Cars not wanted….


Only for two hours that is.

Rose Bowl to try vehicle ban
Human-power only on the loop on Thursday
By Janette Williams, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 09/22/2008 10:34:38 PM PDT

PASADENA – In a two-hour experiment this Thursday, the 3.3-mile loop around the Rose Bowl will be given over to walkers, skaters, strollers and cyclists – no sharing space with anything that’s not people-powered.

The 5 to 7 p.m. ban on vehicle traffic is a pilot program designed to find out how traffic impacts the increasing numbers of recreational users, and so far it’s a one-off, Assistant City Manager Stephanie De Wolfe said Monday.

Read the full story here.

A change of heart *UPDATE*

Just last week La Puente Mayor Louie Lujan told me he had no one in mind for this proposed transition manager position he wants to get off the ground.

But I guess he changed his mind.

Lujan made a motion Tuesday night to have the city attorney negotiate terms and scope of services with Frank Tripepi, president and CEO of Willdan Financial Services, for that very position.

If the name Willdan rings a bell, this is probably why:

August 29, 2007
Author/Byline: Jennifer McLain Staff Writer
Section: News
ROSEMEAD — Management of a $12 million bridge project more than halfway completed will be turned over to a new company.

The City Council on Tuesday voted to oust Willdan Associates, its current construction management company that has been with the city for 26 years, and replace it with Del Terra Group.

Del Terra was selected after it and ACS Group were interviewed by the council.
Duties include overseeing the renovation of the Garvey Bridge and future redevelopment projects.

The move will help cut costs and avoid conflict-of-interest concerns, some council members said. But council members Gary Taylor and Margaret Clark said bringing a new construction management firm in the middle of the Garvey Bridge renovation could bring delays.

After Councilman John Solis asked: “And this transition (manager), are we hoping to make him a city manager?”

Storing replied: “Of course.”

To which Lujan replied: That would be up to the City Council.

I should add that the motion to negotiate with Tripepi was approved on a 4-1 vote.

****Another bit of information on Tripepi, apparently, he was once a city manager in Rosemead:

Former Rosemead City Manager Frank Tripepi was also 27 when he took on the job in 1975, according to a 1975 article by this newspaper. At the time, Tripepi was the second youngest city manager in the San Gabriel Valley.

Are your ready for some football? Walnut residents say ‘No!’

Not everyone is excited about Ed Roski’s proposed NFL stadium. Take residents June Wentworth, Shiuh-Moing Ellis, Rex Yee, Lucy Pao, and Lawrence Reinhold, for example. These five submitted a letter to the editor calling on residents to come to Walnut’s council meeting on Wednesday to protest the proposed stadium.

This is the same stadium that is causing trouble among the Walnut City Council, and is reason for an alleged Brown Act violation that led to a slap on the wrist from the District Attorney’s office.

Here’s the letter that ran today:

Speak against stadium

We urge all Walnut residents to come to the Walnut City Council meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to speak out on the proposed NFL stadium to be built in the city of Industry.

Based on reading the Draft Supplemental Environmental Report (DEIR), listening to the developer’s presentation and applying our own experiences, in our opinion, the proposed stadium project will significantly and negatively impact Walnut.

The City will derive no benefit from the project, other than in the most general sense which in our view, equates to inconsequential probabilities.

As Walnut residents we must protect our most significant assets: our homes, our families and our quality of life. These are community values worth fighting for. We will not apologize for fighting and protecting our homes, our families and our city.

We do not accept claims that resident arguments regarding the NFL stadium and its impact on the city are coming from uninformed citizenry that just don’t get it and just don’t understand what’s good for them. We all have the right to oppose this project.

We believe Walnut residents know exactly what they are fighting for, particularly if given quality information in a timely manner.

We say, residents, trust your knowledge, trust your experience, trust yourselves! Thirty percent of Walnut residents have a bachelor’s degree, 9 percent have a master’s degree and 3.5 percent have degrees beyond a master’s.

We are leaders. We know what we want. We can see the truth!

Speak out on this issue! It is not a done deal. We can oppose this project even though it is not in Walnut’s jurisdiction.

Tell the Walnut City Council that we expect them to protect our homes, our families and our quality of life. Tell them that we do not want the negative impacts to our community the NFL stadium project will cause.

Tell the Walnut City Council to oppose the stadium.

June Wentworth, former mayor, Shiuh-Ming Ellis, Rex Yee, Lucy Pao, Lawrence Reinhold, Walnut

Tick tock


I submitted a public records request around 11:30 a.m. for a police report, which should detail Friday’s arrest of Baldwin Park Councilman Anthony Bejarano, who was later released on a $250 bail for allegedly being drunk in public. No charges or a citation were filed.

Here’s the story that ran on Sunday.

Baldwin Park Police Chief Chief Lili Hadsell said she sent back the report today because she had some questions about it, and expects it to be re-submitted by the end of the day. But if it doesn’t make that deadline, the report likely won’t be released until next week because Hadsell is going out of town, she said.

Once the report is released, Councilman Ricardo Pacheco said he will decide how to proceed next. Pacheco, who believes that Bejarano was given special treatment because of who he was, said that if the police department doesn’t investigate how the incident was handled, that Pacheco will consider taking the issue to the District Attorney’s office.

On the flip side, Bejarano believes he was arrested because of who he was. Bejarano characterized the incident as, “at best, a misunderstanding.” At worse, politically motivated, he said.

More to come in tomorrow’s story.

Serving two masters

Amanda Baumfeld reports that a Montebello school district staffer is being sued for also working for the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

Montebello district officials claimed that Director of Classified Personnel Jeff Josserand, who has worked with Montebello since May 2006, breached his contract when he became acting director for the San Bernardino City Unified School District in 2007.

Leftovers column: El Monte police salaries

Leftovers Column: Money no object for police chiefs

By Jennifer McLain and Tania Chatila,

Staff Writers Article

El Monte Mayor Ernie Gutierrez thinks he’s got the finest Police Department around. “And they don’t come cheap,” Gutierrez said at a meeting last week.

He sure got that last statement right.

16260-EG.jpgAt a time when the city is facing a $400,000 budget deficit, officials still have managed to pay their top-tier Police Department heads some of the highest salaries in the San Gabriel Valley.

Last week, the City Council approved the salary for El Monte’s newest police chief, Thomas Armstrong who will be getting $235,000 a year when he takes over Ken Weldon’s seat in December.

Sure, it’s a far cry from Los Angeles police Chief William Bratton’s annual paycheck of $300,442 a year to protect nearly 4 million residents.

But it’s not too far behind the $268,153 Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca makes every year.

Gutierrez told reporter Rebecca Kimitch Armstrong’s salary is competitive with area cities.

Most police chiefs in the Valley can’t even match the $195,000 El Monte’s assistant police chief Steven Schuster is going to get to serve a population of 115,000.

Let’s take a look:

Montebello police Chief Dan Weast, a 24-year veteran of the Police Department, receives an annual salary of $144,996 plus a car, benefits and retirement. Montebello’s population is 62,150.

West Covina police Chief Frank Wills makes $179,184 a year. The city has a population of 105,000.

Covina, a city of 48,000, pays its police chief $151,000 annually.

The police chief in Pasadena, a city of nearly 133,000, gets $203,000 a year.

Baldwin Park police Chief Lili Hadsell is making $155,000 a year. The city has a population of 70,000.

It’s obvious Gutierrez stands behind his Police Department. The police officer’s union donated $10,000 to Gutierrez’ campaign in 2007. In 2005, the union gave him $8,000.

And in 2003, the union spent $6,000 on mailers supporting Gutierrez, Juventino “J” Gomez and Emily Ishigaki in the council race.

“We have to have the finest Police Department. You have to have a good chief,” according to Gutierrez.

Interestingly enough, Armstrong and Schuster’s salaries combined amount to $30,000 more than the $400,000 budget shortfall the city is facing.

A few months back, as the council hashed out ways to brace for a possible reduction in their workforce as a result of the budget, Councilwoman Pat Wallach suggested, “Have we asked employees to donate part of the salaries back to the city to wait for the city’s budget to straighten out? If everyone gives a little bit, then it saves the little guy on the bottom.”

West Covina council members start campaigning

In case you missed it…

Candidates decide to get an early start
Fundraising kicking off for 2009 W. Covina City Council election
By Jennifer McLain, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 09/20/2008 10:57:06 PM PDT

WEST COVINA – Campaign contributions are rolling in for a City Council election that is more than a year away.

Records show fund-raising efforts among the council members vary in ranging from the amounts generated to types of donors.

The top fundraiser so far this year is Mayor Sherri Lane, who has raised nearly $32,000. Councilman Mike Touhey has raised almost $27,000.

Reports from the remaining members of the five-member council show considerably smaller amounts of campaign cash was picked up during the reporting period.

Councilman Steve Herfert raised $8,660 this year, and Councilman Roger Hernandez raised nearly $3,000. Each has three years remaining in office.

Councilwoman Shelley Sanderson, who is up for re-election in November 2009, has raised nothing.

“I haven’t had time to fund-raise,” she said.

She said she typically does not start fund-raising until the year of the election.

She added her empty campaign fund is not an indication of whether or not she will be seeking re-election.

“I would like to run again, but we will have to see how everything is going,” Sanderson said.

Herfert and Lane did not return calls.

It may appear early to begin campaigning for an election in November 2009, officials said, but lingering debt has motivated most to continually raise money.

Touhey remains $40,000 in debt from the previous election and needs to raise money to bring the balance to zero, he said.

According to campaign records, Touhey has raised $26,349 so far this year, with $16,500 applied toward repaying personal loans from his private business to his campaign. Hernandez has raised nearly $3,000 this year, and half of that has gone to repaying a nearly $10,000 loan.

Sanderson, Herfert, and Lane have outstanding loans, records show.

West Covina is one of the few cities in the San Gabriel Valley that has campaign contribution limits.

Businesses can give no more than $1,000, and an individual cannot donate more than $500 to any one candidate, Deputy City Clerk Sue Rush said.

Records show some contributors have sidestepped the city’s campaign contribution limit laws by contributing thousands to council members.

Touhey, Lane and Herfert have received money from individuals or companies associated with Athens Services, the company that has West Covina’s residential and commercial garbage collecting contracts.

Touhey got $7,000 from Athens-associated donors, including Dennis Chiappetta, executive vice president of Athens, and nearly a half-dozen companies owned by Ron Arakelian, the CEO of Athens.

Lane received $4,000 and Herfert received $1,000 each from donors linked to Athens.

Another common donor that appears in the campaign records is the McIntyre Cos., a Covina-based development, management and real estate firm that is a client of Touhey’s personal consulting business.

Those affiliated with the McIntyre Cos., including Canyon Water Company, Andrew McIntyre and William McIntyre, contributed $3,000 to Lane and $3,000 to Herfert.

No matter where the money is coming from, Touhey said it does not influence his politics.

“I am very much a business person, and a lot of people that support me have that same type of mind-set,” Touhey said. “But my votes are my votes are my votes. (Contributions) do not have an affect on me.”

Hernandez, whose term expires in 2011, has collected nearly $2,000 from affiliates of developer Ziad Alhassen.

“One can make the argument that contributions don’t influence them, but the bottom line for me is that the money trail is pretty telling,” Hernandez said. “Those that support the projects get the money.”

Your councilman, drunk in public?

It will be interesting to see how this story plays out…

Baldwin Park City Councilman arrested
By Brian Day, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 09/20/2008 01:08:59 PM PDT

BALDWIN PARK – City Councilman Anthony Bejarano was arrested late Friday on suspicion of public intoxication, police said.

Two other men were also also arrested in the incident, which occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on Ramona Boulevard near La Rica Avenue, Baldwin Park police Sgt. Chris Hofford said.

Collin Spencer, 31, of Monrovia was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, Hofford said, and Jose Diaz, 32, of Monrovia was booked on suspicion of public intoxication.

An officer stopped to investigate when he noticed a white, 4-door sedan stopped in the middle of Ramona Boulevard with two pedestrians standing nearby, Hofford said. One of those pedestrians was Bejarano.

“What becomes apparent fairly quickly is that they were all drinking,” Hofford said.

The driver, Spencer, who allegedly moved the car a short distance in the presence of the officer, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, Hofford said.

Bejarano and Diaz were arrested on suspicion of public intoxication as they appeared drunk and were standing in the middle of a major roadway, the sergeant said.

“The officer characterized them as less than cooperative,” Hofford said, however they did not resist arrest or interfere with the officer.

It was not known why the car was stopped in the street or whether Bejarano and Diaz had been riding in the car prior to the incident, Hofford said.

According to court records, Bejarano and Diaz posted $250 bail for the alleged misdemeanor offense and were released. Spencer was released after posting $5,000 bail.

Bejarano and Diaz were released without court dates pending further investigation, as is common practice when dealing with public intoxication incidents, Hofford said. It was not immediately clear when Spencer is due for arraignment.

No further details were immediately available