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Sources Confirm Cerritos Mayor Pro-Tem Carol Chen Held Meeting to Stop Passage of ABCUSD Bond Measure 

Controversial Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem Carol Chen coordinated private meeting with other elected officials to talk about upcoming ABC School Board Bond worth $235 Million,

Controversial Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem Carol Chen coordinated private meeting with other elected officials to talk about upcoming ABC School Board Bond worth $235 Million,

By Brian Hews and Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community Newspapers has confirmed from two sources that embattled Cerritos Mayor Pro-Tem Carol Chen purposely held a private meeting with other local leaders and two elected ABCUSD Board Members to craft a strategy to defeat a proposed $235 Million Bond to help rebuild aged school campuses including the headquarters of the ABC Unified School District.

HMG-CN was told by a source who attended the meeting that Chen and former Cerritos Mayor Grace Hu talked “hard ball politics and strategy on how to defeat the bond measure.”

The source said that Chen “controlled the meeting,” and that Chen and Hu voiced concerns that they would be “unfairly taxed” due to a large number of both residential and commercial properties they own within the ABC Unified School District.

A second source, who works inside the ABC USD told HMG-CN on Tuesday afternoon that “everyone is concerned about what took place at the meeting” with Chen and Hu. Current Cerritos City Councilman Bruce Barrows, and current ABC School Board Members Sue Yoo and Lynda Johnson were also in attendance.

Johnson told HMG-CN that she would be “preparing a summary of notes of what took place at the meeting” and that they would be shared with the newspaper.  As of Tuesday at 3 p.m., Johnson did not produce any correspondence about what took place behind closed doors.

Troubling questions linger in relation to the meeting and whether it violated the California Open Meeting Law better know as the Brown Act.

HMG-CN obtained a letter written by Chen in 2011 on Cerritos official letterhead. Chen used her [email protected] email on the letterhead; letterhead printed and paid for by the city of Cerritos.

That by default makes her [email protected] an official city email, which then made the meeting she called an official city meeting. Not allowing the public violates the Brown Act.

See letter click here.

Questions also linger in relation to Johnson and Yoo attending and the possible “quid pro quo,” translated as “give something, get something” that could have been forged between the two and Chen.

One Cerritos resident questioned why they did not walk out of the meeting once it became clear what the meeting was about. “It is very suspect that Yoo and Johnson stayed at the meeting, something was going on that enticed them to stay.”

Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper obtained a copy of the email and published it on line just hours prior to the commencement of the 8 p.m. meeting in a third floor conference room at 183rd Street and Gridley Road real estate office owned by Chen.

Chen sent a personal email with addresses obscured from her individual Yahoo email account on Monday June 30 calling it an “urgent meeting” to seek input on the proposed ABCUSD $680 million Facilities Master Plan and $235 million Bond Measure.

When asked, Chen indicated she did not want the press at the meeting.

HMG-CN confronted Chen at the meeting and was repeatedly denied access. Chen on several occasion during the heated interview denied sending out the email or deflecting any and all questions surrounding the meeting.



In her email Mayor pro tem Chen said, “Given the facts I know of current(ly), if the bond passes it will impact/increase your property tax bill hundreds of dollars annually. ABCUSD School Board members Lynda Johnson and Soo Yoo both have reached out to me to get this information out to the public.”

Based on the statement by Chen in the email where she said, “I wanted to get this information out to the public,” HMG-CN contacted Chen by email to attend the meeting.

Chen’s terse one-line reply was, “no media, invited guests only.”

Cerritos City Manager Art Gallucci, who was not in attendance, was informed about Chen’s meeting on Wednesday in an email from HMG-CN.  Gallucci said, “The city was not aware of the meeting until you (HMG-CN) emailed the information to me. This is not a city meeting therefore the city will not be participating in any official capacity.”

With a cell phone video rolling, HMG-CN captured both Yoo and Johnson arriving at the meeting  at the same time carrying paperwork.  Chen greeted the two ABC School Board Members with open arms and hugs before they went into a private elevator.

Johnson, when asked if members of the media could attend, responded that she was there as a “guest.”

See video click below:

Earlier in the afternoon, Johnson told the newspaper that she was attending.  “I am attending and will take input from attendees, but I am there as an observer only.”

One Cerritos resident who wanted to remain anonymous and who sent the email to HMG-CN said, “I’m guessing she (Chen) and the city probably doesn’t want it (the Bond Measure) because the city has wanted to raise water rates and maybe a utility tax. This could cause conflict between the district and city hall. If she is against it, in my opinion this meeting is an attempt to sabotage funding for schools, while considering taxing residents to pay for council perks and lifetime benefits for her and her colleagues. We rank 46th in the nation in education, this is absolutely wrong, secret meetings are undemocratic.”

HMG-CN Online Editor Randy Economy attempted to enter the meeting and was personally blocked by Chen and her longtime supporter Gordon Hom, who is a key member of the Cerritos Republican Club.

Several other residents of Cerritos wanted to attend the meeting and were turned away including former California Assemblywoman Sally Havice.

Also turned away was Cerritos residents Jay Gray and Jim McMahon. McMahon sent HMG-CN a copy of the email that showed he was invited, yet he was turned away.

At least 10 other local residents gathered outside the meeting in the parking lot after been denied as well.

Also attending the meeting was Cerritos Public Safety Committee Member Matt Kauble, Cerritos Republican Club Member Joan Plyman as well as Cecy Groom a former ABC School Board member who was censured in the past for make racially charged remarks to former school board member Louise Dotson who is an African American.  Sources tell HMG-CN that Groom is contemplating a run in next year’s ABC School board campaign for a seat on the Cerritos City Council.




  • gilman says:

    Nothing troubling about calling a meeting. No Brown Act violation here. You may not like Chen, but she did not violate open meeting laws.



    Carol Chen’s Secret Sumit doesn’t pass the smell …Legal or not!

    Why hide and meet in secret? If you are acting in the public interest as elected public officials, why shut out public scrutiny.
    This sounds like a case for the Justice Department – The Realtors, Republicans and Fake Democrats who drove Cerritos into the ground have run a Shadow Government. Meeting in secret and lining their own pockets!

    Wake Up Cerritos!

  • Council of Thieves says:

    A public records request of Chen’s email will show exactly who was invited to the meeting. If she deletes them she will be in BIG trouble.

    • A couple years ago I requested all emails between all council on a certain subject and found out, to my great dismay, that the Cerritos City Council is allowed to use their personal emails to conduct city business, thereby shielding themselves from a public records request. Yes talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop. The DA is the only one who can access the emails and that is during an investigation. I did write an editorial in my paper about this but Cerritos did not listen.

  • steve smith says:

    ABC school district is 87% renter, they don’t pay property taxes, the debt bomb (bond) will pass, easily, there is no connection between the voters and taxes so any proposed tax will pass as the renters can vote for taxes they don’t pay.

  • Council of Thieves says:

    Also, the email trail may show what was discussed between her, Barrows, Johnson, Yoo and any others. It’s possible Johnson and Yoo also used emails associated with their official position.

  • Resident says:

    Atn: Gilman:

    Private party is okay, but remember, no certified copy of the attendees present, plus $24K in public documents were taken from the district, used as teaser at this party, without written permission from Trustees of the district. You are only speculating the Brown Act was not violated; but may very well be violated at this private party, from either sides: CCC/ Trustees. ( 3) or more is violation of Brown Act, which violates are civil rites as taxpayers/voters.

    CCC : Mon Spec. 7/7/2014.

    Chen should have closed the meeting by announcing she had a private meeting to discuss the future ABC Bonds. By ignoring facts which have surfaced and been advertised, made her the villain.

    Sad, sad Cho, he is dying off w/ onset old age and dementia. Asian males are growing very quiet with old age.

    George Ray has nothing to loose, as his benefits are secure, unless he does not run for 2nd time or looses the next race. Mite gut feeling, he dies from heart attack during this term and never closes his term as counsel.

    Finally talked about public transportation, decades late:

    All around Fullerton CSUF, are bike stations. Coming to Irv-WLA and Long Beach.
    Think Fullerton has few doz of these stations.

    Art piece should be displayed in more public area, so community can enjoy. Sculpture Garden is like traveling to zoo in back lands of africa. Security is going to be ongoing issue for all sculpture around our nation.

    Done of the CCC talked about the enormous usage of illegal fireworks on July 4m until daybreak on July 5th.

  • Cerritos Resident says:

    So? Last time I checked we still lived in a free country! Too bad the Cerritos Enquirer wasn’t invited to the party.

    • Brian Hews says:

      Alan Wood, welcome to the party! Mr. Wood is a long-time Republican operative who owns apartments and stands to take a hit if the bond passes. Even though we have won four LA Press Club awards, Mr. Wood and his friends always beat us up. We did not hear anything from Wood and friends when we exposed Yokoyama, a Democrat, running for Cerritos City Council. Guess we are a great paper when exposing Democrats and the Enquirer when we expose Republicans.

    • Resident says:

      Allen Wood:

      ABC President, Tse, stated during the (ABC 7.5hrs) meeting, transparency was horrendous for the master plan, hence should not have leaked out until made public on 7/4. Even the public had issues, downloading the monstrous PDF Files over weekend. Your wife knew about this too, early, since she sits on the Chamber of Commerce. Barrows stated that most of his appointees were all invited to Carol Private Meeting on 6/30. My thought, if select few were privileged, why didnt the trustees reach our to the public tax payers earlier, who are voting to finance???

      Carol Chen, who is trying to act like Asian Ambassador, should have had a press release, like (R) Grace Hu had for Hong Kong Press, following the said meeting.

      Well guess Carols chance for running for Congress is shattered too.

      Carol was trying to do good, but clumsy administration and hostess.

      Allen, remember this is part 3 of the Mello Roos Tax, 2 more Mello Ross Tax will follow to finance the difference between $250K- $700K for district master plan for retro compounds.

      Part 1- ABC Mello Roos in 97.
      Part 2- CJC Mello Roos
      Part 3- ABC Mello Roos in 2014.
      Part 4- Cerritos Public Works Mello Roos in 2014
      Part-5-6: ABC to follow