_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES ________________________         EBOOK


Cerritos Republicans Use Public Funds to Move City Election to Low Turnout Off-Year

WHERE IS THE SOS and D.A.? A Cerritos Republican Club member was overheard at a recent meeting boasting they moved the election so ABCUSD President Brad Beach can run for Cerritos City Council in 2025; Beach would have had to resign from ABC if the election remained in 2024 and he won a seat. Above (l-r) Cerritos Councilmen Chuong Vo, Naresh Solanki, and Bruce Barrows voted to move the election for no reason other than voter suppression.

June 2, 2023

By Brian Hews

Last week, Cerritos residents received an “important voter notice” in the mail regarding the controversial Cerritos election date change the City Council recently approved 3 to 2, moving the election from 2024 to 2025 and adding another year to all elected official’s terms.

The election move was unprecedented in Los Angeles County municipal politics.


Document notifying Cerritos residents of the election move from 2024 to 2025.


Republicans Bruce Barrows, who was appointed, Chuong Vo, who is a police officer sworn to uphold the law, and Naresh Solanki all voted yes; Councilpersons Lynda Johnson and Frank Yokoyama voted no.

The move is particularly galling as far as Barrows is concerned; the current Mayor was not elected and would have been out in 2024.

Los Cerritos Community News presented evidence that the election change was illegal under Fair Political Practices Commission rules, given the fact that everybody on the Council is going to get an extra year of health benefits.

City Attorney Bill Ihrke, who works for Rutan and Tucker, one of the most expensive law firms in So Cal., argued that the health payments were not illegal, ignoring what to most casual observers would be a conflict of interest in making the ruling.

Despite the optics, Ihrke did not recuse himself nor seek outside counsel.

Ihrke relied on the Politcial Reform Act Section 82030(b) which states, [the following income is not illegal] “Salary and reimbursement for expenses or per diem, and social security, disability, or other similar benefit payments received from a state, local, or federal government agency.”

Irkhe told LCCN that health payments are included under “other similar benefit payments,” but unless health payments are made after the City Councilperson leaves the Council or retires, the payments are not comparable to social security or disability.

Despite the Ihrke ruling, in recent weeks, Vo and Solanki have, due to LCCN’s exposé on the vote debacle, voted to give up their benefits at a public meeting.

The election move is not going to be cheap. A staff report indicated the election move would cost the city $200,000, but the last time the city was forced to move an election – due to a bill passed in the legislature – it cost nearly $300,000.

It is $300,000 the city did not need to spend – on top of the extra year of pay and benefits the Council members will receive. Vo takes “cash in lieu,” a questionable action whereby Vo “declines” the health insurance offered by the city and takes the cash, in the form of a check, instead. Cerritos offers the highest coverage, so Vo pockets at least $24,000.

Ulterior Motive and Possible Brown Act Violation

Several sources have told LCCN that the City Council moved the election to give current ABC Unified School District President Brad Beach the opportunity to run for City Council without having to resign his ABC seat; Beach’s ABC term ends in 2024.

That should get the attention of the FPPC to initiate a possible Brown Act Violation investigation of Barrows, Solanki and Vo.

As evidence of possible collusion, at a recent Cerritos Republican Club meeting, one member was overheard saying that they moved the election because “Democrats don’t vote in odd years and we want Brad Beach in there.”

LCCN sent emails to Beach but has yet to receive a response.

Most residents on both sides of the aisle are unhappy with the election date move. When given a chance to comment at a City Council meeting, over 40 people spoke against the move, while only two approved.

During the meeting, in a characteristic move, current (5-time) Mayor Barrows moved the election agenda item back so that those who wanted to speak had to wait longer.

Many residents think the move will backfire when it comes to election time in 2025 with three seats up for reelection, Barrows and Solanki and Vo’s. Democratic voters outnumber Republicans nearly two to one in Cerritos.

“That’s why they moved the election,” said one resident who did not want to be identified, “all the Republicans are up for reelection. They move it to an off-year election with usually low turnout, that’s how the Republicans roll in Cerritos using voter suppression. But not this time, we are going to rally in 2025 and vote them out.”