Caption mistake causes grief

An error in the newspaper that ran yesterday caused Bob Wu, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and Robin Hu, the former president elect of the Rosemead Chamber of Commerce, quite a lot of grief. The caption under Bob Wu’s photo on page 6 in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune said that Wu resigned, but that’s not true. It was Robin Hu who resigned. Oh man.

Other than that, the story has drawn several comments. While some people weren’t happy with the story because they felt that it makes Asians appear ungrateful for the opportunities given to them by this country, others felt that the story brought up an issue that other communities have dealt with, too.

Here are a couple of the comments I received via email:

This is not only happening in Rosemead but in San Gabriel. Having lived in the San Gabriel from 1990 to 2005 I have seen a city transform and I don’t think for the better. The city with a mission has no direction or focus. Alhambra has done a great job on bringing a multitude of restaurants and businesses. I really enjoy going down main street in Alhambra but I felt disconnected and a lack of belonging in San Gabriel. There is noting more frustration then going to a business or restaurant only to have the feeling that you don’t belong. A lot of the asian businesses have a lot of signs that are only in Chinese. How am I suppose to know what the lunch special for $2.99 is if I can’t read chinese. Don’t get me wrong I love all cultures, foods and people but it’s this feeling of belonging that made me decide to sell my home in San Gabriel and relocate to Pasadena. It here that I really feel a sense of belonging and I think this is what the problem is with the San Gabriel Valley. If the city of Rosemead and San Gabriel would have only learned from Alhambras revitalization I think this article you wrote would be very different


The Rosemead Chambers problem is not unique. It is always difficult for any establishment to reach out to new immigrants. People from Asia has never had any say in politics and mistrust is popular. Its problem may not be racial motives, but it may be the result of much frustration after trying with no success. The only thing anyone can do is to try and try again. If a chamber choose to be isolated, there will not be much future for its membership. City subsidy will help for a small part and for a short time. Without community support, any chamber will dwindle into oblivion.

Polly Low and John Tran are both Asian at the City Council and they are signs that Asians are slowing merging in. There will always be members of the community who prefer things to remain the same forever, but they will become more and more a minority.

I was a past president of the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce (year 2005) and I was the 5th Asian to hold the post in its 105 years history. I deem my presidency as a strong signal that the City of Alhambra wants more Asian community involvement. BTW: ACC has just surpassed Pasadena Chamber of Commerce to be the 10th in budget among all chambers in S. Calif., and its success in reaching out to all sector is one of many reasons.

A bright idea

Reporter Alison Hewitt reports today that a new law is requiring county recorders to redact the first five digits of Social Security numbers on public records.

The program will prevent “the fraudulent misuse of personal information” gleaned from public records, a county staff report noted.

No, really? Shouldnt this have been before? Attorneys seem to redact everything else from public records.

“There was no way we could do this (before),” said Sharon Gonterman, the assistant registrar-recorder/county clerk. “Anything that’s going to eliminate identity theft is great.”

The county Board of Supervisors likely will enact local aspects of the law today, allowing the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office to charge a new fee permitted by the state law to pay for the redacting.

The law allows the county to increase the recorder’s fees by $1 for recording documents. That doesn’t include birth certificates and marriage licenses, Gonterman said.

“This is just about property documents,” she said. “Trust deeds, mortgages, defaults, homesteads, liens. This last calendar year we recorded 2.5 million documents.”

And at $1 per document, the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office expects to raise at least $2 million annually to fund the “Social Security Number Truncation Program,” which was approved in October by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when he signed Assembly Bill 1168.

The money is required to go only to the redaction program, and the county must also agree to audit how the funds are used if it charges the $1 fee.

Well at least an audit should keep them fiscally responsible.

La Puente dealership woes

Thats it folks. Looks like any hope to expand La Puentes Ed Butts Ford dealership onto an adjacent city-owned lot has been squashed.

The council is expected to consider tonight an exclusive negotiating agreement with Beverly Westwood Development Company for the Hacienda Boulevard site the same site that Ed Butts Ford has had its sights on for almost a decade, depending on who you ask.

The city has been in negotiations with Ed Butts for about five years to build a commercial truck center there. But liability concerns have prevented any lease agreements from being finalized.
(You can read the full story here.)

When I first called Ed Butts General Manager Anthony Iannone about the issue Friday, he was caught off guard to say the least. Iannone didnt know anything about Beverly Westwood or the citys potential plans to ax negotiations when Ed Butts. But Iannone said he wasnt surprised and that he expected it with this city.


If the Beverly Westwood agreement is approved tonight, all further negotiations with Ed Butts Ford will be officially terminated.

Heres a picture taken by staff photographer Keith Birmingham two years back when Iannone and his dad the owner announced unofficial plans to develop the site with the city. They looked so happy then.

Ah, how times change.


Prince Radu Duda

People often complain about city councils and county boards spending long hours doing beginning-of-the-meeting presentations before finally getting on to the people’s businesses, but at least this one is fun to say. Prince Radu Duda of Romania will receive a scroll of welcome from the county Board of Supervisors tomorrow. Go on, say it: Prince Radu Duda of Romania. Wasn’t that fun?

Not that Prince Radu Duda of Romania is technically royalty. He did inherit the title, true, but if Wikipedia is steering me straight, somewhere between the royal family abdicating in 1940, regaining power in 1944, abdicating again in 1947 and Romania eventually becoming a democracy, Romania stopped really having a Royal Highness, as he is listed on the county’s agenda. However, Lourdes Saab, the county’s chief deputy of protocol, who arranges visits from dignitaries, said Prince Radu Duda is highly respected in Romania.

Romania’s no longer a monarchy, so if it had a monarchy, he would be royalty, Saab said. But he does have a respected government position as a special government representative, equivalent to a cabinet position, and he was instrumental in getting Romania into the EU … and he has the title, royalty never lose their title.

This digression from hard-news reporting was brought to you by my fascination with the name of Prince Radu Duda, Prince of Romania.

The county supes will also have substantive things to vote on, such as reducing the chance that people’s Social Security Numbers will appear on public records (that story should be in the paper tomorrow), deciding to develop a coordinated countywide gang reduction plan, and contracting with shelter providers to offer five emergency shelters for mentally ill teens and young adults, including one in El Monte.

Missing in Montebello

This just in from reporter Amanda Baumfeld:

I picked up the Montebello City Council agenda this morning because the city told me it was ready. As I began to look through it I realized there was a number of pages missing. The pages that are missing are all contracts.

City contracts for the Police Officers Association, the Fire Fighters Association, bus operators among others all missing.

The council is expected to do their mid year review of the city’s budget and they don’t even have that information in the agenda packet.

Montebello is notorious for this. Every time a contract is going to be approved the city never has it ready and us reporters have to nag and nag until we finally get it.

Bisno insights

A resident tipped me off to troubles developer Bob Bisno is having in Santa Ana. It’s relevancy? Bisno’s development company is in talks with Baldwin Park officials to transform 125 acres of the downtown area into an upscale shopping and living destination.

According to an article by reporter Gustavo Arellano with the OC Weekly, it looks like Bisno’s got some deep pockets.

La Puente and its commissions

I did a blog post a couple weeks ago about how the La Puente City Council is in the middle of a commission revamp.

Officials basically say the city is trying to set some clearer guidelines for its commissions: what appointments need to be made, what old commissions can be phased out, what commissions can be combined, etc.

Well, here are some e-mails sent Wednesday from a La Puente staff member that offer some insight into the issue:

Hello All,

I am interested in finding out if your city has an Education Commission. If
so, please forward their scope of duties and by-laws. It is greatly

Thank you,

Lillian Ayala
Management Analyst
City of La Puente
(626) 855-1538
(626) 961-4626 (Fax)

And a second e-mail ….

Hi Everyone,

I am interested in finding out if your city has a standard policy for the
appointments of all commissions and committees. I am interested in seeing
if some policies address the following:

1) Elected officials are prohibited in participating in a

2) Members may only serve on one commission/committee at a time.

3) Is there an interview process,? If so, what does it consist of.

4) Are alternates chosen?

Please forward a copy of your policy if possible. I’d appreciate receiving
any policy you may have.

Thank you,

Lillian Ayala
Management Analyst
City of La Puente
(626) 855-1538
(626) 961-4626 (Fax)

My question: Are La Puente elected officials considering serving on these commissions? And is the city considering allowing a person to serve on more than one commission at a time?

Culture clash

Reporter Jennifer McLain wrote a story in today’s paper about the Rosemead Chamber of Commerce, and its past president’s allegations of a racial divide.

Robin Hu said he resigned from the 86-year-old group last month becasue the chamber refuses to promote the Asian business community. Rosemead’s Asian population makes up nearly 50 percent of the city’s total population, according to McLain.

Is it just me, or does it seem like a chamber would want to tap into nearly half of a target market?

One mans foreclosed home is another mans treasure

Star-News reporter Melissa Pamer wrote a really interesting story in Sundays paper about a bus tour that takes prospective buyers house-hunting for foreclosed homes.

According to Pamer, about a dozen people took the weekly tour on Saturday, which featured homes in Northwest Pasadena, unincorporated Duarte, Covina, West Covina and Monrovia. They were all under $350,000.

This is the fourth weekend that the eight-month-old firm has run the tours, a phenomenon that began in foreclosure-plagued Stockton in September and is spreading across the country.


The national housing crisis has hit California particularly hard. The state’s foreclosure rate – 1 for every 242 households – ranked only behind Nevada in February 2008, according to RealtyTrac, an Irvine-based company that tracks foreclosures nationally. Seven of the country’s top 10 foreclosure markets were in California last month, the company reported.

The worst of the state’s problems have been in the Central Valley – in Stockton, Modesto and Merced. That’s where real estate agent Cesar Dias launched his brainchild, a branded tour of foreclosed homes in Stockton that gained national and international media attention.

Now Dias sells the concept – which LTV bought for $20,000, including a logo-wrapped used bus, training and marketing materials and a Web site – to real estate companies across the country. He’s in the process of trademarking “RepoHomeTour,” he said this week.

Uhh, where do I sign up again?