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Mayor pro tem Solanki and Councilwoman Chen Move to Close Cerritos Sheriff’s Station

 

Naresh Solanki with Carol Chen

Naresh Solanki with Carol Chen

Both officials were slammed by Mayor Ray, and Councilmen Edwards and Pulido.

By Brian Hews

Last week’s Cerritos City Council meeting became very contentious when, during budget talks, Mayor pro tem Naresh Solanki and Councilwoman Carol Chen inexplicably moved to close the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station at City Hall.

Solanki and Chen, in defiance of the other council members and city manager, later voted no to approve the budget.

The city is facing a $6.6 million deficit for 2016-17 budget and it was agreed to in a prior council meeting, on a vote of 5-0, to approve the budget and then direct staff to analyze areas where they could cut expenses.

The Sheriff’s station was never on the radar until Chen and Solanki, in violation of Roberts Rules of Order that govern council meetings, as well as ignoring public input, attempted to place the Sheriff’s station to a vote instead of “agendizing” the item for a later meeting.

That’s when the fireworks started.

Chen started the fray by immediately asking about the Sheriff’s contract, “When do we need to give notice, when is the end of the current contract?”

It was evident that Ray, Edwards and Pulido had no idea about the move and were visibly angry.

City Manager Art Gallucci indicated the city needs to give a 60-day notice, but did not include the helicopter, which is on an annual contract.

Gallucci advised Chen to “take some time in looking at Sheriff’s station.” Chen countered, “we need to balance the budget with these cost cuts in mind.”

Solanki, who was endorsed by Chen and former Mayor Bruce Barrows, then took his turn.

Solanki said, “I cannot approve a budget that is ‘upside down,’ the Sheriff’s station only covers $4.5 million, I would have a hard time approving a budget like this. How do we cut 6.6 million?”

Gallucci said to Solanki,  “I don’t want to be argumentative but at the last meeting, the motion was made to study the budget and bring back proposed cuts in 2 months, that vote was 5-0 and we have it on tape, and that is the path we have been on until this evening.”

An angry Solanki then said, “the community safety expense is a big number, if we convert the station that is a large amount of money.”

Mayor Ray then rebuked Chen and Solanki saying, “this was not an agenda item, we voted to approve the budget with the understanding that the staff would come back later with cuts to get to $6.6 million, and part of that process is to educate the residents, I have a philosophical problem not getting input from residents, through that process we would discuss the cuts. I would have a problem since this was not agendized.”

Pulido followed Ray and was even angrier pointing out that both Chen and Solanki’s council campaigns stressed public safety and support of the Sheriff’s station.

“I support the budget as is, and it would be non-starter for me if we cut the Sheriff’s station, public safety was my top priority in my campaign as it was a top priority in your campaigns.”

Ray and Edwards were seen nodding in agreement.

Pulido then slammed Chen and Solanki, “why are you trying to pass the cuts without placing them on the agenda, the public should have opportunity for input.”

“I have problems with last minute conversations, why are you questioning our council staff, you need to let them work.”

A visibly angry Councilman Edwards then chimed in saying, “we cannot cut things we have never talked about, this is a mistake and we never discussed these cuts, transparency is important to residents, their number one priority is safety. Let’s pass the budget as then look at the cuts.”

Undaunted Chen said, “we need to balance the budget, we can’t buy the services if you cannot afford it. I would be willing to postpone the approval of the budget until cuts are made.”

Solanki could be seen nodding his head in agreement.

Mayor Ray supported passing the budget and then implementing budget cuts over the next six months.

The budget passed on a 3-2 vote, with Chen and Solanki voting no.

Long-time Cerritos resident Jim McMahon told HMG-CN, “Solanki and Chen wanted to cancel the Cerritos Sheriff’s contract immediately and move the facility to the City of Lakewood in order to save $7 million. He did not want to have any public discussion, he did not want this on the agenda, nor did he want staff to do any reports on the cost of having a service at our substation versus at the Lakewood Sheriff’s station. Very disturbing.”

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Safety before Politics
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Safety before Politics

Lets keep partisan politics out of the City Government dealings and prioritize what matters most to residents. Keeping residents safe, and preventing crime must take a higher priority over partisan pandering!

Will
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Will

We can’t afford to get rid of the Cerritos substation. If you want to balance the budget, start elsewhere. Safety is the most important priority, especially with some of the surrounding areas. Rest assured, I will not be voting for Solanki and Chen.

Taking Cerrios back!
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Taking Cerrios back!

Let’s get more deputies on streets, a real neighborhood watch program, and cut cost. 1.) STOP the museum. 2.) Sell or lease the Performing Arts Center. 3.) Get out of the electric business. 4.) Renegotiate the sheriff’s contract. 5.) Get a serious neighborhood watch program going. 6.) Fix the sidewalks and streets, and trim the trees 7.) Bring back more community related programs with the Millions in savings. $3-$5 million yearly savings form the sheriff’s contract $6 million yearly saving from Performing Art Center (will generate revenue if sold or leased) $3 million yearly savings getting out of the electricity… Read more »

Taking Cerrios back!
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Taking Cerrios back!

None of the council members come across as respecting the community, the residents, the tax dollars, the law, or just about anything else. It is because of the senseless philosophy of speeding “other people’s money” this city is in the financial mess it is. One previous councilman was not long ago quoted as saying, “the worst that happens is the city goes bankrupt.” $6 million a year in deficit spending for a poorly attended Performing Arts Center. $3 million a year in deficit spending to support a power plant that only sells electricity to certain city businesses. $7 million to… Read more »

Tzeshan Chen
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Tzeshan Chen

The city is foolish in approving new apartment constructions near Bloomfield and Artesia. The city was naive thinking the new apartments will generate new property taxes. I believe the new apartment will require city spend more money on traffic and security.

Gardena Grocery
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Gardena Grocery

Solanki & Carol both want to get rid of the sheriff’s department, or is the underlining Force, (Ret.) Grace Hu, who is already campaigning with Bruce Barrows; in order start & create their own Police Department in the city of Cerritos. Cerritos republicans have been very active in squashing unions out of the city. Grace Hu succeeded in establishing a sheriff station, she is campaigning for 2017 in order to create Cerritos Police Department. This has been running ramped in the Cerritos Republican Group. Republican seeds were planted in this past weeks Cerritos Neighborhood Watch Meeting on 6/29 at Cerritos… Read more »

Ramon Fernandez ·reply
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Ramon Fernandez ·reply

Ramon Fernandez ·reply Look into eliminating the COW, Museum idea, or expanding shadow part by eliminating regional park. I love region park, but it could generate money as a residential area. 6.6 mil COW is free to the city, it is being subsidized by the government. The regional park is not owned by the city of Cerritos, it is held in partnership with every city in Los Angeles County. Regional Park is owned and developed by 88 cities in the Los Angeles County. Cerritos sports complex at the regional park, is being rented back from Los Angeles County for a… Read more »

Carol & Solanki
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Carol & Solanki

Tired about hearing Carol & Salonki represent the diversity in the city. Who has Defined the word diversity? 1. How come none of the council persons or Commissioners appointed, are from the Dutch ancestry, the ones who founded the greater Dairy Valley territory & owners of many Dutch dairy farms. 2. How come there is no handicap on any of the cabinets? 3. How come the only gay/ lesbian/transgenered person on the cabinet was terminated because he was less than a man by Korean J Cho? Carol couldn’t cast her vote about the open gay person and she was fearful… Read more »

Kristle Sunshine Reid
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Kristle Sunshine Reid

Kristle Sunshine Reid How did Cerritos fall $6.6 mil in the hole? REPLY For the past decade, the city has had a negative budget of approximately $5M-$10 million dollars per year. BLAME THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION RECESSION…The city only has a savings account of Around $60 million dollars, means in about a decade, the city will be bankrupt, if CCC keeps overspending the budget by $5M+. $6.6 million Overture, (red ink) was because the city council was not Frugal enough to eliminate many projects and programs. Remember also the RDA agency was dissolved, CITY lost millions and millions of dollars over… Read more »

***********Breached Public Work Citywide************
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***********Breached Public Work Citywide************

********** PHOTOS SPEAK MILLION WORDS ************** 2016 Cerritos has never looked this bad, landscape and housing stock. 15,000 residents have lost grave interest in their properties, because Cerritos council has destroyed public works and landscape. Wild and dying Trees and poor landscape standards, are trespassing on to all properties in the city. Republicans are just using the sheriff topic, way to get rid of the unions in the city. PLEASE VIEW VIDEO OF LINDA SANCHEZ ON THE IMPASS OF THE UNIONS AT CITY HALL. Old orthodox Republicans hate the unions. Everyone is touch by some union in the USA> Carol… Read more »

Recall Solanki
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Recall Solanki

RECALL SOLANKI——————— Solanki has been on board for three years, he has not said one thing beneficial to the city for 3 yrs. One major HOA in city wants to recall Solanki, Carol Chen is sun setting from council term. Her realtor colleagues are grateful for her retirement, she hurts real estate business. Please view the CCC cerritos.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=15&clip_id=3800 Solanki had three years to talk about the Sheriff’s Department, which needs to be investigated to be cost effective, but dropped the bombshell, 10 days before the final authorization of the 2017 budget. Even George Ray said he was stupid. That is… Read more »