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Cerritos Councilman Naresh Solanki Takes Council to New Low With East L.A. Style Politics

Naresh Solanki seen here in 2021 at a City Council meeting not wearing a mask; appointed Councilman Bruce Barrows did not wear a mask either, defying LA County orders. They were both later admonished by the LA County Health Department after the Department read the HMG-CN story. Everyone thought that was a new low for Solanki, until this past Thursday.

 

March 17, 2022

By Brian Hews

Just days before vote by mail ballots hit Cerritos mailboxes, Councilman Naresh Solanki, in a move unprecedented in Cerritos City Council history, slammed incumbent Frank Yokoyama during Thursday’s City Council meeting for alleged abuses related to the City credit card and City resources.

Equally as disturbing, Solanki indicated long-time City Manager Art Gallucci informed him of some of the allegations, although no one involved will confirm that. That would be a highly unusual move by Gallucci, who has always steered clear of Cerritos political infighting.

Solanki’s move came immediately before the publishing of an HMG-CN investigative article involving Cerritos Council candidate Lynda Johnson receiving $7,000 in special interest/dark money donations.

Solanki is endorsing Johnson and HMG-CN had texted Johnson at noon the day before the meeting for comment.

Johnson, a registered Democrat who used Supervisor Janice Hahn’s employment  as a Field Representative to bolster her run in Cerritos, is endorsed by the Cerritos “Old Guard” Republicans including Solanki, Bruce Barrows, Sherman Kappe, George LeFiel, and others who have held a grip on Cerritos for over twenty years using questionable tactics.

Solanki who never looked at Yokoyama, who was immediately to his left, started, “I have some concerns about one of our Councilmembers who is running for reelection, Mr. Yokoyama used our City credit card to pay for expenses in Spain while on vacation, eight charges on the card; but Solanki only mentioned five, two of which were city related.

“A Zoom call to the City Council meeting, call to his family, Nike Store, and a McDonalds,” Solanki said.

Solanki then shifted to other charges, “Yokoyama also bought alcohol with the card, which is a violation of City policy.” Documents obtained by HMG-CN show Yokoyama bought a beer in  San Diego during a conference along with food.

Solanki continued, “Yokoyama allows access to City Hall by family members who enter and eat our food and drinks and use our conference room.”

Solanki then alleged that CM Art Gallucci approached him, not Mayor Grace Hu, informing Solanki that “Yokoyama made 500 color copies of an election flyer on the city’s copy machine.”

Solanki held up the flyer, “he made 500 color copies of an election flyer, he is using City Hall as his campaign office.”

A request to Solanki to view the document has not been answered.

Solanki demanded that the Sheriff’s, District Attorney and Fair Political Practices Commission investigate Yokoyama’s use of the City’s copy machine.

Unlikely the D.A. or the Sheriff’s would be interested, the value of the copies is $250; if Yokoyama paid the City for the fliers using campaign funds, then there is no FPPC violation.

In response, Yokoyama told HMG-CN, ” I paid for all personal expenses on my city credit card statements and city expense reports. I paid for all non-city business expenses on my city credit card statements and city expense reports. City staff, the city manager, and the city auditor reviewed and approved and signed off my city credit card statements and city expense reports. All my flyers and mailers have paid by Yokoyama on them.”

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