Temple City Welcomes Chavez, Yu

Cathé Wilson and Ken Gillanders both left the office of city councilmember on Tuesday, March 17, 2009.

Wilson, who served as Temple City mayor for four terms and councilwoman for sixteen years, and Gillanders, a fifty-four year resident and long-serving councilman, were defeated in the local election earlier this month.

Gillanders placed fourth and Wilson fifth, in a pool of six candidates. Two city commissioners, Vincent Yu and Tom Chavez, garnered the most support.

“Thanks for putting up with me for thirty years,” joked Gillanders during the council meeting.

Despite the fact that she is no longer on the council, Wilson pledged to continue to volunteer.

“My biggest regret was the Piazza,” she said. “We were all fooled on that.”

State Senator Carol Liu (D-Temple City) was also present to express appreciation for their service to Temple City.

After Wilson and Gillanders departed, City Clerk Mary Flandrick gave the oath of office to Chavez and Yu.

Yu is the second Asian American elected to the Temple City city council. Along with councilwoman Judy Wong, there are now two Asian Americans serving together on the council.

Councilman Fernando Vizcarra then nominated councilwoman Wong for the position of mayor. Wong was unanimously approved to be the mayor for 2009-2010. Elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007, Wong previously served as mayor in 2007-2008.

Next, Dave Capra, the mayor pro tempore from 2008-2009, nominated Vizcarra for the position of mayor pro tempore. Vizcarra also received unanimous support from his colleagues.

The first major issue presented before the new city council was the hiring an economic development/redevelopment consultant.

In January, the former council gave preliminary approval to Avant Garde, but requested the firm return in 30 days with a more detailed plan for Temple City. On Tuesday evening, the new city council decided to postpone the matter and instead hold a special meeting next week.

Linda Payne, President and CEO of the Temple City Chamber of Commerce, criticized the city council for allowing new firms to compete after having given Avant Garde the greenlight.

Payne testified in support of the work Avant Garde had completed in the past month. She noted that they had met with the Chamber four times and had been walking around Temple City to bring back a more specific proposal.

Wong did offer an apology to Avant Garde, but defended the council’s decision. She stated new information was needed for the benefit of the new councilmembers.

The new city council is expected to address unresolved and new issues. The Piazza project and economic development are likely to be the council’s top priorities.


This article was written by Randy Shun. It was published in the Temple City Voice on June 5, 2009.


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