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Petty Pay-Back Politics Emerge at Cerritos City Council Meeting

BY BRIAN HEWS • April 2, 2020

Not even a global pandemic could stop the new Cerritos Republican majority from bringing petty and vindictive politics back to the City Council last night, exercising their new powers and appointing Naresh Solanki to a unprecedented second consecutive term as Mayor, while installing freshman councilman Chuong Vo as Mayor pro tem.

And the appointments have some alleging a Brown Act violation by Mayor Solanki, Mayor pro tem Vo, and Councilman Jim Edwards.

This past March election erased what was a Democratic majority on the council and replaced it with Edwards, Solanki and newcomer Vo, who eked out a win over ABC Board Member Sophia Tse by less than 90 votes.

All three were against the sales tax increase measure, a measure that would have brought $11 million into city coffers, and a measure that likely drove the very high voter turnout of over 44% that propelled them to their respective wins.

The recipient of the petty politics-as-usual Republican majority was former Mayor pro tem Frank Yokoyama.

It was similar to a 2013 political stunt where Bruce Barrows, Carol Chen, and the newly elected George Ray voted no, and kept Yokoyama, who was on the Cerritos Planning Commission for seven years and who was Mark Pulido’s appointee, off the commission.

There was some nice moments during the video chat/tele-conference when the council honored two-time Mayor Mark Pulido, a somber honoring given the current stay-at-home situation necessitated by the pandemic.

Solanki then patted himself on the back, reading a statement describing his accomplishments during the year; this after Solanki was likely the only mayor in California to vote no on a resolution proclaiming the existence of an emergency in Cerritos due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

It was a baffling vote, the emergency proclamation triggers a number of things but the most important is that it provides a clear path for the city to apply for reimbursement from the county and the state for what will be substantial COVID-19 related expenses.

 


After the pomp and circumstance, the fireworks began, with the animosity between Solanki, Edwards, and Vo towards Mayor pro tem Frank Yokoyama clearly evident.

Edwards, who is chronically ill, and who did not attend the emergency meeting the night before and participated by phone, quickly nominated Solanki for a second consecutive term.

Councilwoman Grace Hu then nominated Mayor pro tem Frank Yokoyama.

City Clerk Vida Barone called for the vote, which predictably ended up on a 3 to 2 party line, with Edwards and Vo voting yes to appoint Solanki.

After giving a two minute statement on all of his accomplishments during his first term as mayor, Solanki then voted for himself as Mayor of Cerritos for an unprecedented second consecutive term.

The floor was then opened for the nomination of Mayor pro tem, with Edwards once again demonstrating his animosity toward Yokoyama, and eschewing experience for party, nominating freshman Councilman Vo.

Grace Hu once again nominated Yokoyama, this time as Mayor pro tem, but seeing the writing on the wall, Yokoyama declined the appointment.

City Clerk Vida Barone called for the vote, which predictably ended up on a 3 -2 party line, with Edwards and Solanki voting yes to appoint Vo; Vo then voted for himself as Mayor pro tem of Cerritos.

It was a bitter meeting for Yokoyama, who nominated and voted for Solanki as Mayor in 2019.

The move by the majority to isolate Yokoyama was made even more petty, as demonstrated by Hu, Pulido, and Yokoyama’s willingness to work together with the Republicans, voting unanimously for Solanki as mayor in 2019

But, once again showing their unwillingness to work together, Solanki and Edwards did not return the goodwill, and voted no on the nomination of Yokoyama as mayor pro tem for 2019; the two were beat out by Hu, Pulido, and Yokoyama, 3-2.

Many readers emailed HMG-LCCN after the meeting writing that the vote was clearly predetermined and therefore a Brown Act Violation.

The Brown Act prohibits meetings attended by three or more City Council members out of the public eye and guarantees the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies. The law makes public officials accountable for their actions to the public that elected them to serve.

One reader wrote, “Edwards wanted to be mayor one last time, Solanki and him made that very clear while they were campaigning, and it’s why they ran Vo on the same slate. Then Edwards is the first to nominate Solanki to a never-seen second term as mayor? And then Edwards nominates Vo for mayor pro tem? Paging Jackie Lacey!”

 

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4 Responses to Petty Pay-Back Politics Emerge at Cerritos City Council Meeting

  1. Pingback: #politics | Petty Pay-Back Politics Emerge at Cerritos City Council Meeting – 1SourceNews.com

  2. Savon Drugstore

    April 2, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    HOT MAYOR TRANSITIONS MEETING

    There has been many discussions on Facebook, Twitter, Next Door, over the last couple of months, who is going to be appointed as mayor and mayor pro-temp in the city of Cerritos. When you have social media, this kind of back door social things, goes around the basic principles of the Brown Act.. Remember, Frank appointed his Str two times as chair for the Planning Commission.

    Was happy to hear it that the mayor pro-temp, least thinking about the seniors in the city, since they make up approximately 60% of the total population.

    On the flip side, very saddened that there was remote support to close the city parks during this pandemic. City first needs to ERRECT some educational signs, and maybe have a staff referee walk around the parks, educating the park goers about the social distancing before they close the parks. Parks are a good relief right now, for many residents, when they’re working remotely from their homes.

    When any city has three Republicans in office, there’s bound to be an alignment between the political party with regards to voting. We’ve seen that the last three and a half years in Washington DC also.

    Just remember, many of the Republicans in the city of Cerritos were originally Democrats, and during Reaganomics, they changed over to Republicans which was very much in Vogue.

    Predict voters in the city, will not have to wait 2 years until the next election, one councilperson will be dying and will have a new election is one year.

    City has rough and turbulent next few years. Pandemic will be shirking the annual budget and there will be a lot of cuts in programs and personnel, plus city will be getting a new city manager shortly. Foreclosures and empty business buildings will haunt the city, compared to 2008-2011 era.

    Hope the viewers get to see the opening of the meeting last night, during the pledge of allegiance, only female on council, was filmed itching her breasts. Viewers need to learn more about communications via telephone, last few meetings, communications via phone to the CCC meetings has been moderately poor. Only 25% voters voted electronically in March 2020, which clearly demonstrates the city wide span of diversity, is not producing hi technical skills. Not one word mentioned last night Mayors Transition about the opening day of USA Census!!!

  3. Someonein Cerritos

    April 5, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    The author of this article, Brian Hews, is also the owner of this paper correct?

    Is he the only one writing these articles?

    I feel like our city deserves better. After perusing through some of his work, he comes off as an extremely cynical character, and his biases are stained on most of these articles. I hope we get a new paper soon-the council should think about switching whenever this current contract is up. We deserve better coverage.

    ————————————————————————————

    Frank & Grace got exactly what they deserved after the two of them, along with Pulido, skipped Solanki in 2017-breaking our city’s multiple decade long tradition in taking turns for mayor. Political ideology and partisan BS aside, that situation in 2017 was uncalled for. They had beef with Barrows due to an email blast he sent, which shed light on some of the council’s nefarious acts (moral turpitude-look it up). The trio was plotting to extract revenge however they could, which was by sticking it to Bruce’s friend-Solanki. Grace & Frank’s run on the council will forever be tarnished by this fact.

    p.s. Paragraph seven, first sentence should read : “There WERE some nice moments..” instead of “There was some nice moments..”.

    You’re welcome. I’m looking for work due to this pandemic, so let me know if you need someone competent to write accurate articles that are free of elementary grammatical errors and personal vendettas.

    Looking forward to your next sensationalized article.

    p.p.s Website protection by Cloudfare…is that really necessary? The level of writing on this website should deter any potential DDOS attack or spam bot.

    Cheers.

  4. Someonein Cerritosagain

    April 5, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Also remember Frank is BFF with Brian, the owner of this website+paper and author of this article.

    Yoko appointed him to the Economic Development Commission.

    Let’s see how democratic this website truly is, shall we?