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Bruce Barrows Tried to Invalidate the Certification of Election Winners Grace Hu and Frank Yokoyama

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Cerritos Councilman Bruce Barrows involved in alleged assualt on water board candidate

 

By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News has obtained emails and documents showing that former Cerritos council candidate Bruce Barrows, in a desperate attempt to pilfer a Cerritos Council seat just days before official certification, tried to nullify the April 11 Cerritos City County Council election of Grace Hu and Frank Yokoyama by claiming both were ineligible candidates due to prior “criminal convictions of moral turpitude.”

Barrows cited and used a literal interpretation of the controversial and heavily litigated Article IV of the Cerritos City Charter in his argument that the two candidates should be removed.

Additionally, as he has done in the past against HMG-CN when Article IV was questioned, City Attorney Mark Steres was asked, and completed, a taxpayer funded legal opinion, initiated by Mayor George Ray on behalf of Barrows.

Barrows started by sending an email to Mayor Ray stating, “I was asked to forward this to you as you have to certify the election results (next) Tuesday night.”

 

 

Email from Bruce Barrows (bottom) to Cerritos Mayor George Ray. Ray subsequently forwarded the email to Cerritos City Manager Art Gallucci, who then forwarded to City Attorney Mark Steres for an opinion.

 

 

 

The email was sent at ten past midnight last Thursday April 20 and contained several grammatical and spelling errors.

Barrows then strongly indicated that Mayor Ray, and possibly other Council members, had discussed Yokoyama’s eligibility in the past.

This would be a shocking revelation if found to be true; that sitting council members were planning and setting a strategy – with a potential candidate whom they favor- to nullify the eligibility of another potential candidate – whom they did not favor.

In his email to Mayor Ray, Barrows stated, “we have discussed Frank Yokoyama and his suspension and admission of moral turpitude in the past, but, I had forgotten about the section of our City Charter that forbids someone from sitting on our City Council when they have been convicted of the crime of moral turpitude as Frank has been.”

Barrows continued, “I did some research and spoke with an attorney not associated with Cerritos.”

Barrows subsequently relied on a literal interpretation of the Cerritos City Charter; a charter that he, along with the City and all of his supporters, have gone to great lengths to use a non-literal interpretation of the Charter.

“But it should be discussed with (City attorney) Mark Steres only because, what happens should someone, citing our Charter, ask that he be removed once he is a sitting member?”

And in a statement that completely contradicts Barrows past actions when it came to interpreting the City Charter he stated, “as I came in fourth (sp) in the election, I have no vested interest in the outcome, but to see our Charter followed.”

That Barrows statement “no vested interest” did not ring true.

If either Hu or Yokoyama were declared ineligible prior to Tuesday, the Council could appoint a new member, which would put Barrows in position to take a seat, given the support from Ray, Solanki, Edwards or Chen.

The Charter states, “the City Council shall declare the existence of any vacancy…and can appoint within 30 days.”

 

 

In the email to Mayor Ray, Barrows attached a two-page document outlining his case against Yokoyama, with Barrows asserting the attorney, “was not associated with Cerritos.”

 

 

Bruce Barrows letter included with email to Mayor Ray.

 

 

It read in part, “(if a councilmember is) convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, his office shall become vacant. (The moral turpitude) raises the question whether or not a person convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is able to run for office as it is grounds for vacating their office. Frank Yokoyama was convicted by the California State Bar and stipulated to same.”

“By reporting to the State Bar that he was in compliance with the MCLE requirements when he knew or was grossly negligent in not knowing that he was not in compliance with the MCLE requirements, Respondent intentionally or by gross negligence committed an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption in wilful (sp) violation of Business and Professions Code.”
Barrows then blasted the City for not acting on Yokoyama once again using a literal interpretation of the City Charter, “….the City did not let the public know or be made aware of the possibility of this section of the City Charter and its potential interpretation and effect of his eligibility to serve.”

Ray forwarded the email on the same day seven hours later to City Manager Art Gallucci asking, “should we have (City attorney) Mark Steres comment on this?”

Gallucci forwarded the email to Steres who responded one day later.

Steres sent his response email to Mayor Ray, Mayor pro tem Solanki, Council-members Pulido, Edwards, and Chen. Also included were Frank Yokoyama, Grace Hu, and City Manager Art Gallucci.

Steres stated, “Mayor and City Councilmembers, a question (by Barrows) has been asked if whether Councilmember-elect Hu and Councilmember-elect Yokoyama are eligible to occupy the office of Cerritos City Council under the State Constitution, State Law and the Cerritos Charter. Under the California Constitution and California State law, a person is disqualified from holding public office and must vacate a public office if that person is convicted of a crime that is a felony of perjury, forgery, bribery, malfeasance in office or other high crimes.”

Steres continued, “under the Cerritos Charter, a city councilmember office becomes vacant if convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. The question arose because of a disciplinary action entered against Councilmember-elect Hu in 2005 by the California Department of Corporations and a disciplinary action entered against Councilmember-elect Yokoyama in 2013 by the California State Bar. I have read the accusation, the stipulation and the order in the 2005 Department of Corporations matter and the stipulation re facts, conclusions of law and disposition and order in the 2013 State Bar matter.”

Steres finished, concluding that both Hu and Yokoyama could not be declared ineligible.

“Neither the 2005 Department of Corporations matter nor the 2013 State Bar matter are criminal proceedings nor criminal convictions. Both are administrative proceedings. The California Constitution, State Law and the Cerritos Charter require conviction of a crime. The 2005 matter and the 2013 matter are not criminal matters and do not fall within the legal prohibitions for holding public office. As such, it is my opinion that neither the 2005 matter nor the 2013 matter constitute a legal basis to disqualify either city councilmember-elect from public office.”

In an angry, insult laced email, Barrows, who was sent an email asking to respond to the article, told HMG-CN, “The “we” started when you (HMG-CN) first wrote an article about Frank Yokoyama (four years ago) and his issues with the California State Bar, which included the phrase “Respondent intentionally or by gross negligence committed an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption in willful (sp) violation …” which he agreed he was guilty.

Barrows revealed that a “resident” asked him to look into the matter.

“The question raised by a resident, to me, questioned whether or not his guilty plea prevented him from taking office based on Article IV of the City Charter. The only way to address this was for a councilmember to seek advice from the City attorney, which is what happened and, with the City Attorney’s response, should end the discourse on this topic.”

When told about Barrows’ attempt to nullify his election, Cerritos City Council-member elect Frank Yokoyama told HMG-CN, “I am upset that after my election by the Cerritos voters, my opponents continue to personally attack me and lie about me.”

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Bruce Barrows Tried to Invalidate the Certification of Election Winners Grace Hu and Frank Yokoyama

  1. George Medina Reply

    April 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

    The lesson learned is that freedom of the press is the foundation of maintaining decency, honesty and integrity in the preservation of our Democracy.

    Going forward, we must be involved in oversight of the job performance of our elected officials and public servants demanding accountability by establishing an internal independent audit committee to evaluate both, job performance and financial management.

    We must not allow our integrity to be compromised with the Trump mentality of corruption and dishonesty shared by those who continue to support him.

  2. Distino St Reply

    April 25, 2017 at 9:11 am

    1. Well Grace cheated the city, & lost her real estate license/ Remax Franchise.

    2. Frank lied to BAR, lost his real estate license.

    3. Bruce assaulted a person in order to kill the resident.

    4. Frank almost went to jail for illegal campaigning while holding a job in Long Beach politics.

    5. Edwards guilty of violation of proposition H.

    6. C Vo in conflict of taking campaign money from attorneys representing the city of Torrance Police Department, where he is employed at.

    7. Solansky never talks and very mean spirited. Only word in his vocabulary is ( F..) word.

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