More Athens news….

This time from reporter Jennifer McLain.

The county postponed voting on awarding a seven-year trash hauling contract to Athens Services – which would replace the existing residential services provided by Valley Vista Services and Waste Management.

The issue of exclusive contracts and Athens has been big lately, with contentious debates in Montebellow and Hacienda Heights. In fact, a large group of Hacienda Heights residents swarmed the Tribune offices Tuesday afternoon to express their concerns over the Athens contract.

The county is going to vote next week instead.


Reporter Rebecca Kimitch had this story out of El Monte in today’s paper. When I read the following lede, I almost fell out of my chair:

EL MONTE – The city’s budget deficit has ballooned to $4 million – 10 times larger than anticipated just a few weeks ago when voters approved a half-cent sales-tax increase.

How the heck did that happen? For months the city had been telling the public its budget deficit was around $400,000 – not good, but not as bad as some other cities. Now, all of a sudden they realize the deficit is actually in the several millions?

That sales-tax increase will do little to help the growing shortfall, officials said Tuesday, and the city is now studying employee layoffs, program cuts and sales of city assets.

Sales-tax revenues are down $2.7 million from what was expected when the City Council adopted the 2008-09 budget in July. In the second quarter alone, sales-tax revenue was down 17 percent compared to the previous year, according to city staff.


Staff will determine whether and how to implement department-wide layoffs; identify programs that can be eliminated, reduced or suspended; and identify city assets that can be sold.

They will present their findings to the City Council at its Dec. 16 and Jan. 13 meetings, and members will likely vote on specific actions to be taken, Mussenden said.

Meanwhile, some El Monte officials continue to rake in substantial salaries, including the city attorney and the city’s top tier police department officials. I wonder if their salaries will be taken into consideration when staff studies cost-cutting measures.

And the big question: how could the disconnect between the estimated shortfall and the realized shortfall be so vast?



Sierra Madre under Yellow Alert


The city of Sierra Madre is under a Yellow Flag Mud Alert because of forecasted rains.

According to the city’s Web site, residents in the following areas are being asked to prepare for potential mudflow: Auburn Avenue east of Auburn Debris Basin; the development under construction north of Carter Avenue; Carter Avenue between the development and Mira Monte Avenue; Mt. Wilson Trail near Mira Monte Avenue; Churchill Road near Skyland Drive; Skyland Drive; streets below Sierra Madre Debris Dam (Sumac Trail, Brookside Lane, Woodland Drive); Yucca Trail; Lotus Lane, above Camillo Street and Sturtevant Debris Basin; Sunrise Hill Lane; Santa Anita Canyon Road above Lannan Debris Basin.

For more information visit the city’s website,or the city’s blog.

Glendora’s Kelly won’t run again


Just because the presidential election is over, doesn’t mean there isn’t still interesting election news on the horizon.

Reporter Daniel Tedford reports that Glendora Councilman Mark Kelly isn’t going to be running for reelection come March 2009.

It appears Kelly wants to spend more time with his family.

Nomination papers were due in about two weeks.

Mayor Karen Davis is also up for reelection and will be running.

Contacting Herfert

18262-herfert.jpgWhile talking to West Covina resident Alfred Williams today, he brought up Councilman Steve Herfert, who notoriously clicks away at his laptop during council meetings. 

Williams speculated that if there’s one thing that Herfert isn’t doing, it’s checking his city email address for constituent concerns. Why does he think that? Because unlike all of his other colleagues, Herfert doesn’t list his email address on the city’s web site.

I’m going take a wild guess that his email address, which he likely has even though its not on the web site, is set up the same way the other council members emails are, and it’s probably

But it’s still a fair question: Where is the contact info?

Debate over LP center plaques

20108-plaues.JPGI wrote a story for tomorrow’s paper about a pair of bronze dedication plaques at the La Puente Community Center and Youth Learning Activity Center that are causing quite a stir.

Former Mayor Louis Perez said he was told by both a former city official and an employee with Chevron Energy Solutions — the project’s contractor — that Chevron originally submitted plans to include Perez and former Councilwoman Renee Chavez’s names on the plaques. But Mayor Louie Lujan rejected the idea.

Ken Casey, business development manager for Chevron Energy Solutions, declined to comment.

Lujan called the allegations “ridiculous.”

The plaques cost the city $1,467, according to interim City Manager Frank Tripepi. They include the names of current council, the developer and the architect.

Look for the story tomorrow….

Time to face the music


The El Monte City Council meeting is tonight and we’re guessing there will be lots of comments from residents about Mayor Ernie Gutierrez’ recent arrest.

Some of his fellow colleagues on the dais have expressed their hopes that Gutierrez will make some sort of statement. But they weren’t optimistic it would actually happen.

Guess we’ll find out.

Turkey politics


It’s the season of giving, but only if you are on the right list. That’s what one San Gabriel Valley resident found out today when he swung by a turkey giveaway by Congresswoman Hilda Solis in El Monte.

Apprently, the resident said that he went to pick up a free turkey only to be told that he couldn’t have one.


A representative from Solis’ office confirmed that, yes, there was a turkey giveaway but only for people who were selected by agencies co-sponsoring the event.

So, the turkeys would be given to those agencies so that those groups could in turn give to those in need.

While there was probably the image of Solis smiling and handing out turkeys, it was to the middle man, not the people in need. As long as those in need get the turkeys, I guess that’s all that matters.

Meantime, Assemblyman Ed Hernandez had a turkey hand out of his own on Tuesday at Picasso’s Cafe in Irwindale. The event benefits Our Neighborhood Homework House.

Rosemary Gutierrez gets “re-classified”

Some interesting news out of the Baldwin Park City Clerk’s office.

About two months after Chief Deputy City Clerk Rosemary Gutierrez came back from a several-month hiatus due to an injury, she’s gone again — from the city clerk’s office that is.

Officials say Gutierrez has been “re-classified” as an administrative analyst in the Housing Department.

Gutierrez is a former Irwindale councilwoman.