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DIRTY POLITICS: Artesia Cerritos Woman’s Club Suddenly Cancels Open Candidates Forum


By Brian Hews

The Artesia Cerritos Women’s Club sent out an email today cancelling it’s March 22 forum that was scheduled for 7 o’clock at the Cerritos City Council chambers.

This type of cancellation has never occurred in Cerritos politics before.

The ACWC went through the usual channels in scheduling the forum, writing a letter to Cerritos City Council to be agendized with the full city council voting their approval.

The ACWC  sent out a  brief, cryptic, and very contradictory release saying, “The Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos is a non-partisan, non-denominational organization. That being said, our members are free to express their personal opinions and views on their own behalf.”

“It has come to our attention that there has been some discourse between members of our club and outside sources. We do not wish this to become a distraction to the candidates nor the city election.”

It is unknown what the phrase “some discourse between members of our club and outside sources” indicates, and also the phrase “we do not wish in becoming a distraction to the candidates.”

The statements are unusual given that 95% of the forum is formatted to take questions from the audience.

HMG-CN is reaching out to candidates for comment.

Resident Jay Gray told HMG-CN, “This is wrong. Ray and Edwards both ran just after serving as Chamber Presidents and the Chamber event was never canceled. This stinks of politics. The main candidate to benefit from muzzling the residents and other candidates from the democratic process is BARROWS and the other candidate supported by the the majority council. This could have easily been remedied, simply do what Cerritos does for elections. Ask for volunteers from the Recreation staff to collect question from the audiences and submit to the moderator. The city and those in power were stunned by Anantha and his willingness to take on the establishment.”

Resident Jim McMahon told HMG-CN, ” Don’t like that Jay Gray was attacked by Chamber or any other level of business. Chamber is about business relationship(s) and no trustees, councilpersons should be seated or elected to the Chamber.”

“Jay has right to be upset, over loosing a contract for forums. Forums create wise and educated voters. Very sad that the woman’s club had to recall the forum. Voters big lost!!!”

With CCC John Crawley era, back in the 90’s, John Crawley did not think it was fit for the city to hold a candidates Forum in a public building, and also pay for the television w/ public general funds.  One of his suggestions was to hold it, off site, in a non- city building, and his other suggestion, at Chambers pay for their video broadcasting or some other third-party sponsor & not the city of Cerritos. Fine line of mixing elections and tainting elections pools. Councils past allegations, did not want to hold forums at a city council chamber, they said that the city owns and pays for it, and it should be not paid for by the citizens who create the general fund. You can agree or disagree with the council’s debate over that. City general funds must remain neutral on the debates.

McMahon went on, “Today, don’t like the Republican racketeering slate: Republican (Vo-Barrow’s), did not like the way the first/second forum preceded, so they complained to a another Republican, mayor George Ray, and mayor George Ray attacked the Woman’s Club; therefore, the Woman’s Club removed themselves from The Forum. This is all over debates: Seniors, RDA Litigation settlement and Smart City Movements, packaged in Q/A and so forth. Both sheriffs and staff are upset.

“Republican slate knew about this RDA judicial settlement, before the 2nd forum, but was not made available to all 7 candidates, in order to produce healthy debates.”

“I’m an advocate for fair and balanced politics, not back door ambushed politics, which has leaked in to the debates from city Managers office & tainted the republican pool of candidate’s slates.”



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