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ABCUSD Measure AA Defeated, Mendoza and Calderon Win, Apodaca and Chacon Claim Victory

By Brian Hews

Voters in Cerritos and surrounding areas soundly rejected Measure AA, the $190 million school improvement bond with opponents garnering 7,638 votes (56%) to proponent’s 5,045 (43%).

Turnout was a paltry 23% with only 13,500 voters voting versus 52,000 registered.

Interestingly all other school improvement bonds in Los Angeles County passed including Downey’s Measure O by a margin of 8,036 to 5,244 and Norwalk’s Measure G by a margin of 7,043 to 5,461.

School improvement bonds in Azusa, Compton, Basset, Santa Monica, Torrance, Hermosa Beach, El Monte, Rosemead, Fullerton, Los Nietos, and Saugus all passed.

In an email to HMG-CN ABCUSD Board Member Lynda Johnson, who surprisingly opposed the Measure said, ” I wish to thank the entire ABC community for exercising their right to vote. This past year, ABC has dealt with some significant issues, such as the changing of our election methodology from at-large to by-trustee voting, along with a proposed school improvement bond, Measure AA.  Let us take this opportunity to reflect on the positive impact on what these issues have been to our community.  It has engaged our community leaders, stakeholders and elected officials in a healthy dialog about the future of ABC.  As we move forward, let us take the lessons we have learned and focus on the road ahead of us.”

 Proponents of measure AA in the ABCUSD outspent their opponents by margin of 3 to 1 but the barrage of lies put out by opponents, as reported in HMG-CN, seemed to turn the vote as the measure still went down to defeat.

Dr. Mary Sieu, Superintendent of ABCUSD told HMG-CN, ” although the election outcome was disappointing and we lost on Measure AA, I deeply appreciated all the support from our employees, parents students and community members in the District who helped in this effort. We clearly have many needs for improvement in our schools and we will continue to look for ways to fund these needs as we move forward. We invite the communities to be a part of our future efforts.”

Norwalk’s Measure B aimed at fixing the UUT in the city passes by a wide margin, 5,786 to 2,583, while Artesia’s Measure Y, which asked for a 4.9% increase in utility tax was defeated by 1,038 to 617.

In local Senate and Assembly races, former assemblymember Tony Mendoza narrowly beat termed-out Downey Councilman Mario Guerra by 4,400 votes.

Mendoza tallied 49,624 versus Guerra’s 45,264. Turnout was again around 23%.

In the local assembly race, Assemblyman Ian Caldaron beat businesswoman Rita Topalian by 1,400, votes with Calderon garnering 25,216 to Topalian’s 23,833.

In two hotly contested Central Basin Water District races, Division Two saw challenger Tom Malkasian lose to embattled CB President Robert “Bob” Apodaca who recently cost CB ratepayers $670,000 in a highly publicized sexual-harassment lawsuit.

The race attracted five opponents, diluting the voting pool and allowing Apodaca to win. Apodaca garnered nearly 10,000 votes, Malkasian 7,400, with the other challengers taking 14,000 votes. Without those challengers, Malkasian probably would have won.

Malkasian campaign manager Paul Fikas told HMG-CN, “the voters have spoken, this was one of the lowest turnouts in history.   We just needed a little more time to introduce the voters to Tom.  One more month and this would have been a different result.  For the critics out there, when you run against any candidate who has been in public life for over 25 years you have to raise a lot of money.  That’s just the way it is now in campaigns.”

CB Division Three pitted long-time director Arturo “Art” Chacon against five other candidates.

With 4,086 votes, Chacon beat out challenger Elba Romo by less than 400 votes with embattled city of Commerce Media Specialist Jason Stinnett gathering only 1,866.

Apodaca’s win is a blow to the reform minded group led by CB Director Phil Hawkins.

Hawkins wanted Malkasian to win so the reform could start, but with Apodaca winning, Director Leticia Vasquez, James Roybal, and Apodaca now hold a solid majority.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that a recall of the directors could begin very soon.

Vasquez is involved in a whistleblower lawsuit against CB that has cost CB over $300,000, Roybal was caught, by HMG-CN, earning money while in LAUSD teacher jail, a direct violation of LAUSD policy, and Apodaca has a history of costly sexual harassment lawsuits.

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