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ABCUSD Measure AA Defeated, Mendoza and Calderon Win, Apodaca and Chacon Claim Victory

By Brian Hews

Voters in Cerritos and surrounding areas soundly rejected Measure AA, the $190 million school improvement bond with opponents garnering 7,638 votes (56%) to proponent’s 5,045 (43%).

Turnout was a paltry 23% with only 13,500 voters voting versus 52,000 registered.

Interestingly all other school improvement bonds in Los Angeles County passed including Downey’s Measure O by a margin of 8,036 to 5,244 and Norwalk’s Measure G by a margin of 7,043 to 5,461.

School improvement bonds in Azusa, Compton, Basset, Santa Monica, Torrance, Hermosa Beach, El Monte, Rosemead, Fullerton, Los Nietos, and Saugus all passed.

In an email to HMG-CN ABCUSD Board Member Lynda Johnson, who surprisingly opposed the Measure said, ” I wish to thank the entire ABC community for exercising their right to vote. This past year, ABC has dealt with some significant issues, such as the changing of our election methodology from at-large to by-trustee voting, along with a proposed school improvement bond, Measure AA.  Let us take this opportunity to reflect on the positive impact on what these issues have been to our community.  It has engaged our community leaders, stakeholders and elected officials in a healthy dialog about the future of ABC.  As we move forward, let us take the lessons we have learned and focus on the road ahead of us.”

 Proponents of measure AA in the ABCUSD outspent their opponents by margin of 3 to 1 but the barrage of lies put out by opponents, as reported in HMG-CN, seemed to turn the vote as the measure still went down to defeat.

Dr. Mary Sieu, Superintendent of ABCUSD told HMG-CN, ” although the election outcome was disappointing and we lost on Measure AA, I deeply appreciated all the support from our employees, parents students and community members in the District who helped in this effort. We clearly have many needs for improvement in our schools and we will continue to look for ways to fund these needs as we move forward. We invite the communities to be a part of our future efforts.”

Norwalk’s Measure B aimed at fixing the UUT in the city passes by a wide margin, 5,786 to 2,583, while Artesia’s Measure Y, which asked for a 4.9% increase in utility tax was defeated by 1,038 to 617.

In local Senate and Assembly races, former assemblymember Tony Mendoza narrowly beat termed-out Downey Councilman Mario Guerra by 4,400 votes.

Mendoza tallied 49,624 versus Guerra’s 45,264. Turnout was again around 23%.

In the local assembly race, Assemblyman Ian Caldaron beat businesswoman Rita Topalian by 1,400, votes with Calderon garnering 25,216 to Topalian’s 23,833.

In two hotly contested Central Basin Water District races, Division Two saw challenger Tom Malkasian lose to embattled CB President Robert “Bob” Apodaca who recently cost CB ratepayers $670,000 in a highly publicized sexual-harassment lawsuit.

The race attracted five opponents, diluting the voting pool and allowing Apodaca to win. Apodaca garnered nearly 10,000 votes, Malkasian 7,400, with the other challengers taking 14,000 votes. Without those challengers, Malkasian probably would have won.

Malkasian campaign manager Paul Fikas told HMG-CN, “the voters have spoken, this was one of the lowest turnouts in history.   We just needed a little more time to introduce the voters to Tom.  One more month and this would have been a different result.  For the critics out there, when you run against any candidate who has been in public life for over 25 years you have to raise a lot of money.  That’s just the way it is now in campaigns.”

CB Division Three pitted long-time director Arturo “Art” Chacon against five other candidates.

With 4,086 votes, Chacon beat out challenger Elba Romo by less than 400 votes with embattled city of Commerce Media Specialist Jason Stinnett gathering only 1,866.

Apodaca’s win is a blow to the reform minded group led by CB Director Phil Hawkins.

Hawkins wanted Malkasian to win so the reform could start, but with Apodaca winning, Director Leticia Vasquez, James Roybal, and Apodaca now hold a solid majority.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that a recall of the directors could begin very soon.

Vasquez is involved in a whistleblower lawsuit against CB that has cost CB over $300,000, Roybal was caught, by HMG-CN, earning money while in LAUSD teacher jail, a direct violation of LAUSD policy, and Apodaca has a history of costly sexual harassment lawsuits.

  • arthur says:

    Voters are rarely wrong.

    It’s now time for all the Measure AA leaders (Dr. Bob, Mr. Law, Tanya, Mr. Hews, and the San Francisco-based financial advisor/political consultant) to look into the mirror to assign blame for losing. Heck, the political consultant told the public his survey demonstrated the District had way over 60% support for the bond. And on Election Day, the campaign runs 20 points behind the survey?

    It is also time to get back around the table and develop a sensible plan economically to provide the school facilities our students need to succeed.

    Our community is strong enough to use this as a learning exercise, bring in ALL community stakeholders on this plan (including those that don’t have any day-to-day interaction with the school district, other than paying their property taxes so the District can operate. I don’t think it is an understatement that these voices were heard yesterday.


  • TomG says:

    As a resident of Cerritos, I voted against Measure AA due to the increase in property taxes. I calculated it will add $150 to my yearly property taxes for 40 years. This increase will be a strain on my finances. Plus, the bond measure is for $400 million while the schools get $190 million. This means I’m paying for someone getting rich.

    I also dispute the amount needed to improve the schools. Why do they need $190 million? That’s a lot for projects not even proposed. Will they replace all the school buildings with this astronomical amount of funds? This comes on top of a previous bond measure that pre-dated my residency in Cerritos.

    If you want something passed, the increase to property taxes should be smaller by half. Do not go the bond route. Just deposit the funds into an account and spend it as we need it or let it accumulate. Then propose school projects that can be reviewed and approved. That’s my suggestion.

  • FLFF says:

    Really sad to see the always corrupt and always arrogant Tony Mendoza won AGAIN! When he was on the Artesia city council they almost did BACK flips when he left there to go to the assembly originally in the early 2000s. He was a constant asshole that was always an unnecessary progressive liberal crap stirrer! They were extremely happy to see him go!

    I have been plagued with this illegal alien lover and anti gun advocate for YEARS! He has been my rep until 2012, then I got indicted senator Ron Calderon! Wow what a change, one suspected of being a criminal (Mendoza) and replaced by one who is (Calderon)! What a choice for Cerritos/Lakewood & Hawaiian Gardens! When Mendoza was my rep I wrote him time and time again on NUMEROUS subjects but because I was NOT in the libturd camp, I was never afforded the courtesy of even a form letter! Sure shows how loving and caring he is for constituents! Beware if you are in his district and NOT a dyed in the wool liberal democrat, you will NEVER receive any reply to any of your letters!

    Now we are PLAGUED with him again! Look for a Ron Calderon “look alike” replacement to do the criminal element number on us now! He is in bed with all illegal alien radical groups MALDEF and so on! AND most all anti-gun, anti-2nd amendment groups! Look for nothing good from him regarding helping citizens! He is TOTALLY special interest oriented! Like the UTLA, SEIU, ACLU and the whole host of retarded progressive liberal groups. Yes folks elections have consequences and by putting this meglo-maniac in office is only gonna exacerbate an already bad problem in south LA county! Way to go!

  • abc parent says:

    The children of our community were the losers last night. Surrounding communities demonstrated their citizens care about the future of education in their community when clearly our community put our children’s future second. The ramifications of the failure of the passing of this bond measure will be felt immediately by our kids. Our students will sit in the same classrooms and same furniture their grandparents sat in. Our children will be prolonging their day waiting for a computer to become available for their use. Our children will not have the latest technology within their reach to keep up with common core standards. Educators, whom I hope we all believe deserve more were stricken with a huge blow. They now have to figure out how to teach their students to be successful productive learners without the latest technological instruments in the classrooms.
    ABC Board Meetings and discussions regarding district funding are public. It is the freewill of the residents of ABC to become involved and provide input. The opportunity has always been there. No one has kept any secrets from the public regarding school funding in ABC.
    I ask you Lynda Johnson, Cecy Groom, Grace Hu, Carol Chen and the HOA’s what is your great spending plan? Lynda where is the revenue you speak of going to come from?
    Homeowners association will funding ABC schools be the first item on the agenda at your next meeting?
    “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation”
    Walter Cronkite
    Ignorance prevailed last night!

    • steveie says:

      They should have crafted the measure to tax everyone and not just home owners. I don’t like free pass to renters or city workers who don’t live in the city but have their children attending ABC School District.

      Better yet write up measures that tax the parents who have their children currently attending ABC School District.

    • arthur says:

      I don’t belong to any of the above-mentioned groups, but can I take a swing at a few of your questions?

      Figure how much these improvements really cost with more than a” peek in the cupboards” estimation.

      The District needs to take an honest look into land assets the District possesses which do not serve our children’s educational advancement.

      And lastly, let’s get a handle on exactly how much outstanding debt remains from the 1997 bond measure. How many different debt figures will Administrators offer to the public and their elected officials? Let’s get to the bottom of this and move on, folks.

  • No No Mello Roos School Bonds says:

    So, so happy that Measure AA/ Mello Roos School Bond did not pass, it was just another Mello Roos tax attached to our properties. Measure AA was springboard to further city taxes: Water rate Increase and tax on the Sheriff Departments.

    Well data prevails. City of Cerritos, is the only city, of all the other municipalities which voted Y E S for the school taxes; my response, Cerritos is the only city which has dictatorship Overnight Parking restrictions, which creates nothing but a nightmare for parents who have children with cars. All the other cities have diversity in family sizes, as parking restrictions do not create diversity and family life. Parking restriction is form of Birth Control, as adding families, brings more cars, cars and parking issues.

    ABC Union leader in Oct 2014 televised meeting, bullied the audience, by telling the audience, anyone who says no to Mello Roos Bonds is practicing Fascism, which really is form of adult bullying. Union Leader does not live in Cerritos, nor is effected by the Overnight Parking Permits and does not pay property taxes in Cerritos, but resides in nearby Fullerton.

    Unions brand for advertising the AA Mello Roos Bond, was for new campus staging areas, and forgot about renewable energy by installing Solar panels, etc. Ret. G Riley, former union leader, still blames La Cuesta Villa Failure, when in reality, 2 Mello Roos Bonds have been passed and misused by trustees.

    Also, Cerritos is the only city that has a high density of senior citizen affordable housing, which creates almost 47 percent of the city’s population of 42,000, being retired. The City Council of Cerritos, voted for low income affordable housing, plus the 40 year old overnight parking permits, does not create diversity for home ownership or diversity for businesses climate.

    Most of all the other cities which passed school bonds / Mello Roos Taxes, have a very large scale and diversified business climate, which city of Cerritos just does not favor. Cerritos is just a Mattress Community, w/ 3 malls and no industrial parks, no medical centers, which all bring in good jobs.

    Factor all of the aboves, this is why the voters were smart in the city of Cerritos and voted NO NO NO to another Mello Ross Bond, when we are paying for two already. Many of the cities which did pass educational Bonds, have hi amounts of multi million dollar McMansions throughout their city, hospitals, major industrial factories; where the city of Cerritos has a very very low amount of million dollar homes. Cerritos was hit very hard in the past recession, as had one of the higher unemployment numbers compared to all the other cities which passed Mello Roos educational bonds.

    Again thanks to all the hard labor work the Cerritos residences of the city of Cerritos and ABC went into defeating the Mello Roos Bonds.

    Also, thanks for electing Tony Mendoza, (Democratic) which can work with a democratic district. Area needs diversified job growth, lets hope 2015 brings prosperous job growth. Area needs major job attractions from .Com, aerospace, engineering and auto manufacturing, plus 99% of the district needs renewable energy from windmills and solar collectors.

    Silly season is behind us, as thanks to the ABC for further dividing the city, as did w/ La Cuesta Villa Project too.

  • No No Mello Roos School Bonds says:

    Dear Neighbor,

    We beat them! After all 63 precincts were counted, we got 7638 ballots against their 5945, a whole 10% more than the 46% needed to defeat them. We thank our Lord and thank all of you who helped make this happen. As a token of our appreciation, we have provided a small treat just for you on our website united-hoa.org. Please check it out and enjoy it.

    Once again, your United HOA has proved to be a voice for the ordinary people worthy of your trust, and a force to be reckoned with in local politics. Let’s remain united and band together to face off any future challenges that may be headed our way.
    Best regards,

    United Homeowners Alliance

    A Community Organization

  • AndyAmerican says:

    Im beyond excited that Tony Mendoza won!! Congrats Tony Mendoza! As for the comments above that “try” to insult or vilify Tony; next time try to be a bit more original and not re-use the same old tired fabrications. Glad to that measure AA did not pass! (Just blew my party favor horn) As a toss confetti into the air, Im glad that this sugar coated tax did not pass! Don’t give me this B.S. that it would have been used for the children to have access to technology by putting computers in the classroom or new buildings & furniture-poppycock!! ABCUSD (somewhat forced) urged parents to buy their children ipads for school use at Nixon; and what have they learned?? Absolutely nothing! I love my child, but truthfully, all my child has learned from this program established by ABCUSD is how to download apps such as Tango, Skype and watch youtube all day. Lastly, those of you crying about Measure AA not passing will be glad it didn’t once our Water system becomes privatized & you’re water bill looks like a car payment!

    • stevie says:

      Looks like they want to jump into LAUSD iPad bandwagon and they don’t care knowing that the LAUSD iPad program failed miserably. Then again what do they care when it’s only other people money.

  • L BAB says:

    My kids go to abc school district so I am aware that the school would need some money to fix their facility. I am not oppose to being charge $100 per kid per school per year for facility improvement. At least I know that it will go straight to the school and will cut the middle person.

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