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By Brian Hews
Once again Cerritos Mayor Carol Chen is on a mission to destroy the movement to improve education and replace the aging infrastructure of the award-winning ABC Unified School District.
Just like she did when she held her secret meeting in her initial attempt to kill the AA Bond- first reported by HMG-CN – a meeting that Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacy said had potential impropriety, (see story click here) Chen is attempting to torpedo ABC improvements for the sake of her own personal wealth.
The Mayor of Cerritos is openly fighting to keep the status quo of leaky roofs, antiquated classrooms, outdated IT systems, and a host of other problems the ABCUSD, its students, teachers, and staff face every day, when all other cities in the ABC are demanding repairs.
Maybe what I heard about the ABC is true, “ABC is All About Cerritos.”
Chen and her followers, Bruce Barrows, Cerritos Councilman Naresh Solanki, ABC Board Member Lynda Johnson – who wanted to sell elementary schools in Hawaiian Gardens schools instead of supporting an infrastructure bond – ABC Board Member Soo Yoo, Ben Ao, and Chong Vo, are all running around the ABC supporting candidates who have openly declared their opposition to any kind of improvement bond, similar to Measure AA, that was defeated in 2014 in a hotly contested, expensive, and vitriolic campaign.
It is worth noting here that all of the above listed supporters live in Cerritos and that the candidates they are supporting basically came out of nowhere.
But that is the “politics” that Mayor Carol Chen has espoused in Cerritos and a political stance Chen is now endorsing in the ABCUSD’s elections to retain her wealth.
Witness the AA Bond campaign, spearheaded by Chen, that saw one local newspaper “editor” publish “complete lies about the facts of the bond,” according to high-level sources at the ABC.
Chen, along with others, is supporting the paper financially, ordering Cerritos City personnel to advertise in the publication to keep it afloat.
It also saw the United Homeowners Alliance, run by Cerritos resident Ben Ao, spend over $8,000 on direct mail pieces opposing the bond – pieces that had complete lies about the bond – and take in $4,400 from Cerritos residents Fumei Chen and Deborah Chang Kuei, without correctly reporting the donations or expenditures. See documentation below.
A visit to the UHA website will show two candidates against infrastructure repairs prominently displayed on the first page.
So why is Mayor Chen and her anti-education cronies supporting the candidates, who openly state they do not want to improve the ABC?
Simple. Chen, who has no children attending ABC schools, owns several large properties in the ABC and would pay additional property taxes if a bond passed.
Vo, a Torance police officer who threatened me after I published a true story about him, is placing his political career ahead of his family and supporting the candidates; he has children in the ABC school system.
ABCUSD Boardmembers Lynda Johnson and Soo Yoo, along with Naresh Solanki, have drank the Chen kool-aid and are following Chen, and her money, in lock-step.
Everyone in the ABCUSD and Cerritos knows about Chen and Barrows.
So imagine, Chen devising a strategy that places her personal wealth in front of student’s well-being and sense of learning in the classroom.
A Chen strategy that clearly tells teachers and staff at ABC “I want to stay wealthy no matter what the cost to the ABC or its students.”
A strategy that sees the Mayor of Cerritos telling surrounding ABC cities, students, and teachers, “it’s all about me, I don’t care about you!”
A strategy that will eventually lead to declining property values because Cerritos and other ABC cities will “age in place” and not attract new younger families due to the aging ABC infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Norwalk/La Mirada School District and Cerritos College is running infrastructure circles around ABC, with NLMUSD recently completing a $2.5 million upgrade to their school facilities, and Cerritos College a $6 million upgrade.
In addition to major technology upgrades, the first round of NLMUSD’s bond includes nearly $50 million in facility improvements — from beginning the process for new and improved athletic facilities at the District’s three comprehensive high schools, to hardscape improvements and installation of air conditioning in school buildings. The District plans to issue approximately $52 million in Measure G bonds every three years over approximately 20 years.
I wonder what the principal of Gahr High thinks about this, she personally told me of several facility improvements badly needed at the school.
Do you think Norwalk property values will go up? Do you think the students teachers and staff of the NLMUSD are happy?
All this is happening around ABC while Chen is fighting to keep her property taxes low and the ABC infrastructure in disrepair by supporting candidates who oppose improvements.
During Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States, he spoke to Congress asking for unity.
Mayor Chen and her supporters have turned Cerritos and the ABC into the current version of the House of Representatives that the Pope was talking about, pitting parties and politicians against one another for their own personal gain.
Much like many on the hard right in Congress, Mayor Chen does not care about her constituents, but only about herself and her personal wealth.
Maybe Chen and her followers should read part of the speech and stop the personal crusade to keep the ABC infrastructure in the dark-ages.
Pope Francis said, “A good political leader is one who, with the interest of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism.” Your own responsibility (Mayor Chen, et. al.) is to enable this District, by your activity, to grow.”
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