Voices from the Media
ABC Board Member Lynda Johnson
Is Still the Heroine
Dan E. Nino, Gateway Guardian, December 25, 2014
The recent reorganization of the ABC School Board was a tense night to say the least. Some ABC School Board members went to
electing their officers fraught with vindictiveness and anger.
There was civility in public but you could sense in their demeanor that four board members were hell bent on preventing Vice
President Lynda Johnson from becoming the Board president.
Johnson was poised to be elevated to the presidency, but fate eluded her. Her Achilles' heel was her opposition to the Bond
Measure AA to upgrade the facilities of the school district to the tune of $195 million at the expense of residents.
If it were approved, the property tax bill would have increased beyond the financial capacity of most homeowners.
From the onset of the collegial body's election of officers, the electoral exercise was stacked against Lynda Johnson.
After the opening speech of ABC President Sophia Tse, she immediately nominated Lynda Johnson. She cited Johnson's "role as
board member walking the extra mile, visiting school sites regularly, despite her opposition on the Bond Measure, upholding the
principle of democracy she put the best interest of the school district first."
Thereafter, Board Member Olympia Chen nominated Maynard Law. This spelled doom for Johnson's quest for the presidency. Chen
said Mr. Law always put the best interest of the children first. She said he is a team player and is active in community events.
"The Superintendent and Board president should work hand in hand.," said Chen. "He was a special education teacher with good
labor and management collaboration. He represented the district very well."
Maynard Law himself, Celia Spitzer, Olympia Chen and Armin Reyes voted yes for Law.
Johnson was nominated again as vice president but Celia Spitzer torpedoed her nomination. She cited an old rule that a nominee
could not be nominated for the same position she had just held.
I have to see this provision if it's still existing. Obviously, there was indeed intransigence and concerted effort to derail
Johnson's selection as president.
Tse, Johnson's ally, nominated Johnson again for the clerk's position, but Armin Reyes was also nominated.
It was obvious that the "gang of four" did their best to block Johnson from any position.
At this juncture. My neighbor in the audience mumbled, "This is ridiculous."
It was apparent that Johnson fell out of favor because of her opposition to the Bond Measure AA. It did not sit well with the
"gang of four."
Be that as it may, Johnson was a heroine to the 9,679 voters of the school district.
The "gang of four" should not blame Lynda Johnson. She only had one vote against the measure despite the well-funded campaign of
the pro-Bond Measure AA. She stood to her principles and conviction. She did not waiver nor flip flop despite her lone voice in the
She stood her ground. She should not be punished for standing up to her principles albeit unpopular to the minority. The majority
of the community members had expressed this sentiment through the ballots. Democracy was alive. Majority rules yet the minority's
voice was respected.
Despite this setback, Johnson put up a cheery disposition and maintained her composure. She put up a brave face. But you could
see through her misty eyes and deep in her persona that she was punished. She was targeted. The Labor Union, teachers and parents
gave her the cold-shoulder.
During the break, she mingled with the community. She was engaging. Her integrity was never diminished, no matter how unpopular
her stand among her ABC Board colleagues.
The electorate who voted against the measure is what really matters, not the "gang of four" who voted against her.
In fact, a community leader commented, "If one door closes, a bigger door will open for her someday. Lynda can even run for
Cerritos City Council in the future. She's principled. That's what we need."
By all accounts, her chances were doomed. The wild card was her friend and colleague Armin Reyes. According to political pundits, Reyes filed his candidacy for the Cerritos College Board too late. Johnson together with the six board members had already endorsed Shin Liu.
This added, perhaps, to the consternation of Armin Reyes. Such is a folly in politics. Anything can happen. Not everything is fair in politics as in love.
Soo Yoo, another board supporter of Johnson, said, "Thank you Lynda for your involvement. You set aside personal feelings. Lynda is passionate. We had our differences, but we shared our passion to serve and researched the issues. It's time to move on, to address issues in our community."
Lynda, you are not alone. You were supported by 9,679 voters against the Bond Measure.
School Board members serve the people, not the superintendent or their colleagues on the Board.