Cerritos Resident Questions Ethics of Community Newspaper

Controversial election-related advertisements placed in the Los Cerritos Community News have fueled one Cerritos resident to question the publication's ethics and agenda.

Editor's Note: This opinion piece was submitted to Patch by Cerritos resident, Chris Foster.

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This weekend, the Los Cerritos Community News, the weekly newspaper in this town, removed a comment [on its website] about an advertisement in the newspaper.

Apparently this is one newspaper that does not believe in free speech.

In the comment, I shed light on the fact that attack ads in the newspaper were paid for by publisher Brian Hews own political action committee (Citizens for Clean And Honest Local Government). These ads contained factual errors. One asked people join “Cerritos employees” in voting against one particular candidate. Stephen Bova, president of the Cerritos employee’s union, said the ad was not sponsored by the union and lashed out at the newspaper.

Hews has gone to great lengths in what seems an effort to push his own political agenda. In one ad, he charged that one candidate was an “Agent of Communist China.”

The Service Employees International Union was credited with paying for the advertisement.  The union’s attorney vehemently denied that the SEIU was involved. The attorney asked Hews who paid for the advertisement. Hews admitted his PAC did and that the printing SEIU as the sponsor was a production error.

This is not the journalism of Otis Chandler, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, who Hews likens himself to. No, this is the style of William Randolph Hearst and Rupert Murdoch.

City officials believe Mr. Hews is on a vendetta after Cerritos cut its advertising budget, including ads that ran in his newspaper.

The questions remain -- though not under “comments” in the Los Cerritos Community News.

Should a publisher fund attack ads pushing his own agenda? Isn’t a newspaper a watchdog not an attack dog? Is it ethical for a publisher of a newspaper to be involved in mudslinging?

These, it seems, are questions the publisher doesn't want on display.

Is it time for a new political action committee: Citizens for Clean And Honest Local Journalism. 

- Chris Foster
Cerritos resident

Gail Grossman March 05, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Way to go Chris, hopefully they will see and hear about people's unhappiness and why people are not sending them articles. Let's go back to Jerry Bernstein's writing and about the CIty of Cerritos and not Los Angeles
Mike Donald March 05, 2013 at 07:05 PM
I do not see your point Ms. Grossman, I am an avid reader of LCCN, this is what was published the past two weeks: Cerritos Swimmer Wins Four Medals 4th Article on Central Basin Water Corruption Get Out and Vote CCPA Review Expose on Local Candidate Artesia Council Ends Employee Furlough Troy Aikman Luncheon complete with picture of Mayor Edwards 21.7 Million Improvement Plan in La Palma 2013 District Spelling Bee Winner Family Place Workshop at Norwalk Library Optimist Essay Contest
Mike Donald March 05, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Continued for you reading pleasure Ms. Grossman: Three Local Sports Stories Patch does not do sports 300 Volunteers hit the streets of Norwalk Carol Chen Taking 5,000 from a Local Developers 3rd Water Basin Corruption Cerritos and La Mirada Crime Summaries Cerritos New Patroller for Sheriffs Tribute to Helen Brown, Icon in Norwalk Lakewood Community Run CCPA Review Soroptimist Article for their fundraiser Endorsements AAUW Lunch article Pathways event article Hearing screening event Catholic Charities event Miss Cerritos Event Cerritos Sheriffs arrest suspect Tony Mendoza joins organization in Hawaiian Gardens Cerritos Business Workshop Feb 27 Cerritos Chamber State of the District Luncheon Atesia Historical Society Luncheon Three more sports stories Patch does not do sports So what is you point now? The paper is much better than it used to be. And they do it for free. Even after Cerritos cut their advertising. The ad is what it is the committee is pointing out corruption, at least they are transparent. What other committee tells who runs it?
Ralph Burrison March 05, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Chris Foster is spot on! Cerritos is a well run city. the newspaper in question is not a well run newspaper. The fact is there is very little noteworthy news in it. The real news is that it isn't really a newspaper, only paper with Hew's views. That is a better title: Hew's Views.
James March 05, 2013 at 07:19 PM
I agree and I applaud this Cerritos resident for speaking out. The community newspaper has turned into a sad community tabloid that somehow manages to "namedrop" itself every week, if that makes sense. Journalism should be objective and informative. Los Cerritos News should be congratulated on the job they did with the assessor's investigation, but while they were so focused on the limelight of attention, they turned into snobby jackasses who suddenly thought they were "famous." Every week their website is full of "look at us" crap. And it doesn't help that most of tjheir content is now scandal based. Jerry Bernstein was the classiest guy over there. I'm actually glad he disconnected himself from those two "pulitzer prize" candidates -- by the way I hope everyone knows you pay to be entered as a candidate. Again, they did a bang up job on the assessor story, but good God MOVE ON!
Katherine George Chu March 06, 2013 at 02:44 AM
I have lived in this city for over 20 years and have never received delivery of the Los Cerritos Community News paper...perhaps because I live inside a gated community. Because of this, I try to pick up the paper whenever I am at the library or swim center. With city elections going on, I wanted to read up on the candidates, know their platforms, get informed. I was appalled to see the racially-motivated attack ads and accusations of particular candidates posted while other candidates went by unscathed with full color advertisements in the front section of the paper. A newspaper should be unbiased in its reporting and should not allow derogatory ads to take up space in their paper. I find myself fortunate that I do not have this paper delivered to my doorstep. Thank you Chris for speaking up about this.
DJ March 06, 2013 at 08:21 AM
I commend Chris Foster for unearthing the facts which most Cerritos Residents were not aware of, and Cerritos-Artesia Patch for publishing it. The Beauty is that despite this dirty game wihch Brian Hews has played, people have spoken and the So-Called Community Newspaper will have to eat a humble pie. I salute the residents of Cerritos for not falling a prey to the misleading advertisements.
RL March 06, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I am usually against suing as a way to seek correction of a wrong, but this LCCN publisher desired to be sued just like those tabloid paper for smearing political candidate for whatever reason. Thank you, Chris, for informing us enough for to do a little reading of our own.
Jose Gonzalez March 07, 2013 at 11:49 PM
To call this "rag" a newspaper is a joke. They only put partial truths, always sided to a covert friend of the writer and never have done the background investigation to be able to establish validity!
Hello world March 08, 2013 at 07:24 PM
When it comes to the FREE newspaper (or anything else that's free) -- the old saying applies: You get what you pay for.
Local Person March 09, 2013 at 04:08 AM


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