Did Cerritos Barrows, Solanki and MPT Vo advisers violate the Brown Law? – Cerritos Community News
Order the City Manager of Cerritos to stop advertising in HMG-LCCN? This document has recently exposed all Council members in briefings; Barrows (right) has been repeatedly documented and threatened to cut all advertising, withholding funding for the city’s police helicopter in 2017 if the city ‘didn’t cut all HMG-LCCN advertising’ Now the city, after more than 24 years, has cut advertising for the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in HMG-LCCN, the city’s only community newspaper. (lr) Chuong Vo, Naresh Solanki and Bruce Barrows, who was named after the death of Jim Edwards.
April 1, 2022
By Brian Hews
It’s been 20 years since this newspaper changed hands from founder Elizabeth Gadbois, and at that time the majority city council, which was 90% of the time Republican-dominated, didn’t like our investigative reporting.
Cerritos Republicans think the paper is one-sided; interrogate Cristina Garcia or other corrupt LA County Democrats if we’re one sided.
It didn’t matter; for most of those 20 years, they slowly pulled municipal advertising from HMG-LCCN in retaliation, abusing their power while in office.
Piece 1: The city did not congratulate its own Cerritos High School on its 50th anniversary in an HMG-LLCN special edition published last week. Yes… we asked.
Piece 2: For many years this newspaper ran a four-page special for the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts highlighting the whole year, but after an investigative briefing on the Republican majority’s extravagant trips, the Board withdrew The advertisement.
Bruce Barrows was one of the main culprits; one year threatening to cut skyknight city police helicopter if the city didn’t “cut all advertising in HMG-LCCN”.
Part 3: Since then, Cerritos TV3 listings advertising, the Shop Cerritos Christmas campaign and other advertisements have been cut from the town’s only community newspaper.
Exhibit 4: Then the late Melinda Kimsey launched her “diary”; the Republican majority on the city council immediately slashed HMG-LCCN’s budget and gave half of it to Kimsey on first week his article was published.
It was after Barrows had cut the budget again, but they managed to find money for Kimsey.
This newspaper has always helped the inhabitants to fight the town hall, the latest reports of truck traffic passing through Cerritos. Eventually, Council voted to move the truck route to accommodate residents.
That is the mission of this newspaper, to help others.
The LCCN has always hosted the city, publishing press releases, events, community stories and city council reports.
Piece 5: HMG-LCCN, after a frantic phone call from CM Art Gallucci, defended the city in the case of USA Today’s story about alleged carcinogenic companies in Cerritos.
Spurred on by the HMG-LCCN report, the LA Times later discovered that the EPA report was wrong, and the EPA issued an apology.
But the Republicans continue, methodically cutting off all urban publicity; the last action, which can only be perpetrated by Barrows, Solanki, and Vo, smacks of a violation of brown law.
Last year, the CCPA once announced with this newspaper to start the delayed 2022 season, with management saying, “We will probably advertise twice a month, with a banner ad on the site.” The city, before Kimsey’s newspaper, advertised weekly with a banner ad.
This, of course, did not materialize.
Meanwhile, the city has spent more than $100,000 sending CCPA brochures throughout SoCal.
Sending is necessary, but completely cutting HMG-LCCN off from all CCPA advertising is not; no one in Cerritos or the surrounding communities attends the CCAC?
Piece 6: A recent HMG-LCCN public records request for all CCPA print ads showed that for December 2021 and January and February 2022, Cerritos spent over $8,000 in the Los Angeles Times and $10,000 in the Register OC. The city continues to place newspaper ads, likely spending even more. The city never announced this amount of money in print or online with other newspapers.
HMG-LCCN advertisement? $0, zip, zilch, nada.
Invoice from So Cal News Group obtained via FOIA request showing CCPA ad in OC register.
Piece 7: City Manager Art Gallucci has always been fair to HMG-LCCN; he knows our mission and has seen the LCCN help the city first hand.
For Gallucci, reducing the CCPA’s budget would be irrelevant.
That is unless three city council members, the number it takes to force him to resign or retire, told him to cut the HMG-LCCN ad.
It would be a violation of Brown’s law and an abuse of power.
The Ralph M. Brown Act is California’s “sunshine” law for local government. In a nutshell, it requires that local government business be conducted openly and publicly, if three or more members meet.
Barrows, Solanki and Vo have been exposed several times by this newspaper; the latter with Vo scamming Cerritos taxpayers, pocketing $780 a month in city cash for health care he already had.
Their hatred of this newspaper is so extreme that the three men probably walked into Gallucci’s office and told him to cut HMG-LCCN’s CCPA budget.
Exhibit 8: Several emails to the three went unanswered; no denial of the question, “Did you order Gallucci to cut HMG-LCCN’s CCPA budget?”
It’s easy to email back with a simple no, but none of them did.
They did so in the midst of a pandemic as HMG-LCCN posted information on local medical services, food bank locations, stories of brave first responders, all of us in the community risking the possibility of contracting the COVID while they conducted their meetings via Zoom.
Hedge funds are buying up newspapers and cutting newsrooms, community newspapers are closing at an alarming rate due to the internet advertising rush, while that same internet is making money publishing our stories without payment; all of which leaves cities without local reporters and investigative reporting, “information deserts” as they are now called.
But those newspapers that have closed have not had to deal with mean-spirited and vindictive city council members whose mission for the past few years has been to shut down the city’s only newspaper by choking off revenue, thereby depriving residents of Cerritos and other towns from a community newspaper.
This case is tough enough without having to fight City Hall, though. Barrows, Solanki, and Vo proceed with their plan to shut down HMG-LCCN; and their actions are blatant and out in the open.
Again, Councilmen….. “Did you order Gallucci to cut the HMG-LCCN CCPA budget?”
This is the Fourth Estate and quality community journalism. 🗞 📰
Let Council members know what you think: