BP to let the people decide

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Baldwin Park property owners are going to get to vote next year on whether they would be willing to pay about $8 annually per parcel to fund service with the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

A contract was signed this month between the city and the district to provide services for 10 months for $102,000, according to city staff reports.

But the city has also committed to completing a ballot measure before the contract ends on June 30, in hopes of becoming a district member city.

The cost to conduct the ballot measure is estimated at $30,000.

If approved, the assessment tax would be tacked onto Los Angeles County property tax rolls.

Would you vote for it?

DA slaps Walnut on the wrist

 
 
 
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The LA County DA’s office apparently gave the Walnut City Council a warning after it allegedly violated the Brown Act.

Reporter Bethania Palma is working on the story. She said City Council members noted on a recent agenda that they would be reviewing certain city employees’ qualifications to act as consultants on the NFL stadium.

Instead, they polled individual council members on whether they would be in favor of the stadium.

Tsk, tsk.

Bribery allegations out of Temple City

A developer is claiming that Temple City officials asked for money in exchange for their support on a project in the city.

TEMPLE CITY – The developer of the long-delayed Piazza mixed-use project has accused unnamed city officials of soliciting bribes in return for cooperation on the project.

The accusations were made in a countersuit filed on behalf of Randy Wang, owner of TCD Enterprises, as part of an ongoing litigation battle with the city.

“Representatives of the city of Temple City and the Temple City Redevelopment Agency have repeatedly solicited bribes from cross-complainants, and have conditioned their cooperation with the progress of the project on the payment of bribes, which have included demands for condominiums and cash payments,” the cross-complaint stated.

It also alleges officials made a specific request

Developer’s counter-complaint alleging bribery for $3,000 from Wang, which he was instructed to deliver in an envelope at an Arcadia private school. Read more.

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Beat changes

With the addition of new reporters, we have reshuffled the cities that we now cover. Just in case you have news tips or want to get ahold of your reporter, here is who is covering what:

Rebecca Kimitch: South El Monte, El Monte, Rosemead*
Daniel Tedford
: Glendora, La Verne, Azusa
Tania Chatila: Baldwin Park, La Puente
Amanda Baumfeld: Montebello, Covina, Education
Bethania Palma: Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Diamond Bar, Walnut
Jennifer McLain: West Covina, Irwindale, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Water

*I have to admit that I am feeling a little sentimental about leaving Rosemead. The city went through a lot since I began covering nearly a year and a half ago. The sexual harassment lawsuit, the hiring of Bonifacio Garcia, the changes among management and in City Hall, and the number of developments that came out of the city all made for good stories.

It is rewarding, though, to see how the city has progressed during that time. Agenda packets are now given to the press, the meetings are going to be broadcast online starting next month, the City Chambers are complete. Overall, there is more transparency in City Hall.

Thanks for all the good stories Rosemead!

LP and a transition manager?

I spotted this on the La Puente City Council agenda this morning:

CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO APPOINT A “TRANSITION MANAGER” TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A TRANSITION PLAN FOR THE HIRING OF A FULL TIME CITY MANAGER (Requested by Mayor Lujan)

Negotiations with City Manager Carol Cowley are still on. But I guess the city is also looking into hiring a separate “transition manager” to help transition the new city manager — whoever that may be — into the top spot.

You might also remember that officials are thinking about hiring a firm to help find a permanent city manager replacement.

So that means if everything falls into place, Carol will essentially act as an interim, a private firm will help hire a full-time replacement and then a transition manager will help transition the replacement in as carol phases out….Wow, those sure are a lot of resources for filling one position.

 ”I don’t think its too much at all,” Mayor Louie Lujan said.

Shannon Holloway speaks out

Just in case you haven’t seen this in the paper, here is a letter to the editor Dan Holloway’s daughter, Shannon Holloway, wrote regarding last week’s Leftovers column:

Soured on column

Re the San Gabriel Valley Tribune column by Jennifer McLain and Tania Chatila (Sept. 8) that questioned ethical standards in general and those of my father and me in particular:

It is upsetting to realize that although I was one of the major subjects of the piece, the writers didn’t take the time to talk to me before going to press with such half-truths. I’d like to set the record straight.

I was hired by the city of La Puente as a contract photographer in 2006 without any assistance from my father who at the time was an appointed planning commissioner. I applied, interviewed and was hired on my own merits and was paid at the rate offered to me by the city. My photos of city events were to be used on their Web site and in their newsletter and calendar. I retained all copyrights and allowed the city the one-time use of any photo within the same calendar year.

After working the May 2007 Cinco de Mayo event at La Puente Park, my previously scheduled events were put on hold with no explanation. I later contacted the city only to learn that my services were no longer needed. I was informed that an “anonymous councilperson” had complained, because I was Dan Holloway’s daughter.

City Manager Carol Cowley told me that there was a perceived conflict of interest despite acknowledging there was no violation of the FPPC, attorney general or the city ethics codes. Cowley knew this complaint was purely political and divulged as much to me.

If anyone was unethical here, it was the city who violated our written work agreement on numerous occasions by using my photos more than once without further compensation. They chose to stop running photographs, which was also fine with me. I chose to let the matter drop without pursuing the pay owed me for the pictures. When I requested digital copies of my photographs the city decided to return the original discs.

At that time I tried to change my work information on MySpace. Technical difficulties prevented me from editing or deleting the field. In the following months it slipped my mind and became an oversight on my part. When brought to my attention I immediately changed the dates.

This entire experience, including this article, greatly saddens me. I am not a public person and questioning my ethics for political gain or to fill column space when I have done absolutely nothing wrong is in and of itself unethical.

Shannon Holloway
La Puente

Initiative qualifies, report still pending

So as was expected, the Baldwin Park City Council last night asked for a report that outlines all the ramifications of putting a proposed public safety initiative on the November 2009 ballot.

City Clerk Susan Rubio confirmed at the meeting that the signature verification process has been completed, and the initiative qualifies for the ballot. But that doesn’t mean the initiative is all clear yet.

The report will include a legal analysis by the city attorney and must be completed within 30 days.

After the City Council receives the report, the council will have 10 days to either adopt the initiative as submitted or put it to the voters.

Wonder what they’ll chose….

El Monte top cops paid top salaries

So the El Monte City Council approved the salaries for a new cheif and assistant chief in preparation for the December retirement of Chief Ken Weldon. And the grand total: $429,000.

The new chief, Thomas Armstrong, will be getting $234,000.
And the new assistant chief, Steven Schuster, will be getting $195,000.

According to the story written by new reporter Rebecca Kimitch, “Mayor Ernie Gutierrez said the salaries – $234,000 for the chief and $195,000 for the assistant chief – are competitive among cities in the San Gabriel Valley.”

Aside from the increases coming at a time when the city is facing a $400,000 deficit, it also comes just one week after this story about the El Monte cop that shot himself in the leg.

“We have to have the finest Police Department, and they don’t come cheap,” Gutierrez said.