Today, the Leftovers from City Hall column appeared in the paper. The only problem: you can’t tell it’s a column. In the future, it will have Tania Chatila and my pictures, which should make it clear that the column is NOT a regular news story.
Hopefully, the kinks will be worked out in time for next week’s column. In the meantime, here is this week’s.
Politicos gone wild was theme of the week
By Jennifer McLain and Tania Chatila, Staff Writers
It’s been a week of lies, sex and sweaty thieves for our San Gabriel Valley elected officials.
From El Monte Mayor Ernie Gutierrez’s alleged public drunkenness and vulgar outbursts to Baldwin Park Unified School Board Member Sergio Coronas’s arrest on suspicion of vandalism and driving under the influence, it’s been one embarrassment after another for our local leaders.
Let’s start with the lies.
Three Valleys Water District
Small-time water official Xavier Alvarez has had big problems since he was caught in a web of lies, including falsely claiming that he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Alvarez has since been censured from the Three Valleys Municipal Water District, pleaded guilty in a federal court for lying about having received the medal and has been asked to resign from the board.
Now, he could be in even more hot water.
The District Attorney’s office said Friday it will begin investigating Alvarez for misappropriation of public funds, said Dave Demerjian, head of the public integrity division.
Alvarez was censured in October by the board of directors for illegally funneling benefits – paid for by the district – to a woman he claimed was his wife.
But according to director Brian Bowcock, that’s not all Alvarez lied about.
Bowcock presented a four-page list of lies on Wednesday that Alvarez reportedly told during two separate water-related tours.
Some of these lies included that he played for the Boston Red Sox, that his wife is a Latina starlet and is hounded by the paparazzi, that he was shot 16 times, that he earned the Medal of Honor and two purple hearts, and that he once rode motorcycles – and still wears the chaps at public events to prove it, Bowcock said.
El Monte residents are calling for the censure of Mayor Ernie Gutierrez, who allegedly had groped his girlfriend and showed up to a city event drunk.
The actions of Gutierrez surfaced two weeks ago at a City Council meeting when
El Monte resident Henry August called Gutierrez an “embarrassment” for the mayor’s actions – including vulgar outbursts – at a recent Sister City event.
Councilwoman Emily Ishigaki said at a council meeting last week that she did some research on rules and regulations regarding censure, “Which is what I think people want us to do,” she said.
On Tuesday, Councilwoman Patricia Wallach took on the issue of discussing Gutierrez’s alleged actions that occurred during the Cinco de Mayo fundraiser and dance.
“I wanted to put this on the agenda so that the community would not think that we are sweeping things under the rug,” Wallach said.
But, after staff does look into it, a report will be issued – in closed session.
And Gutierrez is married.
El Monte is not the only city trying to keep things as quiet as possible.
Baldwin Park Unified School Board member Sergio Corona was arrested by police Thursday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence and felony vandalism.
It was reported that Corona was “shirtless and sweaty,” and got Tased when he refused to comply with police while breaking windows at a home.
There are also suggestions there are more details in a police report, but Baldwin Park Police officials are refusing to release the public information.
Newly-appointed police Chief Lili Hadsell said the department doesn’t normally release reports when investigations are open.
Strange, since we’ve been given those documents in the past when reporting on more serious crimes, like murder investigations.
“I understand about the murders but that’s a little bit of a different situation only because we don’t normally have suspects in custody,” she said.
Regardless, a public records request has been sent.
It’s too early to tell how the parents will react to news of Corona’s arrest, but I’m sure Corona will get an earful at the next school board meeting on Tuesday.
And politicians wonder why they get bad raps.
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