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Letter to the Editor: Cypress residents need to stay informed and ask questions

Dear Editor:

It’s only March and we have had many City Council disruptions. I’ve attended the last several Council meetings and was astounded that at least 30 minutes was spent focused on procedural reminders of how Council Members should treat of each other.

Like many, I was surprised to learn that Council Member Minikus was involved, especially after being revered as able to work well with others by Council Member Morales. These incidents have many Cypress residents wondering if the frazzled atmosphere would be different had the Council not passed me over when Mayor Pro-Tem Stacy Berry resigned.

As a reminder, Ms. Berry resigned just months after the November 2020 election. Despite receiving the third most votes for the two open seats the Cypress City Council ignored election results and resident wishes urging my appointment and chose Scott Minikus following the application process that I also participated in.

That was very eye opening, especially when you factor in that more than 30% of Cypress residents are Asian. Like most of us, I trusted that the “powers that be” held the community’s best interest at heart. However, that trust and the issue of transparency are now being questioned because of city council decisions like the vacant council seat.

Thanks to Cypress resident George Pardon, whose op-ed articles have given residents a better understanding about the relationships between past and present Council Members, and stakeholders (people & companies) invested in the city council. At least now, many of us are discussing council meeting content and questioning the lack of transparency.

In addition to the council seat appointment, here are some other examples:

Conflict of Interest – We now know the Boys & Girls Club receives free trash pick up from Valley Vista Services. The Club’s Director, Anne Hertz-Mallari must be pleased they won’t suffer the same 32 percent increase that we will. However, many residents believe that because Hertz-Mallari is also a Cypress Council Member that her vote on the trash contract would be a conflict of interest. She did, under protest, recuse herself, however from the trash contract vote, but doesn’t believe there is a conflict of interest even though the organization she works for benefits from its relationship with Valley Vista Services.

City Manager’s raise & 4 year Contract Extension – Traditionally, the city manager’s contract is renewed (or not) every two years, which allows city councils to evaluate performance and make changes as needed. However, the Cypress City Council extended City Manager Peter Grant’s contract for FOUR years, which limits the next council’s ability to hire someone new until 2026. Why would they do this?

Lexington Park – City residents’ initial excitement for a new park was quickly replaced with disappointment due to the lack of transparency showing the facility was predetermined to be a “soccer park”. This situation created the appearance that the City of Cypress took a wonderful donation and sold residents out. At the Jan 24th council meeting, Christy Fouty Jackson and Sean Clark spoke about the benefit this venue offers Cypress youth football and soccer leagues. This was the first time I heard that our leagues needed space to play. This should be our focused, not the City Manager Peter Grant’s “dream” to host a collegiate or professional team with a pay-to-play field.

Moving forward, I encourage all Cypress residents to stay informed, ask questions, and voice their opinion about projects and actions that impact our community. I look forward to the day when our leaders treat each other with admirable respect, and work together on behalf of those that voted them in.

This letter to the editor was submitted by Carrie Hayashida Katsumata, Cypress City Council Candidate 2020.

1 Comment

  1. Instead of complaining and accusing each other of violating the cities guideline laid out for the city council why don’t yet get some work done. One thing that assured by any government official is the continued infighting and bickering that happens in all levels of government. We do not want your bickering we want promises that were made but never kept. Get too work or resign

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