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Free Cerritos Library Cards for BUSD Students Reaches 26, Not ‘12,000’ Some Cerritos Residents Claimed




In December of last year, Hews Media Group-Community News reported about a group of angry Cerritos residents who were using several anonymous Facebook pages to advance outright lies and false messages on social media attempting  to mislead residents after the Cerritos City Council, on a 4-1 vote, allowed Bellflower Unified students to have free Cerritos Library cards.

Part of Cerritos is inside the boundaries of Bellflower Unified and the argument was if ABC students receive free library cards, why not BUSD.

The residents argued that the initial 4-1 vote was illegal which was refuted by City Attorney Mark Steres, who indicated at a Council meeting that the vote was completely above-board.

Only Jim Edwards, a former teacher and product of Bellflower Unified, voted no, with Edwards quickly becoming the angry residents’ darling, some of whom are Democrats on the opposite end of Edwards.

The second argument was a bit more controversial with the residents using scare tactics writing that “all 12,000 Bellflower Unified students will sign up for free cards and cost the City $1.2 million.” Library cards are $100 each.

In a typical social media post fashion, no back-up was provided, another clear move by the residents to discredit the four who voted for the cards and advance their own political agenda, which is decidedly Republican.

Cerritos resident Elaine Shiohama wrote on Facebook, “This is essentially a gift of $1.2 million to the BUSD district from the city. It is not fiscally responsible to give a gift of this size especially since not long ago the residents were threatened with budget cuts that would have restricted library access.”



Mayor Mark Pulido, and Council persons Frank Yokoyama and Grace Hu voted for the free cards; Mayor pro tem Naresh Solanki, a registered Republican surprised many by voting for the cards.

Months have passed since the passage of free library cards and the numbers are in: 26 students from BUSD have taken advantage of the free library cards. 26.

The numbers are in direct correlation to the current library card allocation.

19,640 people hold library cards, only 295, or 1.5%, are actually paid, meaning 98.5% of the library cards are free.

That is $1.9 million in free cards.

Eight of the 295 paid cards are classified as child or young adults. 

Given those numbers, the 26 BUSD sign-ups followed the paid/free library card ratio almost perfectly.

Cerritos Councilman Frank Yokoyama told HMG-LCCN, “It’s sad that a few of our 50,000 residents are using scare tactics and lies to oppose library cards for our students. I stand by my motion to offer free library cards to kids in our school district. Thank you to the thousands of Cerritos residents as well as Mayor Mark Pulido, Grace Hu, Dr. Olga Rios, Renita Armstrong, Marisa Perez and John Darnell for supporting the kids and me.”

Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., Yokoyama stated, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”