A small group gathered at the northeast corner of Bruceville and Laguna Boulevard on September 18 to raise awareness of two separate recall campaigns against local politicians.
The campaigns were launched earlier this year to collect enough signatures to qualify for a special election in 2022, which would allow voters to decide whether Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and the school district administrator Elk Grove’s unified, Nancy Espinoza Chairs, should be allowed to continue in office. .
Both campaigns must collect enough signatures to meet their deadlines this fall.
Recall campaign against Singh-Allen
The recall petition against Singh-Allen was started by the activist group Elk Grove Hmong Americans (EGHA) and seeks to impeach her through a special election. She was elected mayor last year when she defeated outgoing President Steve Ly, who became the first Hmong mayor of the United States in 2016.
Organizers of the activist group say Singh-Allen made derogatory comments targeting the Hmong community.
Singh-Allen, a former administrator of the Elk Grove Unified School District, joined the Elk Grove mayoral race last summer, after becoming one of many local women who said she was harassed by associates or supporters of Ly.
A month earlier, she had used her personal Facebook page to refer to the patriarchal Hmong clan system as a “system of control and intimidation used to attack and silence these women.” It was this statement that led to protests against Singh-Allen which also included an online petition for her to resign from the school board.
The group is working to collect around 11,000 signatures, or just over 10% of Elk Grove’s 104,697 registered voters in the 2020 election. They must reach the target by October 21 for the issue to be resolved. registered in the municipal election of November 2022.
Orangevale resident Marie Vue, one of the EGHA organizers, spoke about the recall effort.
“(Singh-Allen called) our culture, our kinship system, ‘an intimidating and controlling system used to (attack and) silence these women,'” she said. âThis is incorrect. So far, it’s been a little over a year. We are still trying to find a solution. We’re here to raise awareness of the recall effort we launched earlier this year, in May.
âWe don’t think that a politician like Bobbie Singh-Allen, who can’t understand the pain she has caused or inflicted on a community, should be the leader (of Elk Grove). So, we are here to remind the mayor.
Vue said she was unable to provide the total number of signatures collected as of September 18.
“We don’t have a figure yet, because we haven’t started counting how many signatures we have,” she said. âWith limited volunteers, we didn’t start this (process). But we should have the final numbers by early October.
Vue told The Citizen that Americans in Elk Grove Hmong have a very diverse group of supporters.
âA lot of times we go out here and people see a group of Hmong standing here and they think it’s a Hmong effort,â she said. âIt’s actually a community effort. We have a large, diverse group that (meets) at least twice a week to discuss recall efforts. “
While attending the September 18 rally, Eric Rigard, who will run in the California State Assembly District 9 election next year, said he currently supports recall campaigns against Singh -Allen and Espinoza.
Rigard thinks Singh-Allen “made false claims” and “must go”.
Singh-Allen responded to the recall campaign to remove her from her post.
âI have focused and continue to focus on governance and working to make Elk Grove the best community for our families and businesses,â she wrote in a statement.
âNew jobs are being created, free transportation for school-aged children is a reality and we have programs with funds available to help small businesses weather this pandemic. I was elected with a record number of votes. My duty is to continue to do the work of mayor, and I wish everyone to join me because we are stronger together. “
Since the recall effort against Singh-Allen was launched, one of its organizers, Mia Foster, has resigned from the group and subsequently reconciled with Singh-Allen.
Singh-Allen opened up about his communication with Foster during an interview with the Citizen last May.
âI have had many meaningful meetings and discussions with Mia Yang Foster and others,â she said. “Mia and I are working together towards hope and healing.”
Recall campaign against Espinoza
As for the recall effort against Espinoza, he aims to remove her from her school board seat through a special election next year.
Parent group EGUSD Parent Coalition says the administrator abused parents who attempted to participate in the process to reopen schools in the school district.
Coalition members called on Elk Grove School District officials to reopen full-time campuses, learning in person this winter and spring. Schools were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic last year and were partially reopened this spring. In July, Elk Grove Unified returned to full-time in-person learning at the start of the current school year.
The EGUSD Parent Coalition also believes Espinoza may have been influenced by the Elk Grove Education Association’s Political Action Committee (PAC), which represents teachers in the district. This PAC made many contributions to his campaign.
To qualify for a special election in November 2022, the recall campaign against Espinoza must collect more than 18,700 signatures from voters residing in the school district by November 17.
Erin Somers, Chair of the EGUSD Parents Coalition, shared her dissatisfaction with Espinoza’s service as a school trustee.
âWe think Nancy, in particular, of the seven school counselors, has really just demonstrated some sort of lack of engagement on behalf of the student voice,â she said. âAnd more importantly, because we are the coalition of parents, the voice of parents. But the parents represent the students.
âThe reason we think this way is because it was demonstrated last year, during the push to reopen, when we really started to create movement and get over 50 votes in board meetings. Zoom administration. “
Somers added that at one such meeting, Espinoza suggested reducing the amount of time these parents could speak during the public comment period.
âIt’s not fair,â she said. “We should never limit parents” (comments). We are committed to ensuring that our children have the best education possible and that is why we have worked very hard to reopen our schools. “
Somers said the signatures collected for a special election for Espinoza’s trustee seat have yet to be counted.
In support of the recall effort against Espinoza, Rigard spoke of his support for the EGUSD Parent Coalition.
“They have legitimate complaints,” he said. âAnd they approached the school district. Nancy (Chairs) Espinoza who was there (at a school council meeting), in some kind of hot mic situation, she kind of made fun of them. And I just think they should be taken seriously, because those parents are the most affected.
Espinoza this week shared her thoughts on the recall effort to remove her from office.
âThe parents I come into contact with on a daily basis are like me, focused on what we can do to improve the safety and educational experience of students by working together,â she wrote in an email message to Citizen. . “The lack of public interest in this recall effort is further proof that these individuals are not representative of our community and that parents do not find their claims credible.”