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Meet the Candidates for the Temple City Council Election

On March 3rd, Temple City residents will vote to fill two open seats on City Council. With six candidates in the running, and controversy over failed development plans and recent bribery allegations hovering in the air, this race is shaping up to grow more heated than those in years past.

The two incumbents and four challengers were interviewed and asked the same questions about their stands on issues concerning the city of Temple City. Here are their replies:

Cathé Wilson, Incumbent
Occupation
Mayor of Temple City, community volunteer
Age
A lady does not reveal her age
Length of Residency in Temple City
46 Years
What do you feel are the city’s most pressing issues?
Mentioning the area of Rosemead and Las Tunas, Mayor Wilson cited redevelopment as a top concern. “I strongly want the Alpha-Beta property to be built up, to be developed,” she also stressed, adding, “I see that coming in the near future.”
What do you like best about the city?
“All the years I’ve been here, it’s been a close-knit community,” boasted Ms. Wilson. “There is a low-crime rate, and we are financially better off than the cities around us because we have been financially prudent.”
What would you like to change?
“I would like to see us becoming a little bit more business-friendly,” spoke Ms. Wilson, explaining that she is interested in building businesses that serve all of the people of the community. She continued, “I think that I would like to see us financially continuing the way we are, keeping our reserves up, keeping up our infrastructure.”
Why should the people of Temple City vote for you?
“I am a strong believer in serving the community,” stated Ms. Wilson, explaining that she is a “24/7” volunteer at the Sheriff station as well as President of Temple City Pony Baseball. “I believe councilmembers should serve the people, which is something I have always done. I always talk to people personally, and am here to serve.” She finished by saying “ I am very fortunate to be running for Council for the fifth time.”

Kenneth G. “Ken” Gillanders, Incumbent
Occupation
Retired business owner
Age
76
Length of Residency in Temple City
52 Years
What do you feel are the city’s most pressing issues?
“Of course, what’s going on at Rosemead and Las Tunas,” replied Mr. Gillanders quickly, referring to the delay-riddled Piazza project. He also cited a lack of adequate park space for residents, stating that “population density requires additional parkland or expansion of parks.”
What do you like best about the city?
“More than anything friends, neighbors, and individuals,” answered Gillanders, explaining that he feels it is the residents of the city that make it great. He also noted that
“It’s a very comfortable place to live.”
What would you like to change?
Stating that he would like to “retain almost everything that’s here,” Mr. Gillanders pointed to expanding pubic recreation as a change he would like to make. “We only have two parks, and we need more,” he said, adding, “I don’t care for the idea of building parks by tearing houses down.”
Why should the people of Temple City vote for you?
“I’ve been on the council for 25 years…I know how it’s done and what needs to be done,” stated Mr. Gillanders. “Those who haven’t been here don’t know [how council works], and by the time they do know it’s the end of the term.”

Edward Thomas “Tom” Chavez
Occupation
Private attorney specializing in civil litigation and estate
planning, adjunct professor of the Paralegal Program at Pasadena City College
Age
54
Length of Residency in Temple City
28 Years
What do you feel are the city’s most pressing issues?
Mr. Chavez pointed to a “lack of new revenue sources and the need for redevelopment, in particular the Piazza project and the Las Tunas corridor.” “Based on recent events,” he continued, “ I also believe that we need to promote good ethics and transparency in our city government”. He also noted the need for “a contingency plan in place for a smooth transition if and when Charles Martin, the city manager and attorney, decides to retire.”
What do you like best about the city?
“Temple City is a great place to raise a family,” stated Chavez, “it is such a pleasure to take a walk in the morning or evening and be able to talk with our neighbors, many of whom we know on a first name basis.” He also praised the city’s schools and programs for youth and seniors, including annual summer concerts.
What would you like to change?
Mr. Chavez would like to see new businesses to enable citizens to shop and recreate within the city’s boundaries. He warned, however, that, “we must do it in a responsible and intelligent manner, one which will not only preserve, but enhance our quality of life.” He would also like to see more senior and student programs, as well as more open space. Finally, he would support televising council meetings in order to bring transparency to government.
Why should the people of Temple City vote for you?
Mr. Chavez believes voters should look at his active community participation in youth activities as well as his current service on the Parks and Recreation Commission, claiming, “I am dedicated to continuing to serve our city, and believe I can be most effective as a City Councilman.” He went on to say, “ I am committed to fiscal responsibility…I will foster new and intelligent business growth… I will bring to our City Council the professionalism, responsibility, and vision our citizens deserve.”

Silenus Ong
Occupation
Redevelopment consultant and valuation analyst
Age
65
Length of Residency in Temple City
Homeowner since 1982, moved back in 2000
What do you feel are the city’s most pressing issues?
“Forget about big box developments. We need to augment and replace the sales tax lost to neighboring cities,” averred Ong. He added that, “we need to improve and reverse the growing vacancies along Las Tunas Dr. and be more pro-business,” which he feels “the city has not been for over 20 years.”
What do you like best about the city?
Mr. Ong pointed to the small town environment, and “the proximity to stores and services… some of which ought to be in Temple City.”
What would you like to change?
Mr. Ong stated that in order to make Temple City a better place to live, “we need to change the political climate of Government and embrace tradition while accepting change.” He believes that a “fresh face in the City Council with vision is urgently needed.”
Why should the people of Temple City vote for you?
“People should vote for me because friends and foes that I know of do not sit on the City Council nor Commissions, therefore I come with a completely new and fresh slate,” stated Ong. Claiming that reelecting the incumbents would be “economic suicide,” Ong pronounced that he would “bring vision, focus and a can-do attitude.”

Charles G. “Chuck” Souder
Occupation
Retired business owner
Age
68
Length of Residency in Temple City
24 Years
What do you feel are the city’s most pressing issues?
Mr. Souder cited the economy as the number-one concern of the city, claiming, “The basic sales tax has been declining because there is no downtown area for a sales tax base.” He also believes that faltering of the redevelopment project at Rosemead and Las Tunas is a serious concern, and can be blamed on the City Council, manager and developers. “Run of the city is on automatic, and the council needs a plan,” stated Souder.
What do you like best about the city?
Temple City is a “beautiful city,” stated Souder, describing the community as “clean, neat and small.” He also noted that there are good programs for students and seniors, “great festivals,” and “great schools” as well as a low crime rate. “When you call the fire department or the Sheriff, you see them,” he boasted.
What would you like to change?
Mr. Souder believes that business needs to be promoted, and the current City Council is not business friendly. “The Alpha-Beta site, Rosemead and Las Tunas and other areas need redevelopment.” He stated that the city “needs direction.”
Why should the people of Temple City vote for you?
“I’m old and I’m good looking,” Souder replied with a smile in his voice. On a more serious note, he claimed that he would bring cohesiveness and transparency to the council, and that he has “served before, (from 1994-2003) and can do it again.”

Vincent Yu
Occupation
Architect, Head of the Architectural Unit at the LA County Department of Public Works
Age
52
Length of Residency in Temple City
18 Years
What do you feel are the city’s most pressing issues?
Mr. Yu iterated the need for “a clear vision and blueprint” to improve commerce and a dwindling tax base, deteriorating infrastructure, socioeconomic changes, loss of small-town appeal and finally, “the perception of indecisiveness, lack of transparency and integrity in city government.”
What do you like best about the city?
“The quiet, small-town feeling.”
What would you like to change?
“Working cooperatively with all stakeholders, I would like to help develop a vision for Temple City that is forward thinking and relevant to the rapid changes of socioeconomics in the City and Southern California. We need a physically attractive, socially supportive, and financially sound city which ultimately will improve the quality of life for all residents,” stated Mr. Yu, adding, “ It will not be easy.”
Why should the people of Temple City vote for you?
“People should vote for me because I have the right qualifications for Temple City at the present time,” claimed Mr. Yu. Referring to his 26 years of architectural experience, he went on say that, “I bring with me unique insight into the development process. Bringing vision to reality is what we architects do.” Mr. Yu also averred that his 6 years as a Temple City planning commissioner have helped prepare him for City Council.

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