Gov. Brown joins Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva to designated site for OC Veterans Cemetery

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (AD-65), Chair of the California State Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, was joined by Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Committee (OCVMPC), local veterans, their families and local elected officials, to welcome California Gov. Jerry Brown. Gov. Brown visited the designated site of the future Orange County veterans cemetery at the great park, formerly known as Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.“Our veterans have been instrumental in shaping the proud history that we enjoy today, and they deserve a final resting place that is close to their loved ones. I am honored that Gov. Brown visited the designated site and thank him for his support of our veterans and their families. This very ground where we stand on will serve as a shrine and as a community gathering place to celebrate our nation’s greatest heroes,” stated Quirk-SilvaAssembly Bill (AB) 1453, recently signed into law by the governor will direct the California Department of Veteran Affairs (CalVet) and the local government entities in Orange County to work collaboratively to design, develop and construct a state-owned and state-operated Orange County Veterans Cemetery.“In war we come together because we have to defend our country. Well, there are other times where we have to come together to defend our future. This bill will give veterans in Orange County the final resting place they deserve and would not have been possible without the skill and tireless work of Assemblymember Quirk-Silva,” said Gov. Brown.

Police Chief Gomez-Whiteley announces her retirement

Cypress Police Chief Jackie Gomez-Whiteley has announced she is retiring effective March 16. Chief Gomez-Whiteley provided the following statement regarding her retirement:“Nearly four years ago, I began an extraordinary journey when I was appointed Chief of Police for the City of Cypress ~ a city close to my heart. I grew up here. I am sad to report that my journey will end on March 16, when I retire. My courageous and loving husband, John, has endured a difficult battle with cancer since May. A police chief’s job is too demanding to give an ailing spouse the attention he deserves. It was not an easy decision – as police work is my calling – just as it was John’s before he retired from Orange PD.Leading the men and women of the Cypress Police Department has been an honor and privilege, and I am proud of the deep partnerships we have forged with the citizens of Cypress. During the past four years, our partnership contributed to Cypress’ enhanced reputation as an outstanding and safe place to live, work and play. I am proud of what we – the Police Department and the community, working together – accomplished. Crime continued to drop; last year, violent crime fell by 17 percent. And through the support of City and community leaders, our collaborative efforts resulted in significant accomplishments and received noteworthy recognition, including:• Elementary school superintendents, principals and staff worked with Department members to create the Positive Actions thru Character Education (P.A.C.E.) program for grade six students• Cypress Police Foundation provides support to the Police Department by helping fund programs such as P.A.C.E., Red Ribbon Week and the Police Explorers. They also purchased our most recent police service dog, “Pasko”• Since 2011, Cypress Police Foundation hosts an annual Police Appreciation Luncheon for all Department members to honor the dedicated service and accomplishments of the men and women of the Police Department• Crime Survivors Inc. recognized the Department as the 2012 Community Policing Organization of the Year• Department staff collaborated with our elementary, high school, private schools and Cypress College to create a school violence response initiative• Orange County Human Relations Commission awarded the Department the Community Policing Award for 2013• A recruitment and hiring strategy was initiated and successfully implemented where Police Explorers are mentored and trained for careers within the Cypress Police Department• Leaders of local Faith-Based groups and Department staff re-implemented the Inter-Faith Council, which was originally started by Cypress Senior Police Chaplain, Dr. Jerry ShumardIn other parts of the nation, relationships between police and the communities they are sworn to serve are fractured. That’s not the case in Cypress. In fact, we have taken steps to ensure the Department reflects the community. We are more diverse, more educated and as committed as ever to providing world-class service. I’m hopeful that the community will continue to embrace the Police Department – and the Police Department will continue to serve the community with distinction.Thank you for the opportunity to serve this incredible community. The experiences and relationships have made an indelible impact on my life.”The City of Cypress thanks Chief Gomez-Whiteley for her service to the community and extends its best wishes to her. Acting Police Chief Rod Cox, a 24 year veteran of the Cypress Police department, will serve as Interim Police Chief.

Arbor Day Foundation names Cypress Tree City USA

Cypress has been named a 2015 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. This is the 27th year that Cypress has earned this national designation.The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.Cypress achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.“Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand,” said Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.” “Cypress is honored to receive this recognition,” said Mayor Mariellen Yarc.“The City Council is dedicated to maintaining our urban forest, adapting to our drought climate, and continuously improving our infrastructure,” she added.Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.More information on the program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCityUSA. For more information about City programs and services, please visit www.ci.cypress.ca.us. Cypress can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cityofcypress or Twitter at www.twitter.com/City_of_Cypress.

Assemblywoman Young Kim hosts 2nd Annual Asian American Heritage Month celebration

Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) hosted her 2nd Annual Asian American Heritage Month event on Saturday at the Buena Park Community Center, in partnership with the City of Buena Park. Over 200 people were in attendance. “I am so honored to be able to host my 2nd Annual Asian Heritage Month Event to celebrate the rich diversity of California and recognize the important role that the API community has played in our state and in the 65th Assembly District,” said Kim. The program for the event featured diverse cultural performances by the Korean American Youth Performing Artists, Viet Cam Dance, North Orange County Chinese Culture Association, and Deliver us Ensemble. The attendees also enjoyed a “Taste of Asian Cuisine” courtesy of Hanshik Globalization Foundation. In addition, Kim recognized two API community leaders, Cathlyn Choi and Youngsong Martin. “I am so happy to have had the chance to honor these two wonderful ladies and recognize their incredible accomplishments,” said Kim. Choi is the host and producer of a popular PBS cooking show “Cathlyn’s Korean Kitchen” and the creator of “Asian Voices.” Martin is a multi-award-winning fashion designer and entrepreneur who founded Wildflower Linens. Other community partners included the Korean American Federation of Orange County, Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, OC Korean American Bar Association, OC Chinese American Chamber of Commerce, North Orange County Chinese Culture Association, Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce, Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association and the Asian Business Association of Orange County. Kim plans to continue to host an Asian American Heritage Month Celebration every year to celebrate the diversity of the 65th Assembly District. Kim is the first Asian American to represent the 65th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Palma, and Stanton.

Cypress resident wins hotdog contest

Cypress resident Charles G. Bill Jr. sure knows how to eat his hotdogs. If you don't first succeed, try and try again. That's what Bill has done when it comes to eating hotdogs during an eating contest. Bill recently participated in the Wienerschnitzel Jurupa (Valley) Grand Opening hotdog eating contest and came out the winner. It was his third try at this. The other times Bill came up on the short end of the stick. Not this time, though. Bill managed to gobble up six hotdogs faster than his 26 opponents in the single setting eating contest on Aug. 23. Bill stated that he was able to beat the competition because of his timing.“I beat 26 competitors by eating 6 hot dogs the fastest,” Bill said.This wasn’t Charles first go around at an eating contest. He’s been part of many with a variety of delicious foods to choose from.“I have been part other eating contests for hot dogs, sushi, tamales, pies, bratwurst, spaghetti, sliders, burritos, tacos, and meatballs,” Bill said.Bill's strategy going into a contest is to lay low on the food for about a day to prepare for the eating onslaught."I do not eat 24 hour before, except beverages," Bill said. "I'm always hungry before the contest!"Winning the contest was sort of a fulfillment for Bill after not winning the other two contests he entered in before."I have attempted two hot dog eating contests at Wienerschnitzel before, and have come in second place," Bill Said."I finally won the contest in Jurpura Valley."

Rapist to be released in OC community

The Orange County District Attorney's Office is warning the public that a rapist who continually fails to register as a sex offender was released into the community after a jury determined that he did not meet the criteria of a sexually violent predator.Dennis Craig McDaniel, 55, was released Aug. 31, and has indicated that he plans to move to Fort Worth, Texas, to a residential treatment facility. McDaniel is no longer on parole but will be required to register as a sex offender within five days of release and be listed on the Megan's Law website.Deputy District Attorney Peter Finnerty tried the case on behalf of the OCDA and following the jury's decision argued a motion for a new trial. The motion was denied by the Honorable David Hoffer and the respondent was ordered released.The OCDA believes McDaniel poses a danger to the community based on his numerous sexual crimes of a predatory nature, repeated failure to register as a sex offender, and multiple parole violations indicating that he in incapable of following the law.Johnson denied parole for five more yearsThe Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections denied parole for five years for an inmate who murdered an elderly employee of an Anaheim motel he frequented.Robert Charles Johnson, 50, is currently being held at Kern Valley State Prison, Delano. Johnson was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder and was sentenced Oct. 29, 1982, to 16 years to life in state prison.Deputy District Attorney Brett Brian appeared, as expected, on behalf of the Orange County District Attorney's Office to oppose parole.Johnson will not be eligible for parole again until 2017.Man gets life for cold caseA man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for raping and murdering a 42-year-old woman behind the counter of her Anaheim market after being linked to the crime through DNA. Louis Roger Acosta Jr., 41, was found guilty on May 21 in a court trial by the Honorable William Froeberg of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of rape.In the early morning hours of June 4, 1998, Acosta entered the D&D Market in Anaheim, where 42-year-old store owner Dung Duong was known to sleep behind the counter when the market was closed. Acosta repeatedly beat Duong in the head with a blunt object and then raped the bleeding victim on the small makeshift mattress behind the counter.After raping Duong, Acosta fled the scene. The victim bled to death as a result of the injuries to her head and was discovered several hours later, at approximately 11:30 a.m., after a customer saw Duong in a pool of blood through the store window.The case went unsolved until 2004, when Acosta was linked to the crime through DNA while serving time in Washington for robbery.The Anaheim Police Department investigated this case. Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.

Woman’s Club of Cypress honored by Cypress Library

The Woman’s Club of Cypress (WCC) was honored by the Cypress Library for their generous support of library programs and activities during the club’s November 5 meeting. Library representatives Stephanie Anson and Cathy Hickle also presented members and guests with an overview of the many events offered by the library throughout the year.“Due to the generosity of the WCC, the library's summer reading program was a great success and test scores for children participating in the program were higher than those who did not participate,” said library representative Cathy Hickle adding, “These higher scores were the best statistics the library has had in five years."WCC's "Friends of the Cypress Library" volunteer group holds an ongoing book sale in the lobby of the library; however, their annual week long book sale the week of October 11 was their big success. Funds from the sale will help supplement the library’s budget throughout 2015 to purchase bestselling books, magazine subscriptions, CDs, DVDs and host children’s programs. According to WCC Library Liaison Maria Sterk, "The annual book sale is an outstanding way for Cypress residents to support community activities and receive something for their effort."During the past year, WCC has donated over $10,000 to the Cypress Library, which supports both children and adult literacy programs. In addition, the book nook at the library allows WCC volunteers to deliver books to homebound Cypress residents.Following the library presentation, Anson and Hickle presented WCC President Joyce Grohmann with a green table cover featuring the Women's Club gold insignia of Unity in Diversity. "The Woman's Club of Cypress was surprised and excited to have received this gift,” said Grohmann. “It will be used with pride at special events."

Oxford Academy PTSA successfully advocates to defeat high-density housing project

Oxford Academy PTSA and residents of Cypress turned out in force at Monday night’s City Council meeting to oppose developer City Ventures’ application to build a high-density housing project half a block from the Oxford Academy campus. After nearly three hours of public comment from the standing-room-only crowd, the council conditionally denied the application by a 3-2 vote. Citing an advocacy committee reportand resolution adopted by the school’s PTSA unit, Oxford Academy principal Ron Hoshi and PTSA president Jon Hultman shared their concerns for student safety. Describing the severely impacted traffic conditions on Orange Avenue during peak traffic hours, Hoshi expressed concern “that more of this will be the case with the added development.” Although the traffic report commissioned by the developer found that fewer cars would leave the property during peak hours from their proposed townhouse complex than from the current commercial building, Hultman noted that “we don’t find it credible that there is going to be a decrease in traffic during those key hours when parents are dropping off kids at school.” Cypress Mayor Mariellen Yarc took the concerns of the Oxford community to heart, urging her colleagues to deny the permit.“A resolution from the parents, teachers and students of Oxford Academy…you can’t get any more groundswell than that,” said Yarc. Calling the project “incompatible” with the character of the area, Yarc noted that “this is a very tender spot in our city. We have Oxford Academy – it’s a gem. It’s not just local or state – it’s nationally acclaimed. … I have never…seen a school come out with this much passion. You can’t ignore that.” Oxford Academy PTSA formed an ad hoc committee to study the proposed development in September 2015. Chaired by Cypress resident and Oxford parent Clyde Schechter, the committee also included residents from the neighboring communities of Buena Park and Anaheim to ensure that the focus remained on campus concerns rather than the interests of local residents. The committee found several potential adverse effects likely to result from the project, most notably increased congestion during peak traffic hours and the resulting threats to student safety. Based on the committee’s report and recommendations, the PTSA unit voted unanimously in October 2015 to adopt a resolution asking the City Council “to use any legal means at its disposal to prevent this development”. “We are proud of the Oxford community for coming together to speak out on behalf of our students, and for the City Council’s resolve in representing the best interests of the community,” said Hultman. “Tonight’s decision really demonstrates what can be accomplished when schools and communities work together for the benefit of our children.” Oxford Academy PTSA is the local PTA unit representing parents, students and teachers at Oxford Academy. The unit won a 2015 Spotlight Award for Advocacy from California State PTA for advocacy that supported the passage of Measure H, AUHSD’s 2014 bond measure. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.

Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva shows district visibility

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva celebrated the Fourth of July at community events in La Palma, Cypress, Huntington Beach, and Fullerton. At each event, Quirk-Silva highlighted her assembly bill to bring a Veterans Cemetery to Orange County.Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva began her day at the La Palma Fitness Run for Fun 5k, where she addressed the crowd before walking the 5k route with La Palma Mayor Steve Shanahan and Miss La Palma, MayssaMaring.Quirk-Silva also participated in the Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade, the largest parade of its kind west of the Mississippi. Sharon stopped along the parade route to speak with veterans, and collect support cards for the Orange County Veteran’s Cemetery.The Fourth of July Spectacular at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Base was the Assemblywoman’s next stop on the tour. The event, co-sponsored by the city of Cypress, was attended by both civilian and active military personnel.Quirk-Silva addressed the crowd about her ongoing efforts to help Orange County get a veterans cemetery. “Our legislation, AB 1453, is now in the Senate and then to the Governor. We are looking for your support to let the Governor know that we’d like to have an Orange County veteran’s cemetery. Our County in the largest in California without a veteran’s cemetery,” said Quirk-Silva.Quirk-Silva ended her day by giving an address at the Fourth of July Festival and Fireworks Show in her hometown of Fullerton, where she stayed to enjoy fireworks with the community.

Bailey accuses Kusumoto of illegal recording

Cypress Councilman Doug Bailey accused Los Alamitos Mayor Warren Kusumoto of illegally recording a conversation between himself, and Assemblyman Travis Allen during a dinner meeting about the proposed 33-acre Katella Avenue truck project on Friday, May 10.The meeting request was made by Allen, Bailey said, and he was asked to participate in a meeting about the economics in the area.“I do not know Kusumoto, but I was told he wanted to chat,” he said. “The staff put together some economic information I could share and got to the meeting at four o’clock.Kusumoto and Bailey met, shook hands, and went to a table, Bailey said, and started chatting.“My phone rang and it was Allen,” he said. “I told him we were already at the restaurant. During that time Kusumoto was very standoffish and asked me blunt questions about Pro Logis.”Shortly after Allen arrived, Bailey said they both noticed that Kusumoto was recording the conversation.“He never asked us, or disclosed he was recording the conversation,” he said. “Travis Allen and I said hey Warren, you can’t do that. He grabbed his tape recorder and left.”The situation dumbfounded Bailey.“Allen went out to the parking lot and talked to Kusumoto and he would not come back in to chat,” he said. When Allen came back in his chief of staff was there and he said I am sorry, but I have never seen anything like this in my life. His chief said he has been at this a long time and he never saw it either.”Bailey shared the slides intended for Kusumoto.“The first slide I was going to show him demonstrates how retail sales went up during the first part of the century.”"Between 2005-2010 retail sales have actually decreased," he said. "In Los Alamitos the sales tax has decreased by 29.5 percent, so we are all looking at lower tax numbers."There has been an 11.5 percent decrease in the Cypress workforce, Bailey said, while Los Alamitos lost 6.8 percent."Both cities are losing retail sales and jobs," he said.The most important piece of information was how intertwined the two cities are."Of the top ten places that Cypress residents commute to, number four is the city itself and number nine is Los Alamitos," Bailey said. "Los Alamitos residents rank Cypress number five on their list, with their city coming in third."Jobs being lost in the area fall into the manufacturing, wholesale, and retail industries."They are not bad paying jobs," Bailey said. "Manufacturing jobs average $34,000 per year, the wholesale jobs average $77,000 and retail comes in at $42,000 per year for the people who work in these industries."Saying that Los Alamitos residents will not benefit from the job growth at the 33-acre Katella project is not true, he said, and the raw data proves that point."I just wanted to show him that it will," Bailey said. "Los Alamitos residents come to our city council meetings and say that no good jobs will come from this project."The final slide was a zoning map for Los Alamitos."I have residents from Los Alamitos call me names and say that I am endangering children because I am putting warehouses around schools," Bailey said. "If you look at this map, between these two zoned areas are the Los Alamitos schools right across the street from a food distribution center with 51 trucking bays. There are no distribution centers near schools in my town. In Cypress you need a conditional use permit to enter one of these businesses, but those businesses are already permitted in Los Alamitos."He said Kusumoto was not interested in discussing those issues."These are some of the things I am dealing with," Bailey said. "He wassolely interested in setting me up with some type of tape recording. I have been listening to this stuff and it is so frustrating. I have been on this council for seven years and we have done nothing but cooperate with Los Alamitos."The comments drew the ire of a Los Alamitos resident named Carol"I take great exception to the pompous,inflammatory comments made by Doug Bailey," she said. "How dare you say that Los Alamitos is unethical? Your actions are despicable. Measure A is flawed and the restrictive covenants prove that. I had no idea about why there isdissension between Cypress and Los Alamitos, but with someone like you, Mr. Bailey, now I get it."Citizens for Responsible Development President Steven Mauss said he is deeply trouble by the events reported by Bailey."I do not think anyone should have to go through that," he said. "Frankly, I amappalledand think we can do better."Los Alamitos resident Lois Waddle said she hoped the issue can be resolved."I was very happy to see what you did with your charts," she said. "We do not need this animosity between the cities during this crucial time. I cannot apologize for our mayor (Kusumoto), but I understand your anger and pain."In an interview with the Event News, Kusumoto called the incident a big misunderstanding."I told him I was recording this and set the recorder on the corner of the table right in front of him and me," he said. "I was not interested in talking about the economic benefits, but wanted to know what the Katella project was, because I heard him say officially that it is not a trucking or distribution center. I also wanted to know if he supported the project, and if he needed anything from Los Alamitos, like a left turn signal light or pocket."Kusumotoacknowledged that he was not having a good day."There were issues that day and I was not doing well," he said. "I was abrupt and wanted to cut to the chase. The recorder was out and he (Bailey) almost knocked it onto the floor. He grabbed it and put the recorder back on the table, so I do not know how it was not recording."Allen, said he did not give his consent to be recorded."I said I was done and kind of left without telling them that," he said. "From that standpoint, Councilman Bailey could have viewed that as stated."Kusumoto reiterated his intent to record the conversation."I told him and put the recorder on the table," he said. "Apparently he missed it. It was not like I was trying to hide the recorder, it was in plain sight."During a meeting wit Pro Logis representatives in January, Kusumoto said, he viewed the project plan."They were talking about the need for an ingress and egress," he said. ""I listened to all the information, but did not make a decision. I am still trying to take it all in."One frustrating issue Kusumoto said he was dealing with was the inability of Cypress to reach out to Los Alamitos directly."When I met with Allen he asked me if I knew Bailey and I said no," he said. "He said he wanted to get together and Bailey has this great project. I asked why he went to Allen if he needs to talk with us."A meeting with Supervisor John Moorlach at the end of March netted the same result."He said they have this project and Cypress needs something from you," Kusumoto said. "If they need something should I ask them what we can do? They need something from Los Alamitos."The Los Alamitos City Council voted against the Pro Logis development."We can issue an opinion because this is a Cypress land use issue, and not Los Alamitos," Kusumoto said. "I am not in favor of development that will have a negative impact on the region. I do not envy the Cypress City Council with this issue. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Development can happen and I hope it is the right project. One interesting thing is when I went to the coffee event recently held by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, her staff told me that Cypress has not reached out to her for support. They are going to my assemblyman without reaching out to Quirk-Silva."The next Cypress City Council meeting is Monday, May 27.