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Money Flowing from Outside Sources to Cerritos City Council Candidates

By Brian Hews

The Cerritos City Council race is set to heat up as the first campaign finance disclosure documents were filed with the City Clerk last week.

The documents show a familiar pattern with candidates receiving monies from companies and organizations that have nothing to do with Cerritos while other candidates are reaping big benefits from Cerritos based organizations.

Candidate Chuong Vo has amassed the largest amount at just over $28,000 with $10,000 coming from two police unions, the Professional Peace Officers Association and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs.

Another $8,000 was a personal loan from Vo.

$4,000 came from other sources including $1,000 from David Lui of Continental Asset Management based out of Arcadia.

Continental Asset Management does not have a website and is not incorporated according to employees at Continental.

HMG-CN called Continental and was informed by receptionist Sandy Nipa that she was unaware of a David Lui working there.

Nipa transferred HMG-CN to another accountant who said, “sorry, the donation came from David Wong.”

HMG-CN was not planning on looking into the donation further but just a few minutes later Continental called HMG-CN back and said, “David Lui works here, he works in another branch.”

In other donations certain to cause intrigue, the perennially stingy Cerritos Republican Club gave Vo $1,000 but gave Bruce Barrows only $500.

Also, current Cerritos City Councilwoman Carol Chen gave Vo $250, but gave nothing to Barrows.

One of Vo’s platforms is Cerritos public safety with his campaign flyers saying, “I will keep Cerritos safe.”

Yet Councilwoman Chen voted to not allow Cerritos residents to vote on a sales tax measure that would save the Cerritos’ Sheriff’s Station from closure.

Finally, with Vo once again touching a grey area in Cerritos politics, the Vo campaign gave Cerritos resident and current Parks and Recreation Commissioner Brad Beach $2,400 for what was listed as “polling research.”

It is unknown what Commissioner Beach, who was appointed by current councilman Jim Edwards, knows about political research.

HMG-CN sent a request for comment to Beach today at 1:40 p.m., as of time of publication, he had not responded.

In what appears to be pay-to-play, residents told HMG-CN that Beach has been seen promoting Vo on Facebook pages.

And Beach was co-administrator on one of Vo’s campaign Facebook pages until a letter sent by HMG-CN asked Beach for clarification.

Beach said, “I was added as an administrator when the page was first created to vet new members and to make sure that new members lived in Cerritos.”

Both Beach and his mom Janet work for a local newspaper in Cerritos. Mrs. Beach, who is also a Cerritos Commissioner, is an editor, writer and designer, while Brad Beach writes a column for the same newspaper.

Just behind Vo was Grace Hu at a little over $27,000. Hu loaned her self $20,900 with $5,000 coming from ASAP International Hotel, a large hotel investment firm.

Bruce Barrows took in just over $9,000 with long time Cerritos Republican Bob Buell, owner of B & B Stables in Cerritos, giving the Barrows campaign $5,000.

In 2013, the state ordered Cerritos to pay back $170 million, but then-Mayor Barrows indicated the City would litigate. Part of the land demanded back by the state was B & B Stable’s 4 acre plot.

B & B rents the land from Cerritos.

Anantha Ramachandran had taken in $4,000, and Frank Yokoyama $3,200. All of Frank’s donations were under $500.

Sally Havice not reported any donations.

Update: Beach responded at 5:30 p.m. saying, “I paid $2400 to obtain the PDI (Political Data Inc.) program for political research and was reimbursed by the campaign.”

It is very easy to obtain information from PDI’s website and all other candidates simply buy the data on their own, or have their campaign manager buy it for them. Beach has denied he is managing Vo’s campaign but said, “I like Vo.”