Temple City residents gathered in Temple City High School’s room 601 on Monday, February 9 for the City Council candidates’ forum hosted by the Temple City Chamber of Commerce and conducted by the League of Women Voters.
The forum began with a three minute opening statement from each of the six candidates, former councilman Chuck Souder, Parks and Recreation commissioner Tom Chavez, councilman Ken Gillanders, Silenus Ong, Mayor Cathé Wilson, and Planning commissioner Vincent Yu.
Souder began by talking about his past successes on the city council. He was on the council when Hometown Buffet, Togos, and Baskin Robbins first opened in Temple City. During his term, the reserve money went from 2 million dollars to 25 million.
Chavez, a legal ethics professor at Pasadena City College, spoke about the importance of “maintaining transparency and good ethics” on the council. He wants to do what is best for the city.
Gillanders, who was first elected in 1978 and who served on the council for 35 years, said that Souder did not propose his previously stated projects on his own. He also stated $920,000 dollars was put in the bank during his term on the council.
“Sometimes, I make the right decision and sometimes I make the wrong decisions,” said Mayor Cathé Wilson, “even though it seems like we’re going backwards, we can still go forward.” Wilson was first elected on the council in 1990 and has served for 17 years.
Ong accused the current council of “deciding not to decide” and promised to improve on infrastructure and housing issues. He claims to not like change, but can “graciously handle incremental change in the broad spectrum of city life.”
Yu cited his experience of being an architect for 27 years. He understands how to run a business and has dealt with large scale development before. He hopes to make a difference in the city and solve the diversity issues with the new immigrants.
The opening statements were followed by several rounds of audience submitted questions. Many of the questions asked about the development of the land on the corner of Las Tunas Drive.
Every candidate except Gillanders wanted redevelopment. Gillanders claimed that the council voted against eminent domain and that redevelopment of the land could not happen.
The evening ended with the candidates’ closing statements which reiterated their vision for the city. The election is on Tuesday, March 3, 2009.
A video of the forum is available online at the Temple City Chamber of Commerce’s website.
This article was written by Christine Keung. It was published in the Temple City Voice on February 27, 2009.