Mailers to clarify “state of the city” was not sponsored by the city

More mailer action in Rosemead, reporter Jennifer McLain reports.

This time it’s over an event held last week dubbed “Rosemead’s Inaugural State of the City Address.” Rosemead Partners, a political action committee that supports council members Gary Taylor and Margaret Clark, put on the event – not the city – and Clark was the keynote speaker.

Apparently, officials at City Hall were not so amused:

….Mayor John Tran and council members Polly Low and John Nuez said they felt that the invitation gave the wrong impression.

“It’s misleading,” Low said. “It is cheating the residents.”

On Tuesday, council members voted 3-2 to distribute a mailer to residents – estimated to cost $3,000 – clarifying that any opinions expressed at Rosemead Partners’ address March 19 were not those of the city. Taylor and Clark dissented.

Read the complete story here.

Our apologies…

For all of you avid readers out there, our sincerest apologies for letting the blog go dry for a few days….

We’ve been busy and a little short on material, but we’re back!

First on the agenda, if you haven’t already seen it, take a look at Star-News reporter Melissa Pamer’s story on worms at Monrovia City Hall. It’s fascinating…the little guys turn trash into soil supplement. There’s also a great photo gallery of the official keeper of the worms, Greg Garabedian.

Bills starting to roll in

Rosemead City Manager Oliver Chi told me that City Attorney Bonifacio Garcia recently submitted a bill for November – he is four months behind in billing the city. The price: nearly $70,000. Good thing the city has a $30,000 cap.

Garcia said at the meeting that the reason he is behind in his bills is because of, basically, technical difficulties. But it’s all fixed now, he said. Once those bills come in, I’m sure there will be a story.

Ed Butts expansion plan extinguished

A story I wrote in todays paper follows up the Ed Butts Ford saga which isnt really a saga anymore since the city decided to go with another developer, hence terminating all negotiations with Ed Butts for the site.

Some quick background: Ed Butts and the city have been in talks to expand the dealership on a parcel of city-owned land along Hacienda Boulevard for about five years. But the two parties have been at odds over liability of environmental issues on the site, which was once home to a contamination clean-up facility. Ed Butts wanted indemnification. The city said the soil was clean.

Now just a little more insight: I spoke with Ed Butts General Manager Anthony Iannone Wednesday and he told me he and his father had yet to hear from the city, even though the City Council voted Tuesday night to go with another developer. The Iannones werent too happy, but Anthony said they would just be looking out for our business in the future.

Some contradiction to the story on the citys side: Mayor Louie Lujan said Wednesday that he personally tried calling Iannones last week and Tuesday, before the council meeting, but didnt get any calls back.
He also said that while the city was willing to give them indeminification in the form of a memorandum of understanding, Ed Butts refused. Lujan said they wanted indeminifcation in the lands deed which would have set it in stone forever.

‘My hands are tied’

Dan Abendschein reports that sample ballots for a Covina city measure that would renew the city’s $5.5 million user’s tax – which was previously voted against – will be missing opposition arguments. Covina claims that it rejected the argument because it was filed late.

[City Clerk Amy] Turner did get a copy of the argument from the county Tuesday, one day after the deadline. She said that she consulted the city attorney about including the argument on the ballot.

“He told me that I had to follow the boundaries set by the City Council, so my hands are tied,” said Turner.

Opponents said that the city did not tell them how to correctly file the arguments.

Paul Drugan, of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office, told [Steve Millard, an anti-tax activist who opposes the measure] that the county schedule would have required him to turn in the argument to Covina by 11 a.m. March 17. Turner’s instructions to Millard said he had until the end of the day to turn in the argument.

“If it were time-stamped for any time past 11:00, it would not have been valid,” said Drugan. Turner said the schedule she received from the county did not have a time of day listed on it.

This story ran alongside the city’s announcement that it would be laying off 99 employees, which will come with nearly $1 million in severance packages and paid leave. Considering the layoffs, I could understand why the city needs the utility tax so badly. But what about the “spirit of the law?” If a group opposing the measure missed the deadline by one day, do you think they should be allowed to get their opposition on the sample ballot or should they get over it and realize that they missed their chance?

To view the opposition, click here.

Water board members vying for $150 seat

Three water board members — Robert Apodaca, director of the Central Basin Municipal Water District; Donald Cear, director at the West Basin Municipal Water District, and Vincent House, director at La Puente Valley County Water District — are looking to snag the position as special district representative of the Local Agency Formation commission. The position pays $150 a meeting, plus mileage. There are a total of 21 meetings a month. That’s a mere $3,150 a year. Member water agencies have until April 25 to cast their votes.

So what, you’re asking. “Get a life.” “Blog about something else.”

Well, at least of the candidates just can’t seem to get away from government jobs, which makes me think of this quote: “When it gets to the point when it is easier and better to get a government job and have government perks than it is in the public aspect of the world, then we’ve got a problem,” said state Sen. Bob Margett, R-Glendora.”

According to his bio, Apodaca started his “40-year committment to public service” working for Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty. He also worked as a field director to Councilman Art Anyder, worked for Assembylmember Martin Gallegos, for Assemblyman Tomn Calderon, and is currently a member of State Sen. Rob Calderon’s staff. He was first elected to the Central Basin board in 1998.

Donald Dear has 35 years of experience in municipal and local government, according to his bio. He has served on West Basin since 2001, spent 22 years as a trustee on the Vector Control District, 19 years on the LA County Sanitation District, and 27 years on the Gardena City Council. He is the current special district LAFCO representative.

The third candidate is Vincent House. He served on the airforce from 1954 to 1959, and then worked as an engineer in the private sector. He has served on the La Punte Valley County Water District since 2003.


Club 740 promos

I have an iPhone, so every now and then we get special “iUPDATES” or “iPROMOS” via Apple.

Ironically enough, I got e-mail from the venue where our favorite club boss/La Puente councilman John Solis works.

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Looks like Club 740 is really working the promos.

The more things change…

Tonight was, in theory, the evening of the mayoral rotation. But no one rotated anywhere. Mayor John Tran is keeping his title for another year, and Councilman John Nunez is keeping his title as Mayor Pro Tem. Here’s how it went down:

After Tran collected a pile of certificates and plaques given to him by local dignataries including the offices of Assemblyman Mike Eng and Congresswoman Hilda Solis, it came time for the announcement of who the new mayor was going to be. Tran nominated Nunez, who was the next in line to be Mayor.

But Nunez grabbed the mike and explained that he had some personal issues in his life that he needs to deal with and that he thinks it’s best he focus on those. So, Tran was nominated, which was an action that drew loud applause from the audience. Low seconded it. It was approved on a 3-2 vote, with minority council members Gary Taylor and Margaret Clark voting against it. They stayed silent during this whole discussion.

Now, rewind back one year ago. If you recall, Nunez was supposed to be mayor then but instead urged Tran to take that opportunity.

Obviously, there are questions here. That’s why there will be a story in Thursday’s paper. But for the time being, anyone have any theories about what’s going on here?

South El Monte wants to go green

South El Monte’s Councilwoman Angelica Garcia is proposing that the city establish an ordinace to put more of the city’s public information online. Here’s how it reads on the agenda:

“Look into establishing an ordinance to incorporate ‘paperless’ agendas for City Council meetings in order to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.”

The city already puts the agendas online, so I wonder if she is talking about putting the staff reports online.

Garcia also wanted to establish a recycling program for all recycling materials at City Hall.