APU professor appointed to Baldwin Park school board


A university professor and Baldwin Park pastor has filled a recently vacated seat on the school board.

Paul Flores was appointed by a unanimous vote of the Baldwin Park Unified School District Board of Education on Thursday.

He is replacing Marco Dominguez, who resigned Jan. 1 after accepting a full-time position to teach Spanish at Texas Tech University.

Flores is director of the Azusa Pacific University Liberal Studies/Undergraduate Education K-8 Program, and an assistant professor of liberal studies. He is also a pastor at Church of the Redeemer in Baldwin Park.

Flores will finish out Dominguez’s term, which is up in November. He plans to run again during the board’s November elections.

A total of five candidates initially applied for the open seat — Flores, Luis Carranza, Olga Morales, Leonor Garcia and David Olivas, the former Baldwin Park city councilman who announced early last year he would not be defending his council seat because he wanted to focus on his law career.

Olivas and Garcia withdrew their applications before Thursday’s special meeting, district Superintendent Mark Skvarna said.

Olivas said he only applied because at the time, no other applications had been submitted.

Montebello mayor can’t talk cause she’s busy with her “grandbabies”


So it’s a big day in the Montebello Athens saga. Too bad we can’t get Montebello Mayor Rosie Vasquez on the phone long enough to comment on it.

Reporter Amanda Baumfeld called Vasquez just a few minutes ago, to ask her about a judge’s decision today to dismiss a referendum that would have given Montebello voters the chance to revoke a Athens Service trash-hauling contract.

But Vasquez couldn’t talk —- she was busy putting her grandbabies to sleep.

Here’s a snippet of Baumfeld’s story:

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Yaffe rejected the referendum at a hearing Friday after not being able to find the date when the Montebello City Clerk signed the trash contract.

A contract becomes official once a clerk signs it, officials said.

“The judge granted the motion on the basis that the signatures (for the referendum) where gather prematurely,” said Mike Montgomery. “The time didn’t start until the city clerk attested the ordinance (contract).”

A petition for a referendum was circulated in July by independent trash haulers who will lose their commercial garbage contracts in Montebello as a result of the Athens contract.
The 15-year contract with Athens, worth about $7.8 million annually was approved on a 3-2 vote by Councilmembers Kathy Salazar, Robert Urteaga and Rosie Vasquez on July 23.

Haulers worked under the assumption that the signatures had to be gathered and returned within 30 days of City Council approval of the contract.

But the judge said it is 30 days after the city clerk signs it, according to Montgomery.

Baldwin Park school board to appoint new member

Tonight’s the night.

The Baldwin Park Unified School District Board of Education is expected to appoint a new member today to fill the seat recently vacated by former member Marco Dominguez.

Here’s the list of interested candidates:

Luis Carranza
Paul Flores
Leonor Garcia
Olga Morales
David Olivas

A few interesting notes. Anthony Bejarano, Sr. and Mary Ferrer —- who ran for the board in the last election, but lost —- aren’t up for the job. Bejarano, Sr. had expressed no interest in it, and actually, he said the board should appoint Ferrer since she got more votes than he did.

And also worth mentioning, Olivas is the former Baldwin Park city councilman who announced early last year he would not be defending his seat because he wanted to focus on his attorney career.

“It’s the point in time when I should be at my peak in terms of number of clients, earnings and I simply cannot do that when I’m spending a good portion of my day being a council member,” Olivas said. 

Double endorsements: What’s the point?

So, late yesterday Irwindale Councilman Larry Burrola announced that in addition to supporting Sen. Gil Cedillo for Congress, he would also be endorsing Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu.

Burrola is not the only one endorsing both Congressional candidates; so is Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano.

It raises the question: What good is it to endorse two candidates? After all, it’s not like we can vote for two people for one seat.

Blog looks at pension problems in state

Star-News reporter Dan Abendschein points out a new blog about public pensions, Calpensions.com. The blog is a project of Ed Mendel, a reporter who covered Sacramento for nearly 30 years.

Here’s a snipet about the blog:

About us

The main focus of Calpensions.com is the pair of big pension funds based in Sacramento, the California Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System, which have two of the world’s largest investment portfolios.

There also are more than 80 smaller public employee pensions funds in California. Among them are 22 pension funds operated by counties, 32 by cities and 25 by special districts.

Most of the pension funds face the same basic issues. Are pension benefits negotiated by employer unions too generous? Will growing pension costs cut deeply into funding for other government programs?

With their investment clout, the big pension funds can push for better corporate performance, energy-efficient buildings and other policies. The operations of these wealthy and powerful funds are worth a closer look.

UPDATE: Some local pols support Cedillo


So who does Sen. Gil Cedillo, who is running against Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu for Congress, have on his side? Here’s a list of his endorsements.

Among the local pols supporting him are:

City of Monterey Park
Mayor Benjamin “Frank” Venti

City of Baldwin Park
Mayor Manuel Lozano* (He is also supporting Chu)
Council Member Marlen Garcia

City of Irwindale
Mayor Larry Burrola* (Also endorsing Chu)
Mayor Pro Tem Manuel Ortiz

City of La Puente
Council Member John Solis

City of Duarte
Council Member Phil Reyes

El Monte Union High School District
Board Member Carlos Salcedo
Board Member Salvador Ramirez

Azusa Unified School District
Clerk Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez

Hospital expansion passes

The Covina Planning Commission on Tuesday approved plans for an extension of the Aurora Chater Oak Hospital, located in a residential neighborhood and next to an elementary school. The commission approved it on a 4-1 vote, and now it will move to the City Council.

Residents have 30 days to appeal the decision.

Kelly endorses Murabito for Glendora council

Departing City Councilman Mark Kelly is going to endorse Gene Murabito, planning commissioner, to fill the seat Kelly is vacating.

Kelly announced some months back he would not seek reelection after serving one term on the City Council to spend more time with his family.

Along with incumbent Karen Davis, four others are vying for spots on the council, including Brian Pagac, Kristin Parisi, Yousef Tweini, along with Murabito.

It wasn’t exactly a shocker that Kelly chose to endorse Murabito (he already supports Karen Davis’ reelection) as Murabito already works with the city and is the more high-profile candidate. Kelly’s letter is printed below.

Mr. Tedford,

I will be endorsing Mr. Gene Murabito who currently serves on our Planning Commission. Given the Economic problems of the state which will filter down to the cities, we need an experienced person who has already established relationships with both the Council and city staff. Also, Gene knows the process and issues affecting the City. We need a candidate who can hit the ground running versus taking months to learn the job. There must remain stability on the council and I feel that Gene Murabito can offer that. I only challenge Gene to keep an open mind and equally listen to the citizens of Glendora and city staff. Any elected official needs to understand who there bosses are which is the electorate.

Mark Kelly, Mayor Pro-Tem
City of Glendora

Chu endorsement tally

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu seems to be swiping up the endorsements as she campaigns for the Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Hilda Solis. 

The press release below notes that Assemblyman Mike Eng — Chu’s husband — is endorsing her. The press release also points out that she received support from council members — “many of them Latino” — in the SGV. Could that be a jab at Sen. Gil Cedillo, who is also vying for the seat?

I got this press release earlier today:

Dr. Judy Chu Announces Slew of Local Endorsements
Overwhelming Support Adds Momentum to Congressional Campaign

Dr. Judy Chu, Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization
and candidate for the 32nd Congressional District Seat being vacated
by Labor Secretary Designate Hilda Solis, announced today her
endorsement by nearly 70 elected officials representing the cities,
school districts and water boards of the 32nd District.

“I want to thank these local officials for their overwhelming
support,” said Judy Chu. “They understand that there is no other
candidate in this race that knows the people of the 32nd Congressional
District better than I do. I am part and parcel of this district,
having taught students at East Los Angeles College for 13 years, and
the people of the district have trusted me to be their leader by
electing me as their representative 9 times over the past 23 years.”

So far, Judy has been officially endorsed by the entire City Councils
of El Monte and West Covina
, the two largest cities in the district,
as well as all five members of the South El Monte City Council. In
addition, she has secured the support of a majority of Council members
many of them Latino – from most of the 15 cities in the 32nd
District, including Azusa, Baldwin Park, Duarte, Monterey Park and

“Dr. Chu’s support among the vast majority of the 32nd District’s
Latino elected officials reflects her reputation as an effective
coalition builder, and shows that she understands the issues that
matter most to the district’s ethnically diverse community,” said
Assemblymember Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, who has endorsed Judy. “I
believe she is the best person to represent the San Gabriel Valley in

Judy’s avalanche of support from the cities of the 32nd District adds
to the considerable momentum her campaign has gained since she first
declared her intention to run for the seat on Dec. 22. In addition to
Assemblymember Hernandez, Judy has been endorsed by Assemblymen Kevin
De Leon and Mike Eng, who along with Hernandez represent most of the
district’s residents at the state level, as well as nearly 30 of the
area’s school board and water board members.



Weak economy impacting fundraising, too?

The weak economy seems to be affecting just about everything. Now, Amanda Baumfeld reports that it is also affecting campaign fundraising out of Monterey Park.

There are six council candidates running in the Monterey Park race. So far, Councilman David Lau has raised nearly $75,000, although none of that occurred this year and that was all done during a fundraiser. (Man, if that was at one event, Lau sure knows how to fundraise!)

Meantime, Councilwoman Sharon Martinez has raised $10,000. She said businesses, which is where she gets her funding, are tapped out.