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BRUCE BARROWS VIOLATED CERRITOS CITY CHARTER, CANNOT RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL IN APRIL 2017

Former Cerritos Mayor Bruce Barrows, according to the City’s own Charter, is precluded from running for City Council in April of this year.

 

By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News, through an examination of the City of Cerritos’ own City Charter, has learned that Cerritos Council candidate Bruce Barrows is prohibited from running for City Council in the upcoming April election.

The revelation will come as a huge shock to Barrows and his supporters as the perpetual councilmember and former mayor is a favorite among the “old guard” of Cerritos Republicans.

When HMG-CN examined the City’s Charter, found the violation, and informed City residents, several residents came forward and offered to file a formal Letter of Protest at the City Clerk’s office demanding that Barrows’ name be removed from the ballot.

Long-time resident Angel Soto, who was instrumental in the first fight to limit City Council terms, volunteered and retained the Pico Rivera based law firm of Kenney and Kropff to file the letter.

Soto told HMG-CN he will deliver the letter to the City Clerk on Friday Feb. 17, 2016.

The preclusion of Barrows from the City Council race stems from a simple statement under Article IV of the City’s Charter titled “Elective Officers.”

Under Section 400, one simple paragraph defines “Limitation of Terms” of elected officials.

The paragraph states “any Council member who has served two consecutive four year terms shall not be eligible for a period of two years to seek reelection or be appointed to the Cerritos City Council.”

 

Article IV as it appears in the Cerritos City Charter. The clause that excludes Barrows from running for Cerritos Council is underlined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barrows last served two consecutive terms between 2007 and 2015, leaving office in March of 2015.

“It is very clear,” said Soto, “you cannot seek reelection for a period of two years after you leave.”

The key words in Article IV and the subparagraph is “for a period of two years” and “seek.”

The period of two years is not debatable, it is a clear time line.

Webster’s lists the definition of seek as, “to try to acquire or gain, or to make an attempt.”

Barrows, by filing his paperwork in mid January 2017, was trying to acquire, gain and make an attempt to secure a City Council seat six weeks before he was eligible to do.

But, as clearly stated in the Charter, Barrows could not “seek” an open council seat “for a period of two years” which indicates he could not start his bid for a council seat until March 2017.

Soto will be delivering the Letter of Protest to Cerritos City Clerk Vida Barone, and intends to file an injunction or lawsuit against the City to stop Barrows from running.

The letter from Kenney and Korpff states, “Dear Ms. Barone: Please be advised that this office serves as counsel to Angel Soto.

After reading the referenced article, and the subsection entitled “Limitation of Terms”, Mr. Soto has expressed his concern over Bruce Barrows (running for election.)

Since Mr. Barrows’ prior term expired March 3, 2015, a strict interpretation of the City Charter section appears to disqualify Mr. Barrows from seeking reelection, including the filing of any candidacy papers, prior to March 3, 2017.

Please advise forthwith if the Clerk’s office concurs with the proposition that Mr. Bruce Barrows is ineligible to seek reelection until March 3, 2017.  Thank you. Sincerely yours,  David E. Kenney, Esq.

The HMG-CN revelation will also prevent other candidates from running after they term out unless they change the City’s Charter, which would likely raise the ire of thousands of Cerritos residents and bring back a movement for term limits in Cerritos.

Emails into Barrows went unreturned. HMG-CN also emailed Barrows’ political allies Carol Chen and current Council candidate Chuong Vo, who is supported by Barrows and Chen for comment, but neither had responded at the time of print and internet publication.

 

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21 Responses to BRUCE BARROWS VIOLATED CERRITOS CITY CHARTER, CANNOT RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL IN APRIL 2017

  1. Chris Foster Reply

    February 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

    One way to tell “fake news” from legitimate news is accountability … real newspapers run corrections when wrong (especially for huge gaffes like the Barrows’ story) … sadly still waiting here …

  2. Opine Challenged Reply

    February 24, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    www.cerritos.us/_pdfs/term_limits.pdf
    Attorney General (AG) has stated his LEGAL opine in the above link, which is only an opine, not a judicial judgment.

    cerritos.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=15&clip_id=3909
    During CCC public comments, Mr. Soto explained about his wife, Mrs Heidi Soto, who was an attorney and wrote the Prop. H. Mr. Soto is not in agreement of the AG opine. Mrs. Heidi Soto is deceased, but intent of Prop. H was not to seek re-election, until full 24 months timeline had been met.

    Mr. Soto and Former City council person, Grace Hu, are going to take proposition H, to the court level and challenge the Attorney General legal opine. This may go all the way to the Supreme Court and Beyond. Grace Hu had to resign from the Cerritos Economic Commission, allegations of escrow and real estate corruption fraud, lost her DRE/ Lic and fell from Cerritos ReMax. Grace Hu was slapped with a huge fine.

    In addition there is rumors, that the ( R ) Cerritos city council is being slapped with a racketeering lawsuit, as the Republicans in the city are discriminating against the terms of union members contract, plus voiding/ side stepping, the Brown Act, in using Facebook Private Account, for running surveys and seeking opines, outside the dais, for public comments. Cerritos Unions are in protest of lack of contracts and legal pay wages. If the residents can remember back in time, State congresswoman Linda Sanchez tried to intervene during the impasse, and the Republican Council was cold to the Democrat congresswoman & ignored her intervention, which again, is archived on city tape library.. Republicans could be found guilty of public corruption and racketeering. ABC Unions are upset with Grace Hu, she donated $400K to Whitney Foundation, which may be in violation of state laws for educational trusts acts. Unions are demanding that the $400K Donation, be spent among all campuses in the ABCUSD; and not exclusively for Whitny Foundation. HG is also seeking separate litigation, as they are starving for funds for the campuses in their new district.

  3. George Medina Reply

    February 23, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Focus on the issue of honesty and integrity which is the foundation of our Democracy. The laws are enacted to protect the interests of all honest, truthful and responsible citizens. This would not be possible without the FREEDOM OF THE PRESS as evidenced by the expose of the incompetence of the City Clerk by allowing an ineligible candidate to file for office. If t it is true that it has happened before, then the City Council must respond as to the reasons for their dereliction of duty before it becomes a potential issue of corruption.
    With respect to the finances, the City manager must provide accountability of the revenues and expenses open to review by any interested citizen. I would recommend the appointment of a voluntary AUDIT Committee to validate any and all reports presented “by staff”
    as a routine issue, automatically voted by the Council Members who may not have the expertise of accounting and auditing.

  4. Good-bye Bruce Reply

    February 22, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Ret. Council person, Bruce Barrows is trying to divert the attention around proposition H, he is telling his supporters that proposition H has already gone to court in the city of Cerritos and the outcome of said, is not applicable. This is just lie, in order to keep Bruce in the campaign during the forums.

    Steres, city attorney, states this will end up in court in order to be challenged. Yes proposition H did go to court right after Proposition 8 passed. Said outcome stated that the current seated Council are not to be influenced by proposition H. Any & all new Council which was elected to office in the city of Cerritos, would be held to the ramifications of proposition H. Clean and simple.

    This has nothing to do with seeking office as Bruce Barrows is violating proposition H, as he jumped the gun too early, he is seeking office before the calendar allows him. The city clerk did not do her due diligence for the custodial of record-keeping for the two-year time frame.

    City charter allows for the election of council to be any date. This yr no exception, the date was changed, but not in favor of Barrows. Since we have such a lame CCC, they had no clue of the time clock ticking.

    • Cynthia Reply

      February 25, 2017 at 8:35 am

      I do not know what he is saying but Yes this has been sent to the CA Attorney Generals office before & it was determined the intend of the law – our Code on this matter & the word Seek was conflicting but that what the actual interpretation when we voted on this matter in our voters guidebook was that it was a 2 year break from office.
      You can find the OAG’s findings here:

      oag.ca.gov/system/files/opinions/pdfs/04-907.pdf?

      I have also found when I looked into the law more that this Angel Soto had worked with the LA Times on 1,article & wrote some type of commentary which said this:

      “I would like to clarify some misconceptions about the proposed amendment to the Cerritos City Charter, unlike what some incumbents would like the electorate to believe. The initiative does not deny anyone from running again for the rest of his/her life; a council member can run for the same office again after two years, if he/she has already served two consecutive terms.

      Regardless of the statistics on how many cities opted to limit the council members’ terms and how controversial the proponents may be, the fact remains that the numbers represent a growing minority and constitute a statewide trend in favor of limitation. Suffice to say, the handwriting is on the wall.

      –ANGEL L. SOTO

      Cerritos”

      I find Mr Sotos own words as being as confusing as the Code & something tells me he may have had a hand in writing it out to be the confusing Code that it is.
      In any case – this has been dealt with already & nothing can change unless the Code is changed but why are we wasting our time?
      Mr Soto maybe should have been more up front with the Community News on the History as he has put himself out to be an “authority” somewhat of this Code to 2 Newspapers that I can find.

  5. Res Ipsa Reply

    February 21, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Will this Friday’s paper have a retraction and apology? Or perhaps an explanation why Mr. Hews didn’t do his homework on such a clear issue?

    • Cynthia Reply

      February 25, 2017 at 8:55 am

      In all fairness to the paper – we do not know how all this started. Did Mr Soto bring this to the paper? If so was he an advocate for this & did he put himself out as an expert & part of those that got this enacted?
      I was an advocate & I know the papers come to you when you are the expert or the originators of Government changes like this. I feel strongly that if u do hold yourself out to be this it’s your responsibility to educate others & give the papers honest facts because this stuff is so complicated that it takes a person Years to research & learn.
      The paper reported it – now we can discuss it & those that can find more info can then help everyone by sharing & this is how we can find & fix problems with our city.

  6. Centurion City Charter Reply

    February 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    CERRITOS CHARTER

    Please read this 60 YO charter, it needs updating and revision. Prop H is not the only item which is outdateD and has no merit.

    Many line items are not applicable. This was to be reviewed and amended in APROX 2000Yr, to date nothing. CCC was going to amend the Charter, when CCC created Commissioners handout.
    How many yrs did it take to create Commissioners Handout, and still commissioner are absent more then they are present?

    Jim Edwards Is suppose to be one of the finest educator and Chamber man, but brain dead to Charter. Barrows has always surfed above laws and should be accountable to Prop H. Both candidates have taken the mandatory Ethics Classes, but have failed to read and heed.

    Currently this charter is great CANDY for candidates forum, illustrates how out of date and not in tune, our elected CCC & commissioners are. Then we want to re elect back in to office, 2 candidates which have never done anything to improve our Charter ( Cho Cho Train Barrows- Escrow-realtor Hu )and held office for many yrs, detouring around our old charter?

    HOA style of Code Enforcement and 1960’s Overnight Parking Ordinance should both be voted by voters & or all 15,000 homes in the city, since many of the 15,000 homes, legally are immigrants and have no right to vote.

    City has always been something it could not be, now the roosters have come home to roost, when we hit hardships ghosts wrapped up in ye olde Prop. H.

    www.cerritos.us/GOVERNMENT/_pdfs/city_charter.pdf

    • Cynthia Reply

      February 25, 2017 at 9:20 am

      I agree with you 100% on the parking. I have a feeling that they are behind closed doors in fact Right NOW going to make parking more difficult for many of us sick or older residents. The person who took over for Berg seems to me to think we have too many cars on the streets. I feel we need to know why? My issue is a disability where I need a flat surface & since there are already 2 cars in the driveway that I can’t move the street is my only option.
      I know with the hardships of auto insurance on those with kids that 2 parent homes – they sometimes have a child who is only insured to drive 1 vehicle & that is an issue with getting cars in & out of the garage. Here in Cerritos people with kids work hard & they do not have time to waste dealing with parking. These people are adults & homeowners or renters who pay a great deal to rent in our city & they know what they need. But the city feels they know better & its dissapointing!
      I wish this paper would DO an Article on the Street Parking & try & help find others who have reasons for it like disability or ? Why do so many need it & then suggest to the Council on ways to make it work.
      How many times has a resident passed away & they have ticketed say hospice workers or the families while dealing with illness issues?
      Now this is a story!
      Berg kept telling me I’m the only one that complains to the City but I know this is not true. I’ve seen people at meetings (on TV) upset over such things. In fact I did see someone who had a parent pass talk at a council meeting besides knowing another family who had parking issues.
      Most disabled people have extreme trouble getting from the parking lot to the lobby. Has anyone ever seen how far away the disabled parking is? I brought my worker with me a few weeks ago to show them what I was dealing with & she was Shocked! There isn’t even a way to get safely from the cars to a sidewalk without having to go through the oncoming traffic which on most days there’s ALOT! Who designed the disabled parking I wonder for City Hall & the Library? It’s ridiculous!

  7. Cynthia Reply

    February 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    If the citizens of Cerritos do not want to elect someone they will not vote for them.
    I can see how a 2 year time out is a good idea but I do think it was just that – a 2 year time out of office & that it’s likely this technicality that the Community News has found in the word “seek” is an error because it would actually make it a 4 year out of office limit between being on the council & if that was the intent of our term limits it would in fact state 4 years.
    This is an issue with our city – things like this are not clear. Time should be spent on all these laws on our books that do not work & I would say that’s an issue with the City Attorney who wrote them out. I think taking it to court will be a waste of our tax $’s. Eventually the city will end up paying for this error in the Code.
    Since Edwards was already allowed to be re-elected & if this resident who filed was a resident at the time of Edwards election & did not file a case then – it’s likely there’s some precedent now to how we will have to follow for all future candidates & that the case will not go through our backlogged court system.
    In other words – it’s too late now to make the change because this should have happened with the prior candidates.

    • Residiot Reply

      February 19, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Hey Math Geniuses!

      You are accusing Hews of waiting, Barrows was screwed anyway unless the City moved the election BACK! He could not file until March 2017.

      Laws are debated and adjusted all the time, that is why we have judges. So now the Charter is up for discussion, it took Hews to get the courts to look at this. What’s the deal?

      • Res Ipsa Reply

        February 20, 2017 at 5:40 am

        This has nothing to do with math and everything to do with the law. Since Mr. Hews clearly didn’t do his homework on the history of the council before writing this editorial (because that’s what this is… journalistic ethics 101 anybody) I wonder if he’s going to do any legal research on the history of how the courts have already interpreted charters such as this.

        There are two kinds of people in this world; people who do their homework and people who hurl inflammatory accusations without foundation. It will be interesting to see which one Mr. Hews is as this matter develops which I believe it will rather quickly.

        Should he require a second scoop of Hollandaise for the egg that may potentially blanket his face, I’m curious if he will issue a retraction and apology to this candidate for printing his personal conclusions about something that was so easily verifiable.

      • Cynthia Reply

        February 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        This is what has always been the basics of this Code:
        “Proposition H
        In November, a local proposition “H” was passed that would limit council members to two consecutive terms. A member could run again after having been out of office for two years. The proposition move had been started by a number of community people who had run for council seats and been defeated.”
        When we voted on this – this is what we were told. Not only that but this is from our written History of the City.
        I’m not a math Genius – I’m from the early Cerritos School system which wasn’t near what it is today.
        I am one of the few left that grew up here. I was cared for Frank Leals wife Lois as a child often when my parents worked that’s how long I have been here. I doubt there’s many of us left who we’re here & actually knew founders of our city.
        I am proud of my roots here & I care about this city. I do not agree with the waste of funds over ridiculous stuff & I am very sad at the current state of our City Hall & messes like this.
        It’s ridiculous that every single thing we do here is a mess & the nit picking over trivial things. We are the only city that Tickets handicapped residents for parking on the street. We have a code that says they can ticket handicapped cars but those that fight it – it gets overturned so what’s the point? Leave disabled people alone!
        We are paying out & risking huge $’s over people getting injured on our damaged sidewalks & the trees ruining people property – why are we not fixing them? My elderly mom fell & landed on her face. They justxsad sorry, send us a bill… Really!
        We should care more about the safety of our citizens! We pay massive amounts towards our public safety department who are ticketing residents over cars & trash cans where they should be focusing on the safety issues & hazards that the city is responsible for! It’s very hypocritical to expect a certain level of residents when they can’t even care for their own trees! Let’s ticket someone for overgrown lawn you can’t find under the Pine mess…
        These are the things we need to focus on. We need to pick the battles that matter. The ones that affect our daily lives. Prop H isn’t it!

    • Term Limits Reply

      February 20, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Politics is about disclosure & transparency; plus representing all the people, not just candidates…………..

      Proposition H for the city of Cerritos has been in effect for approximately 30 years. We have spent millions of dollars with City attorney fees, legal fees, and City Clerk. Why hasn’t the City attorney and city clerk brought this up plus why didn’t Mark Steres, ESQ and Vida Barone, City Clerk have this in fine print on the candidates forms, which were submitted to the city clerk for review?

      It’s not the newspapers fault, if the city is incompetent for employing subcontractors who are not doing their due diligence. Both city manager and assist. City Mgr. are both 76 YO and need to retire, this is just frosting on the cake, this is why both should exit and replaced by new Mgt.

      Term Limits contracts are different per municipality. Orig. author of Cerritos Prop H has died back in the 90’s. Legal Opine or lawsuit in simple terms, can very gravely between cities in regards in Term Limits. This subject matter is about one candidate, who is suffering from a massive Brain Tumor, loss considerable body mass and may be impaired to hold office.

      Glory to Mr. Sotto and LCCN for this accurate printing & investigation reporting.

      • Res Ipsa Reply

        February 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm

        Perhaps they haven’t brought it up because it’s perfectly consistent with the charter among everyone except for those with an axe to grind. Shocking I know, but you seem to account for every possible reason except for the most plausible. This has been going on for years with several candidates multiple times and yet Mr. Hews is the only one who “discovered” it. If you believe that then let me
        be the first to congratulate you on the success of what I assume was a recent (or perhaps not so recent) lobotomy.

  8. Residiot Reply

    February 18, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Yes let’s completely ignore the fact that Barrows violated the Charter and can’t run. Let’s ignore that this article will knock Repubs and Dems out of the loop. Your tone smacks of a LCCN hater, and an old guard as Hews pointed out in his article. Ignore that this will affect every council candidate. An given what Barrows did to Hews in 2012 using his political office for political payback…..its fucking KARMA bitch!!! And Carol Chen is out too!!!

    • Fog or Transparent Reply

      February 18, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Cerritos Term limits

      Next CCC, needs to inspect prop H, so they can’t keep coming in and out of office. Either amendments or new Prop H, in order to stop perennial candidates/ commissioners from coming back in to office.

      Commissioners must have term limits too and stop recycling.

      New Prop added to the city Charter, in order to stop relatives from being appointed to cabinet. Must stop more then one family member (relatives ) from being appointed to commissioners or committee members.

      Need to re-vote on 1960’s Overnight Parking Ordinance. Most of the 1960’s are dead or do not drive.

      Community safety Committee needs to be televised for transparency.

      Need to stop employees from retiring and coming back to work P/T.

      Irvine abandoned Closed door sessions, YL is considering this in order for more transparency . Cerritos should examine this too.

    • Res Ipsa Reply

      February 18, 2017 at 11:43 am

      If pointing out facts makes one a ‘hater’ then I suppose it’s a label I’ll have to live with. Somehow I think I’ll manage.

      However don’t misunderstand my illustration of this papers clear bias as some sort of a concession on the issue. On the contrary, if Hews is going to make this allegation, then I’d like to see what his basis is.

      I understand that he’s consulted the oracle of all legal issues, Merriam-Webster, but the clerks office, the city attorney and the voters have access to that as well and came to the conclusion that this is perfectly acceptable and consistent with the charter.

      So I’d like to see something of more substance than a lay opinion before conclusions are made particularly since the City has signed off on this timeline multiple times before.

      • Residiot Reply

        February 19, 2017 at 3:53 pm

        Hey Math Geniuses!

        You are accusing Hews of waiting, Barrows was screwed anyway unless the City moved the election BACK! He could not file until March 2017.

        Laws are debated and adjusted all the time, that is why we have judges. So now the Charter is up for discussion, it took Hews to get the courts to look at this. What’s the deal?

  9. Prop H Reply

    February 18, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Council Person Jim Edwards:

    Before the next city council meeting, February 23rd, 2017; Cerritos residents hope to hear that you have resigned from office. You violated the two-term law under proposition H. You gained a seat under false contents of the Cerritos Charter.

    You also lied to the people from the Shoemaker Wall Group, you promised them to make necessary repairs and you lied and did nothing.

    You promised us a unique trash can contract, which would include valet services for the seniors & the handicap, Plus mobile trash can cleaning, and you lied to us, neither one of those are present in the contract with Calmet. Staff directly said you were a liar.

    Everybody in this city is so sick and tired every meeting , we have to listen to you whine about the military, this is a city about a community of residents, this is not a military City, and many residents are not able to attend City Council meetings, as they do not believe in war. You have locked out thousands of residents from CCC, because of your military infliction during meetings. All you have done your entire time has been a foster child poster for the military. You have robbed staff hrs and costed the tax payers millions of wasted money, over your military view points plus orchestrating the Non Profits.

    You lied to the voters over the CCPA Friends, while it was failing and you filed BK on the CCPA, your final days at the CCPA.

    You made Cerritos less desirable, over the censure of J Crawley, which you knew was mentally impaired and was in the process of being put in to a nursing home. You deliberately embarrassed the Crawley name.

    Time after time, you tell the CCC audience how great Cerritos is, tell the truth, we are in to red ink to the tune of $5M-$10M per yr and will be in BK within 5-7 yrs. Overspending should not be in anyone’s Sunshine Report.

    Please resign quietly compared to Councilperson Grace Hu fall from commissioner. Lets not have another Barlevy- Laura Lee going public to remove you from office.

    I’m glad the two-term it law applies to you too.

  10. Res Ipsa Reply

    February 18, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Ignoring for a moment the legitimacy of the “legal research” that was done in preparation for this article, I’m curious as to why we haven’t seen such an article before. After all, a even simple glance at the council’s history shows several members (including current ones) being reelected after waiting this very same time period. Yet there was no article alleging a violation for them.

    Clearly after multiple times the city has no issue with this. Clearly the voters have no issue with this. Clearly until this specific candidate, this paper had no issue with it. Therefore, if you are going to wrap your bias in this fashion and offer it up as news, may I suggest a bigger bow to distract as to not make it so patently obvious.

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