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ABCUSD Board Elects Officers, Vice President Lynda Johnson Snubbed

Maynard Law

ABCUSD Board President Maynard Law

By Rico Dizon and Brian Hews

In a controversial 5-2 vote, with Vice President Lynda Johnson and Board Member Soo Yoo voting no, the ABCUSD Board of Education elected former Clerk of the Board Maynard Law as President of the Board.

Nominated for President was Johnson but she lost on a 3-4 vote with Law, Board Members Olympia Chen, Armin Reyes, and Celia Spitzer voting no. Johnson along with Board Members Soo Yoo and Sophia Tse, voted in favor of Johnson.

Elected with Law as the new Vice President was Olympia Chen, who has been with the board for 15 years. Armin Reyes, going on his 12th year with the Board, was installed as Clerk. The Board Secretary position automatically went to ABC Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu.

Sources told HMG-CN that Johnson’s opposition to Measure AA and her alignment with Cerritos Councilwoman Carol Chen, who also opposed Measure AA, severely hurt her chance to be President of the Board.

Johnson’s said after the Measure AA election, “The results of the election clearly show that there is still some anger after the loss of the AA bond measure. The defeat of the measure represented the voice of 9,679 voters in the whole district. What we need is complete healing.” She reiterated her genuine desire “to collaborate with all stakeholders in reviewing, researching and working for alternative funding to be able to provide our students 21st century learning environment.”

When asked for a comment for HMG-CN on Wednesday Johnson responded, “I would like to first congratulate Maynard Law on becoming our newly elected President.  However, it was very clear last night that the majority of the board members still need to heal from the election results of Measure AA.  They are still angered and acted upon it.  For some reason, they feel that my vote against placing the bond on the ballot is the reason why Measure AA did not pass.  It was not my vote alone…it was the voices of the 9,679 residents that voted against it.  Their voices were heard and their vote needs to be respected.  I am hoping that this board will set their anger aside.  There are times when there will not be a unanimous vote by the board.  A 6-1 vote is just as healthy as it shows transparency.  I encourage my colleagues to respect the voters and to value the opinions of the ABC community, myself included.  We all need to move forward in developing a plan and to also work together for the best interest of our students, parents and teachers.

Law, a resident of Cerritos for 38 years with both of his sons educated in the ABCUSD, was first elected to the ABC Board in 2007 and re-elected in 2011. He is a retired Special Education Teacher as well as a retired public administrator. He has had extensive involvement in the school district and the community. Law is liaison to Head Start/State Preschool Program.

Immediately after his election to president, he announced the holding of the ABC 50th year celebration on March 28, 2015 at Cerritos High School. He said he looks forward to working with ABC’s seven different districts.

He smilingly said, “As president, I will now be in front of every picture after always being at the back.”

Outgoing president Sophia Tse received accolades and praises for her “unceasing hard work during an extraordinary year at ABC,” as Superintendent Sieu put it. For her part, 15-year board member Celia Spitzer said, “Sophia handled it very well.”

Tse was presented with certificates of recognition by several local and state officials. Newly elected State Senator Tony Mendoza, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (who sent a representative in her behalf), Cerritos Mayor Mark Pulido, Artesia Mayor Tony Lima who came with his Mayor Pro Tem Miguel Canales and Council Member Ali Taj, and Vice Mayor Jeff Wood of Lakewood.

Pulido referred to the outgoing board president as ‘a watershed’ during a very difficult and challenging year. On the other hand, Lima said, “I also wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to Sophia for her great contribution to the success of our recently concluded Diversity Festival in Artesia.”

The board re-organization election was followed by a public reception for the outgoing and incoming ABC board officers.

  • BenardJ says:

    Congratulations to Mr. Law on his election to President of the school board. I hope this election and the difference in opinion with regards to Measure AA doesn’t cause a lingering riff amongst the board members. I applaud Ms. Johnson & Ms. Yoo for standing their ground in opposition to Measure AA. It shows that they are the ones more in tuned with the voters. I would hate to see voting members become followers of the crowd and afraid to voice their opinion if it differs from the majority.

    • One More Cerritos Resident says:

      Johnson attempted to divide the district and used her opposition to AA as a political stunt. Now as then, she has no real solutions to move the district forward.

      AA may not have been the right direction; however, Johnson has no workable alternative solutions. It is clear from her involvement with councilman Carol Chen, Johnson is NOT a leader, she is a wantabe, a follower.

      • arthur says:

        Johnson a follower? How does that square with the 6-1 vote on the bond resolution last July?

        For the most part, board positions are ceremonial and little influence is derived from being board President, just perfect for the newly-selected board president.

        You must have been sleeping for the past six months, because there have been numerous alternatives suggested to the bad Measure AA plan. Let’s start with liquidating that multi-million dollar asset sitting on the corner of Norwalk Blvd & 166th. There are also classrooms all over the District that sit empty. Of course, just thinking about selling off underutilized campuses gets one accused of being some monster that hates children.

        Johnson clearly understands the condition of school facilities in ABCUSD are in need of modernization. She also clearly understood the DIstrict needs to reach out to those in the community that do not have contact with the District on a day-to-day basis and learn their concerns, because there were clearly concerns with Measure AA. In fact, the worst trouncing in the State of California for school bond measures last month was right here in ABCUSD.

        Several board members need to understand the concept that they serve at the pleasure of voters. If any board member doesn’t understand this, just wait until their names appear on the next ballot.

        Clearly, Johnson understands this.

        • One More Cerritos Resident says:

          Yes, Johnson is a ‘follower’ and she somehow feels ‘entitled’ to hold the title of President of the Board. Both personality traits we don’t need in our community leaders.

          First, I opposed AA. I’m always opposed to giving wasteful spending politicians my money. So, this isn’t about AA. It IS about Johnson in her role as a (not) qualified leader.

          From my own conversations with Johnson I will suggest she did not have the best intentions of the students in her opposition to AA. It was clear from my conversations she was FOLLOWING direction from Carol Chen and others – for her own gain.

          Remember, Johnson attended secret meeting(s) with city council members (one reported in this paper held at the multimillion dollar real estate business of Councilwoman Chen), school district officials and individuals with close ties to Cerritos REAL ESTATE (99.99% of ABC district parents were LOCKED out! She promised to release information from those meetings – to this date I have not heard a word. Arthur, were YOU invited to attend any of those private meetings?

          Do honest public leaders attend secret meetings and then expect the public to trust them to do the right thing?

          Honestly and trust are two character traits missing in the district. As such, I believe the trouncing wasn’t all about AA. The district has a black eye from recent publicized legal trouble. Where, according to this paper, the district was found by a judge to have fabricated evidence!!

          Back to AA… A handful of alternatives have been suggested (AFTER the fact), which brings up the question, where was Johnson BEFORE we got to this point?

          It is my understanding that ZERO alternatives are being seriously pursued by Johnson. Maybe, she is willing to publicly clarify what she is doing?

          We all want our schools to succeed and have to the best. We want fairness and honesty. I don’t believe we are getting any of this from Johnson.

          Johnson is NOT entitled to sit as president.

          However, WE are entitled to real leadership not some playground pit bull who’s leash appears to be held by City Councilwoman and local real estate businesswoman Carol Chen.

  • ABC says:

    Two words used:
    1. Collaborate.
    2. Wisdom.

    Trustees illustrated no wisdom, in over looking v-chair to be appointed to president. Seems like collaborating is being used for branding, but trustees are not sincere.

    Wow, GOP officials were not present.

    Shadows of district voting, where was representation from:
    1. Norwalk Triangle
    2. Hawaiian Gardens
    3. E. Long Beach

    Gavin Riley tried to smooth over the pay increases. Odd, nationwide business & many school districts pay employees educational perks, but if the unions were so sincere about carrying over 21st century education, the school district would pay for teachers educational degrees.

  • arthur says:

    It appears Mr. Law is on his retirement tour… given the fact that he and Ms. Spitzer are now in the same Trustee Area and 2015 elections are 11 months away.

    Too bad voters won’t get the chance to trounce him out of office in 2015. But there’s always Ms. Spitzer to be held accountable for her actions.

    Ms. Johnson comes out of this smelling like a rose.

  • United HOA says:

    Dear Neighbor,

    For a brief moment after the November 5 election, there was a glimmer of hope as the ABC Administration and Teachers’ Union both issued statements urging collaboration with the communities they serve.

    However, that hope was shattered by what happened at the ABC School Board reorganization event on December 2, when board members Chen, Spitzer, Reyes and Law passed over Johnson for board presidency and instead elected Law as the next president. This clearly shows that, instead of learning something positive from the failure of their misguided policies, they chose to thumb their noses at the 9,679 voters who voted against their will.

    In defending her action, board member Chen said it was “very important” for a board president to work well with the superintendent and fellow board members. She very conveniently forgot board members are elected officials with a fiduciary duty for the people who put them in office, and therefore they serve at the pleasure of the people, not the superintendent, who is their employee.

    Board members Law, Spitzer and Chen personify the kind of arrogance and intransigence that doomed ABC School District’s ambitions time and again. Instead of taking responsibility and stepping down, they had the nerve to blame their own failure on a very respectable board member Ms Lynda Johnson, possibly the only one who fully understands what public service is all about. By rejecting her leadership, the ABC School Board has lost a golden opportunity to start a new chapter.

    We are disgusted at the ABC School Board’s action. We believe there will be no improvement in their public relations as long as Law, Spitzer and Chen remain in office. We will continue to investigate and expose corruptions at the ABC School District. We will defeat any attempt by these people to revive the ill-fated school bond measure.

    United Homeowners Alliance
    A Community Organization

  • Gavin Riley says:

    I found it ironically rich that the United HOA would portray the election of Maynard Law as President of the School Board instead of their water carrier Lynda Johnson as unfair at the same time they were posting on their website a “hit list” of bond supporters they intend to “not forget what they did to us.” What exactly was that by the way?

    We all know that the United HOA under its various aliases dating back more than a decade when as the Committee for Improved School Zoning t wanted to change school boundaries for their own benefit. They didn’t care less about the disruption to everyone else. They have a long history of dispensing false and misleading information sprinkled with idle threats. This time their tactics worked but throwing the best school district in the area under the bus is hardly anything to proudly boast about. Will declining property values because of a school system needing major repairs and upgrading be the ultimate legacy.

    The one thing we can take to the bank is that they will oppose any bond issue that gives ABC students the quality facilities that we will soon see in Downey, Norwalk-La Mirada, Fullerton, and Anaheim where the voters rose to the occasion and passed school bonds to put their children first. United HOA has no plan for ABC beyond obstruction, vitriol, and empty ideas.

    • TO:GAVIN RILEY says:

      REPLY Mr. Gavin Riley:

      Students learn from examples. By not voting for the V-Chair person, is telling students, politics is run by back door unions and not by the public vote.

      Mr. Law was not next in order to hold any seat as trustee. Trustees for the most part follow protocol and not out of sequence. Personally, there is a huge generation gap between Law’s age and the students, plus he is not educated and horrible/disgusting hygiene!!

      Mr. Riley, it was obvious by your naked arms, you are post shingles, which is highly contagious. Wouldn’t it been better to stay home or cover your infectious arms, then branding your disease to the public camera?

      Why not inform the voters, Common Core education is to work w/ common sense concepts. Voters practiced common sense and said no to Measure AA , along w/ Cypress-Orange-Hermosa Beach, etc. BTW, over 25% of the statewide voters said no to SCHOOL BONDS. Voters are tired of being taken for granted, when it comes to free money ATM machines.

      ABC- PTA meetings are discussing many negative issues about Measure AA Landscape; as the publics no vote, was wake up call, the measure in front of the Voters was flawed. Elections are for the voters, so the measure can serve the community, not the teachers & students serving themselves. Educational Viagra RX maybe great, but there is multiple negatives and benefits of overdosing, from a good thing.

      MEASURE AA was lethal. Hope the district elections improve the Trustee Boards, as we need outside principles digested on to board.

      Thank God, we had invested interested of United HOA influence & other hard working residents.

  • Concerned Parent says:

    Dear United HOA:

    What’s wrong with Maynard Law serving as President? Is there any doubt that he is more qualified to hold the position than Lynda Johnson? Mr. Law did what we all wanted him to do and that was allow us, the voters, to decided if bonds should be sold.

    This issue was no different than when you and everyone else wanted Cuesta Villa/senior housing to be put before the voters. Thank you Mr. Law and the reset of the ABC Board for doing the right thing and shame on those with arterial political motives at the expense of our children’s education.

    I’m curious, if United HOA is a political group shouldn’t they be including their identification number on any correspondence, including the politically charged comment below?