First term Monterey Park Councilman Stephen Lam got his first stint as Mayor of Monterey Park Thursday night, Dec. 28, 2017, when he took the ceremonial oath of office before a standing-room only crowd in the city council chambers. More than 300 persons attended the celebration, including other elected officials and many supporters.
Lam succeeded Council woman Teresa Real Sebastian, an attorney, who has filled the mayoral position throughout most of 2017. The mayor's job rotates throughout the five-member city council. Each council member gets a chance to serve as mayor at least once during their four-year term on the council. The next mayor will be Peter Chan, who was installed as vice mayor and serves as the Mayor's back-up. Many community organizations were present to honor the new mayor with presentations and recognitions. Many took photos with the new mayor. Among the presentors was the Greater Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce. Lam was a member served on board of directors of the previous Chamber.
The ceremonial oath for the new mayor was administered by Congresswoman Judy Chu, who previously served on the Monterey Park City Council. Assemblyman Ed Chau swore in Chan.
Although primarily ceremonial, the city mayor can influence city policies and directions. Real Sebastian is credited with pushing the remodeling of the South Garfield commercial area to attract more businesses and restaurants.The mayor chairs council meetings and serves on some regional boards such as the County Sanitation District.
Lam started his career as a banker and later formed his own financial and real estate firm at the age of 26. With the success of these businesses, he founded Lams USA Group, LLÇ where he is the President and CEO. Lam is also owner of a woman’s dress shop in downtown Monterey Park. He served as chair of the downtown Business Improvement District Advisory Committee for several years.
(Note: Article includes on-site reporting by Kyle Chang)