Balloon popper

What are our local legislators doing? Well, Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, has a bill targeting copper thieves, and Altadena Sen. Jack Scott is targeting balloons. No, really.

Assembly committee grounds balloon ban
By Jim Sanders –

California’s helium balloon bill was grounded Tuesday – but not popped.

The legislation to ban the sale and distribution of metallic balloons narrowly was rejected by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.

Needing six votes to pass, Senate Bill 1499 fell one vote shy, 5-2, with three members opting not to record a vote.

Sen. Jack Scott, an Altadena Democrat who proposed the bill, requested reconsideration and the committee will vote again Thursday.

Scott’s bill targets the millions of foil helium balloons used to celebrate birthdays, parties, weddings, anniversaries, corporate gatherings and dozens of other events.

A ban is necessary because the high-flying party accessories, commonly called Mylar balloons, cause needless and costly power outages by getting loose and flying into power lines, Scott said. Read more.

West Covina loses city official

West Covina Assistant City Manager Artie Fields will be taking the top job in Salinas. I’m not sure yet what that means for the open position in West Covina.

From the Monterey County Herald

Artie Fields, assistant city manager for West Covina since 1998, is poised to take the administrative reins for the city of Salinas.

The Salinas City Council will make the official announcement at a press conference today, where Fields is expected to be present.

“He’s just wonderful,” an enthusiastic Councilwoman Jyl Lutes said. “He’s young, enthusiastic, incredibly professional, and I think he’s just the right person for the city.”

Fields will take over the post being left by Dave Mora, who has been at the helm of the city since 1990. Mora, 63, will be leaving at the end of June, although his contract stipulates he will remain on hand to help with the transition until September. Read more.

Montebello preview

This just in from reporter Amanda Baumfeld:

The Montebello City Council is expected to approve a balanced 2008-09
budget at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Some additions they could be making for next year is:

-A new police center on Greenwood Avenue costing between $252,000 to

-A new assistant city administrator position for $227,000

-An infrastructure study for $186,000

The meeting begins at 6:30 at City Hall, 1600 Beverly Boulevard.

On a side note, the city might be feeling the high price of gas. They
have sent out a public hearing notice about possibly increasing fees
for riders on the Montebello Bus Lines. The hearing is set for July

‘You can’t keep your ***** city clean?’

El Monte released the “administrative summary” today looking into the allegations that Mayor Ernie Gutierrez acted inappropriately at a city function. Here is the



The report concludes that there does not appear to be sufficient materials presented to hire an independent investigator to re-evaluate the matter. 

“I would further recommend not spending additional staff time on this matter. The Mayor may wish to meet with the Sister City Commission to air any concerns and to allay any fears that these issues could recur.”

Mayor Gutierrez in the report stated that none of his actions were inappropriate.

There were nine commissioners interviewed. One of them claimed that she heard the Mayor “speak in Spanish about graffiti removal equipment (“…you can’t keep your (Spanish expletive)  city clean?’) Additionally she stated that she heard the Mayor say that he can get anything he wants donated to the new Sister City, as he runs this (same Spanish word) city.”

In the report, the Mayor stated that the one Commissioner who stated she had overheard the comments, “was too busy assisting and runnin gthe dinner that she couldn’t have overheard any statements.”

SGV water cleanup bill gets more support

A groundwater cleanup bill that would be used solely to clean the contaminated San Gabriel Valley basin was passed out of the Senate Environmental committee yesterday.

As more water restrictions hit homeowners, water experts say that the reliance on local water supply will only increase. And what good is relying on a water supply that is contaminated?

The bill is proposed by Assemblyman Mike Eng, D-El Monte.

Driving while texting

Drivers are going to have to switch over to hands free devices on July 1. But drivers could still send text messages. Well, the Sacramento Bee is reporting that texting while driving could be the next offense.

California measure targets texting while driving

By Jim Sanders

Newest target? Texting.

Call it a loophole, perhaps, but California’s ban on driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone does not extend to text messaging.

Put simply, adult motorists who can’t hold a phone to their ear beginning July 1 can use the same device to type out messages.

But they’d better hurry.

Legislation proposed Thursday by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, would add texting to the cell phone ban he championed.

“Texting while driving is so obviously unsafe that it’s hard to believe anyone would attempt it, yet every-day observation suggests there are an awful lot of folks who do,” Simitian said. Read more.

Cuts on the way for West Covina firefighters?

The West Covina Firefighters Assocation will meet tomorrow to discuss how it will grapple with an $800,000 cut from their budget. In today’s story, it also states that the police department has to meet a $1.2 million cut.

Personnel costs for both the fire and police departments make up to 92 percent of their budgets. Fire officials say the cut may come from the laying off of one or two fire fighters, while police will be hiring and shifting positions. Both are concerned how this will impact response times.

Food for thought

I just saw this post from Jennifer McLain. And judging from all your comments, you guys are interested. So here are some facts to chew on:

Campaign contributions from Charles Co. Owner Arman Gabay for the last two years:

6/21/2007: Ernest Gutierrez $1,000 (El Monte)
10/26/2005: Ernest Gutierrez $1,000

9/18/2007: Juventino “J” Gomez $1,000 (El Monte)
11/01/2005: Juventino “J” Gomez $1,000

10/30/2007: John Solis $2,500 (La Puente)
11/17/2005: John Solis $2,000

6/7/2007: Louie Lujan $1,000 (La Puente)
7/2/2007: Louie Lujan $1,00

3/30/2007: Sherri Lane $999 (West Covina)
10/5/2005: Sherri Lane $200

1/8/2007: Steve Herfert $1,000 (West Covina)
7/25/2007: Steve Herfert $500
12/29/2005: Steve Herfert $1,000

11/2/2005: Marlen Garcia $2,500 (Baldwin Park)

11/2/2005: Manuel Lozano $2,500 (Baldwin Park)

11/2/2005: Anthony Bejarano $2,500 (Baldwin Park)

10/19/2007: Norma Lopez Reid $1,500 (Montebello)
7/13/2006: Norma Lopez Reid $1,250