Hacienda Heights legislator Bill Campbell dies at age 79

Longtime legislator Bill Campbell died this week at the age of 79. The former Hacienda Heights resident spent nearly a quarter of a century in the legislature in Sacramento.bill_campbell

The La Puente school administrator was first elected to the Assembly in 1966, eventually serving four terms. In 1972, Campbell ran for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors but lost to Pete Schabarum. The Hacienda Heights resident returned to the state Assembly in 1974.

In 1976, the ambitious politician was elected to the state Senate, where he became the first freshman since 1939 to serve on the powerful Senate Rules Committee. In 1978, his colleagues elected him as the Minority Floor Leader, a post he held through mid-1983.

Campbell spent millions running for state controller in 1986, losing to Gray Davis, who went on to become lieutenant governor, then governor. Campbell was re-elected to the state Senate in 1988.

Former colleagues described him as an affable man who was quick with a joke.

“Bill was a very nice guy, who always had a joke to tell you,” said Walnut City Councilman Bob Pacheco. “He was very smart and used his humor to cut through tough negotiations.”

The former Assemblyman said those were the days when deals were cut over dinner. Pacheco said Campbell worked closely with Democrat Willie Brown on many issues.

“Bill was someone people trusted,” Pacheco added. “When he gave you his word, he kept it.”

Jerry Haleva, Campbell’s chief of staff for 15 years, agreed, “Bill was born to solve problems … one of his great skills was being able to work closely with people from both parties, to form a consensus.”

Haleva is proud of the senator’s accomplishments.

“Bill is called the father of the sunset bills because he pushed the concept that legislation shouldn’t live forever,” Haleva said.

He said Campbell was also a champion of emergency preparedness, chairing the Joint Committee on Emergency Services.

“He promoted statewide mutual aid,” Haleva said. “When you see more than 100 fire engines from across the state fighting a major fire that is Bill’s work.”

Campbell also chaired the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, a two-house committee that appoints the legislative analyst and oversees the work of the office, which monitors state revenue and expenditures.

For more, read Rich Irwin’s story CAMPBELL.

Heat wave eases its grip on the San Gabriel Valley

Giovanni Rodriguez and his sister Penelope, play in spray  at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park

Giovanni Rodriguez and his sister Penelope, play in spray at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park

Southland residents can breathe a sigh of relief as record high temperatures plummet nearly 20 degrees by Wednesday.

A cold front will roll through the Los Angeles basin, bringing cloudy skies and patchy fog overnight.

“The Santa Ana event ended on Sunday, returning us slowly to highs in the 70s,” reported National Weather Service Meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie in Oxnard. “There will even be a slight chance of precipitation on Wednesday, with a 20 percent chance of a few sprinkles in the mountains.”

Weather stations in Santa Fe Springs and La Puente reported a high of 94 on Sunday and temperatures dipped only a couple degrees on Monday before dropping another 10 degrees today, with an expected high of 80. By Wednesday afternoon, SoCal should register a very comfortable 73 degrees.

A similar trend will sooth Pasadena residents, who experienced a high of 90 Monday. That will be followed by 80 today and 73 on Wednesday.

While no records were broken in the San Gabriel Valley/Whittier area over the weekend, Sunday saw a number of them fall throughout Southern California. The National Weather Service recorded a high of 92 in downtown Los Angeles, crushing the record of 85 set in 1978.

“Burbank also set a record at Bob Hope Airport at 90 degrees, breaking the 86 mark set in 1994,” Hoxsie said.

Los Angeles International Airport reported a new high of 88, breaking the 1959 record of 83.

A record high of 89 degrees was set at UCLA Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, surpassing the previous high of 87, set in 2010.

The NWS forecast calls for a much more pleasant weekend ahead, with highs around 75 under mostly sunny skies. Overnight lows will hover near 57 under partly cloudy skies.

Hoxsie said the marine layer should return, cooling coastal areas that have baked in the record heat. It was 92 at Long Beach Airport on Sunday, breaking the record of 86 from 1978. Highs in Long Beach will drop from 82 on Monday to 66 on Wednesday.

LASD curbs deputy in-car computer use after tragedy

CHP officer Leland Tang shows how the CHP uses heads up technology to help officers keep their eyes on the road at all times.

CHP officer Leland Tang shows how the CHP uses heads up technology to help officers keep their eyes on the road at all times.

By Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer

In an effort to reduce distracted driving, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials have implemented a new policy that significantly curbs the use of in-car computers, authorities said.

The policy, which was formalized late last month, contains the department’s first explicit restrictions on such devices and comes a little more than a year after sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Wood fatally struck cyclist Milton Olin Jr. on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas while typing on his in-car computer.

While stopping short of banning all in-car computer use, the new policy of the country’s largest sheriff’s agency requires that radios be used as “the primary tool of communication” while vehicles are moving and eliminates the use of in-car computers for administrative tasks.

“The significance is to reduce the danger to the public, predominantly, and the danger to our own deputies that are posed by distracted driving and distracting devices,” said Sgt. Albert Schauberger, corrective actions sergeant at the department’s risk management bureau.

Employees cannot use their computer while driving a county vehicle unless the communication is urgent or necessary for officer safety and radio traffic prevents its timely transmission or unless it’s to hit one button to send status updates such as “en-route” or “acknowledge,” according to the new policy.

The in-car computer should be used as a last resort, such as when a deputy is facing an emergency and there’s another serious incident already being broadcast on the radio channel, and not out of convenience since it’s more distracting than a radio, Schauberger said.

“If there’s no other means to communicate and in case of emergency, then (the in-car computer) should be used because it’s all you have left,” he said.

In addition, personnel cannot use their mobile digital computers for administrative tasks, such as clearing calls, updating logs, typing, sending or reading administrative or nonurgent messages while driving, the policy states.

However, a union leader argues that the new policy leaves deputies who are trying to carry out their duties unduly vulnerable to discipline.

Read more in Brenda Gazzar’s story DISTRACTED.

Los Altos High teacher charged with sex with student

By Ruby Gonzales, Staff Writer

A Los Altos High School chemistry teacher was charged Wednesday for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old student.

District Attorney spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child were filed against David Park, 37, of Chino Hills.B-pSaNkVEAEnYPl

Investigators alleged he molested the girl after school in a classroom and at his home from September to November 2014.

Wearing a gray T-shirt and with his hands handcuffed behind his back, Park appeared Tuesday afternoon at Pomona Superior Court for an arraignment which was continued to March 9.

Park’s bail was $1 million after deputies arrested him Monday night. The bail for the charges filed is $75,000.

“I think it requires a deviation from $75,000 just for protection of the community,” Commissioner Wade Olson said.

He set bail at $150,000. Olson said if Park is released on bail, he must have no contact with the victim. He reminded Park that there is a protective order.

Park’s father and another relative attended the arraignment. They declined comment.

Read more in Ruby Gonzales story BAIL.

Walnut to consider legal action against Mt. SAC for parking structure

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer

Walnut City Council will meet in closed session tonight to consider whether to sue Mount San Antonio College for going ahead with construction of a five-story, $45 million parking garage directly across the street from homes.

The consideration of “possible litigation — status report on proposed parking structure, Mt. SAC” by the council may have been precipitated by two actions taken by the school’s governing board on Feb. 11.

First, the board passed a resolution saying the college does not have to abide by City of Walnut zoning laws because the parking structure will be an educational facility owned and operated by the district.

And second, the college board approved an $8.4 million contract with Tilden-Coil Constructors, Inc. for work on the first phase of the new parking structure, including relocation of utility lines, demolition, grading and soil movement.

The college, located in Walnut, has put up numerous new buildings that didn’t require approval from the city. Colleges and university projects are approved by the state architect. Also, the college’s resolution notes it doesn’t have to meet Walnut zoning codes because they do not address the location of schools.

If the facility is not considered educational, it is possible a city would have a say, but the resolution states the parking structure will also be used “for student instruction in subjects such as astronomy, administration of justice and fire technology.”

The City Council voted in August to oppose building a parking structure at the location, finding it would cause air pollution, traffic and potential ingress and egress problems for emergency vehicles, as cars would be using Mountaineer Road to access the structure — the same street used by hundreds of residents of Timberline, a neighborhood in north Walnut.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story PARKING.

Los Altos teacher accused of having sex with 15-year-old student

Deputies arrested a Los Altos High School biology and chemistry teacher Monday night for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old student on campus after school hours and at his Chino Hills home.

David Park, 37, was booked on suspicion of oral copulation, lewd acts with a child 15 years old and sexual battery. He is expected to be arraigned today at Pomona Superior Court and is being held on $1 million bail.

Hacienda La Puente Unified Superintendent Cindy Parulan-Colfer said a faculty member noticed that the teen seemed very upset Monday afternoon.

The sophomore said she’d been molested by Park since September, according to Lt. Andrew Meyer of the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.

Los Altos Principal Cheli McReynolds called the Sheriff’s Industry station.B-pSaNkVEAEnYPl

Sgt. Al Fraijo said detectives discovered written evidence that substantiated the allegations. He didn’t give details on where evidence was found or what kind.

Read more in ARREST.

Kiwanis Club gives socks, shoes to Rowland kids

Katherine Rodriguez helps Edgar Hernandez  put on his new shoes.  (Photo Correspondent by Shilah Montiel/

Katherine Rodriguez helps Edgar Hernandez put on his new shoes. (Photo Correspondent by Shilah Montiel/

The Kiwanis Club showed a lot of Heart and Sole on Friday during its fourth annual shoe giveway. The Hacienda Heights club gave more than 100 pairs of new shoes to students in the Rowland Unified School District.

The Kiwanis set up camp at the new Family Resource Center in La Puente. There, they greeted the families as they arrived for their special treats.

“This year, we’ve helping 106 students who have been preselected by the school district,” said Kiwanian Dave Malkin. “Much of the money was raised by the Rowland Heights Senior Pathfinders group. Ashika Shoes also helped a lot.”

After registering, children moved over to a large book case, where they got to pick out a free book.

Little 4-year-old Brianna Cazun chose a colorful children’s book, while her mom picked out another for older daughter, Janeli, who attends Telesis Academy.

Another 4-year-old, Edgar Fernandez, finally decided on an alphabet book. The colorful pages were full of everyday items that began with a letter in the alphabet.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story SHOES.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Hacienda Heights

People hand money to Lion dancers at Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

People hand money to Lion dancers at Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

Thousands turned out to celebrate Chinese New Year at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple on Thursday as families clambered up Hacienda Boulevard to reach the mountain monastery nestled in the Puente Hills.

The Year of the Ram began under picture postcard blue skies framed by the brilliant red temple arches.

“We had more than 400 people lined up to get when we opened the gates at 5 a.m.,” reported Miao Hsi, the temple director.

The faithful arrived before dawn for their annual pilgrimage up the hill. Participants took three steps, then bowed and prayed to show their devotion to Buddha.

Long lines formed at the shrines — everyone waiting their turn to pray for health and a prosperous new year. Sweet incense awakened the senses as families prayed to their ancestors.

Most wore bright red clothing that matched hundreds of Chinese lanterns hung around the temple. Walnut Councilwoman Mary Su came wearing an embroidered crimson gown.

“I only wear this outfit once a year, you’re supposed to wear something new so you have prosperity the whole year long,” Su said.

Su, who is not a Buddhist, said Chinese New Year represents family and culture for her.

“It’s an opportunity for our family to get together and celebrate,” Su said. “The whole family stayed up until midnight, so we could start the new year together.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RAM.

Los Altos High holds opening day for baseball

Los Altos High School will celebrate the opening day for baseball on Saturday. It has planned a full day of fun activities, including an alumni vs. varsity game at 9:30 a.m. and JV game at 11 a.m.
The biggest event, the annual COW POOP DEEED BINGO begins at noon. Cows will roam a large painted coordinate grid out on the field. The three first poops made where people have purchased those deed spots, win cash prizes.
There will also be food booths, games and a dunk tank

Chinese New Year celebrated in Los Angeles

Dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing Anh Phan, of Garden Grove, visits the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 which is decorated for the upcoming Lunar New Year's celebration. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)

Dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing Anh Phan, of Garden Grove, visits the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)

Billions of people will celebrate Chinese New Year Thursday, including the 1.5 million of Asian descent living in Southern California.

Families have spent recent days cleaning their homes to prepare for the Year of the Ram. Most will hold held their annual reunion banquet, gathering generations together for a communal meal.

“The Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday in the Chinese culture,” said Sonya Lee, professor of Chinese culture at USC. “Chinese families always get together for big family reunions.”

The San Gabriel Valley started celebrating Feb. 7 when Monterey Park held its Lunar New Year Festival. Seven city blocks were devoted to food, entertainment and family activities. Thousands cheered on the traditional lion and dragon dancers.

Chinatown Los Angeles welcomed the new year Wednesday night with a late-night ceremony at Thien Hau Temple on Yale Street. Families offered gifts and burned incense to seek good fortune in the new year. They were joined by monks, as well as leaders of Chinese-family associations.

The New Year’s celebrations also began before dawn this morning with a pilgrimage up the Puente Hills to the Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. Pilgrims walk three steps, then bow in prayer to show their devotion and humility at one of the largest temples in the Western Hemisphere.

The day for reverence and reflection includes the Thousand Buddha Dharma, a solemn ceremony in which Buddhists pray for good fortune in the Year of the Ram.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RAM.