|City Council Candidate Jolly Wu|
At a busy Chinese restaurant in Arcadia last week, Zig Jiang ordered dim sum and talked about the change coming to the council elections. It was a Chinese-American organization he belongs to that first threatened to sue the city.
Jiang said there’s a similarity between politics and food — what you know is often tied to your culture. "Just like eating Chinese food. Only Chinese know how to eat their own food," he said. Jiang feels the same way about Arcadia’s City Council.
"More Asians to be elected they'll be good because they know what we think," Jiang said. Although Arcadia's population is about 60 percent Asian, only one member of the council, Sho Tay, is Asian. Jiang wants to see more Asians elected to the council.
But this certainly wasn’t the first time that the issue of a lack of Asian representation on Arcadia’s City Council had been raised. This from nearly eight years ago:
Los Angeles Daily News, April 18, 2010: "Arcadia City Council loses its diversity" (link): Realtor Lawrena Chang admits she’s disappointed. Not one of the three Chinese-American candidates she voted for garnered enough votes to win one of the three open City Council seats in Tuesday’s election. With the departure of Mayor John Wuo, who was the second Chinese-American to be elected to the council, the ethnically mixed city is reverting to an all Caucasian council for the first time in 12 years.
“They are the same race. They know what we need more,” Chang said of the Chinese-American candidates she voted for while having dinner at Arcadia Garden Cafe this week. “They understand us more. I think it’s important.”
Businessman Sho Tay, Attorney Paul P. Cheng and Attorney Jason J. Lee were defeated this week by three familiar faces; Councilman Bob Harbicht, who will be serving a fifth four-year term, former councilman Mickey Segal, who will be serving his third term, and Councilman Peter Amundson, who is serving his second.
This will also be the third term in a row that the council will not include a woman.
Having read all that, wouldn't you think that the first Chinese-American woman running for an Arcadia City Council seat would be a cause for some celebration, and that the Asian community would rally together and get her elected? Jolly Wu, who is running for City Council in District 5, would certainly be just that candidate. But sadly this does not appear to be the case, at least so far.
The Chinese media, along with the Mayor ProTem, Sho Tay, seem to have blinders on and are doing the very opposite of what they had proclaimed was the purpose of districting. They are supporting the very same old, omnipresent white guys they once hoped to replace by going to this more geographically diverse form of representation.
In an especially mean-spirited diatribe appearing in a recent edition of the Chinese News USA, titled: "Residents In Arcadia Issued An Appeal Calling For Support For Bob Harbicht and Roger Chandler" (link), Jolly Wu is called "a banana," a derogatory term used to mean that she is "yellow on the outside, but white on the inside." In this classic example of reverse race-baiting, they portray her as a sell out to whites. The article also claims she is a plant by City Councilmembers April Verlato and Tom Beck meant to split the Chinese vote.
So much for bringing all of the people of Arcadia together.
Recently a Chinese language mailer was sent out in District 5 to residents with Asian surnames only. In this bizarre political hit piece Jolly Wu is described as being selfish because she somehow kicked all of the students off the Dial-A-Ride so she could have it to herself. This because she is "guilty" of being in a wheelchair.
This accusation is patently untrue. Ironically, and as reported on January 24, 2016 in the Pasadena Star News: "Arcadia students use of city’s Dial-A-Ride leaving seniors stranded" (link), it was Roger Chandler himself who said that kids need to be prevented from using the Dial-A-Ride. Jolly Wu wasn’t present at the meeting where this decision was made, nor did she have a City Council vote to make it happen.
“This was never intended as a school bus service and it’s clearly outside of the regulations for receiving the funds,” Councilman Roger Chandler told the Star-News. “Quite frankly, I suppose if we were audited, we would get nicked."
From everything that I have seen and read about Jolly Wu, she seems like a pleasant, intelligent and highly qualified candidate for Arcadia City Council. I have spoken with her at length on the phone, and I came away from our conversations being very impressed by the depth of her knowledge and passion for Arcadia.
In 2001, Jolly was able to raise $1 million dollars for the LA County Arboretum towards making it more handicapped accessible. It is extremely difficult to believe that so committed a person would be, in 2018, grotesquely attacked over her disability.
It would seem intuitive that the Chinese community in Arcadia would fully support so productive a member of society. So why such mean words in the Chinese language media? Why is Sho Tay backing Roger Chandler over the only Asian candidate running for a seat on Arcadia’s City Council this year? Especially when he had been so adamant about proclaiming a need for districting?
Maybe you, our kind and often indulgent readers, can help answer these perplexing questions?
More: At the last Arcadia City Council meeting The Tattler was treated like a celebrity. We were mentioned several times by the speakers during public comment, which is always nice. Thank you to all the readers who have made The Tattler such a hit in Arcadia.
I have always believed that criticism from those with opposing viewpoints means that we are on the right track. Exposing the truth can get messy, you know. And look, if somehow we've harshed on your mellow and upset you, please, kindly remember the Tattler motto: “If you don’t like it, don’t read it.”
In other words, you should go and get your news elsewhere.
One more item. Anyone wishing to find out more information about the candidacy of Jolly Wu can visit her website at https://votejollywu.com.