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Home / Opinion / Opinion: Mayor Tay is putting his personal agenda above Arcadia’s citizens

Opinion: Mayor Tay is putting his personal agenda above Arcadia’s citizens

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By, Roger Nemrava

With the death of Council Member Roger Chandler, the Arcadia City Council was required to appoint a replacement or hold a special election.

Joyce Platt and Angela Hui, two qualified candidates who applied to fill the vacancy in District 5, were both nominated and voted on by council members Tom Beck and April Verlato. Platt came in a close second to Chandler in the 2020 election and was the logical choice.

Both candidates were on Mayor Pro Tem Paul Cheng‘s short list of who he would want to fill the vacancy. Angela Hui was on Mayor Sho Tay‘s short list. However, both were turned down by Mayor Tay and Mayor Pro Tem Cheng because neither of the candidates would commit to adopting the current district map during the re-districting process which is occurring right now. As a result, Mayor Tay and Mayor Pro Tem Cheng are delaying the adoption of a new City District Map.

The reason that the council was unable to agree on an appointment to Arcadia City Council is because Mayor Tay does not want to have someone appointed that won’t preserve the city’s current district map. Mayor Pro Tem Cheng had suggested a “compromise” to fill the vacancy with Angela Hui until a special election in June, thinking that a newly elected member of city council could “change” the map after its adoption by the deadline on April 17. Mr. Cheng discovered that once the map is adopted, it cannot be changed for 10 years. A June special election would be too late.

Even though Mayor Tay terms out in November 2022, he is seeking to exploit a “loophole” in the way the city charter was written and run again in direct contradiction of the intent of the term’s limits adopted by the voters in the 90s.

Mayor Tay and Mayor Pro Tem Cheng are hoping to roll the dice with a judge (at the expense of the taxpayer) that the court will confirm the current district map for the November 2022 election, preserving Mayor Tay’s District 3, a district in which no one ran against him in 2018. Under the interpretation being argued by Mayor Tay, he could “run” again in 2022 and 2026. And if no one ever ran against him, he could run indefinitely. 

Council Member Verlato introduced the district map that would create a new District 3 that Mayor Tay would not reside in. Council Member Verlato’s basis for the new District 3 is the lack of civic engagement of the old District 3 that allowed Mayor Tay to run unopposed in 2018. The purpose of districting is to ensure equal representation in each of Arcadia’s five Districts based on population and density reported by the 2020 US Census. Therefore, it is necessary to redraw District 3 to encourage more civic engagement.

Mayor Tay and Mayor Pro Tem Cheng are putting the personal agenda of Tay above the best interests of the residents of the City of Arcadia. They will push this personal agenda at the expense and cost of the taxpayers.  Mayor Tay does not mind threatening to sue the city in order to get his name on the ballot and if the city does not comply, it will cost the taxpayer to defend against this lawsuit.  

Mayor Tay does not mind having a stalemate on the choosing of a district map and having the selection task go to court which costs must all be borne by the city. There is a specific government code that requires the city to reimburse the costs of the court’s demographer and the judge’s time in selecting a district map.

Council Members Beck and Verlato are fighting hard for the residents and voters of Arcadia to prevent the stalemate and have a neutral, objective fifth person on council who will break the 2:2 tie and save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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