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Cerritos Mayor pro tem Chen Calls ‘Public Meeting’ About ABCUSD Bond Measure, Press ‘Not Invited’  

Embattled Cerritos City Councilwoman Carol Chen.

Cerritos Mayor pro tem Carol Chen called an “urgent meeting to discuss ABCUSD proposed Bond Measure, “so the public can know what is going on.” When HMG-CN asked to attend the meeting, Chen replied, “no press invited guests only.”

 

By Brian Hews

In a highly unusual move, Cerrito’s Mayor pro tem Carol Chen sent a personal email with addresses obscured from her individual Yahoo email account on Monday June 30 calling an “urgent meeting” to seek input on the proposed ABCUSD $680 million Facilities Master Plan and $235 million Bond Measure.

When asked, Chen indicated she did not want the press at the meeting.

The School Board will be discussing both of these issues at the July 8 meeting and voting on them at the July 15 meeting.

In her email Mayor pro tem Chen said, “given the facts I know of current(ly), if the bond passes it will impact/increase your property tax bill hundreds of dollars annually. ABCUSD School Board members Lynda Johnson and Soo Yoo both have reached out to me to get this information out to the public.”

Chen meeting email

She asked for email recipients “to share their viewpoints with Johnson and Yoo tonight 8 PM at 11306 E. 183rd St., third floor in Cerritos. It is an office building between Big Five Sporting Goods and Sears Automotive.” Sources tell HMG-CN that Chen owns the building.

Chen ended the email by saying I do appreciate your reply by email if you can attend this important meeting.”

Based on the statement by Chen in the email where she said, “I wanted to get this information out to the public,” HMG-CN contacted Chen by email to attend the meeting.

Chen’s terse one-line reply was, “no media, invited guests only.”

Chen replies “no media”

HMG-CN contacted Cerritos City Manager Art Gallucci about the meeting, who said, “the city was not aware of the meeting until you (HMG-CN) emailed the information to me. This is not a city meeting therefore the city will not be participating in any official capacity.”

When HMG-CN contacted ABCUSD Board Member Lynda Johnson about the meeting, she said, “I am attending and will take input from attendees, but I am there as an observer only.

Calls into Soo Yoo were not returned at the time of publication; Carol Chen was one of Yoo’s largest supporters financially and publicly during her successful run for the ABCUSD Board.

One Cerritos resident who wanted to remain anonymous and who sent the email to HMG-CN said, “ I’m guessing she and the city probably doesn’t want it (the Bond Measure) because the city has been wanting to raise water rates and maybe a utility tax. This could cause conflict between the district and city hall. If she’s against it, in my opinion this meeting is an attempt to sabotage funding for schools, while considering taxing residents to pay for council perks and lifetime benefits for her and her colleagues. We rank 46th in the nation in education, this is absolutely wrong, secret meetings are undemocratic.”

 11:44 p.m. UPDATE:

HMG-CN reporters attempted to attend the meeting and was personally turned away by Cerritos Mayor pro tem Carol Chen.

Several other residents of Cerritos wanted to attend the meeting and were also turned away including current Cerritos Commissioner (appointed by Mayor Mark Pulido) Levi Javier and former California Assemblywoman Sally Havice.  Havice made her way into the third floor meeting and was asked to leave Chen’s meeting.

Termed out Cerritos Council-member Bruce Barrows was “allowing” attendees through to the elevator, others were turned away.

Seen entering the meeting were ABCUSD Board Members Lynda Johnson and Soo Yoo. Former Cerritos Mayor Grace Hu was also seen entering the meeting, as was Cerritos Public Safety Committee Member Matt Kauble, Cerritos Republican Club Member Gordon Hom, Joan Plyman, and even former ABC School Board Member Cecy Groom was escorted into the meeting.

 

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