“Shirtless and sweaty” update: Corona gets three years probation


I just put this up on our Web site:

BALDWIN PARK – School board member Sergio Corona is serving three years probation for a misdemeanor charge stemming from his May arrest, officials said Friday.
Corona pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer in late October, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced to one day in jail, fined $150 and was ordered to pay $100 in restitution fees, she said.

The 34-year-old school board member was Tased and arrested May 22 after allegedly breaking the windows of a home on Sandstone Street. In July, he was charged with resisting arrest, misdemeanor vandalism under $400 and driving without a license. The latter two charges were dropped, Robison said.

Initial police reports claimed Corona admitted to having smoked methamphetamine and marijuana earlier in the night.

But subsequent toxicology reports did not support the allegations and Corona on denied the claims. He did, however, say he took “full responsibility” for the arrest.

Look for a full story in this weekend’s paper.

Scams in the San Gabriel Valley

Irwindale is warning its residents and business owners that a scammer is out there claiming to be distributing a “2008 Best of Irwindale Award,” and that for $100 or more, they can get a plaque. According to Irwindale’s Web site:

To claim this “award” you just need to submit your credit card information to purchase the plaque which runs upwards of $100. On November 13th, the Chamber received this award too!

Of course, no award is ever distributed.

Irwindale is not the only city that is reporting scams. Weekly, we receive calls about everything from email scams to door-to-door “salesmen” that try to bilk residents of up to thousands of dollars.

Do you have any scammer stories to share?

Mills Act could mean big money for owners of historic homes

Anybody living in a home connected to the area’s history should check this out.

Two homeowners in La Verne are applying for the Mills Act, a program that gives property tax back to families that promise to fix up and maintain their old houses. The program can save thousands every year.

The program is popular in some of the area’s older cities, such as Pasadena, Monrovia or Whittier.

Reporter Daniel Tedford called the city, and they said about 10 people in La Verne have applied.

Office space

Well, I was able to hit about two out of three Mayor’s offices today. My plans — like lots of other commuters — got a little messed up because of a jackknifed big rig that tipped over along the 10 Freeway.

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So, today I visited the council digs over at Covina City Hall. Boring! The five council members share one office, which is very impersonal.

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And then there was South El Monte Mayor Blanca Figueroa’s office, which she has worked in for neary five years. The other four council members share one office. Figueroa said that offices to envy are those in El Monte and the office that Baldwin Park Councilman Manny Lozano works out of.

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Canyon Inn escapes legislators freeze … kind of

Those who spend fast, look good doing it.

That should be the new motto for those at the Water Conservation Authority and the San Gabriel Rivers and Mountain Conservancy.

As many local agencies and cities were hit hard by the recent decision by state legislators to freeze about $4 billion in public works bonds, some places escaped the legislators cold budget grip.

How you ask?

Because they already spent the money.

Such was the case with the Canyon Inn land in Azusa that was recently purchased through grants by the Water Conservation Authority. The organization got about $1.2 million from Prop 50 bonds to help purchase the more than $3 million property at Canyon Inn to preserve the land and build a park.

That $1.2 million would have been frozen by the state legislators decisions, thus ending any opportunity to purchase the property – if they hadn’t spent the money already. Instead, all that was left was a $20,000 retainer, which is now being held by the state.

But all the RMC’s projects are now on hold due to the freeze, including the planning process for the restoration and renovations planned for the Canyon Inn area.

Look for more to come on that situation in tomorrow’s paper.

FBI agents ‘on call’ in Iraq got $45,000 in OT, CNN reports

So, this isn’t about local politics at all, but I saw this story on CNN and was amazed by it. Apparently FBI agents got overtime pay for socializing, eating and working out while in Iraq. The FBI allowed some of this as encouragement to sign up for duty in the country (somewhat understandable) but the amount of money these officers received is astonishing.

Click Here for the story.

Field trip to mayors’ digs

Rebecca Kimitch’s story about South El Monte Mayor Blanca Figueora inspired me to take a field trip to several Mayors offices and compare them to Blanca’s. I’ll be hitting up Covina, West Covina, and of course, South El Monte.

Look for pictures later in the day.

Cities should combine to save money, expert says

The leader of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership says cities should stick together, literally.

Ron Wood, the partnership’s CEO, said plenty of area cities could save cash by combining.

He said Covina and West Covina could become more efficient by becoming one municipality. So could Pasadena and South Pasadena. He also mentioned Temple City and Arcadia and El Monte and South El Monte.

The idea has been floating around for years, but he wonders if economic hard times will make people take it more seriously.

“I think it’s one of the answers to economic problems in the San Gabriel Valley,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for people to take a fresh look.”

He doubts politicians could set aside their egos to accomplish such a huge change, but he says people are more receptive to the idea than in the past.

“Sometimes crisis brings about changes in people,” he said.

Full disclosure: Wood used to be the publisher here at the Tribune.

UPDATE: Solis to get nod from Obama


San Gabriel Valley native Congresswoman Hilda Solis, D-El Monte, was nomiated as labor secretary by President-elect Barack Obama, the Associated Press reports. Solis will be the nation’s 25th labor secretary, and will succeed a seat held by Elaine Chao

But what does this mean, if anything, for us in the San Gabriel Valley? And what does that mean for Solis’ open seat?

UPDATE: Two names being tossed around to fill Solis’ seat are Sen. Gloria Romero and Assemblyman Ed Hernandez.

AP source: Rep. Hilda Solis is Obama’s labor pick
By JESSE J. HOLLAND – 40 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — A labor official says Rep. Hilda Solis of California will be nominated as labor secretary by President-elect Barack Obama.

The Democratic congresswoman was just elected to her fifth term representing heavily Hispanic portions of eastern Los Angeles County and east L.A. She is the daughter of Mexican and Nicaraguan immigrants and has been the only member of Congress of Central American descent.

The official spoke on conditions of anonymity because an announcement has not been made yet. A call to Solis’s office was not immediately returned.

Solis, 51, has focused on immigration and environment issues while in the House.

An announcement is expected from the Obama transition team in the next few days.