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La Mirada Councilman Sarega Has Poor Attendance Record; Father Removed From Latest Meeting

Councilman Andrew Sarega – residents are calling him “Absent Andrew.”

 

By Brian Hews

May 24, 2022~La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega’s behavior at city council meetings is only upstaged when his father, Ion “John” Sarega, shows up and speaks at public comment.

Councilman Sarega can often be seen fidgeting as his dad berates the rest of the council and the city manager for basically nothing. It got so bad at this past May 10 meeting that Ion Sarega was removed from the meeting; a rant by a disgruntled resident whose son has never been mayor and could get beat in this year’s election.

 

 

And there are reasons for that.

Several Campaign Finance Violations

As reported by HMG–CN, Sarega has been involved in several campaign finance violations, fined by the Fair Political Practices Commission in February of this year for $1,700.

Sarega’s campaign committee ‘Sarega for Council 2017’ was hit with four violations for failing to file a report within 24 hours, deliberately hiding four $1,000 donations from La Mirada voters in the campaign’s final weeks.

In addition, Sarega was hit with two other violations, once again deliberately hiding campaign donations from residents by failing to file two pre-election statements.

It seems like violating the Political Reform Act runs in the family; Sarega’s father, Ion, was warned by the FPPC last year for potential violations.

Illegal Letter?

And Andrew Sarega never stops; in a hand-delivered letter to District 2 residents on La Mirada City letterhead, Sarega claimed the FPPC fines were “nothing” and slammed the city’s only community newspaper, the La Mirada Lamplighter, as “fake news” for reporting the violations.

Under FPPC laws, City Councilmembers are allowed a maximum of 299 letters on city letterhead, yet many in District 2, nearly 3,000 homes, said they received the letter, which would be another FPPC violation by Sarega.

Constantly Absent from City Council Meetings

HMG-CN news reporter Tammye McDuff covers La Mirada Council meetings either in person or online and has noticed that Sarega is often absent from meetings, not taking the time to call in by phone or use Zoom-type platforms.

HMG-CN has documented comments from residents who said, “Sarega is constantly absent from meetings.”

Finally, after hearing from several other residents, HMG-CN requested Sarega’s attendance records under the Freedom of Information Act and found that the residents were correct in their assertion of the man they call “Absent Andrew.”

For the period beginning in April 2018 and ending in April 2019, Sarega was absent nearly 20% of the time. The four others averaged 95%, with John Lewis and Ed Eng logging perfect attendance.

For the same period in 2019-2020, during COVID and Zoom meetings, Sarega was once again absent nearly 20% of the time. The four others averaged 95%, with John Lewis and Ed Eng logging perfect attendance.

 In 2020-2021, Sarega hit the same percentage; John Lewis, Ed Eng, and Steve De Ruse logged perfect attendance.

For the period beginning 2021-2022, Absent Andrew hit a new high, missing 32% of city council meetings, eight out of twenty-two.

During one period from April 2021 to August 2021, Sarega was absent five out of a total of eight meetings, or 65% of the time.

For the four years, a total of 90 meetings, Sarega was absent nearly 25% of the time.

His entire history, from 2013 to 2022 is nearly the same, missing an eye-opening 34 meetings, a total of 1.3 years.

 

Spreadsheet of Sarega’s attendance sent from the city.