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Cerritos Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem More Concerned About Political Payback Than Helping Their City

Cerritos Mayor Naresh Solanki and MPT Chuong Vo.

 

OP/ED BY BRIAN HEWS • JULY 9, 2020

With coronavirus cases surging, there are growing doubts that indoor dining and bar service will reopen anytime soon, as health officials try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

And what is Cerritos Mayor Naresh Solanki and Mayor pro tem Chuong Vo doing about it?

They were busy trying to scale back Cerritos school crossing guards, that is until last week when Solanki violated the Brown Act and suddenly became an advocate of the crossing guard budget.

They also voted to disband the Economic Development Commission, a petty move meant to remove me from the commission while robbing four other dedicated Cerritos residents, two of which were Solanki and Vo’s appointees, from serving on the commission.

Solanki and Vo are playing petty politics during an unprecedented time, not proposing any ideas to help the city recoup some of the tax dollars it is losing due to the pandemic.

Their solution is to cut employees and more of the budget, giving little thought to anything else with the exception of Vo, who voted no to cut one deputy at the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station that would have saved the city $500,000, with no drop in police presence and no job loss for the deputy.

Elections have consequences; Vo has no concept of marketing or sales, he’s a cop; Solanki runs a grocery chain, where cutting costs is paramount; ‘Bruce is Bruce’ as many residents say, we will see no creativity from him either.

About five weeks ago, when I was still an Economic Development Commissioner, I proposed to Councilman Frank Yokoyama an idea on how the city could recoup some of its restaurant dollars.

I talked to Yokoyama because Solanki, Vo, and Barrows never answer my emails.

I proposed that the city establish outside dining areas for restaurants, allowing them to put tables outside in front parking stalls and other areas.

The city could purchase temporary overhead shelters and other equipment needed so the restaurant could serve people outside; they can charge the COVID-19 expense account and recoup the money later from the state.

Yokoyama brought it forward but it fell on deaf ears; like me, Solanki, Vo and Barrows have ostracized Yokoyama.

And what has happened since that time five weeks ago when I strongly urged Yokoyama to consider the outdoor dining concept?

Santa Barbara has blocked off part of State Street for walking only; the promenade in Santa Monica has done the same thing; the city of Orange just established Orange Plaza Paseo, closing off the Orange Circle so people can dine alfresco.

Meanwhile Solanki and Vo are busy voting to kill commissions and scale back school crossing guards, while giving themselves a “technology budget.”

At this time during the pandemic, the city needs strong leadership and creative ideas to bring back the lifeblood of Cerritos, sales tax revenue.

We don’t need a petty politics, but that is what Cerritos is going to get for the foreseeable future.

 

Editor’s note: I want to take the opportunity here to thank my fellow commissioners, it was a pleasure serving with you. I also want to thank the staff who provided comprehensive reports and presentations on the economic activity of the city.

It is my hope that the city will still publish the quarterly economic report compiled by the staff, like their presentations and reports during commission meetings, it is extremely comprehensive and summarizes the economic activity in all sectors of the city in a form that can be published.

 

 

 

 

 

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