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Los Cerritos Community News Garners Two L.A. Press Club Finalist Nominations

August 11, 2021

Staff Report

For the ninth straight year, Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News Publisher Brian Hews has garnered two Los Angeles Press Club finalist nominations to be awarded at the 63rd Annual Southern California Journalism Awards.

This year, the Los Angeles Press Club received more than 1,945 entries, up 16 percent from last year.

The contest was judged by journalists at press clubs across the nation, including the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The nomination categories for HMG-CN are Investigative Series and News Feature.

“It is an honor to be nominated with such talented journalists,” said Hews, “I am very fortunate just to be mentioned with them.”

Hews was once again nominated in the prestigious Investigative Series category for his exposé titled Asm. Cristina Garcia Took Thousands From Companies Who Thirst for Central Basin Water Receivership

Asm. Cristina Garcia Took Thousands From Companies Who Thirst for Central Basin Water Receivership

The story centered around Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell) and her effort to place the now extremely successful and solvent Central Basin Municipal Water District into receivership.

Several water purveyors in Los Angeles County would have reaped a windfall in revenue if the receivership bill went through.

Hews found that the same water purveyors inside CB boundaries that gave money to Garcia donated thousands to several political action committees (PAC’s), with the PAC’s turning around and giving money to Garcia.

The investigation also found a massive web of donations – from the same purveyors and PAC’s that gave to Garcia – paid to elected officials who had their name on the receivership bill.

Influential names such as Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Ian Calderon, and Steven Bradford, who co-authored and is carried the failed bill.

The donations by the individual water purveyors and PAC’s to candidates presented a laundry list of conflicts, implications of pay-to-play and possible campaign finance violations.

Journalists also nominated include Jessica Mach, Los Angeles Daily Journal, for 22 Counties Not Complying with Bias Committee Recommendation; Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke, San Bernardino Sun/Southern California News Group, West Valley Water District Corruption; Scott Schwebke, Los Angeles Daily News/Southern California News Group; Los Angeles DA Controversies; George Toshio Johnston, Pacific Citizen, Finding Frank Fujino.

Hews was also nominated in the Best News Feature category for his story on the pot industry in the desert town of California City entitled Conflicts of Interest and Corruption Rife Inside California City’s Hall of Administration.

The article uncovered blatant graft and corruption perpetrated by three Cal City Councilmembers; the corruption was so pervasive inside City Hall that it reached the Chief of Police’s office.

Journalists also nominated include Bradley Bermont, Pasadena Star News, With Mammoth Bobcat Fire Looming, Firefighters Draw Battle Lines Along Mt. Wilson’s Steep Slopes; Hayley Munguia, Long Beach Press-Telegram, From Fleeing Cambodia to Helping Build Mars Rover, JPL Engineer Embodies ‘Perseverance’; Crystal Niebla, Long Beach Post, Life Lessons: How a LBUSD Grad Navigated a Difficult Path to Become the School Board’s Youngest Member; Scott Schwebke, Los Angeles Daily News/Southern California News Group, After 36 Years and a Troubled Life, Transgender Veteran Finally Wins Honorable Discharge.

The awards event will take place October 16, 2021, pending COVID and DELTA.