By Galen Patterson
Mayor Pro Tempore Sho Tay was appointed by the City for an extended second term in office specifically because he was the only candidate from the 3rd district. One other 3rd district Arcadian had drawn papers, but had not submitted them. With the lack of any prospective write-in candidates, Tay had his second term locked down on January 25th, 2018.
The final deadline for any candidate to file the papers was January 12, 2018, which means that Tay was officially running unopposed after this day. On January 15th, Tay’s committee, “Sho Tay for Arcadia City Council 2018” received two separate contributions from two development-related companies.
The first contribution was from Tony Chen, owner of Candet properties. Chen gave Tay’s committee $1,000.
The second contribution came from James Chou, listed as the owner of Concord Property Management. Chou gave Tay’s committee $2,500.
What makes these donations interesting is the fact that both Chen and Chou would have known about Tay running unopposed and would therefore not have an obvious reason to donate to him. While Chen lives in Arcadia’s 2nd district, not Tay’s 3rd district, Chou does not live in Arcadia and Concord Property Management may not even be a real company.
More perplexing still is that both Chen and Chou have declined to comment on their contributions, and perhaps one of the most puzzling features of this mystery is Mayor Pro Temp. Tay using their money to pay for mailers in both districts 2 and 5 to support candidates Bob Harbicht and Roger Chandler.
The mailers, paid for by Tay’s committee, call for urgency to protect people from home invasions, suggesting the current council has not adequately handled the task. However, since both Chandler and Tay are currently serving on the council, the mailer furtively suggests that electing candidate Bob Harbicht, thereby ousting incumbent candidate Tom Beck, will change the crime rate in the city, even though all councilmembers have a proven track record of giving the Arcadia Police Department what they need to effectively do their job.
These mailers circulated amidst a mailer whirlwind of information aimed at almost every candidate. However unflattering and opinionated some of these mailers were, one organization was steadfast in circulating mailers with false information written only in Mandarin and attacking candidates Tom Beck, Jolly Wu and Joyce Platt. The Arcadian’s Rights Protection Association, registered under a non-Arcadia lawyer named Karlfeldt Su, has been reported to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
Arcadia made the choice to switch from at-large elections to district elections because of the misrepresentation of demographics on City Council. Arcadia is nearly 60 percent Asian and yet has a single Asian Councilmember. Candidate Jolly Wu, has been denigrated by Tay in several forms including social and Chinese media, and by door-to-door campaigners, some of which were recruited from Tay’s WeChat rooms, meanwhile Tay openly supports Councilman Roger Chandler.
District elections were designed to bring representatives of cultural populations into local politics. What it has done is create hostility between candidates and council members, regardless of race. Mayor Pro Temp. Tay could not be reached for comment.