The city is looking to settle with Montebello Councilwoman Kathy Salazar, who sued Montebello claiming she was wrongfully ousted from a citizen patrol group, Amanda Baumfeld reports.
This isn’t the first time Salazar took Montebello to court. According to a Tribune story on June 6, 2007, “Salazar filed a complaint in 2006 asking for a court order directing the Montebello City Council to hold a special election on her group’s initiative petition, which would require voter approval before the Montebello Fire Department could be turned over to the county.”
Two months later, a judge ruled against Salazar’s effort. Residents had mixed feelings on the the fire issue, as we see in this love-hate dialogue on a Montebello forum on topix.net.
Lawsuit filed by Salazar lingers
Settlement trial set for August
By Amanda Baumfeld, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/09/2008 10:50:44 PM PST
MONTEBELLO – A trial is set for August to settle a lawsuit between the city and Kathy Salazar.
Neither party could agree on a settlement in the lawsuit that the councilwoman filed a year ago at a conference Thursday.
Salazar is suing the city of Montebello and former police Chief Garry Couso-Vasquez, claiming she was wrongfully booted out of a citizen patrol group in February 2007.
Both parties meet at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles in effort to reach an agreement.
There are currently no future settlement conferences scheduled. A “discovery trial is set for August 19,” according to Irma Rodriguez Moisa, the attorney representing the city.
Rodriguez Moisa said they are disappointed that the suit is still ongoing.
“This will result in additional city expenditures to defend the city and retired Chief Couso-
Vasquez,” Rodriguez Moisa said. “The ball is in Ms. Salazar’s court as to whether it will settle.”
Salazar’s attorney, Michael McGill said the city is using a statue that is preventing the settlement.
“I think it’s nonsense she wants to move on and put this behind her,” McGill said.
The statue is a government code that prohibits a public official from participating in an official capacity in a public contract in which the official has a financial interest.
Rodriguez Moisa says because of the statue they can only offer Salazar what the offer was when she was not an elected member.
“The offer was 99.9 percent of what she demanded last summer,” said Rodriguez Moisa. “We thought we had a deal.
McGill says Salazar’s offer is fair and she is not asking for emotional or economic damages.
“This is not a high-paying case, but the city is making it by dragging it out, McGill said.”
Salazar has a different outlook on the decision.
“Life is too short to be disappointed,” Salazar said. “I will take things as they come and see what happens. It is nothing to get worked up over.”
The lawsuit stemmed for an opinion piece that Salazar wrote criticizing the city for not investigating a citizen’s complaint. The citizen said she was physically and verbally attacked by an employee of a tow trucking company that contracts with the city.
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