“No high-rises in Rosemead”

This letter ran today about the proposed developments in Rosemead. Do you agree or disagree with letter writer, Myrna Brown?

Not for development

I have lived in this area, the city of Rosemead, for most of my 63 years. I’ve seen it grow from an unincorporated area to cityhood, and have attended Savannah Elementary School, Muscatel Junior High and Rosemead High School. With marriage, my husband and I chose to settle in this city. After our four daughters came into the world, they grew and attended the same schools.

In the former days, what we strove for was decent housing, a good educational system, a good library, churches, community clubs, places of recreation and a place to go when we reached the point where we could no longer take care of ourselves. And through the years we have achieved all of those things and more.

The majority of the members of our City Council are taking us where we do not wish to go. I wish to speak for the longtime citizens of this city and a number of the newer ones. We have no desire to fill this area with commercial buildings. We do not want high-rise buildings in downtown Rosemead. We do not wish to invite more traffic into this area. Expansion is not on our agenda.

I voted for John Tran, our present mayor, who came to my door asking for my vote. He promised to clean up our city if elected. However, Rosemead today is still a large source of polluting trash and litter washing down to the sea.

It seems he was interested in something other than holding to his promises and maintaining what was already here. Then I voted for Polly Low, thinking that the Asian residents needed someone to speak for them. A two-time mistake for which I sincerely apologize.

Myrna Brown


Former councilman pleads guilty to felony conflict-of-interest

Just saw this on the wire:

Former Councilman Pleads Guilty to Conflict-of-Interest Charge

LOS ANGELES (CNS)– Former Hawthorne City Councilman Louis Velez
pleaded guilty today to a felony conflict-of-interest charge involving a developer
whose wife owned a home he was renting.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert P. ONeill immediately sentenced Velez, 34,
to one year probation and a $1,000 fine.

The plea, which was entered as Velez was awaiting trial, bars him from being an
elected official in California for life, according to Deputy District Attorney Max

Velez, who did not seek re-election last November, was a Hawthorne
councilman when he was indicted last July 23.

The indictment alleged that Velez had become financially interested in a contract
made by him in his official capacity, and by a body and board of which the defendant
was a member.

Velez voted twice on an eminent domain project involving the developer — first in
January 2005 after he had been given the keys to the property and again in March 2005
while renting the home, according to Huntsman.

 One of Velezs attorneys, Joseph Vodnoy, said his client had no criminal intent and
entered the guilty plea because he thought it was in his best interests to do
Its unfortunate that a young guy trying to do the right thing by the city winds up
with a felony, he said.


CARA calls for backup

Baldwin Park’s Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability is bringing in the reinforcements in their fight against the city’s proposal to use to eminent domain to build a downtown village with luxury homes, a hotel and upscale shopping.

Their holding a community forum on March 13 with the National Federation of Independent Business/California, the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Those organizations are backing legislation that could limit the amount of power cities have in enforcing eminent domain.

NFIB/California Hosts Community Meeting for Property Owners on
Eminent Domain

SACRAMENTO, Calif., February 28, 2008 The National Federation of Independent Business/California along with CARA, an organization representing Baldwin Park property owners threatened by eminent
domain, the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, are holding a community forum meeting to provide information to attendees on how their
properties could be threatened by eminent domain abuse.

The City of Baldwin Park intends to seize hundreds of homes and productive businesses by eminent domain. Baldwin Park property owners are fighting back, and are advocating the importance of passing legal reforms that prohibit government for forcibly seizing homes and small businesses from those who dont want to sell.

What: Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability (CARA),
Community Forum

When: Thursday, March 13, 2008
6:30 p.m.

Where: Baldwin Park Marriott
14635 Baldwin Park Towne Center
Baldwin Park, Calif.

These guys aren’t messing around.

Resident slams county payout

I received this e-mail from a reader obviously upset over a tentative settlement agreement reached between the county and firefighter Mark Nelson, from Whittier. Nelson alleged workplace harassment after he reported racial slurs to the department’s employee relations division.

how can people of our city be so blind as to pay out money to a man with over 30 years of working & living together with dedicated firefighters that have to depend on each other to be able to perform their very dangerous type of work. i still can’t understand that Mr. mark nelson – a los Angele’s county fire dept. assistant chief, claiming of being harassed for reporting racial slurs about Latinos to the department’s employee relations board.
citizens (tax payers), of Whittier. open your eyes! Mr. nelson, is opening the door for anybody like himself, to make such a way out of line claim of harassment, just to collect money from the people of the city he served. i use the term, served, because after stepping out with such a claim, he has violated the trust of all others that would have to work with him. “and he knows that”! to truly understand the world of what a firefighters life is all about, you would have to be part of it. work together in harmony, trust in each other, respect each other, and protect each other. with out any of that, a firefighter would not be able to perform his / hers job. it’s also a job that not just anybody would be able to do. i say that with all respect. as for myself, a Latino, and a retired firefighter, all i can say to Mr. nelson, shame on you. i hope the money you walk away with from the people that had their trust in you, lets you sleep at night.
all i can say is, i would not have lived long enough to retire if it weren’t for all the good people in the fire department that i worked with. i will always be thankful to all of them.

Montebello’s political paybacks

Montebello reporter Amanda Baumfeld tells us that the city has chosen a new police chief, Lt. Dan Weast. Other than questions about his educational background, Mayor Bill Molinari does not support Weast because Molinari believes that appointment is political.

Molinari said he believes the appointment of Weast is a “political payback” for Weast supporting council members (Kathy) Salazar, Robert Urteaga and Mary Anne Saucedo-Rodriguez in recent elections.

Weast was the president of the Montebello Police Officer Association during the election and he acknowledges that the association was in support of the candidates. But he says his appointment is based on his experience.

“I don’t do paybacks,” Salazar said. “This has nothing to do with politics, it’s the quality of the man.”

Hints of political paybacks weren’t only about Salazar. At least one source reportedly told Amanda that Molinari voted against Weast because he didn’t get what he wanted. What that was, exactly, we don’t know. Also, the new city attorney, Arnold Alvarez Glasman, advised Molinari not to tell Amanda why he voted against Weast. Now why in the world would Glasman give such legal advice?

Counseling service cost-cutting

Ever wonder what the human resources employees in our local cities actually spend their days doing? Well, here’s a clue.
This is an e-mail sent from a West Covina employee to the California League of Cities.


Message: 4
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 10:57:29 -0800
From: “Traci Hudson”
Subject: [Administrative] EAP Counseling Services
To: ,

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii”

Hello Colleagues!!!

We are doing a brief survey related to the costs of EAP (Counseling)

We are looking at costs for actual employee usage vs. paying a flat rate
each month based upon employee population.

If your City provides an EAP program for your employees, and you pay per
employee actual use (vs. flat rate per employee population) would you
please let us know your provider information and costs for this service.

Thank you!

Traci R. Bailey-Hudson
Management Analyst II – Human Resources
City of West Covina
1444 W. Garvey Avenue, South
West Covina, CA 91793
Phone: (626) 939-8446
Fax: (626) 939-8673
Job Line: (626) 939-8452

Destroying public records

City Editor Frank Girardot got this message from recalled City Councilman Jeff Siccama. We haven’t confirmed this information:

The Montebello City Council voted to destroy all records 7 years and older. This will cover up a lot of their handy work. Sounds like their new city attorney Arnold Glasman is taking care of loose ends as fast as possible.


Former rabbit slaughter house site now new homes

South El Monte city officials celebrated the completion of the first phase of 30, two-story homes. The homes sit on a parcel that used to be used a sluaghter house for rabbits. Here’s what Supervisor Gloria Molina’s office sent over about it:

SOUTH EL MONTE (Feb 27, 2008) — Today, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina announced a former industrial parcel on a 2.5-acre lot is being turned into the South El Monte Villas development which will consist of 30 two-story homes, with three bedrooms, two and a half baths and two detached garages. The homes are located on the 1600 block of Cogswell Road near Michael Hunt Avenue in South El Monte.

In addition, families will benefit from a community tot-lot and picnic area, and the 1,679 sq. ft. homes come with a 10-year warranty.Property owners will be part of a Homeowners’ Association as part of
the development deal.

“Today we open the first phase of a 30-unit development, and half of the units will be made available to moderate income families,” said Molina.

“This is an especially significant project as we try and alleviate the housing market crisis by placing families in affordable homes and creating home ownership opportunities.”

The South El Monte Villas site is the former home of the El Monte Rabbit Company, which was used as a slaughter house for rabbits in 1956.

Most recently, the site was used by a manufacturing company, which fabricated concrete casting of garden and architectural items.


Its official

Much to our surprise (do you sense my sarcasm?) the City Council appointed Baldwin Park Police Capt. Michael Taylor as interim police chief during a closed session meeting Tuesday.

On a side note, we are still *patiently* waiting for the resignation agreement signed by Chief Edward Lopez. That would have information as to Lopez retirement benefits and/or any severance pay he may receive.

I spoke with City Attorney Joseph Pannone this week and he said that because Lopez by law has seven days to revoke the agreement from the time it was approved (Feb. 20), it technically has not been finalized – thus the agreement is not subject to public disclosure.

The city adds an additional three days to that seven day period to allow for a mailed-in letter of revocation.
So, all days counted, the agreement wont be ready for me to review until March 1. But thats a Saturday so I actually wont be able to see it until March 3.

All this despite statements from public meeting expert Terri Francke that we should have been able to review the documents from day one.

Oh, the woes of bureaucracy.