Elk Grove mayor accused of harassing women faces possible censure

Local News

The Latest — Thursday (August 13)

12:20 p.m.

In a 4-0 vote, the Elk Grove City Council members decided not to censure the city’s mayor.

Instead, they’ve referred the matter to the Sacramento County Grand Jury for investigation and directed staff to bring a proposed policy with guidelines/criteria for considering future censure situations.

Elk Grove does not have a formal policy on censure actions.

Original Story Below

ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — Elk Grove City Council members are deciding whether to censure the city’s mayor after multiple women accused him of harassment and bullying

“Enough is enough,” said Elk Grove Unified Board Member Nancy Chaires Espinoza. 

Espinoza said the nightmare began six years ago when she ran against Steve Ly for public office. 

“He saves his worst behavior for women and it’s just not acceptable,” Espinoza said. 

But despite losing to Ly, she said he continued to intimidate her online. 

“It’s just not fair. It’s just not right that women not be able to participate freely and contribute to their communities because we have to fear Mr. Ly making things up about us, trying to impugn our character,” Espinoza said. 

Espinoza’s story is one that’s shared by other women, like Linda Vue, Ly’s former campaign manager. 

“During that time, it was very toxic and I think by halfway, I knew that he wasn’t someone that I wanted to work with,” Vue said. 

She sounded the alarm back in June, accusing her former ally of pressuring her to take down social media posts that criticized him. 

“He holds the highest seat in the city and people look up to him,” Vue said. “The legacy that he is leaving is very shameful.”

Before city council members voted on whether or not censure him for his actions, about 100 community members got on the phone to make their voices heard, some defending the mayor. 

“I hope you all see that these women are clearly opponents and out to get the mayor and they’re using dirty tactics,” said one caller. 

At one point, Mayor Ly took a moment to defend himself when the city’s vice mayor suggested he resign. 

“You know, I just want to highlight the fact that the people put me here,” Ly said. 

Hours earlier, his accusers say they got an identical email asking to “sit down and find a way to move forward and heal.” 

But they say he never apologized to them directly or promised permanent policy change to prevent similar behavior, which is something his accusers are demanding. 

“This is way beyond politics as usual. It’s petty and vindictive,” Espinoza said. “It’s unprofessional and worse, it’s a distraction from the jobs that we’re all supposed to be doing in public service.” 

If the mayor is censured, it would not carry a formal penalty nor will it remove him from office. A censure is considered a public show of disapproval acknowledging wrongdoing. 

The mayor released a statement in response to the accusations against him, which can be read in full below. He has also put forward the idea to form an ethics commission. 


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