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BRUCE BARROWS VIOLATED CERRITOS CITY CHARTER, CANNOT RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL IN APRIL 2017

Former Cerritos Mayor Bruce Barrows, according to the City’s own Charter, is precluded from running for City Council in April of this year.

 

By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News, through an examination of the City of Cerritos’ own City Charter, has learned that Cerritos Council candidate Bruce Barrows is prohibited from running for City Council in the upcoming April election.

The revelation will come as a huge shock to Barrows and his supporters as the perpetual councilmember and former mayor is a favorite among the “old guard” of Cerritos Republicans.

When HMG-CN examined the City’s Charter, found the violation, and informed City residents, several residents came forward and offered to file a formal Letter of Protest at the City Clerk’s office demanding that Barrows’ name be removed from the ballot.

Long-time resident Angel Soto, who was instrumental in the first fight to limit City Council terms, volunteered and retained the Pico Rivera based law firm of Kenney and Kropff to file the letter.

Soto told HMG-CN he will deliver the letter to the City Clerk on Friday Feb. 17, 2016.

The preclusion of Barrows from the City Council race stems from a simple statement under Article IV of the City’s Charter titled “Elective Officers.”

Under Section 400, one simple paragraph defines “Limitation of Terms” of elected officials.

The paragraph states “any Council member who has served two consecutive four year terms shall not be eligible for a period of two years to seek reelection or be appointed to the Cerritos City Council.”

 

Article IV as it appears in the Cerritos City Charter. The clause that excludes Barrows from running for Cerritos Council is underlined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barrows last served two consecutive terms between 2007 and 2015, leaving office in March of 2015.

“It is very clear,” said Soto, “you cannot seek reelection for a period of two years after you leave.”

The key words in Article IV and the subparagraph is “for a period of two years” and “seek.”

The period of two years is not debatable, it is a clear time line.

Webster’s lists the definition of seek as, “to try to acquire or gain, or to make an attempt.”

Barrows, by filing his paperwork in mid January 2017, was trying to acquire, gain and make an attempt to secure a City Council seat six weeks before he was eligible to do.

But, as clearly stated in the Charter, Barrows could not “seek” an open council seat “for a period of two years” which indicates he could not start his bid for a council seat until March 2017.

Soto will be delivering the Letter of Protest to Cerritos City Clerk Vida Barone, and intends to file an injunction or lawsuit against the City to stop Barrows from running.

The letter from Kenney and Korpff states, “Dear Ms. Barone: Please be advised that this office serves as counsel to Angel Soto.

After reading the referenced article, and the subsection entitled “Limitation of Terms”, Mr. Soto has expressed his concern over Bruce Barrows (running for election.)

Since Mr. Barrows’ prior term expired March 3, 2015, a strict interpretation of the City Charter section appears to disqualify Mr. Barrows from seeking reelection, including the filing of any candidacy papers, prior to March 3, 2017.

Please advise forthwith if the Clerk’s office concurs with the proposition that Mr. Bruce Barrows is ineligible to seek reelection until March 3, 2017.  Thank you. Sincerely yours,  David E. Kenney, Esq.

The HMG-CN revelation will also prevent other candidates from running after they term out unless they change the City’s Charter, which would likely raise the ire of thousands of Cerritos residents and bring back a movement for term limits in Cerritos.

Emails into Barrows went unreturned. HMG-CN also emailed Barrows’ political allies Carol Chen and current Council candidate Chuong Vo, who is supported by Barrows and Chen for comment, but neither had responded at the time of print and internet publication.

 

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21 Comments on "BRUCE BARROWS VIOLATED CERRITOS CITY CHARTER, CANNOT RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL IN APRIL 2017"

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Chris Foster
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One way to tell “fake news” from legitimate news is accountability … real newspapers run corrections when wrong (especially for huge gaffes like the Barrows’ story) … sadly still waiting here …

Opine Challenged
Guest
www.cerritos.us/_pdfs/term_limits.pdf Attorney General (AG) has stated his LEGAL opine in the above link, which is only an opine, not a judicial judgment. cerritos.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=15&clip_id=3909 During CCC public comments, Mr. Soto explained about his wife, Mrs Heidi Soto, who was an attorney and wrote the Prop. H. Mr. Soto is not in agreement of the AG opine. Mrs. Heidi Soto is deceased, but intent of Prop. H was not to seek re-election, until full 24 months timeline had been met. Mr. Soto and Former City council person, Grace Hu, are going to take proposition H, to the court level and challenge the… Read more »
George Medina
Guest
Focus on the issue of honesty and integrity which is the foundation of our Democracy. The laws are enacted to protect the interests of all honest, truthful and responsible citizens. This would not be possible without the FREEDOM OF THE PRESS as evidenced by the expose of the incompetence of the City Clerk by allowing an ineligible candidate to file for office. If t it is true that it has happened before, then the City Council must respond as to the reasons for their dereliction of duty before it becomes a potential issue of corruption. With respect to the finances,… Read more »
Good-bye Bruce
Guest
Ret. Council person, Bruce Barrows is trying to divert the attention around proposition H, he is telling his supporters that proposition H has already gone to court in the city of Cerritos and the outcome of said, is not applicable. This is just lie, in order to keep Bruce in the campaign during the forums. Steres, city attorney, states this will end up in court in order to be challenged. Yes proposition H did go to court right after Proposition 8 passed. Said outcome stated that the current seated Council are not to be influenced by proposition H. Any &… Read more »
Cynthia
Guest
I do not know what he is saying but Yes this has been sent to the CA Attorney Generals office before & it was determined the intend of the law – our Code on this matter & the word Seek was conflicting but that what the actual interpretation when we voted on this matter in our voters guidebook was that it was a 2 year break from office. You can find the OAG’s findings here: oag.ca.gov/system/files/opinions/pdfs/04-907.pdf? I have also found when I looked into the law more that this Angel Soto had worked with the LA Times on 1,article &… Read more »
Res Ipsa
Guest

Will this Friday’s paper have a retraction and apology? Or perhaps an explanation why Mr. Hews didn’t do his homework on such a clear issue?

Cynthia
Guest
In all fairness to the paper – we do not know how all this started. Did Mr Soto bring this to the paper? If so was he an advocate for this & did he put himself out as an expert & part of those that got this enacted? I was an advocate & I know the papers come to you when you are the expert or the originators of Government changes like this. I feel strongly that if u do hold yourself out to be this it’s your responsibility to educate others & give the papers honest facts because this… Read more »
Centurion City Charter
Guest
Centurion City Charter
CERRITOS CHARTER Please read this 60 YO charter, it needs updating and revision. Prop H is not the only item which is outdateD and has no merit. Many line items are not applicable. This was to be reviewed and amended in APROX 2000Yr, to date nothing. CCC was going to amend the Charter, when CCC created Commissioners handout. How many yrs did it take to create Commissioners Handout, and still commissioner are absent more then they are present? Jim Edwards Is suppose to be one of the finest educator and Chamber man, but brain dead to Charter. Barrows has always… Read more »
Cynthia
Guest
I agree with you 100% on the parking. I have a feeling that they are behind closed doors in fact Right NOW going to make parking more difficult for many of us sick or older residents. The person who took over for Berg seems to me to think we have too many cars on the streets. I feel we need to know why? My issue is a disability where I need a flat surface & since there are already 2 cars in the driveway that I can’t move the street is my only option. I know with the hardships of… Read more »
Cynthia
Guest
If the citizens of Cerritos do not want to elect someone they will not vote for them. I can see how a 2 year time out is a good idea but I do think it was just that – a 2 year time out of office & that it’s likely this technicality that the Community News has found in the word “seek” is an error because it would actually make it a 4 year out of office limit between being on the council & if that was the intent of our term limits it would in fact state 4 years.… Read more »
Term Limits
Guest
Politics is about disclosure & transparency; plus representing all the people, not just candidates………….. Proposition H for the city of Cerritos has been in effect for approximately 30 years. We have spent millions of dollars with City attorney fees, legal fees, and City Clerk. Why hasn’t the City attorney and city clerk brought this up plus why didn’t Mark Steres, ESQ and Vida Barone, City Clerk have this in fine print on the candidates forms, which were submitted to the city clerk for review? It’s not the newspapers fault, if the city is incompetent for employing subcontractors who are not… Read more »
Res Ipsa
Guest

Perhaps they haven’t brought it up because it’s perfectly consistent with the charter among everyone except for those with an axe to grind. Shocking I know, but you seem to account for every possible reason except for the most plausible. This has been going on for years with several candidates multiple times and yet Mr. Hews is the only one who “discovered” it. If you believe that then let me
be the first to congratulate you on the success of what I assume was a recent (or perhaps not so recent) lobotomy.

Residiot
Guest

Hey Math Geniuses!

You are accusing Hews of waiting, Barrows was screwed anyway unless the City moved the election BACK! He could not file until March 2017.

Laws are debated and adjusted all the time, that is why we have judges. So now the Charter is up for discussion, it took Hews to get the courts to look at this. What’s the deal?

Cynthia
Guest
This is what has always been the basics of this Code: “Proposition H In November, a local proposition “H” was passed that would limit council members to two consecutive terms. A member could run again after having been out of office for two years. The proposition move had been started by a number of community people who had run for council seats and been defeated.” When we voted on this – this is what we were told. Not only that but this is from our written History of the City. I’m not a math Genius – I’m from the early… Read more »
Res Ipsa
Guest
This has nothing to do with math and everything to do with the law. Since Mr. Hews clearly didn’t do his homework on the history of the council before writing this editorial (because that’s what this is… journalistic ethics 101 anybody) I wonder if he’s going to do any legal research on the history of how the courts have already interpreted charters such as this. There are two kinds of people in this world; people who do their homework and people who hurl inflammatory accusations without foundation. It will be interesting to see which one Mr. Hews is as this… Read more »
Residiot
Guest

Yes let’s completely ignore the fact that Barrows violated the Charter and can’t run. Let’s ignore that this article will knock Repubs and Dems out of the loop. Your tone smacks of a LCCN hater, and an old guard as Hews pointed out in his article. Ignore that this will affect every council candidate. An given what Barrows did to Hews in 2012 using his political office for political payback…..its fucking KARMA bitch!!! And Carol Chen is out too!!!

Res Ipsa
Guest
If pointing out facts makes one a ‘hater’ then I suppose it’s a label I’ll have to live with. Somehow I think I’ll manage. However don’t misunderstand my illustration of this papers clear bias as some sort of a concession on the issue. On the contrary, if Hews is going to make this allegation, then I’d like to see what his basis is. I understand that he’s consulted the oracle of all legal issues, Merriam-Webster, but the clerks office, the city attorney and the voters have access to that as well and came to the conclusion that this is perfectly… Read more »
Residiot
Guest

Hey Math Geniuses!

You are accusing Hews of waiting, Barrows was screwed anyway unless the City moved the election BACK! He could not file until March 2017.

Laws are debated and adjusted all the time, that is why we have judges. So now the Charter is up for discussion, it took Hews to get the courts to look at this. What’s the deal?

Fog or Transparent
Guest
Cerritos Term limits Next CCC, needs to inspect prop H, so they can’t keep coming in and out of office. Either amendments or new Prop H, in order to stop perennial candidates/ commissioners from coming back in to office. Commissioners must have term limits too and stop recycling. New Prop added to the city Charter, in order to stop relatives from being appointed to cabinet. Must stop more then one family member (relatives ) from being appointed to commissioners or committee members. Need to re-vote on 1960’s Overnight Parking Ordinance. Most of the 1960’s are dead or do not drive.… Read more »
Prop H
Guest
Council Person Jim Edwards: Before the next city council meeting, February 23rd, 2017; Cerritos residents hope to hear that you have resigned from office. You violated the two-term law under proposition H. You gained a seat under false contents of the Cerritos Charter. You also lied to the people from the Shoemaker Wall Group, you promised them to make necessary repairs and you lied and did nothing. You promised us a unique trash can contract, which would include valet services for the seniors & the handicap, Plus mobile trash can cleaning, and you lied to us, neither one of those… Read more »
Res Ipsa
Guest
Ignoring for a moment the legitimacy of the “legal research” that was done in preparation for this article, I’m curious as to why we haven’t seen such an article before. After all, a even simple glance at the council’s history shows several members (including current ones) being reelected after waiting this very same time period. Yet there was no article alleging a violation for them. Clearly after multiple times the city has no issue with this. Clearly the voters have no issue with this. Clearly until this specific candidate, this paper had no issue with it. Therefore, if you are… Read more »