Feeling taxed?

My story today goes into the half-percent sales-tax hike proposal that will appear on the November ballot in El Monte.

The tax is among several that voters in nearby cities and county will see, including a 1 percent sales-tax increase in Pico Rivera and a half-cent sales tax measure that the MTA board approved yesterday. (Check out Pasadena reporter Dan Abendschein’s blog Under the Dome for more MTA info. He was blogging from the MTA meeting yesterday.) 

With such tough economic times, it will be difficult getting the voters on board, said Dean Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. But then again, Southgate voters approved a 1 percent increase by nearly 74 percent.

Are you going to be voting for more taxes come November?

There’s more to a landfill than trash…and ball fields

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Today, photographer Raul Roa and I visited a methane power plant at the BKK Landfill site in West Covina. The plant has been there for nearly 20 years (who knew?!), and it takes methane gas from the landfill and converts it into electricity.

Also at the plant is a water treatment plant, which takes garbage water, treats it, then uses it to water the plants on the landfill.The above picture was taken at the water treatment plant, and below is a picture of bins that are used to burn the methane that cannot be converted into electricty.

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The plants are not open to the public, but can be reached by turning right instead of left when you are driving to Big League Dreams.

Decisions, decisions

I posted this on our Web site a few hours ago:

LA PUENTE – Council members will interview two firms tonight for development of the city’s former La Puente Lanes bowling alley site on Hacienda Boulevard.

Representatives from the Charles Co. and Lowe Enterprises will be present at the meeting for the discussions.

La Puente officials had been in negotiations with the Charles Co. for about a year for what was preliminarily projected as an 11.5-acre retail commercial center in the 1300 block of Hacienda Boulevard at Fairgrove Avenue.

But the exclusive negotiating agreement between the city and the Charles Co. expired in April, and instead of extending the contract, the city decided to solicit interest from other interested parties.

Mayor Louie Lujan has said the council wanted to take a step back and weigh all options before moving forward with a developer.

He expects a final decision will be made tonight.

This will be a very big decision for the city, considering this project is just one of the many stalled projects La Puente hasn’t been able to finalize.

Council members John Solis and Lola Storing have expressed concerns in the past about going with a whole new developer. Solis has said it wouldn’t make sense, considering the city would basically have to start the entire process over again.

Tensions rise at Montebello meeting

This just in from reporter Amanda Baumfeld:



It seems as though the Montebello City Council is headed back to its old ways.

Mayor Bill Molinari
and Councilwoman Rosie Vasquez where at each others throats during Wednesday night’s meeting.

Vasquez ridiculed Molinari for not taking charge during a public comment portion of the meeting and for allowing the audience to make fun of her.

Bickering between the two continued all evening and heightened during a four hour heated discussion about Athens Service, a waste disposal company. The council on a 3-2 vote eventually granted Athens an exclusive right to all waste disposal in the city putting nearly 12 independent trash haulers out of business.

So, the city is basically allowing Athens to have a monopoly on waste disposal.

Molinari and Councilwoman Mary Anne Saucedo-Rodriguez both voted no saying they believe in the power of free enterprise and competition.

Vasquez also continuously yelled at the audience when they were cheering for one another and booing Athens employees. “I can not believe these are Montebello residents acting this way,” she said.

Rosemead Wrap-Up

A cement-rubberized jogging trail will be coming to Rosemead Park, but last night the city council on a 3-2 vote (surprise, surprise) approved redesigning the trail and to re-bid it. There is one caveat: No trees shall be removed.

Councilwoman Margaret Clark’s flier didn’t attract nearly as many people as her fliers have in the past. There were about nine speakers, and it was pretty split on who was for or against the trail, said City Manager Oliver Chi.

Clark and Councilman Gary Taylor, the two who voted against the trail, expressed concern that it would interrupt the picnic area.

But the council did unanimously approve working with Rosemead High in coming up with a running track.


Water projects get $25 million

State Department of Water Resources Director Lester Snow handed out a $25 million check to Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Yvonne Burke, and the money will go toward 14 water resource-related projects. Four of these projects will impact the San Gabriel Valley, and those received nearly $11.5 million.


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The biggest chunk of change was distributed to the Morris Dam Water Supply Enhancement Project. The total project cost is $16.4 million, and it will increase the reservoir storage capacity . The state gave that projct $5 million.

The presentation was held at the Bixby Marshland in Carson. The 17-acre slice of natural habitat is juxtaposed to freeways, commerce and busy streets at the intersection of Sepulveda and Figueroa. The marshland will be open to the public in the spring.


Petition in West Covina

West Covina residents could have made up their own City Council Drinking Game if the city still aired its meetings on television. But now that the broadcasts have been pulled from TV and the Internet, the game would be a lot harder. Unless, of course, you snuck booze into the meeting, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t take too long before you were escorted out of the meeting…in handcuffs.

But residents such as Fred Sykes aren’t taking the issue lightly. (Not the lack of drinking game, but the decision to halt that broadcasts of the meetings.)

Sykes has organized a petition and distributed it to about 20 other residents throughout the city. He is hoping that if enough residents sign the petition (he thinks that it will be no problem getting at least 1,000 people) that it will change the council’s decision to pull the plug on the televised meetings.

And just why does he think that the council will listen? “We know that they are politicians, and three of them are due to run in November. That is something that they will consider.”