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Cerritos Councilwoman Johnson’s Proposal to Spend $65,000 on CCPA Festival Shot Down at Meeting

New Councilwoman has a habit of violating the Brown Act and Roberts Rules of Order

By Brian Hews

November 1, 2022~The Cerritos City Council, at its Oct. 13 meeting,  tabled a CCPA festival that was proposed by Councilwoman Lynda Johnson in September, with Councilmembers upset at the unbudgeted cost, which would have ran $65,000.

In the end, Mayor Vo scrambled to find a reason to table the event, not embarrass Johnson and push it off into the 2023 budget.

The amount was not in the ’21-’22 CCPA budget,  but somehow the city was going to find the money, with some likely coming from funds the city no longer spends with this newspaper.

Yes readers, the city, with $120 million in reserves, has, for the second year, made the decision not to support your local newspaper,but was somehow going to find $65,000 to spend on a one-day festival through a budget amendment while accessing $12,000 from the CCPA Endowment Fund.

Johnson started the discussion by saying it would “only cost the city $49,000 because of the $12,000 coming from the endowment, yes?” 

Johnson then began reading from a prepared statement arguing for the festival. “I hope my colleagues will see the benefits of celebrating the CCPA, but on a much smaller scale. I understand my colleagues have a problem with spending the money, so I like to make a motion to move forward and do my part to help support the event.”

Indicating Johnson knew a no vote was coming, she stated, “If cost really is an issue, I would like the opportunity to secure a generous sponsorship before we vote no on this deal. I would like input if my colleagues are for it or against it.”

Budget hawk Councilman Naresh Solanki was the first to speak up, “so wait a minute, this item is not budgeted for this fiscal year?”

New CCPA Director Thielke responded in the positive.

Mayor Vo then asked for a motion and was interrupted by Johnson with an inexperienced councilperson question, “If I were to make a motion and it was voted down could I bring it back with a sponsor.”

The city attorney indicated “no, not on this item. But we could continue the item and see if we could secure a sponsor.”

Ignoring all protocol, Johnson asked, “Would it be proper to ask my colleagues then if that is an issue?”

“It needs a motion,” said the city attorney; Vo then bailed Johnson out.

“The date of the event is near the fourth of July, if we have it after July  we can add it to the new budget with a sponsor.”

Thielke responded in the positive.

Vo then made the motion to table the issue; it was seconded by Johnson.