Yet another large donation from the city’s largest revenue generator. The CAS gave tow other sitting elected officials, including current Mayor pro tem Vo thousands for his campaign; what do they want?
April 4, 2022
By Brian Hews
I run a 100% transparent campaign.
~ Lynda Johnson at a recent candidate’s forum
The special interest money is rolling into the Cerritos City Council campaign, and it is all going to one candidate.
An examination of campaign donation forms of current Cerritos Candidate Lynda Johnson shows a $4,900 donation from Cerritos Auto Square.
The donation is on top of several other questionable contributions.
Acceptance of the donation sets up a conflict of interest if Johnson were to get elected and a council vote emerged related to the CAS.
The conflict is tripled, with two other elected officials, current Mayor pro tem Chuong Vo and Councilmember Naresh Solanki, took $10,000 and $1,500 from the CAS, respectively.
And the Johnson money spigot did not stop.
Additional documents show that Johnson recently took $1,000 from embattled LASD Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece this past Sunday entitled, The sheriff saga gets odder — and more destructive, the editorial board wrote, “Alex Villanueva’s irresponsible comments offer a window into his dishonest character.”
The donation sets up yet another blatant conflict of interest; Cerritos pays upwards of $14 million annually to the LASD, whose own station is in the city.
Johnson is also a field representative for Villanueva; with the station in Cerritos, some have leveled charges of incompatible offices between the LASD and Johnson if she is elected.
Those same documents show a $4,900 donation for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers-IBEW Local 11 Political Action Committee based in Pasadena.
The total special interest money Johnson has garnered is upwards of $21,000 for a job that pays $29,000 annually. The remainder of her donations are small and total $10,000.
Money Rolling in From Interests
Johnson cashed $5,000 in checks from top executives of the Newport Beach-based developer Picerne Group who built the high-end Aria apartments in Cerritos. Another $5,000 came from developer KC Towers LLC and its associates.
A recent HMG-CN investigation found that KC Towers was connected to the Picerne Group. High-level sources at Cerritos City Hall told HMG-CN there are plans for a large housing development in Cerritos at Bloomfield and South Street.
The HMG-CN investigation evidently hit home; during her closing remarks at a recent debate, instead of talking about her platform for Cerritos, Johnson criticized HMG-CN for reporting about the donations and that “everything was transparent.”
Johnson never explained why such obscure companies would donate thousands to someone who has no municipal governing experience and was rejected by her fellow ABC School Board Trustees when she was pining for President of the Board.
Johnson has been surrounded by controversy during her political career, the latest when L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn demanded she resign as President of the Board from the Artesia Cemetery District Directors after an HMG-CN investigation into the board’s finances revealed irregularities and the award of a large contract to a questionable company.
Similar to Cerritos Mayor pro tem Chuong Vo, a public records request under the Freedom of Information Act by Hews Media Group-Community News revealed that Johnson had taken over $7,500 in “cash in lieu” payments when she was elected to the ABC Board. Cash in lieu is a duplicitous way for Johnson to receive a check every month from the cash-strapped district “in lieu” of health insurance.
She’s just not fir for office, said one resident after the debate who did not want to be identified, “she was a hot head on the ABC School Board confronting trustees out side of meetings, and she helped defeat the first school bond attempt, which was badly needed. The trustees were very happy she lost in her first reelection bid.”