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Residents Angry at Cerritos Library Vote Set Their Sights on ABC School Board

 

 

 

 

BY BRIAN HEWS
December 4, 2018

A group of angry Cerritos residents, who use several anonymous Facebook pages to frequently lash out at any residents or local area politicians who disagree with them, are circulating a message on social media calling for a protest at the ABCUSD School Board meeting tonight at 7 pm.

Their anger started after a 4-1 vote during the November 8 regular Cerritos City Council meeting, with Councilman and former teacher Jim Edwards voting no, that gave Bellflower Unified School District students free access to the Cerritos library.

The city of Cerritos has both the ABCUSD and the BUSD within its borders.

The group alleges that the Council was unethical in their vote, not following City Council rules regarding agendas and meetings.

That was a massive pivot from earlier arguments that criticized Council for simply giving the free access to BUSD children.

But a review of the video of the meeting  shows that the Council did follow the rules regarding agendas and meetings, affirmed by City Attorney Mark Steres.

Steres commented during Council debate, “this type of decision is called a legislative decision, and the question was brought up again whether you want to put this (free library access question) on the agenda. There was concurrence to put it back up on the agenda, and so it is back on the agenda, so now it  is a free and open question to revisit again.”

“So we are free to take action” remarked Mayor Mark Pulido, “that’s correct,” said Steres.

Councilman Jim Edwards attempted to intervene using a staff report technicality saying, “adding schools (for free access) was not on here, this was a report to receive and file or direct staff.”

“But the direction of direct staff could be to direct staff  to add or subtract from the policy,” Steres told Edwards.

“That is the direction of the motion,  to add an additional category of free library cards, so it is within the scope of the staff report and what is in front of the Council to direct staff to expand the policy to add that motion.”

The Council discussed and debated the item further finally calling to approve the motion, which passed on a 4-1 vote.

 

 

But the residents ignored, or did not watch, the justification by Steres and turned their attention to the November 19 City Council meeting.

A little over ten residents spoke against the free access for BUSD students, but they all failed to protest against other groups who have free access.

It was revealed later by HMG-LCCN that Cerritos offers free access to several other groups including ABCUSD students and employees, Cerritos College students and employees, Cerritos city employees, anyone who works in Cerritos, and anyone who owns property in Cerritos.

In 1992, the City even voted to give anyone who stays at the Cerritos Sheraton free access.

After the anti-library residents were finished, ABC Board Clerk Dr. Olga Rios spoke.

Rios said that the arguments made against giving BUSD cards were, “elitist, discriminatory, and incredibly selfish. I hope that using national-style scare tactics won’t work here, throwing around big numbers I hope only makes people question their credibility. I hope it makes people think about what their underlying motives are.”

Rios continued, “I wonder if these same people stand outside the Cerritos Auto Square or the Cerritos Mall asking non-residents to shop in their own town? No they don’t  mind non-residents spending money.”

Seeing that they had another target, the angry group of residents launched the drive to attend tonight’s ABCUSD meeting on their fake facebook pages.

Tonight’s board meeting, which will feature the appointment of a new president, vice president and clerk, is a normally tranquil affair with only presentations to the outgoing president – in this case Soo Yoo – and the nomination and appointment of the new officers.

Yoo will likely have several friends and family members attending the transition- members who will be forced to watch the angry residents eschew normal meeting guidelines to voice their anger at Dr. Rios for simply expressing her opinion.

After reading last week’s HMG-LCCN article on the November 8 vote – and the protests by Cerritos residents – Charlie Ara, a Cerritos resident himself, commented, “The Hubert Humphrey Democratic Club and I led the fight 30 years ago to let students in all ABCUSD schools have library cards. Like the fight for a Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, we have worked hard to bring Cerritos into the 21st Century.

“Looks like a small group is pushing Cerritos backwards.”

One local resident commented, “so you can’t speak your mind without these people attacking you? It is like the article last week in this paper wrote, Trump style divisive politics using fake social media pages has entered into Cerritos, its pathetic.”

 

Picture courtesy Reddit.com

 

 

 

 

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