El Monte’s scandal discussion will have to wait

Looks like the discussion on the report looking into allegations that Mayor Ernie Gutierrez was drunk at a city event didn’t make it onto El Monte’s agenda for Tuesday. City Manager Jim Mussenden said Thursday that the report wasn’t ready yet, and seemed doubtful that it would make it on to the agenda next week. But then again, it may never make it on to the agenda if he reviews the report and decides the findings are benign.

Some commenters have suggested a “cover-up.” We’ll just have to wait and see.

Man dies in Duarte council chambers

I just spotted this on our Web site:

Council speaker falls, dies
By Melissa Pamer, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 05/28/2008 08:54:13 PM PDT

DUARTE – A resident collapsed in City Council chambers after addressing the council during public comments Tuesday night and later died of a heart attack.

John McKiernan, 52, a longtime Duartean, attended the council meeting to speak to the panel about the height of a neighbor’s fence, which McKiernan said exceeded city limits.

“When he left the podium, he just collapsed … right there in my arms,” his friend, Jim Hunley, said through tears Wednesday.

McKiernan had said at the outset of his comments that he wasn’t feeling well, city officials said. He continued speaking and fell to the floor after he returned to his seat, City Manager Darrell George said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Bobby Wyche attended to McKiernan. He found him breathing and with a pulse.

When paramedics arrived, they used a defibrillator to attempt to revive McKiernan, then took him to a local hospital, where he died, George said.

The meeting was adjourned after McKiernan’s collapse.

Hunley said McKiernan died of a massive heart attack.

La Verne councilmen says he’s innocent


Councilman Steven Johnson pleaded not guilty today to a conflict of interest charge, stemming from a 2007 council vote.

We didn’t have a reporter at Pomona Superior Court when Johnson entered his plea this morning, but my guess is it was probably pretty cut and dry.

If you’re not familiar with the case, the District Attorney’s office filed a misdemeanor count against Johnson earlier this month based on a vote he cast at a 2007 council meeting.

At that meeting, Johnson voted for a University of La Verne expansion plan despite being advised by the city attorney to recuse himself based on a potential financial conflict.

Johnson operates an insurance business along Arrow Highway, a few hundred feet from the campus. He also co-owns the 3,500-square-foot property on which his business sits.

I called Johnson today, and he sounded a little caught off gaurd over the phone. In the end he only had this to say to me: “I don’t have any comment.”

Johnson will be back in court July 2 for a pre-trial hearing. Officials say he’ll have the option to select a jury trial or court trial. Apparentlly, until then, his attorney will be reviewing the DA’s case file including discovery documents.

Johnson faces a maximum of six months in jail and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

Also, If convicted, Johnson’s misdemeanor count would be considered a violation of the

Political Reform Act, which would prohibit him from being a candidate in an election for four years from the expiration of his term, Callahan said.

Johnson is up for re-election in March 2011.

State of Montebello

This from reporter Amanda Baumfeld:

The city of Montebello is holding its State of the City Address today at the Chamber of Commerce.

City officals will present information about their achievements and progress, updates on graffiti and crime prevention, issues facing the community and plans for the future.
Tickets are $40 at the door. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Wow, $40 to know the state of the city? Do cities always charge that much for these things? It’s just a question.

Meth and marijuana smoking school board member

What every parent wants in a role model for their children:

BALDWIN PARK – Baldwin Park Unified board member Sergio Corona admitted to police when he was arrested last week that he smoked methamphetamine and marijuana earlier in the night, according to police records.

A partially redacted crime report from May 22 states that Corona was shaking uncontrollably, kept licking his lips and grinding his teeth after police pulled him over on Los Angeles Street for driving erratically. Read more

El Monte report could be released in public

There’s been a change of heart in El Monte City Hall.

Just yesterday, City Manager Jim Mussenden said that an investigative report looking into the alleged actions by El Monte Mayor Ernie Gutierrez would be issued in closed session because of concerns over potential litigation.

But today, he said that it was decided that the report needs to be discussed in open session – if it makes it on the agenda.

After Mussenden reads the report, he will decide whether to place the item on the agenda.

Gutierrez was accused earlier this month of attending a public, city-sponsored event drunk, and was groping his girlfriend and shouting out vulgarities.

Leave me out of it

9529-quality project.JPG

Councilmembers Gary Taylor and Margaret Clark want their names removed from a series of signs that can be found on several construction projects around the city. The signs, which are paid for by architect Michael Sun, currently say that the projects are brought the community by the Rosemead City Council, City Manager Oliver Chi said.

It will be interesting to see if Clark and Taylor feel the same way when the projects are completed.