New La Puente parking fee schedule

15365-noparking.jpg

Parking issues have been in the news a lot lately.

That being said, here are is the new fee schedule for parking citations in La Puente:

*Temporary parking restriction posted (i.e. street sweeping) …. $41
*Failure to display current tags ………$57
*No front or rear plates …………….$37
*No parking curb markings ………. …$41
*Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant …………$41

Better mind those signs.

Post office dedication for Chi Mui

18269-chimui.JPG

I got this e-mail yesterday about a post office dedication for San Gabriel’s first Asian mayor.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff announced that the San Gabriel Post Office will be named after former San Gabriel Mayor, Chi Mui at a dedication ceremony at the post office on Saturday, October 25, 2008. Rep. Schiff authored the legislation (H.R. 5477) to pay tribute to former Mayor Mui by naming the post office after him, and it was signed into law by the President in August. A search by the Congressional Research Service indicates this may be the first post office in the nation named for a Chinese American.

“Chi Mui was a well-respected and dedicated leader in San Gabriel and I am excited to take part in this dedication ceremony,” said Schiff. “October 25th will be a proud day for former Mayor Mui’s family and the entire San Gabriel community.”

Who: Rep. Schiff, former Mayor Mui’s wife Betty, and other community leaders.

What: Dedication Ceremony naming the Post Office after former Mayor Chi Mui

When: Saturday, October 25, from 10:00-11:30am

Where: San Gabriel Post Office — 120 S Del Mar Ave.

Mayor Mui spent a lifetime bettering his community as a volunteer and public servant. Mayor Mui passed away on April 27, 2006 after a courageous battle with cancer. The bill was cosponsored by nearly every member of the California House Delegation.

Sheriff’s examining tow fee collections **UPDATE

Frank Girardot and I pieced this together from interviews we did over the course of the week….

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reexamining how it collects towing fees in response to allegations a former traffic sergeant took nearly $500,000 from the city of La Puente in impound revenues, officials said.

“We are doing that now,” Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. “We are probably going to go to a cashless system. Using something like an ATM card to make it more difficult for theft to occur.”

Whitmore also said the department is reviewing several other internal policies and will consult with the Board of Supervisors.

Former Sgt. Joe Dyer, who used to work out of the Industry sheriff’s station until he retired in May, has been under investigation since the beginning of the year.

Officials believe he was collecting towing fees intended for La Puente, but not turning over all of those fees to the city.

“Let’s just say that this has been a wake up call for the department,” said Michael Gennaco, chief attorney for the Office of Internal Review.

The OIR is an independent agency that reviews alleged policy violations within the Sheriff’s Department. They are aware of the allegations against Dyer and expect to receive a copy of the case once it is submitted to the District Attorney.

Sheriff Lee Baca said last week he expected to submit the case by the end of the year.
“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” Whitmore said. “But once it’s done we will seek a prosecution.”

There was one other case within the department involving mishandled tow fees, Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

The incident took place in 2007 and involved a deputy in Compton who was disciplined with a 10-day suspension after failing to follow the department’s money handling procedures, Whitmore said.

“There was no evidence of any funds missing,” Whitmore said. “Apparently he was not doing the paperwork properly. There was no money involved.”

The incident is chronicled in the OIR quarterly report released earlier this year.

Apparently, the sheriff’s may not be the only ones taking making changes. La Puente is also looking at its own internal cash-handling procedures.

I’ve been attempting to talk to interim City Manager Frank Tripepi about it, but he hasn’t called me back in a week.

*******READ THE FULL STORY HERE 

 

Here we go again…

 

5288-hernandez.jpgThere are some pretty loaded accusations made by Councilman Roger Hernandez about Councilman Steve Herfert. The letter below was sent from Hernandez to City Manager Andrew Pasmant last month, and it appeared in my inbox yesterday.

18262-herfert.jpg

City Hall is closed today, so I will not be able to confirm any of these accusations. Herfert could not be reached for comment.

I’m not even sure if this is worthy of a story. The first reaction when I told collegaues about this was, ”Here we go again.” West Covina Council members always seem to be bickering. But then, they are not the only ones.

Here’s the letter:

From: Roger Hernandez, MPA
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 4:48 PM
To: Andrew Pasmant
Cc: Frank Wills
Subject: Formal request for assistance with respect to closed session

Andy,

I am writing in order to make two formal requests, which I have outlined below.

As you are aware, during the closed session of September 2, 2008, Councilmember Herfert directed several loud and threatening statements towards me. Specifically, he directed the following comments towards me: “We’re gonna come after your ass,” “If not us, someone else will, ” and “We are gonna sue your ass.” They were made in a physically aggressive manner, while leaning into my personal space and waving his finger in a confrontational manner, which made all staff and councilmembers visibly uncomfortable. I understood his statements and body language as making a threat upon my life and livelihood. As I noted to you then and the Chief of Police thereafter, these statements caused me to fear for my personal safety.

At that time, I asked for your assistance in documenting the events I described above. You responded, while throwing your pen upon your notepad, that you could do nothing because it was a closed session. I understand that information discussed during a closed session is confidential; however, Councilmember Herfert’s comments, first of all, had nothing to do with any closed session item that was placed upon on the agenda and nothing to do with any matter for which we could have legally convened a closed session. Moreover, Councilmember Herfert’s comments, which I deem to be a threat upon my life, may be criminal activity. I would think that criminal conduct, in the form of battery or assault, for example, cannot be protected from disclosure. Therefore, I believe that Councilmember Herfert’s comments were not confidential. They were stand-alone personal attacks upon me and, whether criminally actionable or not, should not be permitted.

In addition, I understand that as a councilmember, I have a right to feel safe when attending to my duties as an elected official. As councilmembers, we all do. Therefore, at this time, I’d like to make the following two requests:

1.) I would like law enforcement personnel to be present during all closed sessions. I have contacted the Chief of Police in order to request his assistance in this regard. I was, in fact, absent for twenty-five minutes of open session due to both my fear and my desire to properly document the events that had transpired with the appropriate authorities. Had there been law enforcement present during the closed session, I may have had the opportunity to join my fellow councilmembers at the beginning of the meeting. This should not happen again.

2.) I would like all closed sessions to be tape-recorded in order to potentially deter further attacks and also for evidentiary reasons, should there be a need to take further action.

Lastly, I would like to note for the record that Councilmember Herfert’s conduct was, at minimum, unprofessional and alarming for the other councilmembers present. His actions undermine the institutional foundations of our governance: Intimidating other councilmbers is inimical to productive discussion and action. It further undermines our duties as elected officials and the proper execution of our responsibilities. As Councilmember Herfert should know, terror is not conducive to the creativity and hard work necessary to overcome the challenges faced by our City.

Please confirm that you have received this email and advise me of your conclusion with respect to my requests.

Roger Hernandez

Azusa councilmen honored by the U.S. Navy

It was a proud night for one of Azusa’s city councilman.

Uriel Macias was sworn in as a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Navy at a private ceremony at the Eagles Lodge in Azusa.

Macias, while expected, was beaming. He took the time to thank many of his friends personally and wore a smile the whole night.

City officials were telling me that he may be one of the only city council members in the San Gabriel Valley, if not Southern California, that is a commissioned officer in the Navy. To be a commissioned officer you have to be currently enlisted.

Look for more about Macias online later today and in the paper tomorrow.

As for the ceremony, many city officials and local business owners were in attendance.

Macias told me it was originally intended to be a small affair, but ended up having about 50 people in attendance.

Planning Commissioner Jorge Rosales was there. Chief Executive Officer of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, Irene Villapania was there. As was the city’s Public Information Officer Martin Quiroz, and other city employees. For the hour or so I was there, I didn’t see any of Macias’ fellow councilmen.

Stepping away from the Mongols

I’ve been on the Mongols beat the past few days so I got behind with blogging. There are a couple of stories I wanted to talk about.

1. Palin’s expenses: No, not the $150,000 shopping spree, but the doctored expense reports.

Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters’ 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

These types of stories have been my bread and butter in the San Gabriel Valley. I wonder what makes this story any different than, say, former water board member Dolores Holguin who racked up a series of personal expenses and charged them to the district. Holguin pleaded guilty last week to a felony misuse of public funds.

2. Only in El Monte. I was always under the impression that traffic lights were a major cash flow, but Rebecca Kimitch reports that’s not the case in El Monte.

EL MONTE – Cameras will no longer capture images of vehicles that race through red lights at two intersections, the City Council decided Tuesday night.

The council voted 5-0 not to renew a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems to operate the cameras at the intersections of Peck Road and Ramona Boulevard and Santa Anita Avenue and Lower Azusa Road.

The cameras do not generate enough revenue to be worth the man hours spent on their operation, city manager James Mussenden told the council.

“But it’s not about revenue, it’s about saving lives,” he added.

Looking for some good press

This just in from reporter Amanda Baumfeld:

With the endless controversy that seems to emit from Montebello City Hall it appears they are attempting to promote themselves in a better light.

The council voted unanimously to add the position of city spokesperson to staff. The public information officer will be paid between $61,764 and $75,096. Not a bad salary for a time when most cities are in debt and have hiring freezes on their hands.

A staff report indicates, “there is a need to provide timely information of an often crucial nature to the public through the use of press releases, articles, message boards, announcements, flyers and broadcast.”

No word on who they will hire or when the new spokesperson will start.

Robles cleared of all charges…no, not that Robles

Albert Robles was cleared of all charges he was facing for allegedly violating campaign codes, Airan Scruby reports.

Albert Robles serves on the Water Replinishment District of Southern California, and unfortunately shares the name with the former South Gate treasurer who was convicted to 10 years in prison of corruption.

Robles, 39, of the WRD, out of Lakewood, has served on the board since 1992.