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Brown Act Violation : Mayor pro tem Vo Abdicates Cerritos Mayor Seat to Old Guard

 

Chuong Vo (left) called him self “too inexperienced” to be Cerritos Mayor after one year of holding the Mayor pro tem chair and wanted to be Mayor pro tem again this year. Councilmen Solanki (center) and Barrows obliged, the move is a first in Cerritos’ history.

 

HMG-CN OP/ED

April 30, 2021

There were many speakers at the Cerritos mayoral transition last week including Supervisor Janice Hahn who gave accolades to outgoing Mayor Naresh Solanki.

Little did Hahn know about the petty, pay-back politics that was about to occur, along with an obvious Brown Act violation that should catch the attention of  the D.A.’s Office of Integrity.

Immediately before City Clerk Vida Barone opened the floor for nominations, she announced that Mayor pro tem Chuong Vo, who was absent, would give a pre-recorded video message.

The meeting was Wednesday, in his video, Vo cited possible unrest due to the Derek Chauvin verdict as the reason for his absence.

Questionable. That might’ve been the case at the time he recorded the video, but then the favorable verdict came in at 2 p.m. PST Wednesday.

The transition meeting was at 7:00 p.m., Vo works in Torrance 30 minutes from Cerritos as a long-time police detective with seniority.

Vo continued and  calmly informed the council and residents watching on cable that he was “too inexperienced” to take the mantle of mayor and wanted to “wait a year.”

Imagine saying that to your company when they offered you a promotion after a year of work.

Barrows, Chen, Ray, the late Edwards, Pulido, Hu, Solanki, and others would never decline the mayor chair.

Appointed Councilman Barrows thought Vo was very experienced, saying that Vo, “did more work than anybody I have ever seen in the position of Mayor pro tem.”

That is saying a lot, Barrows has been on the Cerritos public doll on and off for over 25 years.

The pre-planning of the Vo’s statement was obvious, he was reading his abdication from a legal pad and looked nervous.

A number of his statements were suspect, including 1) that Vo thinks he’s too inexperienced and that 2) he is assuming (or knew) the council was going to nominate him after his speech for Mayor pro tem now, then Mayor next year.

First, what does it take to be Mayor of Cerritos, or any other quiet city for that matter. The city is run like a well-oiled corporation, one of the best run cities in California, staff there to assist elected officials at any time.

Vo’s inexperience claim is laughable , he was on the planning commission, including a stint as chair.

Second, Vo asked during his speech for the council to hold off on nominating him for mayor and nominate him as mayor pro tem again; who asks that kind of question unless the answer was known in advance.

The Brown Act Violation is obvious.

Barrows and Solanki told Vo to wait a year using his inexperience as an excuse. The plan would be to nominate and install him as Mayor pro tem again (never done in the history of the city) and them nominate him as mayor in two years.

With the plan in motion, after Vo’s speech, City Clerk Barone opened the floor with Solanki nominating his only choice, Grace Hu, who acted surprised. Hu and Solanki have frequently bumped heads during meetings; Hu and Barrows do not like each other.

Nevertheless, Barrows chimed in with a “second.”

Barrows, Solanki, Hu and Yokoyama all voted yes, 4-0.

Barone opened the floor for Mayor pro tem seat with Barrows immediately nominating Vo, who needed a second on his nomination, guess who? Solanki.

The vote was 3-1, with Yokoyama voting no.

With the move, Hu will serve April 2021 to April 2022; Vo will serve 2022-2023, with an election in 2022.

Yokoyama and Hu are up for reelection.

Unless Vo defers again for Barrows.

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