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Residents Express ‘Outrage’ Over Barrows, Chen, Ray Decision on Planning Commissioner Yokoyama

Former Cerritos City Planning Commissioner Frank Aurelio Yokoyama.  Randy Economy Photo

Former Cerritos City Planning Commissioner Frank Aurelio Yokoyama. Randy Economy Photo

By Brian Hews

The decision by Cerritos Mayor Bruce Barrows, and City Councilmembers Carol Chen and George Ray to deny a city planning commissioner’s reappointment has sparked a huge outcry from readers of Los Cerritos Community Newspaper during the past week.

Frank Yokoyama, a local real estate executive, was a recent candidate in the March 5th Cerritos City Council election, and finished in third place behind winners Chen and Ray. His campaign was heavily backed by current Vice Mayor Mark Pulido.

During a meeting of the city council earlier this month, Yokoyama was publicly denied another two-year term on the influential planning board after a strong public rebuke was given by Barrows, Chen and Ray.  The trio cited a past action against Yokoyama by the California State Bar Association in 2012 for his denial for another two-year term.

Since the heated meeting which saw Pulido leave quietly in protest, LCCN has been inundated with more than 100 letters, notes and comments from Cerritos residents about the removal.  An article about the situation at www.loscerritosnews.net generated more than 6,000 reader views during a one week period from as far away as London, China, Washington DC and South America.

An overwhelming majority of the comments are in support of keeping Yokoyama, and some of most well-known and respected members of the community have weighed in on the controversy.

Below is a sampling of the comments received by LCCN:

Chit Yokoyama, the mother of Frank, weighed in with a comment to LCCN: “I am very sad and cannot believe that Carol (Chen) cannot even remember that when she was first running for City Council me and my husband (Tom Yokoyama) supported her by letting her come to our office. We introduced her to our agents and got their votes. Now that she is on top of the world she cannot even think back how she got where she is now.”

“A big slap to the Filipino Community, they punished him because of jealousy and envy. Frank has two degrees that includes Law from Harvard. What did Carol Chen and Bruce Barrows finish? Because George Ray was carried by Carol, he will just say “Yes Ma’am”. I lost my respect already and sorry to say that,” said Pete Benzon, a longtime resident of Cerritos via Facebook.

“Stupid politics,” said Norman Caprio. “There’s always a selfish ulterior motive in the hunt for power. I’ve known Frank since he was 12. We grew up together. My parents bought their home from his parents back in the 70’s. Frank Aurelio Yokoyama’s integrity is clean as a whistle,” Caprio stressed.

“This is very sad. I know in Norwalk, Planning Commissioners serve at the will and pleasure of the councilmember who appointed them. Yes the whole council votes, but that is a formality. While I don’t agree with Mark’s (Pulido) style from time to time I would have to say that I feel he and Frank were railroaded,” said Scott Collins a current member of the Norwalk Planning Commission.

Melette Lampino said in her comments that it was “an abuse of power shown by three Council members! Unbelievable! Keep your head up, Frank! We, who believe in you Frank and Mark, were stabbed by this Council action!”

Stan Klecha labeled the action as “Mad-dog politics. Revenge. George Ray now becomes the third party to abuse the power. Good old politics. Bruce Barrows is the leader; the public voted him in again, blame the public, not the message.”

Lydia K. from Cerritos said in her letter to LCCN that, “I too find it amazing that new Cerritos Councilman George Ray reappointed most of former Council Jim Edwards’ commissioner retreads. He did add two new ones, a former city employee Becky Lingad, (manager of finance) to the Planning Commission and Dan Padelford an Artesia resident, to the Economic Development Commission. ARTESIA? HUH!! What the?? Come on George, surely there is one resident in our city of 45,000 plus who would qualify for this commission position. Have you ever heard of any other city around here appointing a Cerritos resident any of their Commissions? I haven’t. “GOOD OLD GEORGE,” retreads and out-of-towners, how exciting!!”

George Medina, a resident of Cerritos since the late 1960’s strongly agreed with reader Carpio’s appraisal of the decision to deny Yokoyama another two years on the Planning Commission by stating: “I agree with Norman Carpio about stupidity and warn the Citizens of Cerritos, that, what comes after stupidity is CORRUPTION.  Just look at the City of Bell. It started with stupidity and ended up with corruption.”

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  • McMahon, J. says:

    Friday, April 19, 2013.

    RE: Nixing Frank………

    Purely Cerritos or parachute Filipino slate issues, as the race card is crying out for a future debated city agenda item over Mark’s colleague Frank. Why don’t the Filipino and Democrats petition council to have the debate put on future agenda?

    Read all of the -42- comments posted in LCCN following link about Frank, mostly Filipino protest:

    Both the (D) Mark and (D) Cho have failed all of the Democratic Party in the city. Sit back and drink-slurp (R) Republican $$$ Manure Tea, over and over.

    Why didn’t the democratic elected speak out against (R) Battery Barrows –vs.- (Gray and Barlevy) allegations over battery. Both Mark and Cho sat on the dais and did nothing to promote Censorship against Battery Barrows and drafted nothing in to the PROTOCOL MANUAL, to prohibit this type of physical bullying! Mark didn’t even vote on the Protocol, but cowardly left the chambers!

    For Mark, you censored your lifelong community Leader, Trustee (D) Cecy Groom, during her censorship, as this achieved footage will abort you from any further political elections. Mark 9 appointees, closed binder, only 4 females and no universal racial- age friendly appointees. Chickens have come home to roost for both Mark and Frank, as now the hen house has to drink more (R) $$$$ manure tea!!!!!!!!

    Both Mark and Joe need to read the bio resume for the Democratic Party, as is a party based on fair and balance Civil Rites for all races, genders and so forth; …… stop trying to play only the bruised Filipino Slate citywide.

    ► ► ►April 19, 2013, closing date for the Citywide Pride Contest. 160 dominees | 15, 000 Homes | 40,000 Cer Residents. Wonder how many are inclusive of the Filipino community. Almost lowest number of entries in the history of the Celebrated Contest…………


  • Ding Dong says:

    Attributing Mr. Yokoyama’s removal from the Planning Commission to racism is intellectually shallow. The outcry over the Council’s decision is a complete overreaction. It is not unwarranted to feel or express disapproval, however, it is both immature and baseless to accuse the Council members of being racist. Not everything has to do with race. Viewing life through a racial lense is debilitating. Let’s rise above this decision, dust ourselves off and move on. I’m sure this is what Mr. Yokoyama himself is doing. Especially if he feels he is worthy of being elected to Council in two years.

  • McMahon, J. says:

    Friday, April 19, 2013.

    Reply: Joe Ilao

    Think your confused.

    • Cindy Yen Chen, ran for CCC, lost; and on many commissions. Guilty of Federal Crimes. Never disclosed. No one bounced her of.

    • Grace Hu- Mayor and appointed commissioner, after flea bargaining for fraud and lost her RE Lic. Never Disclosed. No one bounced her of.

    • Diana Needham- , ran for CCC, lost; and on many commissions. Guilty of State Censoring Crimes. Never disclosed. No one bounced her of.

    • Kappes-, ran for CCC, won. Guilty of Real Estate issues and had his lic. revoked for slumlord. Never disclosed. No one bounced of.

    • Battery Barrows, committed battery assault charges by DA Office, not disclosed, No one bounced him of.

    • Councilperson B, ran for CCC and not disclosed allegations of his educational employment.

    Most of the elected become power hogs and have various issues which are not disclosed.

    Most of the elected become power hogs and have various issues which are not disclosed. Pitiful, all of the above have full PPO Medical Insurance till the day the die and if the remarry, their new spouse has full PPO Ins till they day the die. All paid for my Cerritos. Many of these are implants in to the city, state or country. Yet we are still too broke to trim trees and repair necessary Public Works Projects.

  • Karma says:

    McMahon, J makes a good point. Mark Pulido did nothing to help the resident that Bruce Barrows battered. The resident dropped the charges and the DA still insisted on charging Bruce Barrows informally.

    Mark Pulido (then ABC school board member) also did nothing to help the principle who was unjustly fired and now ABC is being sued.

    Maybe this is Karma for Mark Pulido?

    Ding Dong is also right. This has nothing to do with race. Put the race card away. 1/2 Japanese Yokoyama chose to use his Filipino middle name (Aurelio) to pander to the Filipino vote.

    George Ray and Carl Chen elected Bruce Barrows Mayor even while Barrows has his legal issue with the DA and the informal hearing. For them to turn away Frank Yokoyama for a lesser evil is purely political.

    Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

    Mark Pulido’s only saving grace on this issue will be to nominate another individual who will speak out for Cerritos and tick off the the three clowns leading the circus at city hall. Problem is Mark Pulido is too self absorbed seeking his next political office to give a damn about Cerritos.

    First Christ Fuentes now Frank Yokoyama Cerritos politics refuses to be exposed by from the inside.

    • McMahon, J. says:

      Saturday, April 20, 2013

      Dark Side of Cerritos Council:

      3 ( R) voted no for Goodwill Stores
      2 ( D) voted yes for Goodwill Stores
      Now the Fresh n Easy has vacated the mall, leaving ( 2) large boxes vacant. This mall blite has been ongoing for the past decade and many candidates have addressed this since Hughlett promised us a good market and lied about establishing a grocery store in this area. Another (R) Hughlett who has failed us all, but receiving life long Medical PPO Ins to death…..

      New Cerritos Wal-Mart is upset, the store can not be open 24 hrs, to service all work force hours for Cerritos Residents. Where is our two (D) council members? Reminds me of the Cerritos Council during the 70’s, when the Los Cerritos Mall wanted to be open on Sundays, as the CCC boo-hissed at shopping on Sundays. Now we are arguing about 24 hrs, for all diversified Cerritos Residents. Is Cerritos really business friendly????

      • CCPA-Sheraton Hotel shop on different Time Clocks
      • Cerritos Tax Money will trickle to Long Beach Towne Center: Wal-Mart and Grocery.
      • 24 Hr Grocery Shopping will bleed over to the (9) surrounding cities to shop.
      • Impaired Cerritos Residents will shop on-line with Vons for free Home Delivery.

      What is the 2 (D) Planning Commissioners appointed to the Cerritos Planning Commission going to address this issues?????

      Shame shame shame on ( D) Councilperson Joe Cho, when he bounced Commissioner off of the FAC, for being less then man. Too bad, we can not bounce (D) Cho from the council, for lying against his promises; city is bleeding from the dark shadows behind closed doors of City Hall:
      • United HOA
      • Joint Venture
      • RV Homeowners


      • Cerritos Resident says:

        Hello Mr. McMahon,

        It is amazing the archive of historical data on the city and its past elected officials that you keep track of. Thank you for keeping us all updated. Needless to say this takes an incredible amount of your valuable time.

        Maybe its time to put your name on the next City election ballot and see how many current Cerritos residents, if any, actually concur with your points of view and will be willing to vote you into elected office.

        • McMahon, J. says:

          Sunday, April 21, 2013

          Reply | Cer. Resident |

          Do not want to run for any local offices nor be appointed.

          • Way too old.
          • Anything after 50 YO, visually is not camera ready.
          • Too many conflicts of interests, since my family has many historical ties to the greater Cerritos Valley.
          • Yes do remember allot, as extended family has ties and held public staffing employment; along with a chain of family ties to politics.
          • Don’t feel safe on the city compounds, as the assembly of the Sheriffs-Jail-homeless sleeping in Sculpture Garden; and the June 2012 battery charges by councilperson Barrows has painted the compounds anything but happy and friendly. Plus the grand theft of materials from the adj. Museum Pad.
          • Any realtor, who has worked the area, should not hold office, as past contracts prohibit clear voting on city matters.
          • Worked 1:1 with too many past councilpersons, so yes, do have a memory or insights of our history.
          • Cerritos politics has begun to be to racially motivated and not fair and balance politics for all 100% of its residents.
          • Politicians should limit campaign funding and donate to the areas homeless and save the environment of political gaga!

        • Reality Check says:

          “Cerritos Resident,” Look around you.

          Most voters choose to be ignorant or give-up and won’t vote. That is why there is so much political corruption.

        • McMahon, J. says:

          Monday, April 22, 2013

          Reply| Reality Check………..

          Long hard fite to get the Commissions and Council meetings to be recorded on TV and archived on line. Wish study sessions and committee hearings were also broadcasted, along with the Safety Comm.

          Here we are, 10 wks to final budget approval (June 30, 2013); and no televised Townhall Meetings or study sessions for:
          • Sheriff Budget
          • CCCP Budget
          • 2014 Budget
          • Budget for Public Works & Tree Trimming
          • Magnolia Power Plant mess.

          ►Hope all of the past candidates who ran for office, will participate in the Budget Hearings, as last June 2012, only handful Cerritos attended. When longtime resident, Mr. J Gray, spoke out about many of the issues about the budget, Battery Barrows started a fight with him.

          Hope the Filipino community and their slate all attend and voice their concerns. City belongs to all in order to be transparent and not turn in to Bell Politics. In 60’s-70’s, hundreds and hundreds attended budget sessions, today, < 10. Data speaks million of words, politics is about racial issues and not about reality check on the today's data!!!!