Sunday’s column updates you on the ever-controversial Chino Valley Unified school board. The board president left her post earlier this month, two months ahead of schedule, paving the way for the outspoken Andrew Cruz to be acting president. Cruz, you may recall, got in hot water for political comments at a July meeting.
Who says city council meetings are dull? In Chino, they heard a detailed report from two cops about a prostitution sting at a massage parlor in which services were offered by a masseuse in a pink dress who goes by the name Lulu. Read about it in my Friday column — but don’t read it aloud! The kids might hear.
I attended Thursday’s highly unusual Chino Valley Unified School District board meeting. Read all about it in Sunday’s column.
At Thursday’s Chino Valley Unified School District board meeting, the first since his political monologue at the July 16 session that created a furor, board member Andrew Cruz asked for time to speak prior to the 19 public comments. I shot video (watch the first part here) and transcribed his comments verbatim, mistakes, missing words and all, as best I could.
Cruz: “Since our last board meeting, I thought a lot of my comments made in an unorganized, hasty manner. Although I support strong family values, I have never intended to exclude any single child from my heart, because I believe every living human being is very precious and is born with unfortunate purposes in life. If my comments made, derived from research and news media reports, may have left you victimized, please accept my sincere apologies. ‘Cause that’s not who I am.
“I’d rather choose to be the victim but never to be the one who would hurt someone both intentionally and intentionally. Thank you and I truly love each one of you.”
[finishes reading from prepared remarks]
“I just want to say one thing. And that is, this boardsmanship that I have is a very beautiful experience that I am dealing with. I am grateful and humbled of the things I am doing and how I am working with children throughout these three years. But I have tremendous joy in my heart, and that these things I see, and the things that are going on, I will speak from my heart. I am grateful and humble knowing the fact that the pain that you guys are feeling, I can definitely relate what you are going through here. You know, as a special ed student, I do, based on things that I have experienced, a lot of these things that felt the same way that I felt when I was younger. And it’s a dirty shame that it had to be the way it was directed. It may have been misguided, but it was from my heart, of the things I had seen and the direction of this country that it’s going towards. And you may not accept that –”
Irene Hernandez-Blair, the board president: “OK, Mr. Cruz…”
Cruz: “Hold on please.”
Hernandez-Blair: “This is a statement for public comment.”
Cruz: “Thank you.”
Look for my column on the meeting in Sunday’s paper.
Following up on my Wednesday column, Friday’s has more on the Chino Valley Unified School District controversy regarding board member Andrew Cruz. My mistake: Although there was no immediate response, the board president fired back at him a minute later in the meeting. Also, it turns out that Cruz’s comment about having his rainwater tested for chemicals probably relates to a conspiracy theory about so-called “chemtrails.” For those uninterested in all this — do such people exist? — there are three Valley Vignettes and a rundown of recent posts here.
Wednesday’s column starts with the latest from the Chino Valley Unified school board, where one member made the TV news for a nine-minute monologue at a recent meeting on a multitude of hot-button topics. From there, I’ve got three Culture Corner items (two involving Debbie Reynolds — how about that?), two examples of the 909 in the news and even more.
Wednesday’s column breaks some news about Dennis Yates, the mayor of Chino, who plans to retire from the City Council when his term ends in 2016. He was first elected in 1992. The council is remarkably stable, without a new member since 2001. But that will change with Yates’ retirement.
In a foray to a Chino City Council meeting, I cover the news that the city is buying the former Superior Court building across from City Hall. With the entire Civic Center in city hands, this could be the first step in selling the whole thing off and relocating. I tell the story in Friday’s column. Above, what you see when you look through the glassed front entry. I assume the five framed photos show the Board of Supervisors of 2012.
What’s your city’s population? New population numbers are out, and they show Chino is (as the headline says) among the state’s fastest-growing by percentage and raw numbers. But you can check on all the other Inland Valley cities too. Also: more news from Chino, two Culture Corner items and a plug for this blog, all in Sunday’s column.
A Buddhist temple on the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Francis Street has been under construction for at least five years, reader Helen Cosner points out in asking me when it might be done (if ever).
City spokeswoman Monica Gutierrez said construction has come in stops and starts as the temple’s financing allows. Public improvements and the burying of utility lines are the last pieces and the temple is expected to be complete this summer.
I remember this complex from visits to the barbecue restaurant across the street, which closed in 2011. I thought it was a stalled office park. In Chino last week, I pulled over to take a fresh look. It looks pretty complete from the street, so sprawling that it’s hard to get it all into one photograph, and with an impressive entry gate. If your view is right, you can see the top of a Buddha statue. Makes me want to see inside.