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Board and GM Continue Rehab of Artesia Cemetery

 FIXING FINANCES AND HEADSTONES: Cemetery GM Tony Mendoza (left) directing the placement of a headstone at the cemetery. Mendoza and the new board are directing many changes at the grounds and plan to hold touring events soon.


BY TAMMYE MCDUFF • Nov. 1, 2020

“I have some really big plans for Artesia Cemetery District,” stated General Manager Tony Mendoza “The staff and I are working on a strategic plan and are hoping include events that will engage the community.”

When Mendoza took the General Manager position for the District last year, the cemetery grounds had not been kept up, missing grave markers, historic headstones broken or destroyed and a slew of mismanaged financing were at the top of the list to be investigated and corrected. But after just a little over a year, Mendoza has been able to bring about change.

When Mendoza took over, he was immediately bullied by the President of the Board and former ABC Unified School District Board member Lynda Johnson.

Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community Newspaper exclusively learned that Johnson violated California’s Public Contract Code in the award of a large construction contract to rebuild the aging facilities on the grounds of the ACD.

The award and subsequent article led to the resignation of Johnson.

Read at http://bit.ly/artesiacemetery

“You just wouldn’t believe it, the former managers would sell a plot, take cash for it and not record anything,” said Mendoza, “the grounds keepers are still uncovering lost headstones, and we are now in the process of numbering and recording all of our residents.”

A new board of directors has been put into place that includes Allison Stewart, Linda Gonzalez, Mike Wada, Osvaldo Palhinha and Mike Laughlin, all prominent local business leaders.

The Cemetery is not a private one, but rather a public one and is government owned and operated. Finances must be transparent and paperwork needs to be kept in order some things that were not done under previous management.

With over 8,000 residents, the cemetery’s oldest-to-be-found headstone dates back to 1864. “We have so much history here and we want to be able to bring it all out and share with the community.”

The Cemetery currently is home to approximately 400 veterans whose data is not always correct. “We are actually going grave by grave to document and record names, dates, branch of the service and what war they served in.”

Part of this documentation includes the location, resurrection and repair of the historic head stones that grace the front portion of the cemetery. Each headstone must be cleaned, assigned a number and resident verified and documented.

“The Board is very excited because we have been able to re-plant about 20 trees. We lost quite a few over the years and we want to bring that ‘park like’ feel back for the families,” added Mendoza. Part of the plan will be to remove the old and spindly rose bushes with those a rose bush that blooms year long. The brown patches in the lawn have been seeded and re-growth has been established.

The Cemetery is also selling pre-needs on a payment plan along with companion and family plots. Some of the strategic planning will include family ‘suites’. These suites will have room for two or three family members, a family plaque and bench for visitors.

There is an area that was originally designated for cremation, but the structure was never built, this is something that will eventually make its way back on a master plan. There is a cremation rose garden that desperately needs attention, and Mendoza has plans to refurbish and renovate the garden and walls.

The new strategic plan that Mendoza wants to propose in 2021 will include plans for the additional acreage that has yet to be cultivated into the existing cemetery.

Although the Cemetery will not be holding their traditional Dia de Los Muertos event, that was such a huge hit last year, Mendoza confides that he wants to work with the historic society to see how they organizations can bring more attention to the area and its significance.

For more information contact the Artesia Cemetery District at 562.865.6300 or visit their websiteartesiacemetery.com


Former State Senator Tony Mendoza Hired To Clean Up Artesia Cemetery



  • Quite Zone says:

    Looking better, but need an interior gazebo to provide some shade during private ceremonies. Grass still needs better irrigation, still some flooding in areas and dry in other parts. Trees need to be laced out, topheavy. Turfe needs to be spray more often to mosquitos; stopped by one afternoon and my legs were getting bit by ankler biting chinese mosquitos.

    Most cemeteries have a nice flower garden or rose garden, this location sure could use some color scaping.

  • Ran says:

    Now after two years the mismanagement of the cemetery finally comes out.

    Has any one seen the audit that Janice Hahn’s office conducted and the hundreds of thousands of embezzled assets by the former director and managers who were all related?

    I would say that the family that operated the cemetery previously should be held accountable for the financial crisis their illegal acts have caused!

    Please look into the facts.