting certain individuals.”

“I think that is wrong, I think that is not transparent, and if you are perpetuating that, you are not fit for public office,” he said.