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Mayor pro tem Solanki and Councilwoman Chen Move to Close Cerritos Sheriff’s Station

 

Naresh Solanki with Carol Chen

Naresh Solanki with Carol Chen

Both officials were slammed by Mayor Ray, and Councilmen Edwards and Pulido.

By Brian Hews

Last week’s Cerritos City Council meeting became very contentious when, during budget talks, Mayor pro tem Naresh Solanki and Councilwoman Carol Chen inexplicably moved to close the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station at City Hall.

Solanki and Chen, in defiance of the other council members and city manager, later voted no to approve the budget.

The city is facing a $6.6 million deficit for 2016-17 budget and it was agreed to in a prior council meeting, on a vote of 5-0, to approve the budget and then direct staff to analyze areas where they could cut expenses.

The Sheriff’s station was never on the radar until Chen and Solanki, in violation of Roberts Rules of Order that govern council meetings, as well as ignoring public input, attempted to place the Sheriff’s station to a vote instead of “agendizing” the item for a later meeting.

That’s when the fireworks started.

Chen started the fray by immediately asking about the Sheriff’s contract, “When do we need to give notice, when is the end of the current contract?”

It was evident that Ray, Edwards and Pulido had no idea about the move and were visibly angry.

City Manager Art Gallucci indicated the city needs to give a 60-day notice, but did not include the helicopter, which is on an annual contract.

Gallucci advised Chen to “take some time in looking at Sheriff’s station.” Chen countered, “we need to balance the budget with these cost cuts in mind.”

Solanki, who was endorsed by Chen and former Mayor Bruce Barrows, then took his turn.

Solanki said, “I cannot approve a budget that is ‘upside down,’ the Sheriff’s station only covers $4.5 million, I would have a hard time approving a budget like this. How do we cut 6.6 million?”

Gallucci said to Solanki,  “I don’t want to be argumentative but at the last meeting, the motion was made to study the budget and bring back proposed cuts in 2 months, that vote was 5-0 and we have it on tape, and that is the path we have been on until this evening.”

An angry Solanki then said, “the community safety expense is a big number, if we convert the station that is a large amount of money.”

Mayor Ray then rebuked Chen and Solanki saying, “this was not an agenda item, we voted to approve the budget with the understanding that the staff would come back later with cuts to get to $6.6 million, and part of that process is to educate the residents, I have a philosophical problem not getting input from residents, through that process we would discuss the cuts. I would have a problem since this was not agendized.”

Pulido followed Ray and was even angrier pointing out that both Chen and Solanki’s council campaigns stressed public safety and support of the Sheriff’s station.

“I support the budget as is, and it would be non-starter for me if we cut the Sheriff’s station, public safety was my top priority in my campaign as it was a top priority in your campaigns.”

Ray and Edwards were seen nodding in agreement.

Pulido then slammed Chen and Solanki, “why are you trying to pass the cuts without placing them on the agenda, the public should have opportunity for input.”

“I have problems with last minute conversations, why are you questioning our council staff, you need to let them work.”

A visibly angry Councilman Edwards then chimed in saying, “we cannot cut things we have never talked about, this is a mistake and we never discussed these cuts, transparency is important to residents, their number one priority is safety. Let’s pass the budget as then look at the cuts.”

Undaunted Chen said, “we need to balance the budget, we can’t buy the services if you cannot afford it. I would be willing to postpone the approval of the budget until cuts are made.”

Solanki could be seen nodding his head in agreement.

Mayor Ray supported passing the budget and then implementing budget cuts over the next six months.

The budget passed on a 3-2 vote, with Chen and Solanki voting no.

Long-time Cerritos resident Jim McMahon told HMG-CN, “Solanki and Chen wanted to cancel the Cerritos Sheriff’s contract immediately and move the facility to the City of Lakewood in order to save $7 million. He did not want to have any public discussion, he did not want this on the agenda, nor did he want staff to do any reports on the cost of having a service at our substation versus at the Lakewood Sheriff’s station. Very disturbing.”

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11 Responses to Mayor pro tem Solanki and Councilwoman Chen Move to Close Cerritos Sheriff’s Station

  1. Safety before Politics Reply

    July 6, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Lets keep partisan politics out of the City Government dealings and prioritize what matters most to residents. Keeping residents safe, and preventing crime must take a higher priority over partisan pandering!

  2. Will Reply

    July 4, 2016 at 1:17 am

    We can’t afford to get rid of the Cerritos substation. If you want to balance the budget, start elsewhere. Safety is the most important priority, especially with some of the surrounding areas. Rest assured, I will not be voting for Solanki and Chen.

    • Taking Cerrios back! Reply

      July 5, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Let’s get more deputies on streets, a real neighborhood watch program, and cut cost.

      1.) STOP the museum.
      2.) Sell or lease the Performing Arts Center.
      3.) Get out of the electric business.
      4.) Renegotiate the sheriff’s contract.
      5.) Get a serious neighborhood watch program going.
      6.) Fix the sidewalks and streets, and trim the trees
      7.) Bring back more community related programs with the Millions in savings.

      $3-$5 million yearly savings form the sheriff’s contract
      $6 million yearly saving from Performing Art Center (will generate revenue if sold or leased)
      $3 million yearly savings getting out of the electricity businesses
      $400,000 yearly savings stopping the museum

      Over $12.4 million in annual savings that can trim trees, fix sidewalks and roads and provide a ton of residential programs for every youth, family, and senior resident.

      One last note: The Performing Arts Center cost the city over $60 million to build and has never turned a profit. As a result of never making a dime, it has cost tax payers $175 million over he past 23 years. Has it been worth it?

      To all past and present council members, kiss your lifetime benefits good by. The People are taking Cerritos back!

      It’s our city and not your personal bank account.

  3. Taking Cerrios back! Reply

    July 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    None of the council members come across as respecting the community, the residents, the tax dollars, the law, or just about anything else.

    It is because of the senseless philosophy of speeding “other people’s money” this city is in the financial mess it is.

    One previous councilman was not long ago quoted as saying, “the worst that happens is the city goes bankrupt.”

    $6 million a year in deficit spending for a poorly attended Performing Arts Center.
    $3 million a year in deficit spending to support a power plant that only sells electricity to certain city businesses.
    $7 million to rehab an old building only because the city council doesn’t want the state to have it.
    $400,000 a year in deficit spending to support a new museum that was shut down in another city.

    Now, we have have another issue of tax paper money being poorly managed. $14.1 million for a yearly contract with the Sheriff’s department plus over $1 million more in non-contract related cost.

    I am in no way suggesting to close down the substation. It is just that – a substation. However, it is being used as a regular police station with 65 sworn deputies and 14 civilian employees. That’s about $179,000.00 per employee! Again, not including cost outside the sheriff’s contract.

    This is an item that should be agendized and the community allowed to participate. For Chen and Solanki to attempt to hijack the council meeting and budget is simply undemocratic.

    Why the concern with the sheriff budget and not the millions wasted every year on the Performing Arts Center, Power Plant, or New Museum? I’m sure residents would vote to close all three of those down before getting rid of the sheriff’s substation.

    This so called concern for the budget by Chen and Solanki appears to be a power play and something smells fishy. However, let’s not get too distracted from what needs to be done.
    1.) STOP the museum.
    2.) Sell or lease the Performing Arts Center.
    3.) Get out of the electric business.
    4.) Renegotiate the sheriff’s contract.
    5.) Get a serious neighborhood watch program going.
    6.) Fix the sidewalks and streets, and trim the trees
    7.) Bring back more community related programs with the Millions in savings.

    About the Sheriff’s contract:
    We probably only need about half of the 65 sworn deputies. Currently, we have 3-5 patrol cars on any given shift and 2-3 motorcycles assigned to traffic during the weekdays.

    What we need:
    30 deputies = Five patrol cars 24/7
    3 motor officers = 2 traffic motorcycles 8 hours 7-days a week
    5 detectives (burglaries, gang, and other investigations)
    5 civilian community service officers to assist with clerical and technical functions
    1 neighborhood watch coordinator
    3 civilian office workers

    There may be a few I missed; however, most everything else can be taken care of through shared cost at the Lakewood station – saving the city $3-$5 million every year. Those arrested can be taken to nearby Lakewood, records functions and dispatch can easily be centralized at Lakewood station.

    Command staff can merged with the Lakewood station. Included in the 30 deputies, each of patrols shifts in Cerritos can be assigned a Senior officer to function as the substation watch commander.

    We do not need all of the high paid brass at the Cerritos substation when we can easily merge with the Lakewood station and still receive the same professionalism and attention at a lower cost to our budget.

    This plan cuts 27 expensive sworn positions and 5 civilian positions that are not essential to the direct safety of our city and merges redundant positions with Lakewood station. Important for safety, it puts more patrol cars on our streets, gets going with a serious neighborhood watch program – all which directly reduces crime.

    This will not be the final plan, but it is a start. It’s a plan that needs to be openly and honestly discussion with resident input.

    Let’s get more deputies on streets, a real neighborhood watch program, and cut cost.

    $3-$5 million yearly savings form the sheriff’s contract
    $6 million yearly saving from Performing Art Center (will generate revenue if sold or leased)
    $3 million yearly savings getting out of the electricity businesses
    $400,000 yearly savings stopping the museum

    Over $12.4 million in annual savings that can trim trees, fix sidewalks and roads and provide a ton of residential programs for every youth, family, and senior resident.

    One last note: The Performing Arts Center cost the city over $60 million to build and has never turned a profit. As a result of never making a dime, it has cost tax payers $175 million over he past 23 years. Has it been worth it?

    To all past and present council members, kiss your lifetime benefits good by. The People are taking Cerritos back!

    It’s our city and not your personal bank account.

  4. Tzeshan Chen Reply

    July 3, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    The city is foolish in approving new apartment constructions near Bloomfield and Artesia. The city was naive thinking the new apartments will generate new property taxes. I believe the new apartment will require city spend more money on traffic and security.

  5. Gardena Grocery Reply

    July 2, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Solanki & Carol both want to get rid of the sheriff’s department, or is the underlining Force, (Ret.) Grace Hu, who is already campaigning with Bruce Barrows; in order start & create their own Police Department in the city of Cerritos. Cerritos republicans have been very active in squashing unions out of the city.

    Grace Hu succeeded in establishing a sheriff station, she is campaigning for 2017 in order to create Cerritos Police Department.

    This has been running ramped in the Cerritos Republican Group.

    Republican seeds were planted in this past weeks
    Cerritos Neighborhood Watch Meeting on 6/29 at Cerritos Park East. All of the republicans in attendance spoke down at the sheriffs union and complained about the lack of service to the community. Cerritos Sheriff presence has improved vastly compared to the decades of repulsive/ skeleton service out of city of Lakewood substation.

    Snakeskin clad Solanki, move away from your workforce base of Gardena, Cerritos has forevermore cut ties with city of Lakewood. Solanki is just spokesperson for the independent grocers.

  6. Ramon Fernandez ·reply Reply

    July 2, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Ramon Fernandez ·reply

    Look into eliminating the COW, Museum idea, or expanding shadow part by eliminating regional park. I love region park, but it could generate money as a residential area. 6.6 mil

    COW is free to the city, it is being subsidized by the government. The regional park is not owned by the city of Cerritos, it is held in partnership with every city in Los Angeles County. Regional Park is owned and developed by 88 cities in the Los Angeles County.

    Cerritos sports complex at the regional park, is being rented back from Los Angeles County for a couple of dollars per year. That contract could be broken , but city of Cerritos has invested millions of dollars in developing the complex. 88 other cities, would never buy back the sports complex.

    Museum property is part of the dissolving of RDA agency. It could have been sold, but was dedicated as a park, and if it was sold, the city of Cerritos would not have earned one penny from the property. The museum development is a total waste of time, we could have had a much different Museum, and a much less price tag. It was poor management to have an auto museum, especially away from the auto mall, and Cerritos residents are not Auto friendly except for new rice Rockets.

  7. Carol & Solanki Reply

    July 2, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Tired about hearing Carol & Salonki represent the diversity in the city. Who has Defined the word diversity?

    1. How come none of the council persons or Commissioners appointed, are from the Dutch ancestry, the ones who founded the greater Dairy Valley territory & owners of many Dutch dairy farms.

    2. How come there is no handicap on any of the cabinets?

    3. How come the only gay/ lesbian/transgenered person on the cabinet was terminated because he was less than a man by Korean J Cho? Carol couldn’t cast her vote about the open gay person and she was fearful of her real estate business in the city.

    4. How come there are no blondes, no redheads, no Amish, no Jewish, no samonians, no Orthodox no African Americans, no teeenagers?

    5. Cerritos only had one African-American council person on board in the 60 years of Cerritos.

    6. Solanki was Ret. mayor Barrows bank account. Carol was Ret. mayor Jon Crawley pipe dream from dementia.

    7. How come the only elected or appointed are from (R) or (D) and nothing outside these circles?

    This is one of the worst councils in recent history. Carol has only been here less then 30 yrs and Solanki less then 2 decades. Neither know about California Gold country or the Federal Government of DC, but are ready to play the race card. Neither have talked about the Heartland of American nor European ancestors. Leson to learn, never vote for another Chinese nor India, there spin on government is terminal.

  8. Kristle Sunshine Reid Reply

    July 2, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Kristle Sunshine Reid
    How did Cerritos fall $6.6 mil in the hole?

    REPLY

    For the past decade, the city has had a negative budget of approximately $5M-$10 million dollars per year. BLAME THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION RECESSION…The city only has a savings account of Around $60 million dollars, means in about a decade, the city will be bankrupt, if CCC keeps overspending the budget by $5M+.

    $6.6 million Overture, (red ink) was because the city council was not Frugal enough to eliminate many projects and programs. Remember also the RDA agency was dissolved, CITY lost millions and millions of dollars over the RDA which was held from Sacramento. The RDA was orchestrated 40 years ago in order to assist the cities in developing projects in order to increase sales taxes. This is very good on paper.

    Cerritos was very wasteful, created a lot of new employment within the city to miss manage the RDA program, and to create caviar type projects from the RDA savings, and now the caviar projects are coming home to haunt the city, the city does not have enough money to maintain caviar type of projects. This is just poor poor mismanagement by the Republicans in the city. Republicans wanted to glamorize, but do not have the ways and means to financially keep the city of float.

    $5-$6 million dollars over budget is mainly going to Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, the property is going on two( 2) decades old and needs a lot of Maintenance and repairs, Plus the city has to subsidize every Entertainer which comes to the city. This is where the vast majority of the five or six million dollars over budget.

  9. ***********Breached Public Work Citywide************ Reply

    July 2, 2016 at 8:56 am

    ********** PHOTOS SPEAK MILLION WORDS **************

    2016 Cerritos has never looked this bad, landscape and housing stock. 15,000 residents have lost grave interest in their properties, because Cerritos council has destroyed public works and landscape. Wild and dying Trees and poor landscape standards, are trespassing on to all properties in the city.

    Republicans are just using the sheriff topic, way to get rid of the unions in the city. PLEASE VIEW VIDEO OF LINDA SANCHEZ ON THE IMPASS OF THE UNIONS AT CITY HALL. Old orthodox Republicans hate the unions. Everyone is touch by some union in the USA>

    Carol Chen charged the unions, she’s termed out, and she could care less about the unions. Other (3) three stooges, have been here forty years and know how bad Cerritos was, without their own Police Department. Too bad, Cerritos-Artesia and La Palma, could combine police services, but wlil never happen over the county line issues and using 2 different court houses.

    Why didn’t the city council go after all the park and recreational BABYSITTING activities and start cutting cutting cutting. The first thing it could have been cut is a $67,000 fireworks display, which could be eliminated for the next couple of years, until city of breached Public Works projects are completed. Please view my tapes of the infinity of horrendous breached Public Works throughout the city.

    Also the city should have cut some of the activities at the senior center and swim stadium and Cerritos Park East and Liberty Park. City is here to serve the people and govern the city; not provide babysitting Disneyland programs for the community.

    City calendar was vacated again, what a blessing. Too many people do not like the calendar, there’s too many personal photos in the calendar, which does not Bridge well into the wide diversity and demographics of the families which live in Cerritos.

    2015-2016, council person George Ray has said, city council needS to visit the free medical insurance to the gravesite, for all councilpersons and spouses till death of both.. Why hasn’t this been on the agenda, before the budget of 2017.

    ***** Many cites, council and commissioners receive no salaries or income. Run for office on Pro Bono basis: Palos Verdes and La Palma. Out CCC each make $45,000, free credit card, free cell phone, free medical insurance, car allowance, tax free food, free CCPA passes, and bonus money for attending outside conferences and trips. Why was this not addressed in 2017 budget and why was the 2017 not televised for transparency? *****

    Why does city need special election in March 2017, which cost aprox $250K, and could be combined with June or Nov elections and save millions over a decade? Million dollar savings, could trim allot of street parkway trees.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsARqqCzUkA&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwmOsfN4TPw&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp7Tuz2u_mo&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8sT1NEWEUM&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUO7aQkbD4Y&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_vQSjnK5gA

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj1cCyVmX4c

  10. Recall Solanki Reply

    July 1, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    RECALL SOLANKI———————

    Solanki has been on board for three years, he has not said one thing beneficial to the city for 3 yrs. One major HOA in city wants to recall Solanki, Carol Chen is sun setting from council term. Her realtor colleagues are grateful for her retirement, she hurts real estate business.

    Please view the CCC
    cerritos.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=15&clip_id=3800

    Solanki had three years to talk about the Sheriff’s Department, which needs to be investigated to be cost effective, but dropped the bombshell, 10 days before the final authorization of the 2017 budget. Even George Ray said he was stupid. That is just poor timing and not protocol.

    Why does Cerritos Sheriff need 3 full time sheriffs captains, each earning $300K. WHY DO WE NEED A JAIL?

    Solanki dumb as a doorknob. He should never hold a public job, and he can’t even talk correctly. He’s at the same low quality compared to Laura Lee, Dan Wong, Grace Hu and Joseph Cho who who we’re dumb as hell. Is Solanki coming down w/ parkason disease, has shakes?

    Why do we need 3 helicopters: Sheriff, Fire and Sky Night. See videos below of the helicopters……….scroll down.

    Like I said before, the budget has been worked on for a couple of months, and it’s just extremely poor taste to drop a bombshell on the staff, the sheriff’s department, and the other council persons.
    Nothing can be done 10 days beforehand so why drop a huge bomb like this, it does not look well by the public; plus shadows Brown Act and being non agendized. Even city clerks office were in state of shock.

    This morning when talking to the sheriff at Starbucks, they said that Solanski can go to hell, SD will not help him in any way anymore.
    Today at Orchard, the Cerritos Chamber had told Orchards about the scumbag, as Chamber had many concerned calls from merchants in the city, to see it this was true or lie. Then at Arte Cafe, word about Solanki hit there too, they think he is more then scum, international trader. Jag – Range Rover dealership, thinks he below international trader, as Auto Mall needs 911 now, not hrs latter!!!

    Back in the 60’-80, our sheriff response did not even exist out of Lakewood, it would take hrs to get response. Car accidents (MVA) took hrs to get cleaned up. We had many robberies on my street, to date, sheriff have never responded to robberies back in the 70’s-80’s.

    1970’s-80’s $6.6M baptism verdict was against the city, because sheriffs confusion out of Lakewood.

    Why do we need to spend over $.5M to manage over night parking, and now are looking to purchase a $1M parking vendor machine and computer program?

    Solanki speak out his anus, he was not even in this country back in the 60’s-80’s so does not know how bad the city was without local sheriff control. When Cerritos resident, Don Knabe leaves office in Dec 2016, will see a massive sheriff shake up in this areas.

    Solanki did not even talk about the breached Cerritos public works, which can be viewed in my video tapes.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsARqqCzUkA&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwmOsfN4TPw&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp7Tuz2u_mo&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8sT1NEWEUM&feature=youtu.be

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUO7aQkbD4Y&feature=youtu.be

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