Councilmembers Feud over the Lunar New Year

Sternquist asks indicted councilmember to not represent the City at the event.

Written by MATTHEW WONG / Published August 16, 2010 (ONLINE ONLY)

A rare, open dispute between two members of the City Council arose when Temple City Councilwoman Sternquist on Tuesday publicly asked the former mayor to not represent the City at the upcoming Lunar New Year celebration.

“If you’re doing it as a representative of the Chinese American group, I don’t have any major concern with that,” Sternquist said near the end of the January 19 city council meeting.

“I do have a concern if you are doing it as a representative of the City Council,” she said.

Judy Wong, the first Asian mayor of Temple City, and former mayor Cathé Wilson have been indicted on charges of bribery related to the Piazza at Temple City development.

The women have pleaded innocent and both are expected in court again on March 5.

“I’m torn and frustrated that you would choose to represent the City in that capacity when so many of our residents and citizens are feeling that that’s not an appropriate thing for someone who is indicted to do,” Sternquist continued.

If convicted, Wong faces a maximum of 10 years and 4 months in prison, while Wilson faces a maximum of 9 years in prison.

Sternquist added, “I just feel that as a councilmember who cares deeply about this City and about the residents that we need to move forward and it’s just not in the best interest for you to be in that capacity.”

In response to her colleague, Wong reacted sharply.

“It’s really up to you guys, if you don’t want, wish me to take care of this program, we can just cancel the event,” Wong declared.

Wong was the only Chinese American elected to the City Council before Temple City voters backed then-Planning commissioner Vincent Yu, a Wong ally, in 2009.

Wong is known for her support and commitment to the Chinese community in Temple City. In years past, Wong has served as an emcee to the Lunar New Year event, which is co-sponsored by the Temple City Chinese American Association.

After responding to Sternquist, Wong noted that the city of Rosemead had allocated $9000 for their Lunar New Year celebration.

“[And] how much money did Temple City budget for the event?” she asked. “$500.”

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