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Cerritos Councilman Cho, Candidates Kang and Ma Tried to Manipulate Cerritos 2013 Election

By Brian Hews, Randy Economy, and Rico Dizon

UPDATE: VIDEO OF PRESS CONFERENCE CAN BE FOUND AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE

Cerritos City Council candidates K.Y. Ma, James Kang, and current Cerritos City Councilman Joseph Cho attempted to craft a deal with rival candidate K.Y. Ma last December in an attempt to manipulate the Cerritos March 5th election, as well as the 2015 Cerritos city council elections.

In the press conference, Cho said that Kang campaign advisors Larry Caballero and Alon Barlevy met with Ma, Cho, and several leaders of the Korean American community in December in hopes of having “just one Korean candidate” run for the city council.

On Tuesday, Ma produced an “Affidavit of Endorsement” that was allegedly written by Kang, to be signed by Ma that he would fully support James Kang for the council election in March 2015, in exchange for Kang dropping out of the 2013 race.

The letter that was dated December 4, 2012, drafted by two Kang campaign advisors, according to Cho.

The notarized affidavit was distributed at a press conference attended by the media and several Ma supporters at his campaign headquarters in Cerritos.

The affidavit stated:

“To James Kang: The undersigned Ki Yung Ma, under penalty of perjury states that upon the withdrawal of candidacy by James Kang for Cerritos City Council 2013, Ki Yung Ma will fully support and fully endorse James Kang for the City Council election scheduled in March 2015.”

“Ki Yung Ma will not run for the Cerritos City Council in March, 2015 and James Kang is the only Candidate that Ki Yung Ma will support and endorse in the Cerritos City Council election in March, 2015.”

“This endorsement is unconditional and irrevocable. The end.”

See document here.

The letter was signed by Ma on December 5, 2012 and has a Notarization Seal of Jeong Koo Rho.

On Tuesday, Ma denounced Kang’s campaign tactic and the affidavit even though he signed it in December.

Cerritos City Councilman Joseph Cho, confirmed that Kang “changed his mind at the last minute and decided to run.”

Cho said that Kang cited his current age and the amount of money he had already spent in the campaign.

Kang denied having any knowledge about the affidavit in a phone interview with LCCN.

“I have no comment, I have no idea, I don’t want to talk about this,” Kang said.

But in an email Kang sent out, given to the media at the conference Kang said, “these two documents (referring to the affidavits) should be signed and notarized by an escrow officer and handed them to me before the meeting.”

See document here.

Cho also signed a similar “Affidavit of Endorsement” that reiterated he would fully support Kang in 2015 if Kang would drop out of the 2013 campaign.

The affidavit said “The undersigned, Joseph Cho, under penalty of perjury states that upon withdrawal of candidacy by James Kang for Cerritos City Council in 2013, Joseph Cho will fully support and fully endorse James Kang for the City Council election scheduled in March 2015.  James Kang is the only candidate that Joseph Cho will support and endorse during the Cerritos City Council campaign in March 2015.  The endorsement is unconditional and irrevocable. The end.”

See document here.

Retired California State Assemblyman Tony Mendoza confirmed that he had “direct knowledge” of the affidavits between Kang, Ma and Cho and had spoken to both Ma and Kang and tried to serve as a moderator between the two campaigns.

“I applaud Mr. Kiyong Ma and I am here to fully support him,” Mendoza said.

Kang again reiterated to LCCN that he had “no idea about the situation.”

Chris Duvali, a key member of the Hubert Humphrey Democratic Club said that “K.Y. Ma has integrity and demonstrated better interaction with the community that’s why he gets the official endorsement of the Hubert Humphrey Democratic Club.”

Glenn Askland another resident of Cerritos for more than 30 years, and active in the Boy Scouts of America as a Troop Leader said that he has known K.Y. Ma for many years and he “believes that he has no other agenda or ulterior motives in running for City Council position in Cerritos.”  “Mr. Ma only cares about our children and our community,” Askland said.

Another outspoken supporter of Ma is Stephen Bova, President of the Cerritos Employees Union (AFSCME) said that his group supports Ma because he “does not reflect the views of typical politicians.  Mr. Ma cares about the welfare of all Cerritos employees.”

LCCN also asked challenger George Ray about the Ma-Kang dispute and said “I want to stay out of the fray, and wants to stick to the real issues in the campaign.”

Ray said he was “disappointed that candidates aren’t sticking to the real issues in making Cerritos better for the future.”

The press conference started with Ma intending to “clear himself” from having any part of a controversial advertisement that appeared during the past two issues of Los Cerritos Community Newspaper from Cerritos resident Young Park.  In the ads, Park revealed private details regarding an “extramarital affair” between his ex-wife and Kang for several years.

“I have no comment about the behind the scenes allegations and what did or did not happen in the past with Mr. Kang’s personal life,” Ma said.

“I am here to talk about my campaign for Cerritos City Council and why voters should vote for me,” Ma said.

“I do not see James Kang or Frank Yokoyama as my competition.  I see George Ray and Councilwoman Carol Chen as my main opponents,” Ma concluded.

 

 

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