In deadly Diamond Bar crash, hearing for Olivia Carolee Culbreath postponed

By Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

A preliminary hearing for a Fontana woman accused of crashing her vehicle while driving the wrong way on the 60 Freeway and killing six people has been continued to Wednesday.

The hearing for Olivia Carolee Culbreath, 22, which was to be in its third day Thursday, has been taking place at the Pomona courthouse of Los Angeles Superior Court to determine if there’s enough evidence to send the case to trial.

Culbreath is accused of driving a Chevrolet Camaro east on westbound 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar on Feb. 9. About 4:45 a.m. the car crashed head-on into a Ford Explorer, the California Highway Patrol said. Following the initial crash another vehicle crashed into the Explorer.

Two passengers in Culbreath’s car died as did four occupants in the Explorer who were thrown from the vehicle.

Culbreath is charged with six counts of murder for allegedly causing the crash.

Culbreath faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if she’s convicted of the murder charges.

Culbreath, who is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles in lieu of $6 million bail, has been arriving in court in a wheelchair.

At this point she is disabled and requires regular medical care, Culbreath’s lawyers said.

“We don’t know if she’ll ever walk again,” said Daniel R. Perlman, one of Culbreath’s attorneys.

Apply to Diamond Bar planning commission by Jan. 30

The City of Diamond Bar’s City Clerk’s Office will be accepting applications until Friday, January 30,  from individuals interested in filling a vacancy on the City’s Planning Commission. The term of office for this appointment will expire in 2017.

To be eligible to serve as a City Commissioner, applicants must be Diamond Bar residents, at least 18 years of age, and registered to vote.

For more information or to obtain a commission application packet, contact the City Clerk’s office at 909.839.7010 or email cityclerk@diamondbarca.gov

Planning Commission Information

Diamond Bar OKs moratorium on massage parlors

Diamond Bar City Council wasted no time in approving a 45-day moratorium on new massage parlors in the city. The interim ordinance will prohibit the establishment, expansion and relocation of massage parlors for 45 days.

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1147, which restores local land use authority over massage businesses. Effective Jan. 1, the new law removes the former law’s broad preemption of local massage ordinances.

AB 1147 gives local government the authority to enact regulations to manage massage parlors. The moratorium would maintain the status quo until the city has had time to complete the necessary studies and adopt new regulations.

“A friend at the Rotary Club came up to me and said the last thing we need is for another massage parlor to pop up,” said Mayor Steve Tye. “This is the kind of thing where we have to stay on top of the situation.”

“I’m concerned with the growing number of massage parlors in Diamond Bar,” agreed Councilman Jack Tanaka, who joined his fellow councilmembers in unanimously approving the moratorium.

Tanaka pointed out the number of massage parlors has grown from four to more than 15. Under the old law, the city had to permit seven new massage businesses simply because the owner or the masseuse were certified by the California Massage Therapy Council.

Cities have also seen an increase of illicit massage parlors which engage in prostitution and human trafficking.

“I haven’t heard of any prostitution in our massage establishments, but it has been a problem elsewhere,” Tye noted.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lt. Anthony Tachias said “There haven’t been any reports of prostitution or human trafficking at massage parlors in Diamond Bar. It’s been pretty quiet.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story MASSAGE.

Jimmy Lin joins Diamond Bar City Council

Diamond Bar’s new councilman Jimmy Lin attended his first council meeting Tuesday night. After interviewing 11 candidates, the City Council chose Lin to fill the vacancy left by Ling-Ling Chang, who was elected to the state assembly.

Lin was selected over other candidates, including past 0107_NWS_SGT-L-DBVACANCYcouncilman and mayor Ron Everett and Andrew Wong, president of Pomona Unified School Board. Other candidates were Robert Nishimura, Tulsi Savani, Joyce Young, Shawn Dhand, Peter Pirritano, Ali Jakvani, Kim Hsieh and David Liu.

“I was really impressed with the quality of the candidates … many of you who are very qualified,” said Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Lyons.

“It seems like it should be an easy decision, and it’s not, you (the candidates) made it difficult, that’s a good thing,” Mayor Steve Tye said.

Still, council reached its decision quickly after interviewing the candidates. Lin will serve through November 2017.

“I’m evaluating by what the city needs, the city has some specific needs in the very near future. Things that we are working on, and a couple of candidates fill that need more than other candidates do,” explained Councilwoman Carol Herrera.

“Considering that traffic is one of the greatest problems and challenges that the city faces, I would like to nominate Jimmy Lin,” Herrera said. Lyons seconded the nomination. Lin was approved by a 3 to 1 margin, with Councilman Jack Tanaka voting no.

“I’m not against Jimmy, I just thought there should have been an open discussion. It was unfair to the other candidates to not discuss the reasons for our selection,” Tanaka said later.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story LIN

Chang responds to Gov. Brown’s address

Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) attended the fourth inauguration of Governor Jerry Brown.  In his inauguration speech, Governor Brown included his State of the State Address, informing all members of the legislature of California’s status as well as his vision for its future.  Assemblywoman Chang offered the following comments in response:

“I appreciated hearing the governor’s vision for California,” said Chang.  “I look forward to working with him and my colleagues in the legislature to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent as carefully as we all spend our own hard-earned money.

“But let’s not stop there.  By working together we can make government better and more transparent by applying creative tools like technology-focused solutions. I’m excited to get to work to ensure California is growing jobs and providing the best schools in the nation,” Chang said.

Chang is the first Taiwanese-American Republican woman to be elected to the State Assembly and was recently appointed as Vice-Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee as well as Republican Whip.

She comes to Sacramento after serving several years on the Diamond Bar City Council as well as President & CEO of the Youth Science Center, a non-profit science education organization that focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

Ling Ling Chang to vice chair rules committee

Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) has been appointed to Vice-Chair of the influential Assembly Rules Committee.  The appointment was part of a number of key committee appointments made by the Speaker of the Assembly.

“I am so honored to have the privilege to serve in a leading capacity on such an important committee,” said Chang.  What an amazing opportunity to work for Californians and my constituents.”

As Vice-Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee, Assemblywoman Chang will play a leading role in the governing body of the Assembly, including jurisdiction over legislation and personnel.  Assembly Rules influences the fate of every bill introduced in the Legislature given its important role of referring legislation to respective policy committees of the house.

“Ling Ling is a strong leader for streamlining government so it can better serve Californians,” said Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen. She will be a powerful voice for commonsense leadership in her new role as Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s most powerful committee.”

Chang, the first Taiwanese-American Republican woman to be elected to the State Assembly, was first elected to the Diamond Bar City Council in November 2009 and served as the Mayor from 2011-2012. Before her election to the City Council, she held a variety of positions in local government, including service as President of the Walnut Valley Water District, and as a member of the Diamond Bar Parks & Recreation Commission. Chang brings business sector experience as well, developing software products for the health information management industry.

“I am so excited to get California back on track,” said Chang.  We can have the best schools and more jobs if we all work together. Serving on the Assembly Rules Committee is a great opportunity to get that done.”

In addition to Rules, Assemblywoman Chang has been appointed as a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Business & Professions, and Privacy & Consumer Protection.

Truck crash closes eastbound 60 in Diamond Bar

A truck driver suffered minor injuries when his big rig hit an overhead sign on the eastbound 60 Freeway and overturned, spilling crushed concrete.

The solo crash shut down all lanes of the eastbound 60, west of Grand Avenue at one point.

The California Highway Patrol got a call of an overturned big rig at 5:18 a.m.

CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said the truck was in the No. 6 lane, heading east on the 60 freeway.

“For an undetermined reason, the truck’s hydraulic lift began to rise,” Jimenez said.

 

 

The truck driver told the CHP the car behind him started flashing its lights to get his attention. The hydraulic lift struck an overhead sign.

The truck overturned on its left side, spilling the crushed concrete it was hauling. Jimenez said in addition, a gallon of diesel fuel leaked into a nearby creek.

Jimenez said the driver, a 50-year-old Baldwin Park man, complained of pain to his left leg. He wasn’t taken to a hospital/

All eastbound lanes were closed at 5:39 a.m.

By 9:39 a.m., five lanes were open. Only the two right lanes remain closed.

Diamond Bar Council bans carpool parking in parks

The Diamond Bar City Council wants to restrict parking in city parks. In November, the Parks and Recreation Commission recommended restricting parking to park patrons only.

The issue surfaced when residents complained about carpoolers leaving their vehicles all day in the lower lot at Summit Ridge Park on Grand Avenue. In October, there was an altercation between a Diamond Bar resident and a man picking up other workers, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Community Relations Officer Aaron Scheller.

“This is a use issue, those 25 spots are dedicated to the park, not to park and ride,” said Mayor Steve Tye.

In an earlier report, Scheller said he had visited the lot several times and saw people parking their cars and getting into another vehicle without spending any time in the park. Scheller checked the license plates and discovered all the vehicles belonged to non-residents.

Deputies also saw contractors working in Country Estates across the road pick up workmen parked in the Summit Ridge lot.

“I don’t think the contractors should be using a city park to provide parking for their workers,” Tye said.

Summit Ridge Park is only two miles from the 57/60 freeways. On Nov. 26, deputies say 21 of the spots were filled, even though they found nobody in the park.

“The park is a popular place for residents to walk their dogs. The parking problem has been getting worse over the years,” explained Bob Rose, Diamond Bar’s Community Services Director. “But I was surprised when the sheriff’s department estimated that 85 percent of the cars belonged to nonresidents.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PARKING.

Diamond Bar City Council applications due by Friday

Diamond Bar City Clerk’s Office is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on city council left by Ling-Ling Chang, who was elected to California Assembly.

To qualify, candidates must be a United States citizen, a Diamond Bar resident and a registered voter 18 years of age or older.

Council will interview selected candidates the week of Jan. 5, 2015, The appointment must be made by Jan. 30.

Applications are available on the city website at www.DiamondBarCa.gov/councilvacancy and in City Hall at 21810 Copley Drive.

For information or to request an application by mail, call 909-839-7010. The deadline for applications is 4:30 p.m. Dec. 19.