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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.

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