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OP/ED: Carol Chen – Greedy, Anti-Education Mayor of Cerritos Playing Dirty Politics to Pad Her Bank Account



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Cerritos Mayor Carol Chen is openly supporting ABCUSD candidates against any infrastructure repairs in the aging school district.


By Brian Hews

Once again Cerritos Mayor Carol Chen is on a mission to destroy the movement to improve education and replace the aging infrastructure of the award-winning ABC Unified School District.

Just like she did when she held her secret meeting in her initial attempt to kill the AA Bond- first reported by HMG-CN – a meeting that Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacy said had potential impropriety, (see story click here) Chen is attempting to torpedo ABC improvements for the sake of her own personal wealth.

The Mayor of Cerritos is openly fighting to keep the status quo of leaky roofs, antiquated classrooms, outdated IT systems, and a host of other problems the ABCUSD, its students, teachers, and staff face every day, when all other cities in the ABC are demanding repairs.

Maybe what I heard about the ABC is true, “ABC is All About Cerritos.”

Chen and her followers, Bruce Barrows, Cerritos Councilman Naresh Solanki, ABC Board Member Lynda Johnson – who wanted to sell elementary schools in Hawaiian Gardens schools instead of supporting an infrastructure bond –  ABC Board Member Soo Yoo, Ben Ao, and Chong Vo, are all running around the ABC supporting candidates who have openly declared their opposition to any kind of improvement bond, similar to Measure AA, that was defeated in 2014  in a hotly contested, expensive, and vitriolic campaign.


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[l-r] Local politicians supporting four candidates who are all against ABCUSD infrastructure repairs. Bruce Barrows, Chuong Vo, ABCUSD Board Members Lynda Johnson and Soo Yoo, and newly elected Cerritos Councilman Naresh Solanki.


It is worth noting here that all of the above listed supporters live in Cerritos and that the candidates they are supporting basically came out of nowhere.

But that is the “politics” that Mayor Carol Chen has espoused in Cerritos and a political stance Chen is now endorsing in the ABCUSD’s elections to retain her wealth.

Witness the  AA Bond campaign, spearheaded by Chen, that saw one local newspaper “editor” publish “complete lies about the facts of the bond,” according to high-level sources at the ABC.

Chen, along with others, is supporting the paper financially, ordering Cerritos City personnel to advertise in the publication to keep it afloat.

It also saw the United Homeowners Alliance, run by Cerritos resident Ben Ao, spend over $8,000 on direct mail pieces opposing the bond –  pieces that had complete lies about the bond – and take in $4,400 from Cerritos residents Fumei Chen and Deborah Chang Kuei, without correctly reporting the donations or expenditures. See documentation below.


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A visit to the UHA website will show two candidates against infrastructure repairs prominently displayed on the first page.

So why is Mayor Chen and her anti-education cronies supporting the candidates, who openly state they do not want to improve the ABC?

Simple. Chen, who has no children attending ABC schools, owns several large properties in the ABC and would pay additional property taxes if a bond passed.

Vo, a Torance police officer who threatened me after I published a true story about him, is placing his political career ahead of his family and supporting the candidates; he has children in the ABC school system.

ABCUSD Boardmembers Lynda Johnson and Soo Yoo, along with Naresh Solanki,  have drank the Chen kool-aid and are following Chen, and her money, in lock-step.

Everyone in the ABCUSD and Cerritos knows about Chen and Barrows.

So imagine, Chen devising a strategy that places her personal wealth in front of student’s well-being and sense of learning in the classroom.

A Chen strategy that clearly tells teachers and staff at ABC “I want to stay wealthy no matter what the cost to the ABC or its students.”

A strategy that sees the Mayor of Cerritos telling surrounding ABC cities, students, and teachers, “it’s all about me, I don’t care about you!”

A strategy that will eventually lead to declining property values because Cerritos and other ABC cities will “age in place” and not attract new younger families due to the aging ABC infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Norwalk/La Mirada School District and Cerritos College is running infrastructure circles around ABC, with NLMUSD recently completing a $2.5 million upgrade to their school facilities, and Cerritos College a $6 million upgrade.

Norwalk/La Mirada USD story>>

Cerritos College Uses Measure G Bond Funds 

In addition to major technology upgrades, the first round of NLMUSD’s bond includes nearly $50 million in facility improvements — from beginning the process for new and improved athletic facilities at the District’s three comprehensive high schools, to hardscape improvements and installation of air conditioning in school buildings. The District plans to issue approximately $52 million in Measure G bonds every three years over approximately 20 years.

I wonder what the principal of Gahr High thinks about this, she personally told me of several facility improvements badly needed at the school.

Do you think Norwalk property values will go up? Do you think the students teachers and staff of the NLMUSD are happy?

All this is happening around ABC while Chen is fighting to keep her property taxes low and the ABC infrastructure in disrepair by supporting candidates who oppose improvements.

During Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States, he spoke to Congress asking for unity.

Mayor Chen and her supporters have turned Cerritos and the ABC into the current version of the House of Representatives that the Pope was talking about, pitting parties and politicians against one another for their own personal gain.

Much like many on the hard right in Congress, Mayor Chen does not care about her constituents, but only about herself and her personal wealth.

Maybe Chen and her followers should read part of the speech and stop the personal crusade to keep the ABC infrastructure in the dark-ages.

Pope Francis said, “A good political leader is one who, with the interest of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism.” Your own responsibility (Mayor Chen, et. al.) is to enable this District, by your activity, to grow.”

  • Coldwell Banker says:

    Think all the residents want the best for their students, but I’m glad we waited for a new trustees to be seated from the entire district, and not just the input from city of Cerritos.

    Carroll Chen represents too much of Cerritos, and not enough of the district. Shes being breed to much republican, I’d like to get the input from a new seated Board of Trustees, to see what the entire district needs are. Then recommend suggestions to be digested in to all of the districts, see if we need to implement a new bond Mello Roos Tax.

    Lot of this school technology is too new, no tracting accountability for health codes; & I don’t like to have classrooms built, just for keeping up with Irvine Test scores. ABC housing is not Irvine Housing. Speculation of the new technology fields, are not foolproof, & I don’t like all the energy being absorbed into the students bodies.

    No one knows what has been changed over the last couple of years, we need a report from the new trustees so we can see what has been addressed since the last election, and what needs to be addressed within statewide school budget.

    Carroll needs to talk less at the council meetings, she does a lot of endless nervous repeating, and it’s getting kind of old. Carroll is grand disappointment to the community at large, she always talks about PR for Chinese, but the school district and city of Cerritos is not all Chinese.

    Carroll ran on improving public works and addressing the tree trespassing, now sidestepped in to school district internal affairs. Carroll, refer back to your mailers and lets take care of city hall bus and stop brown noising schools and chinese immigrants.

  • cecy says:

    obviously you do not know what you are talking about. there is a lot of funds allocated to the school district just for regular maintenance of the schools and it is spent for its intended use.
    The state and federal govt also allocates a minimum of $15,000 per ada for school years which is a very shortyear, not to include the lottery funding of at least $1000 per child for school supplies. Obviously you do not know or even scrutinizing the school district’s budget; or you have selective reporting because you get a lot of advertising from the school district?
    Hey, the district administration retaliates and fires a few principals and school employees who complains or questions the allotement of funds by the administration to the school sites which probably only $2000 per kid out of the $20,000 funding allocation per child by the government. Why don’t you do a real unbiased and ethical reporting

  • TomG says:

    The ABC School District should consider a $100 million bond measure. The original $195 million bond was unacceptable to the voters. Alternatively, the bond can be scrapped. Just do a temporary tax to pay for the upgrades. This way every dollar goes to pay for repairs and new infrastructure instead of going to bond holders.

  • Gavin Riley says:

    Actually it is “Cecy” who does not know what she is talking about. The ABC School District budget for 2015-16 from all sources is $214 Million and with an enrollment this year of 20,020 that works out to slightly over $10,000 per student. Of this about a third is restricted use for special education, textbook adoptions, maintenance, the new LCAP, nutrition and health services, and other mandates. The lottery generates $181 per student this year and about 25% of that is for restricted use. These wildly inflated numbers from people like Cecy became the “coin of the realm” during the bond campaign and at these secret closed door meetings but they are pure fiction. Sadly it is the kids who get hurt by this nonsense

    • Gavins Neighbor says:

      When a bond, assessment, or tax affects all property owners, all property owners in the district should be allowed to vote and not just registered voters. We are coming into a time/era, when we have less and less registered voters, immigrants are major property holders in the district.

      Additionally, assessments must be advertised and circulated to all property owners and not just registered voters or paid subscribers to cable TV. This system is flawed, and needs to be corrected.

      Gavin, how much of the first bond is completed? How much of the state’s income each upcoming yr, will go towards the wish list sought after with AA Bond?

      Can the first bond in plac, or if the AA Bond was to recorded on a property, are either pre payable or is only a Mello Roos Bond Pre-payble at time of sale.

      Mr. Gavin, how are the long term maintenance contracts on the first passed bond doing, as trustees meetings are stating their was or currently is many maintenance contracts in default or are vacated because of lack of payments during the recession by the ABC.

      Please disclose all assets the ABC or ABC Unions have, outside of the school properties in the district, such as the Cerritos Overlay Properties, etc?

    • cecy groom says:

      Actually Gavin Riley, you are the one who do not know what you are talking about. I am glad that you stated the 2015-2016 ABC School District budget of $214 Million dollars with ada or enrollment of 20,020 students. Can you provide
      of this $214 Million goes to each school site for direct education of the students meaning by school site and how much goes to adminstration , deferred maintenance of schools, and supplies for the kids, so that we can justify
      teachers and parents still paying for the pencils and papers of the kids. and by the way do you know how much was the Modernization Fund of $135,330,820.in 2002 was spent to modernize each school site and was completed when?

  • Gavin Riley says:

    Evidently, former school board member Cecy Groom has forgotten that all of the current information she does not know is a matter of public record and available to any resident who calls or goes in to the Fiscal Services Department at the school district. For Ms. Groom’s benefit the school site allocations for 2015-16 total $17,340,265 which does not include salaries, benefits, deferred maintenance, nutrition services, transportation, health screening, nurses, warehouse, special education, after school activities, district office, and other district wide required functions.
    Teachers were dipping into there own pockets during the recession and also accepted furlough days, larger class sizes, and reduced benefits in order to preserve district programs. Except for their personal financial loss most to the cuts have been restored.
    As a board member during the last modernization I am surprised that Ms. Groom does not remember the bond money and how it was spent since that took place on her watch. However, I have all the audit reports from the bond years and I will meet with her any time at any place(District Office?) to give a refresher course on the bond. Maybe we can invite the local press to sit in.

  • Gavin Riley says:

    From Ms. Groom’s latest dissembling and incoherent rant I will assume that she does not want to meet and get the facts straight. She evidently prefers secret meetings and “fact free” websites. So be it but I tried and the offer is still open.