Corona was more than shirtless and sweaty

Instead of curling up with a good book last night, I spent the evening poring over 20 pages of a Baldwin Park police report detailing Sergio Corona’s arrest last week.

Thanks to the city attorney, a large portion of the report’s narrative was redacted — I’ll be fishing for that explanation later today.

But until then, here are some highlights of the report:

*According to the report, officers Tased Corona twice in the chest
*Under the “Drug Influence Evaluation” portion of the report, Corona said, “I had some speed earlier.”
*Corona later told police, that he had “smoked methamphetamine and marijuana” earlier that night
*After being administered Ativan (a kind of relaxer) at a local hospital, Corona had this to say to police: “What the f*** happened? I don’t remember anything that happened. Am I in trouble? I don’t remember anything.”

Throughout the report, police also document Corona’s behavior and physical state: his heart rate was as high as 140 beats per minute, he was rocking his body back and forth and side to side, he was grinding his teeth and he was having eyelid tremors ——- all that in addition to the shirtless, sweaty descriptions we already knew about.

Damage control?

I got an interesting call early this morning from Matthew Weintraub, the spokesman for El Monte.

Apparently, the city employee I talked to for this blog post and some other officials were a little “distressed” about the content of the post.

Weintraub said he didn’t want people in the community thinking the city was trying to hide anything by not putting the archived video online more promptly. It finally went up about 30 minutes after my initial call to the city clerk’s office, Weintraub said.

I guess I can’t blame their concerns about perception among residents considering everything that’s going on in that city right now.

Anyway, that’s their side and they’re sticking to it.

Corona police report out…and it’s not pretty

This video came to mind as Tania Chatila was reviewing the police report that documented the arrest of Baldwin Park School Board Member Sergio Corona.

In the report, Corona, who was arrested for vandalism and being under the influence of a controlled substance, said this to the Baldwin Park Police:

“Just kill me. I want to live. I am alive.”

Corona v. everyone else

Tonight’s the night: the Baldwin Park Unified School District meeting starts at 6 p.m. and we’re almost sure their will be people there commenting on board member Sergio Corona’s arrest last week.

Reporter Brian Day will be out there in case any bombs are dropped.

I haven’t been able to get the district superintendent or board president on the phone, but we’re hearing the board is meeting in closed session now — and Corona isn’t present.

Several board members and council members have said publicly Corona should resign to take care of his “issues.”

Baldwin Park on shaky ground?

The downtown development proposal in Baldwin Park may be dragging — pending two legislative proposals to restrict eminent domain powers — but it sure ain’t sweating off any heat.

People are still up in arms about the whole thing. If you’re not familiar with the project, the city is in talks with Bisno Development to revitalize 125 acres of the downtown area with luxury housing, high-end restaurants and shops, a hotel and charter school.

Here’s the most recent installation in a laundry list of e-mails I get regularly from opponents of the project:

City built on shaky ground

Just an interesting note: the person who sent me this had a e-mail address, which means he or she is somehow affiliated with the Los Angeles Convention Center.


The floating records request

Baldwin Park is getting real technical with my public records request to see the police report detailing school board member Sergio Corona’s arrest last week.

I just got off the phone with the PD —- looks like the city attorney is going to have the final say on whether I can get that report. I’m aware these requests usually go through legal counsel anyway, but it feels like this time, it’s more than just a motion.

Also, FYI, Corona posted $20,000 bond on Thursday afternoon, so he’s a free man. His case has yet to be filed with the courts, which means it’ll probably be a few weeks before he’s arraigned.

She forgot….

This comment popped up on the blog on Monday about a missing May 20 City Council meeting out of El Monte:

I have been trying to view the May 20,2008 council meeting that is
showm on the El Monte web page. Why hasn’t it appeared. Is someone
making sure we don’r view it? Removing or destroying videos that
pertain to public meetings is a federal offense. These tapes are for
public access under the freedom of information act. That is our rights
as a resident. Please don’t tell us the video equipement broke down or
the actual video was destroyed by the hand of God. That just won’t work
anymore. We really would like to see it. Is it avaliable from the city
clerk’s office? El Monte Resident-MIA Video

I called the city clerk’s office this morning to figure out what happened.

My first question: Was there actually a meeting? I was told there was.

My second question: Is there a reason why it’s not online? “That’s because I forgot,” the lady on the other line said, followed by a chuckle.

No fear, this simple, open government slip-up is supposed to be resolved in the next hour or two.

I’m just glad someone noticed in the first place.

Leftovers column

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

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.

Baldwin Park

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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