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Petty Politics Once Again Roils the Cerritos Mayoral Transition

PETTY COUNCIL…. BROWN ACT VIOLATION?: (l-r) Councilman Vo, MPT Solanki and Mayor Barrows ganged together and pimped seven-year Councilman Frank Yokoyama from being Mayor.

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April 21, 2023

LCCN OP/ED

Chuong Vo did not want to be mayor; Naresh Solanki took the mayoral seat for two years straight; Barrows, who was appointed not elected, is now mayor; yet the top vote-getter in 2020, Frank Yokoyama, serving on the City Council for seven years still languishes, never getting to sit in the Cerritos Mayor’s Chair. 

Cerritos residents, these are your current Republicans playing musical chairs on the council; Mayor Bruce Barrows (for the fifth time), Mayor pro tem Naresh Solanki (for the third time), and a Torrance cop, sworn to uphold the law and protect residents, Chuong Vo, who is cashing $20,000 in checks annually from Cerritos for health coverage he already has, instead of declining the cash.

With their recent actions, “Current Republicans” has even changed, with the Republicans likely violating the Political Reform Act to keep power by a blatant self-serving action, moving the Cerritos election from April 2024 to 2025, giving themselves five years on the council, and unnecessarily wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

Frank Yokoyama and Lynda Johnson voted against the move, and give Johnson credit, that move probably cost her the Mayor pro tem seat that Solanki was handed….. again, and likely any future nominations given the petty City Council.

LCCN has twice asked Cerritos City Attorney Bill Ihrke, copying all councilmembers and the city clerk in the email, to furnish a counter-statement to LCCN’s argument that the City Council is violating the Act by extending the term.

LCCN’s argument centered around the taking cash instead of health coverage from Cerritos, also known as cash-in-lieu, not a common practice by any reputable City Council members not named Vo.

An answer was sent in yesterday by Ihrke, “The exemption from the definition of “income” in the Political Reform Act for salaries, reimbursements, and payments made for social security, disability, and other similar benefits from a local public agency, such as the City, allows all Councilmembers, regardless of whether they are in favor or against a decision, to participate and vote on a decision that may affect those salaries, reimbursements, and payments of benefits that all Councilmembers receive as part of their service on the Council.”

Interesting, maybe this is why we had the city of Bell fiasco, as long as you have three votes, according to the Cerritos City Attorney, you can give yourself any kind of money under the exemption of “income.”

Mr. Ihrke was then posed this question from LCCN for comment, “Vo is cashing health checks by declining the health coverage, he is declining the “benefit” but accepting the cash which places him in a conflict of interest position.” No answer from Ihrke as of press time.

But it gets worse Cerritos residents.

Rumor has it the vote to move the election was concocted so current ABC Trustee Brad Beach can finish his term – without resigning as ABC Trustee and looking bad – and run for Cerritos City Council in 2025.

Yet another Republican Clone in the shape of Bruce Barrows and the Cerritos neo-con Optimists Club who run this city while hiding behind a service club that does nothing. (LCCN has asked for press releases and events and has received nothing from the club.)

LCCN asked Mr. Beach for comment and he answered by completely avoiding the question.

Nothing can be done about the Mayor and Mayor pro tem situation, but Cerritos residents can speak truth to power and attend the April 27 Cerritos City Council meeting, letting them know how you feel about the illegal election move.

Residents can also write the California Attorney’s General office asking officials to look into the actions of the Three Amigos, Barrows, Solanki and Vo; many city officials have told LCCN the move is also a California Voting Rights Act violation.

Meanwhile, petty, political Cerritos will continue; the rightful candidate for City Manager, Cerritos resident Torrey Contreras, a man Art Gallucci-trained for 30 years, is being passed over by the Three Amigos in favor of someone whom they will undoubtedly have under their control, costing the city tens of thousands for the search.

The Cerritos lawsuit against the Metro light-rail was extended to May, delaying a much-needed transportation line from Artesia to Downtown Los Angeles.

Among all this, the City Council will likely get another year.