The first city council candidates’ forum for the March 3, 2009 elections took place on Saturday, January 31, 2009. The forum was sponsored by the Temple City Voice and the Junior State of America (JSA) at the Civic Community Center at City Hall.
There are two seats open on the city council. All six candidates, Silenus Ong, Tom Chavez, Vincent Yu, Cathé Wilson, Ken Gillanders, and Chuck Souder, were present at the forum. Three other elected officials were also in attendance: councilwoman Judy Wong, councilman Fernando Vizcarra, and School Board member Joe Walker.
The candidates’ forum kicked off with an introduction from JSA president Evelyn Kessler and the Voice’s Editor-in-Chief Jessilyn Chwa.
Randy Shun, the JSA Activism director and the Community Affairs director for the Voice, served as the moderator.
Each candidate was given five minutes to make an introduction speech, in which they listed their qualifications, what the role of a city councilman is, and addressed their concerns and plans for Temple City.
“I’m a newcomer to the political arena” said Silenus Ong. He added, “…what the city needs is bold leadership with creative and innovative thinking.”
A city councilmember should “be truthful, open, and honest” commented Parks and Recreation commissioner Tom Chavez. Chavez also cited his legal expertise and tenure as a professor at Pasadena Community College.
“I bring with me the experience of development” stated Planning commissioner Vincent Yu. Yu also spoke of his position as an architect for the county of Los Angeles.
Incumbent mayor Cathé Wilson spoke of her tenure on the city council and said, “The reason why I am running again is because I still see things that I would like to see done.”
Incumbent councilman Ken Gillanders spoke of his history and reminded voters he only makes up one of five members on the city council. Gillanders, who moved to Temple City in 1954, pledged his commitment to not enact a city tax.
“I left the job undone” said former councilman Chuck Souder. Souder’s reason for running again, “I think that I can do a good job.”
The first question posed to the candidates was what they felt was the number one problem in Temple City. All six candidate agreed that redevelopment of the business sector in Temple City was their main concern. Transparency also was mentioned.
Candidates also tackled questions on what they thought was best about Temple City, their views of the city’s diverse population, the allegations concerning the Piazza project, a smoking ban on the city’s public parks, and leadership traits each possessed.
JSA president Evelyn Kessler and vice-president Jason Wu gave the closing remarks.
The entire candidates’ forum can be viewed on the website of the Temple City Chamber of Commerce.
This article was written by Sophia Chang. It was published in the Temple City Voice on February 20, 2009.