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Alhambra Democratic Club endorses Mark Nisall and Ken Toh for city council

The Alhambra Democratic Club formally endorsed city council candidates Mark Nisall and Ken Toh after a candidate forum on Wednesday night.


Both Nisall, a retired law enforcement officer and court manager, who is running for the third district, and Toh, a retired fire inspector, who is running for the fourth, were perceived as candidates who weren’t too closely connected to the current city council, and would therefore bring change to Alhambra, as club members told the Alhambra Source.

They called for more transparency, more oversight, and for developers to better represent the middle class,” said founding member Adele Andrade-Stadler, via email.

Third district candidate Jeff Maloney, a lawyer for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, defended his ties to the city government, after Nisall accused him of being “beholden to the [current] city council.”

“The worst thing someone could say to me is that I have the support of Judy Chu and Mike Eng and all of the members of the city council. So be it,” Maloney said. David Mejia, who works for the LAPD’s Internal Affairs division, is running against Toh for the fourth district seat, currently occupied by Dr. Steven Placido.

Candidates speak out on the issues

All four city council candidates spoke out for more transparency and community outreach from the city council, and opposed federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money being used to build a parking structure at Almansor Park.

Both Nisall and Toh said that this money, which is earmarked for community development initiatives that benefit low-to-moderate income residents, should be used to repair streets and sidewalks, with Nisall also suggesting that the money could be used to construct a police sub-station. Toh said the money could also towards more green space with drought-resistant vegetation, and even mentioned building a dog park using the money.

Mejia wanted to use the money to bring more business to Valley Boulevard, which he said was attracting vagrants with its empty storefronts. Maloney suggested that the city use it to develop more parks, and therefore take the pressure off of Almansor Park.

Candidates also told the Democratic Club what they would do about Alhambra’s Superfund site, designated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency as needing long-term cleanup of hazardous waste. Mejia called for federal grants to clean it up, while Nisall suggested more pressure to actually get the EPA funds to clean it up. Looking towards the future, Maloney said that the city should prevent types of pollution like stormwater contamination, particularly by developers.

“They should capture every drop of stormwater that falls on that parking lot, within up to a certain reasonable level, so that water’s not going in the storm drain,” he said.

When asked about the grassroots efforts they were engaging in to improve the quality of life of homeowners and renters, Maloney spoke about his work with the Alhambra Preservation Group and Mejia emphasized his efforts to empower neighbors to help each other take care of issues like graffiti and other public safety problems. Nisall spoke about his campaign as a grassroots effort against overdevelopment and rising home prices in Alhambra, and said that developers should be required to provide some housing for “middle-class working families,” every time they wanted to do business in the city.

And when it comes to preventing a future disaster, such as when Alhambra dumped raw sewage into the Los Angeles and Rio Hondo rivers from 2011 to 2013, Maloney called for better monitoring and project management, Nisall advocated for better inspections and Mejia suggested that the city save money to deal with similar emergencies in the future. Toh called for the city to hire more experts and invest in new technology to monitor Alhambra’s sewer system.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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7 thoughts on “Alhambra Democratic Club endorses Mark Nisall and Ken Toh for city council”

  1. Just received Mejia’s misleading hit piece on Ken Toh. I know neither candidate personally but researched the facts and found that the mailer implies that Toh is unfit because he was fired by Alhambra Fire Dept and sued the City for $800,000. The mailer omits the pertinent facts surrounding Toh’s dispute with the Fire Department over a difference of opinion concerning the cause of a major fire in Alhambra. Toh’s theory of the fire being the result of arson based on a security camera video showing suspicious activity the night of the fire and his ability to speak to victims and witnesses in their native language did not sit well with the Fire Chief. Toh was charged with interfering with an investigation by the Fire department and the LA County DA. He was quickly exonerated by a jury after one hour of deliberations. Toh did sue the City after being fired and the City settled with him for $800,000. Misleading voters by omitting the pertinent facts of the case smells to me like Los Angeles style dirty politics. I urge all Alhambra voters to look up the facts by going to “Ken Toh Alhambra LA Weekly” and reject Mejia’s big city dirty politics.

  2. In the interest of fairness and transparency,I would like to clarify my position with the Los Angeles County Superior Court. I retired as a Court Manager and not as a Judicial Officer. Judicial Officers are elected and appointed Judges and Commissioners. Thank you.

  3. Toh,
    We Support You!!

  4. Can grassroot candidates beat Mejias and Maloney who are backed by the council and the chamber? I say yes they can! Outsiders Mr. Sunada and Elizabeth Salinas came within 400 votes of beating the the machine backed incumbents in the last two elections. So there is hope to reverse the policies of the last 15 years which favored the real estate investors and developers who influenced the direction of our city by loading up the campaign war chests of their candidates. Both Toh and Nisall have stated they will not accept money from city contractors and developers. This sets them apart from their opponents and I will vote for them. I hope the voters of Alhambra realize this is a golden opportunity to change the direction of the city. We need other voices on the council that sparks debate and moves us toward transparency, and a city government that focuses on our quality of life and not the interest of a small circle of contractors, realtors and business insiders.

  5. It was an excellent forum, and I believe the Democratic Club made the right choice to endorse Mark Nisall and Ken Toh. It’s time to change the status quo at the City Council, and they represent that change.

  6. Very interesting that the anti-establishment candidates were picked. Could this election usher in the end of an era in Alhambra? I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Please vote everyone.