By Galen Patterson
Forty-ninth District Assemblyman Ed Chau was escorted by security out of the Secretary of State’s office on March 8, 2018.
In an official letter sent by Secretary of State Alex Padilla to Speaker of the California State Assembly Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember Chau entered the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Sacramento office with questions involving the ballot designation of one of his opponents in the race for the 49th District seat.
“While he was here, Assemblymember Chau raised his voice and spoke to staff in a highly aggressive and demeaning tone, at times leaning over the counter and raising his hands at staff while berating them,” the document states.
In Speaker Rendon’s response, he acknowledges that the behavior Chau was exhibiting was inappropriate for a member of the Assembly and that Rendon does not condone the actions.
The document states: “I have spoken to Assemblymember Chau regarding this incident and have discussed my expectations. I am confident that these behaviors will not take place again.”
The original complaint, filed by office staff, says that the person who filed the complaint only became aware of Chau’s presence when he raised his voice in an aggressive and confrontational manner toward a female co-worker, and argued about an opponent’s ballot designation. The complaint goes on to say that Mr. Chau had spoken to the staff about this exact issue on previous occasions and the issue had already been addressed. The complaint says the staff member approached the desk, told Chau he could not behave this way toward the professional staff members. The complaint then says that Chau claimed the female staff member was also yelling at him and being unprofessional, which the complaint immediately discredits, stating that she was not. According to the complaint, Chau remained “rude, condescending and agitated,” and security was then called.
The staff involved in the incident declined to comment, and out of respect, Arcadia Weekly has decided not to use their names. However, readers can view the complaint here.
Assemblyman Chau did comment on his actions stating:
“On March 2, 2018, I called the Secretary of State’s (SOS) Elections Division because I was concerned that the candidate running against me in the upcoming election might be using a ballot title that could be improper or misleading to voters.
“I spoke to an employee who said that she could not discuss it, but if someone wanted to challenge the ballot designation, they could do so in court by filing a ‘Writ of Mandate.’
“On March 8, I went directly to the SOS office in Sacramento to see if I could discuss this with an expert in-person to get clarification. I reiterated my request multiple times until staff finally produced a copy of the documents that they had been in possession of during the entire time I was there.
“I want to make it clear that I went in as a member of the public and did not identify myself as a legislator during this exchange and I did not ask for special treatment. I just wanted an answer.
“If I raised my voice, it was in frustration for their refusal to provide information despite repeated requests, and I am regretful of the incident and take full responsibility.”
Assemblyman Chau is running against Arcadia candidate and former Sheriff’s Department Officer Burton Brink.