Voters select new name for Norwalk-La Mirada school board

NORWALK -- A new face is joining the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District board of education.

A crowded field of six candidates were vying for four open seats on the school board Tuesday.


Jorge Tirado was the new person elected to the board. Re-elected were Ana Valencia, Darryl Adams and Jude Cazares.

 Darryl Adams, Ana Valencia, and Jude Cazares, pictured far left, middle left, and far right, were all successfully reelected. Norma Amezcua, pictured middle right, lost her seat. Photo Courtesy Norma Amezcua Facebook.

Darryl Adams, Ana Valencia, and Jude Cazares, pictured far left, middle left, and far right, were all successfully reelected. Norma Amezcua, pictured middle right, lost her seat. Photo Courtesy Norma Amezcua Facebook.

Norma Amezcua, appointed to the board earlier this year after the resignation of Sean Reagan, finished in fifth place and lost her seat.

Valencia was the top vote-getter, capturing 20.53 percent of all ballots, followed by Cazares (17.78%), Adams (17.37%) and Tirado (15.94%).

“We worked every weekend. We walked many neighborhoods. We hoped that we would win. We hoped that we would have the chance to give children hope. We have been given that chance,” said Cazares.

“My goal is a better future for our children. Let’s work harder...let’s hold dearer our students’ futures so that their triumph is greater than anything else we will ever accomplish. Let’s be better for them. Let’s be the best for them. Let’s be a part of something that is greater than ourselves.”

Adams thanked voters for giving him another term in office.

“I would like to thank the Norwalk-La Mirada communities for electing me to the school board for a 7th term,” he said. “I am both humbled and honored. Thanks for your trust and faith in me.”

Amezcua was gracious in her defeat.

“First and foremost I would like to thank all who helped me through this journey,” she said. “It was an amazing experience, one who many would never even think about going through.

“Unfortunately I did not make it, but rest assure that my passion and dedication for serving our communities will not end.”

 Photo Courtesy Bob Archuleta Facebook

Photo Courtesy Bob Archuleta Facebook

SENATE: Bob Archuleta coasted to an easy win in the race for the state Senate’s 32nd seat, which encompasses Norwalk.

Archuleta, a Democrat, beat Republican Rita Topalian with 65.3% of the vote.

A reserve police officer before retirement, Archuleta previously served on the Pico Rivera City Council.

Archuleta won the seat vacated by Tony Mendoza, who resigned after several allegations of sexual misconduct.

“I will serve my district the best I can and make my family, friends, the people living and working in the 32nd District, and promise to make them proud as I serve them as a California State Senator,” Archuleta said.

He will be sworn into office Dec. 8.

 Photo Courtesy Linda Sanchez Facebook

Photo Courtesy Linda Sanchez Facebook

HOUSE: Rep. Linda Sanchez (D) had no trouble winning re-election, beating Republican party candidate Ryan Downing by a wide margin.

Sanchez captured 67.27% of all votes cast.

Sanchez will now serve her ninth term in Congress, where she served the past two years as the Vice Chair for the House Democratic Caucus, which is considered the fifth-ranking leadership position among the party’s House members.

Sanchez represents the 38th Congressional District, which includes Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, parts of Whittier, and other local cities.

Sanchez didn’t comment on her re-election, but said Tuesday’s election was about women.

“My vote is my voice. I’m voting today for all the women, especially women of color, who have had to suffer in silence, live in fear, and put up with the BS of inequality,” Sanchez wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

“Today, in the year of the woman, is when we say “ENOUGH.”

ASSEMBLY: Embattled state Assemblymember Cristina Garcia cruised to victory Tuesday over her Republican opponent, despite a massive and expensive campaign to get her out of office.

Earlier this year, Garcia was stripped of her committee posts and ordered to complete sexual harassment and sensitivity training after allegations that she sexually assaulted a former staffer.

 Photo Courtesy Cristina Garcia Facebook

Photo Courtesy Cristina Garcia Facebook

An investigation cleared her of the most serious charges, however.

Voters on Tuesday gave Garcia an additional two years in office as she soundly defeated Mike Simpfenderfer, a mortgage banker and victims’ advocate from Bellflower.

Garcia finished with 64.8% of the vote.

“Like many communities across California and our nation, voters went to the polls [Tuesday] and expressed their collective disdain for the politics of hate, division, and the undue influence of special interest groups over our civic government,” Garcia said in a statement published on her website.

“In my district, voters went further by rejecting those who have attempted to blatantly distort and lie about the successes we have achieved in demanding that the needs of our communities no longer be ignored.

“Today, by honoring me with a large electoral victory, voters of the 58th District reminded those same special interests that they are not blind to the underlying motives for their negative attacks. By rejecting the deliberate negative campaign that spent over $2 million in this race, residents of the 58th Assembly District made it clear that outside special interest groups will not decide who best represents their hopes and values.

“Finally, the voters of the 58th Assembly District have also made it clear today that bullying tactics aimed at keeping them, and their elected representatives, quiet on crucial issues such as environmental racism will never be accepted. We won’t be bullied. We are not going back to the margins. We are taking our seats at the table.

“I am proud to be re-elected to represent the residents of southeast Los Angeles County and will continue to be the same vocal advocate for justice and equity. I look forward to returning to Sacramento and fully engaging in the legislative process and bringing a full legislative package that continues to address key issue such as environmental racism and economic opportunities for the communities I represent.”

Norwalk Senior Center offering free flu shots

NORWALK – The City of Norwalk, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, will be hosting a free flu clinic on Thursday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Norwalk Senior Center.

Flu vaccines are for anyone six months and older, and especially recommended for seniors, those with weakened immune system and/or chronic illnesses and caregivers working with children, the elderly or sick people.

Please check with your doctor before getting vaccinated if you have a severe drug allergy or are sick the day of the clinic.

For more info, call (562) 929-5580.

Community forum set for Wednesday night

NORWALK — Norwalk residents are invited to a community forum Wednesday, Sept. 26, starting at 6 p.m. at the Social Services Center, 11929 Alondra Blvd.

Presentations on current projects and department operations will be followed by an open floor discussion, providing residents an opportunity to voice their concerns and provide feedback on quality of life issues.

In addition, Norwalk’s new solid waste hauler, Athens Services, will be present to provide outreach on services and answer resident inquiries.

Due to limited parking on site, attendees may also park in the Alondra Library parking lot, as well as the Las Buenas Church parking lot, located across the street from the Social Services Center.

Translation services will be available for residents who speak Spanish.

For questions or more details, call (562) 929-5735.

Photo Gallery: 9/11 ceremony at Southeast Academy

On the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Southeast Academy High School held a service to remember the thousands of victims lost that day.

The solemn event featured flag-folding and color guard ceremonies, patriotic music from the John Glenn HS marching band, community speakers and a 9/11 timeline event reading.

Fred Cruz, a veteran and academic support teacher at La Mirada High School, gave the keynote address.

Photos by Eric Pierce.


Shared Stories: Our Little Douglas Fir

There are so many themes in this story by Kacie Cooper – a mother and daughter road trip, a turning point, a fresh start, and a simpler time. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns

By Kathy “Kacie” Cooper

Back in 1973, while my mother was searching for an escape route to divorcing my father after 28 years of marriage, I was searching for a way to get my boyfriend of three and a half years to commit to marriage.

She and I were directed in our paths, unknowingly, when my mother was called back to her hometown of Provo, Utah. Who says you can never go home again? Sometimes one must go back to their roots to reclaim their lives and start anew.

My mama Jeri’s father Benny had just died, so we would be taking him back to his hometown in Utah to bury him.

Three days later, Mom and I hopped on a Greyhound bus, carrying only two suitcases apiece, and set out for the 700-mile trip. We knew we were going to Provo, but we were oblivious as to where our lives would head after the funeral.

Grandpa Benny’s funeral was lovely, as funerals go. Luckily, we were invited to stay with Keith and Shirley Jacobson for a few weeks. They were childhood friends of my parents.

During that time my mother never brought up the idea of divorce. I never spoke of my wanting an ultimatum from my guy. Instinctively I guess we just knew what needed to be done.

Within weeks we both got a job together working at Signetics, an electronics company located in Orem, making a whopping $2.00/hour. Soon we found the cutest little one-bedroom apartment for the outrageous amount of $90 a month. We split the rent. The apartment was fully furnished. We didn’t have to buy even one piece of furniture.

It was Christmas Eve in Provo and the air was fresh and crisp and freezing. But we bundled up accordingly. The coldness was something I had never experienced in sunny California. I loved it. I never felt so alive.

From the sweet smile on my mother’s face, she looked like she had just returned to her roots. She was home.

Since we didn’t have a car yet, we decided to walk the six blocks down the street from our apartment to where the tree lot was located. Families were laughing and tying Christmas trees on top of their cars, happily throwing snowballs at each other. We saw all these huge 8- and 9-foot trees, some flocked, some green.

“Well, we can’t carry them home. They’re too big,” I told Mom. Then it suddenly began to snow and we decided we’d have to choose a smaller one quickly.

Then we saw it – our Christmas tree. It was standing there all alone, away from all the other larger trees as if it were being punished for its short height.

“How rude,” I thought. But it looked like it was ready for a new environment – like we had been. It looked so lonely. But it looked the loveliest to my mother.

I quickly paid the man and while the snow kept falling even faster, together we carried this cute, pudgy little 4-foot Douglas fir tree back to our little castle.

We entered the front door with the tree in our arms as if it were a baby coming into its new home. It smelled like the woods, it smelled like heaven. It was fresh and full of life. It was made by God. It was the only thing we would actually own in our little furnished apartment.

As I heated up the hot chocolate, Mother sprinkled her favorite silver tinsel onto our 4-foot Douglas fir. It was fun watching her decorate the tree. It felt as though she were throwing magic fairy dust onto our lives.

After stringing the white lights around the tree and plugging them in, we opened the drapes behind our Douglas fir. Instantly we were transformed into a magical new world.

In front of us was a huge, fenced-in yard with two of the most beautiful Palomino horses – my favorite, gold-colored horse. Beyond the horses, in the distance, our eyes caught sight of those beautiful, moonlit, snow-covered Utah mountains that actually illuminated our sweet little 4-foot Douglas fir.

It was an omen. Things began to happen quickly after Christmas. My mother sadly received the divorce papers. Days after listening and crying to sad Patsy Cline records, she finally signed them. Also, my boyfriend agreed to get married in June of the following year. Thus, our new lives would finally begin.

I have been living in my home in California for decades now. And you could say that I am living in a very fully-furnished home– too many material things. I don’t need all this stuff.

Then I think back to 1973 when the only thing Mom and I owned was a cute little God-made, 4-foot Douglas fir. It was really all I needed – a wonderful, 4-foot Douglas fir and an even more beautiful, God-made mother. Life was so simple, but amazing, back then.

Cerritos College partners with Amazon for cloud computing course


NORWALK – Cerritos College will offer a cloud computing certificate program in collaboration with Amazon Web Services. 

Cerritos College is one of 19 community colleges in the Los Angeles area selected for the partnership.

Through the collaboration, Cerritos College will offer a regionally recognized cloud computing certificate. Students have access to a 15-credit certificate program that focuses on in-demand cloud computing skills.

 The College will be collaborating with at least one high school to offer concurrent enrollment in the 15-credit certificate program and professional development opportunities, including curriculum development workshops and Amazon Web Services trainings.

Cloud computing enables the delivery of on-demand computing resources, such as applications, networking, software, and data centers over the internet on a pay-for-use basis. The demand for cloud computing talent is increasing in Los Angeles County, according to a forecast by Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).

The project is a partnership among Amazon Web Services, the California Strong Workforce Program, LAEDC’s Center for a Competitive Workforce, and the Los Angeles area community colleges.