PAC sends mailers criticizing Alhambra City Council candidate Sunada, urging residents to vote for Sham

A political action committee based in Long Beach spent $1,950 on mailers that criticize Alhambra City Council candidate Eric Sunada, Pasadena Star-News reports. The mailers urge Alhambra residents to vote for incumbent candidate Stephen Sham and were sent to residents the last week of October.

The mailers — which focus on Sunada's position on the 710 freeway — were sent by Taxpayers for Quality Leadership. The PAC shares a phone number with political reporting service Crummit and Associates, a group that was fined in April by the Fair Political Practices Commission for its role in creating a deceptive mailer, the Star-News reports.

Read the full story from the Pasadena Star-News.

28 thoughts on “PAC sends mailers criticizing Alhambra City Council candidate Sunada, urging residents to vote for Sham”

  1. What does a Long Beach outside interest (paid by Sham) have to do with Alhambra business? Like Sunada, once I was a l00% supporter of completing the 710 Freeway, but slowly and slowly I’ve come to realize that the present council people care less whether this project is completed in spite of all the PR and banners on Fremont, and are using this situation ONLY to stay in office this is merely another ploy to remain in office. Now I AM COMPLETELY OPPOSED TO THE COMPLETION OF THE 710, because I think with the over development of dense projects in Alhambra, OUR COUNCIL IS CREATING THE TRAFFIC MESS AND USING THIS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE.

  2. I voted for Sham during his 1st and 2nd term. This time around, I voted for Mr. Sunada.I’m very disappointed that the current city council failed to represent the best interest of Alhambrans. I’m not going to vote for anyone who associates with the current city council.

    Residents of Alhambra are talking about the Sunada/Sham election everywhere I go (Market, Park, Schools, etc). It’s very clear that people are not happy with the current council, but failed to vote.

    It is not a good sign when half the city does not approve the current council actions and this election proved it. As time goes along the disapproval ratings will keep getting worse for the current council. People are upset over development.

    Alhambrans are not going to buy any new damage control actions the current council might wish to plan. The damage has been done and people are not going to forget.

    1. Great comments, I agree 100%

  3. I’ve moved to Alhambra thirteen years ago and the city has gotten worse. More traffic, pollution, over crowed schools, etc.

    In the last two city elections, I voted for some of the current corrupt city council members. I have awaken to their big scams and are not voting for them or associates anymore.

    A lot of Alhambrans like myself are tired and had it with the current city council members. They have failed their oath of office to do what is best for Alhambrans not developers and self interest.

    I applaud Mr. Sunada for running. His volunteers did an excellent job for starting to educate and wake up Alhambrans about the corruption in city hall.

    I was really impressed how they kept the election very close considering all the resources and money his opponent had. Sham might win, but it’s nothing to bragg about considering how close the election was.

    At this point, the current council members days are numbered. There terms for all “Five Puppets” are over and I’m sure there planning on installing more puppets.

    Alhambras have finally awaken!!

  4. @ Dan,

    I’m not trying to make any arguments. I’m not racist. Per the Bill of Rights, I have the freedom of expression. I don’t support the current council.

  5. @John Wayne, please don’t troll here. You immediately lose your argument when you do. You also come off as racist with your off-color name jokes and appear – in some weird way – as someone who supports the existing council members but who wants opponents to look bad.
    So, please be constructive and civil in your comments. We can all disagree (vehemently in some cases) without being childish jerks, or worse.

    1. Yes, commonly referred to as an “agent provocateur.”

      This IS Alhambra after all.

  6. Ellen was supposed to Efren.

    Big surprise. Big money wins again, just proving that we get the government that big money/power will buy. Developers win, People lose.

    1. So what’s the next conspiracy theory?

      Let the accusations continue…

      1. @Tim, Are you suggesting one of the earlier comments furthers a conspiracy theory? If so, which one?
        Conspiracy theories are detached from reality in the face of overwhelming evidence. For example, birthers who still think President Obama was born in Kenya. I don’t see one in the comments, so if you could elaborate that’d be helpful.

      2. @Dan, read all the crazy comments here that many have no substantial merits. That’s exactly how they’re poised – the city is “against us”. But of course, if it fits YOUR ideological agenda you wouldn’t even question it. That’s because everyone picks and chooses their battles – you’re no different Dan.

        Many people STILL support the city, and that’s why Sham still won…

      3. @Tim, Thanks for clarifying. If asking for a transparent government that better focuses on serving its residents is ideological, then I’ll proudly wear that label.

        I think you’re conflating the City of Alhambra with the city council members and their supporters. Of course we all support the City. We are the City. It acts on our behalf with all it does. For the record, I don’t think the City is against us. Yes, there are powerful vested interests that have a lot to lose if our government operates more transparently and focuses on serving all residents, but that doesn’t mean it’s us versus the government. However, it is one group of residents who would like to see change versus the established political group in power who cater to those vested interests to – what we consider – the detriment of the city as a whole.

        I agree that some of the comments are simply grousing about not liking the status quo and the City’s direction, but I’m not certain how you can factually argue there aren’t substantial merit to some of the arguments in the comments. For example, the evidence presented by Eric Sunada about outside interests trying to influence the election are undeniable. There must be a reason the PAC spent so much money to send those attack flyers. Do you know why? I’d like to know. Did it work? Maybe. Who knows? Until we know more, there’ll be a lot of guessing, but it’s reasonable to assume the people behind the flyers support Mr. Sham and have something to gain by him continuing to represent us or, stated in the alternative, something to lose if Mr. Sunada were to have won. Moreover, there is an undeniably strong relationship between the City of Alhambra and the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce. At least three of five (Dr. Placido, Mr. Yamauchi, and Mr. Sham) are former presidents of the Chamber of Commerce. The City partially funds a joint newsletter with the Chamber of Commerce. I expect a working relationship between the two organizations but the current relationship raises reasonable questions about whether the relationship is too cozy and colors decisions by the city council. Lastly, it’s an established fact that a developer attempted to bribe Dan Arguello and he and Efren Moreno clashed with other council members over the opacity with which the City operated, none of which seems to have cleared under the current council.

        Mr. Sham won by 174 votes (as of the last count) out of almost 8,000 people who voted. The fact that he won by a thin margin despite name recognition as the incumbent, significantly outspending Mr. Sunada, and with the majority of significant endorsements (Judy Chu, Ed Chau, Ed Hernandez, John Chiang, and more), suggests there is a lot of malcontent with with Mr. Sham and possibly the city’s direction in general.

        I’m willing to meet in person to discuss if you’d like to have a face-to-face conversation about this and how to improve Alhambra.

      4. Dan, I wish you would have said some of this earlier directly to the conspiracy theorists here…

        That 174 vote difference means not everyone is against Sham as conspiracy theorists here make it seem. Thanks for your own personal spin on it.

      5. Developers and real estate companies backing a Mr. Sham with so much money that even Mr. Sunada and all his volunteers could not win is depressing. I know the city allows this and it is legal, but it is so bad for the city. The city of Los Angeles does not allow it. I think it makes it impossible for regular citizens to win. I read the Pasadena Star article and it is clear that big real estate companies and outside people were involved in defeating Mr. Sunada. We will see more of the over developed projects going up and Mr. Sham and his financial supporters will be the winners and the people living here will be the losers.

      6. Gale, I know… it’s so terrible – this thing called economic development and building more homes so people can have a place to live just like you.

      7. These “outside” real estate firms are in fact, INSIDE. Look what familiar real estate agent, former city councilman/Mayor, and now city consultant was guiding Sham’s campaign?

        And if you can’t figure it out…HINT: His son is now Alhambra’s next-in-line for City Manager.

        Ahh, Alhambra…nepotism at its most blatant.

      8. I wholly agree with these comments (nepotism regarding the former councilman/mayor whose son now holds a high position is city staff). A few weeks ago I was searching the Alhambra City webpages and found this new addition to city staff listed. I wondered, was there an open search for that position, if this is a civil service position, were service service laws followed in order to appoint the “best quantified” candidate in that position – but knowing the city council, if I decided to question this, I definitely would not have gotten ANY information…as usual! (A few weeks ago I wrote Mayor Sham regarding a problem I had with Alhambra staff; but as unusual, no response!). Going back to the question of “nepotism” regarding the son of the former councilman/mayor he is also involved in the real estate transaction that will destroy a 100 year-old historical home in Alhambra while “pledging his love of Alhambra; it’s history” but still making big bucks while destroying part of the city’s history.

      9. Tim,

        Of course there are people on both sides of the issues and candidates.

        If the vote count sticks and Mr. Sham wins the election, it is by a very small margin, which means that almost 1/2 of all people who voted are not happy with the status quo.

        Even you have to take into account the major money and deceptive mailers (around 10) sent out by the Sham campaign. Do you agree that Mr. Sham is alone responsible for the increase in property values and that he championed the Design Guidelines? Have you ever been to a City Council Meeting?

        It doesn’t bother you that there was a hit piece against Mr. Suanda criticizing him for the same stand that Ms. Chu has. Why wasn’t Ms. Chu mentioned on the mailer also?

        Have you reviewed all of the financial reports submitted by both candidates to follow the money?

        Do you believe that Ms. Messina won the 2006 election fairly when she ran a campaign of deception regarding casinos and was fined $14,000 by the FPPC?

        Your arguments are oversimplified. If Mr. Sham prevails it is still up to him to represent and listen to ALL Alhambrans.

        Dan presents well-thought out arguments. You offer snarky retorts.

      10. I see, I offer snarky retorts yet so many others here offer the same. Of course, like Dan, you won’t bother with other comments that support your political views.

        All your other comments only see one side of the coin, which isn’t surprising since you don’t support Sham in the first place.

        As for listening to all Alhambrans, I think he does and the majority of votes show that. No politician will follow 100% of everyone’s desires.

      11. Mr. Montes de Oca

        We are all going to support one person over another. You seem to, as you say, also see one side of the coin.

        I have emailed City Council several times with issues and usually never hear back from them.

        I’m glad your experience has been much better.

        I agree with the Pasadena Star News editorial that Sham is a good man, but out of touch with how many Alhambrans feel. I felt that Mr. Sunada was a better choice just as you felt that Sham was. I did that have careful consideration of the issues and researching the contributions both candidates received and the money spent to influence other politicians.

        I’m still curious as to why you think the “hit piece” criticizing Mr. Sunada for not taking a stand on the 710 didn’t mention Judy Chu for having exactly the same position.

        Any comment on Ms. Messina’s “casino” campaign and subsequent fine?

        I respect your position but feel that you are a bit naive regarding the role that money plays in elections.

        Thanks

      12. @Tim, point taken.
        I don’t have time to engage everyone, so I don’t; however, I generally choose to engage when I think comments may be directed at me or require a reply; are off-color; or pique my curiosity such as when they allege facts I’m not aware of.
        Yes, most times I challenge people who don’t agree with me, but sometimes even those who do. For example, consider my response to John Wayne’s first comment, or look through comments I’ve made in some of the 710 threads where I ask people to back up their assertions.
        I’m a firm believer in the marketplace of ideas. Snark, mean-spiritedness, or comments without any facts to back them up can be ignored or taken with a grain of salt. But I think challenging someone to provide evidence that supports their assertion or to elaborate – as I did with your conspiracy theory comment – can be useful to help create dialog and furthering the discussion, as well as better understanding where the other person may be coming from. And, who knows, maybe it helps correct me when I’m wrong.

  7. Sadly, this sort of behavior is par for the course with Alhambra elections. Sadder yet, this mailing was relatively tame compared to some of flyers in years past (e.g. threats
    about a candidate making deals to bring in a casino). But we’re not alone. Elected officials are for sale across the U.S., especially after the Supreme Court issued it’s Citizens United decision, which legalized bribery to a large extent.
    On the positive side, this tactic demonstrates how much some established figures in our business community fear someone outside the grasp of the Chamber of Commerce gaining a council seat and threatening a potential repeat of Dan Arguello and Efren Moreno’s terms in which they asked questions, demanded answers, and expected transparency, and during which a well-connected developer was taped offering Arguello a bribe. There must be a lot to hide.
    If anything this chicanery should steel the community’s resolve to replace the current set of stooges with a slate of more progressive candidates like Eric Sunada. Whatever happens – good luck Eric – the race for 2016 and 2020 need to begin today. In the meantime, we also have California Public Records Act requests, recall elections, and ballot referendums to help.

    1. We need more people on the city council like Dan and Ellen. Hopefully, Eric will be such a councilman.

  8. This is typical Alhambra City Council behavior. Ethics is something they don’t understand. Just check out Barbara Messina’s history and the fines she has paid.

  9. This stinks of dirty politics. Donations to the Sham campaign from these type of individuals is WRONG. This is not what a fair election and democracy is about. With all the money he has why would Mr. Sham need to do this in order to win an election? Really mad about this!!

  10. Many of us “inside” of Alhambra City Hall, are well aware of the chicanery and level of corruption and influence that has plagued this city that we proudly serve.

    While these revelations are not surprising, this is only the tip of a very large, and well-entrenched “iceberg.”

    Alhambra’s citizens deserve better.

  11. Mr. Montes de Oca

    It is refreshing to see that Mr. Sunada’s campaign has the smarts to research these issues. I’m impressed.

    Alhambra will be very fortunate to have Mr. Sunada on city council.

  12. Unfortunately, the Pasadena Star-News did not have access to information that has just surfaced linking the PAC to the political committee Stephen Sham for City Council 2014.  We have found contributions made directly to the committee from the same corporation, P&W International Inc. that funded the PAC.  P&W International owner, David Hsu, is one of two principal donors to the PAC, Taxpayers for Quality Leadership.

    This information would have come sooner had not the required forms misidentified the corporation listing for David Hsu. Form 496 listed his corporation as R&W International Inc. instead of P&W International Inc.  Crummitt and Associates incorrectly listed this twice on the form.

    The consulting firm Crummitt and Associates that was mentioned in the article has been involved in numerous negative campaigns (link 1, link 2).  They are also responsible for running this PAC.

    The two principal donors to the PAC are David Hsu and Robert Kudler.  David Hsu, owner of P&W International, contributed $7,000 and Robert Kudler, owner of Kudco Inc., contributed $3,500 as listed on the Form 496 filed with Alhambra City Hall.

    On May 27, 2014, P&W International contributed $500 to Stephen Sham for City Council 2014.  Additionally, a gift donation was given on January 14, 2012.  The donation is listed under the American Chinese Culture Association.  David Hsu is the President of the American Chinese Culture Association.  He is also President of America Tour Inc., both located at the same address in Arcadia.  Documentation can be found at the Secretary of State website.

    As for Robert Kudler, he is the principal officer of Kudco Diversified.  Kudler has been fined $12,000 in the past for FPPC violations.

    Note that this PAC has suddenly introduced a lot of money into this race.  The $1,900 they report spending was prior to the mailer being sent out, so the final form will likely show much more being spent.  As of November 3, no additional reports have been filed with the city of Alhambra.  They are required to file within 24 hours for each expenditure in excess of $1,000.

    The introduction of outside money used to run attack ads raises questions of special interests trying to influence the election for hidden reasons.  By having over $14,000 injected at the last days of the race indicates powerful forces are at work to negate our campaign to bring transparency to a secretive city government.

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