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California Democratic Party Slams Chris Robles, Chair of County Party Who Helped in Artesia City Council Recall

Chris Robles, who was exposed by HMG-CN while operating in Artesia, campaigned against Democrats while Chair of the San Bernardino County Democratic Party.

By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News exclusively reported last year on the fraudulent recall attempt in Artesia that targeted then-Mayor Ali Taj and Councilmen Miguel Canales and Victor Manalo.

The attempt was led by residents Rene Trevino, Dorothy Kane, Gurpal Sood, and controversial neophyte newsletter writer Melinda Kimsey.




Kimsey threw her journalistic ethics aside and joined the fraudulent recall in attempt to take over the City Council with Trevino.

Also throwing ethics out the window and causing anger between Artesia and Cerritos officials was Kimseys’ newsletter copy editor and noted Cerritos Republican Janet Beach.

Beach is an appointed Commissioner on the Cerritos Fine Arts and Historical Commission and helped to approve articles related to the bogus recall.

Disgruntled former HMG-CN reporter Jerry Bernstein, who colluded with Kimsey during their employment stint with HMG-CN to try and put the paper out of business, also participated.




The group came to be known as the “Keystone Kimseys” in certain Artesia circles, known for their bumbling recall efforts and failures.

The first recall petitions submitted to the city showed strong evidence of questionable activity, with many residents crying foul about the subject of the recall and their actual signatures.

The recall was eventually invalidated due to questionable signatures.

So the Keystone Kimseys tried again, recruiting Chris Robles, a “recall expert” and known trash hauler operative.

Shockingly, at the same time he joined the Artesia recall attempt against three Democrats,  Robles was the Chair of the San Bernardino County Democratic Party.




There is no public record of Robles ever having managed a winning campaign. Several of the campaigns he worked on have been investigated and fined by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) because of his repeated violations, which included paying himself out of a client’s campaign funds.

But that did not bother the Keystone Kimseys.

Another recall was questionably approved, without a fight from the City’s law firm, and Robles began his campaign, hanging out in the City with signature gathering employees at a local Flame Broiler on Pioneer Blvd. that is reportedly owned by Sood.

But the Keystone Kimseys failed at their second attempt, further damaging the image of Artesia and hurting future vital economic projects.

In addition, a campaign committee was never opened to finance the recall attempt.

If any member of the Keystone Kimseys spent over $1,000 on the campaign, they violated several Fair Political Practices Commission laws by failing to open a campaign committee.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that complaints filed last year alleging violations during the recall campaign are now under investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney.




Newsletter writer Melinda Kimsey worked with Chris Robles trying to recall three very popular Artesia city councilman for highly questionable reasons. Before and during the recall, the Council finalized Artesia Live I, and is considering Artesia Live II at their next meeting. Both projects will bring hundreds of jobs and needed revenue into the City. Kimsey and the others almost torpedoed both projects. Kimsey wanted to take over the Council with residents Rene Trevino and Dorothy Kane and the help of Robles. 


Now in a what might be a fitting end to his checkered career, and a testimony to the Keystone Kimseys questionable motives, Robles was recently slammed by the Democratic party for “working professionally for Republican candidates in a campaign to defeat Democratic candidates.”

Eric Bauman, Chair of the California Democratic Party wrote, “Robles was admonished for having campaigned for a Republican candidate against party-endorsed Democrats in the Ontario City Council election of November, 2016.

Specifically citing HMG-CN articles on Robles, “He also led a campaign to recall three popular Artesia City Councilmen, all Democrats, during the summer and fall of 2017 – a fact which has yet to be considered by the state party officers.”

Robles could be expelled from the state party, not just admonished, for campaigning against state-endorsed candidates. Once expelled from the state party he would have also been expelled from the county party, leaving the office of chair vacant.

Robles is the “owner and president” of the Chino-based political consulting company Vantage Campaigns, formerly of Hacienda Heights, and the Montebello-based Pericles Group.

During its research, HMG-CN found that the Vantage Campaigns website contained no identities or biographies of personnel, and calls to its listed phone numbers for comment from Robles were never returned.

The Bauman letter went on, “the position of chair is a voluntary one but Robles used it to enrich himself by promoting his consulting business over the county party and its candidates for office. Candidates who have been endorsed by the county party reported that Robles offered them his business card and told them he could help them only if they would hire his company and pay him.

“He has manipulated the county party into contracting with his consulting company for professional services, without approval of the membership, apparently an illegal conflict of interest.”

The letter finished, “Although a large number of Democrats have been trying to remove Robles for almost a year, he has been more successful at obstructing their attempts than in any other action he has taken as chair. It remains to be seen how much longer he can cling to his untenable position.”

Bauman signed the letter of admonition to Robles on behalf of the other statewide CDP officers Vice-Chairs Alex Gallardo-Rooker and Daraka Larimore-Hall, Secretary Jenny Bach, and Controller Dan Weitzman.

Bauman was Chair of the Los Angeles County Party from 2001 to 2017, and Vice-Chair of the state party since 2009, before being elected state party chair last May.

Gallardo-Rooker of Sacramento has been a Vice-Chair of the state party since 1997. She is the state legislative advocate for the Communication Workers of America, and is also a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Larimore-Hall was Chair of the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party for the past seven years. He is currently working on Ph.D. in Sociology at UC Santa Barbara.

Bach of Sacramento is a consultant for the California Asian Pacific Islander legislative caucus. Before being elected CDP Secretary in May she served as Secretary and Parliamentarian for the California Young Democrats.

Weitzman, also of Sacramento, has been a Democratic consultant and party activist for the past three decades. He works for Senate President pro-Tempore Kevin De León and is also the Principal of Daniel C. Weitzman Consulting.