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OP/ED: Cerritos Mayor Carol Chen Backing Puppet ABCUSD Candidates, Chen Wants Control of ABCUSD Board of Education to Derail Improvements

By Brian Hews

Voters going to the polls in November to elect ABCUSD Board Members should think twice and question the judgment of the candidates that solicited and are using the endorsement, and money, of Cerritos Mayor Carol Chen and her loyal followers.

They are Greg Uttecht and Latha Vasam.

Documents obtained by HMG-CN from the County Registrar/Recorder’s Office indicate that Uttecht, an Artesia resident, received $250 from Cerritos’ Carol Chen and paid long-time Cerritos political operative Matt Kauble $1,000.

Uttecht’s latest campaign documents reads like a Who’s Who of Republicans in Cerritos. Even the stingy Republican Club of Cerritos donated $995 to Uttecht.

Another Cerritos business, Fu Ta Enterprises located on 183rd and Gridley in the Cerritos Triangle, donated $500.

Fu Ta, according to online documents is a “Real Estate Investment Trust.” Fu Ta’s agent for service is Chia Ling Yang with an address located on Abana St. in Cerritos.

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Fu Ta Enterprises office in the Cerritos Triangle donated $500 to Uttecht. It is owned by Chia Ling Yang of Cerritos.

Vasam received $1,500 from the Comfort Inn and Suites in Bell Gardens, and why would the owner of a Bell Gardens 2-star hotel 13 miles from the ABCUSD give money to a Cerritos School Board candidate?

Comfort In and Suites in Bell Gardens. The owner gave ABCUSD candidate Latha Vasan $1,500 for her campaign.

Comfort Inn and Suites in Bell Gardens is 13 miles from ABCUSD. The owner gave ABCUSD candidate Latha Vasan $1,500 for her campaign.

Vasam also received $250 from Cerritos’ Chen, $1,000 from Cerritos Councilman Naresh Solanki, and $200 from Cerritos Planning Commissioner and well-known thug/Torrance Detective Chuong Vo.

It is the usual cast of characters, led by Chen, trying to run “Cerritos ABC” like their own little fiefdom, supporting two candidates whose character, and motives, must be questioned.

In a 2014 interview with HMG-CN, during the height of the AA ABCUSD Improvement Bond battle, ABC Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu blasted Mayor Chen for “gross misstatements” when Chen spoke at an ABCUSD Board Meeting in July of the same year about the bond.

The two candidates undoubtedly knew about Chen’s lies, it was one of the most well read articles, in print and online, in the history of HMG-CN. The two can say they did not, but what kind of candidates would they be?

During the meeting, Chen went on a near 7-minute public diatribe blasting the bond. Chen was told to “sit down and shut up” by people attending the meeting several times.

Finance Director Toan Nguyen, told HMG-CN that Chen was “factually incorrect” in “several key points” regarding statements Chen was distributing on paper to members of the community.

“We want to publicly correct the statements that are being made by Carol Chen and to set the record straight,” an indignant Dr. Sieu told HMG-CN.

Yet the candidates are accepting Chen’s endorsement.

See story click here.

The two candidates also undoubtedly knew the lengths that Chen went to in 2014 to kill the bond, calling a secret meeting and not allowing HMG-CN to enter the meeting.

HMG-CN spoke to at least two people who were inside the private meeting held by Chen and they confirmed that it was the intent of those attending to “kill the bond, period.”

The Los Angeles District Attorney called the meeting “questionable.” See story click here.

And guess who was at the meeting? The same people who are running around Cerritos supporting the two candidates.

Chen was joined by ABC School Board Members Soo Yoo and Lynda Johnson, along with former Cerritos Councilman Bruce Barrows, former ABC School Board members Dixie Primosch, Cecy Groom, political consultant Matt ‘Uttecht’ Kauble, and former Cerritos Mayor Grace Hu, as well as a host of other key professional real estate executives.

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Pushing for Chen’s Candidates: [l-r] Bruce Barrows, Cerritos Planning Commissioner and Torrance Detective Chuong Vo, ABC Board Members Lynda Johnson and Soo Yoo, and newly elected Cerritos City Councilman Naresh Solanki.

In Chen’s written document read at the meeting, HMG-CN found more than one dozen misstatements.

Sieu said that the “miscommunication” that was being sent to community members as a result of the meeting from Chen, Yoo, Johnson, Barrows, Groom, Hu, and Primosch was “astonishing.”

Yet the candidates are accepting Chen’s endorsement.

Mysteriously left out of Chen’s speech was that ABC has the lowest bond authorization amount per student in the County. ABC also has the second lowest Tax Rate per $100,000 in the County.

Sieu blasted Chen saying, “for her to omit that in her comments was reprehensible.”

Yet the candidates are accepting Chen’s endorsement.

“We worked very hard to make certain everyone understood the bond measure,” said Sieu. We met with every school and over 300 parents going over every detail to make certain the Bond was comprehensive.”

Indeed, the process started with an open meeting Jan 15, 2014 where they talked about the potential bond measure. The entire board, including Johnson and Yoo,  approved that the ABCUSD move forward.

But once the bond measure came close to the vote to place it on the November ballot, Chen and her friends sprung into action to try and derail the Bond in a series of blatant misstatements.

The United Homeowner’s Alliance, led by Cerritos resident Ben Ao, who, according to documents, is still owed almost $2,000 by the UHA, spent $8,000 to fight the bond. The $8,000 spent is more than six of the eight current candidates have amassed in total for their 2015 campaigns.

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Can you guess which two candidates have amassed the most money? The two backed by Mayor Chen and her cronies.

A defiant Sieu said at the end of the meeting, “We have a responsibility to the community, taxpayers and voters.  When statements are made in public that are totally false, we have the obligation to set the record straight, and that is why we are concerned with the wrong facts being distributed.”

When you look closely at Uttecht and Vasan’s character judgment, and the company they keep, the choice to “set the record straight” should be clear.

  • Gavin Riley says:

    It seems that the folks who used deceit, deception, misstatements, scare tactics, and straight up falsehoods to scam the public and cheat our kids are continuing to take victory laps. They also seem to have found a way to make it profitable as well from the campaign filings and hidden agendas.

    In still another long term consequence of this shortsightedness, there will be a state bond initiative to build and upgrade schools on the 2016 ballot. If passed(and they usually do) school districts will be eligible for matching funds from the state if they have a passed local bond as ABC did back in 2000. This will be a windfall for all the school districts around that passed bonds but alas, our district will get to watch from the sidelines this time.

    Finally, to Mr. Wu, did anyone tell you that bond payments are fully state and federally tax deductible or that a premium school district adds ten to fifteen percent to the market value of your home?

  • TomG says:

    “Chen Wants Control of ABCUSD Board of Education to Derail Improvements”

    Is this a fact because the article doesn’t give examples of them wanting to derail improvements. They are against the bond measure, which is a different thing. The bond measure didn’t pass because the residents didn’t want to pay for it.

    “Mysteriously left out of Chen’s speech was that ABC has the lowest bond authorization amount per student in the County. ABC also has the second lowest Tax Rate per $100,000 in the County.”

    Lowest Tax Rate doesn’t not mean lowest taxes paid. Just saying. With Cerritos residents having higher income in general compared with other cities, this means the total taxes paid will be higher.

    I’m not too sure what to think about the slamming of Republicans in Cerritos. Isn’t the race non-partisan?