Intimidating tactics in Montebello

MONTEBELLO – Three council members attempted to attend a Montebello Police Officers Association meeting where officers rescinded an endorsement of Councilman Robert Urteaga, officials said.

On a 18-14 vote the MPOA voted Feb. 3 to revoke its political support of Urteaga as a result of a prior felony conviction.

Councilmembers Mary Anne Saucedo-Rodriguez, Kathy Salazar and Mayor Rosie Vasquez tried to influence the decision, according to three MPOA members. The MPOA members asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Salazar and Saucedo-Rodriguez waited inside the Park and Recreation Center, where the meeting was held, but were asked to leave before the meeting started, the members said. Urteaga was also inside the meeting quarters though he was not near the two councilwoman.

Vasquez could be seen in her car circling the street several times, according to MPOA members.

“They (the council members) said they were there to show support for Robert,” an MPOA member said. “They wanted to intimidate all of us. I have never seen anything like this.”

Terry Francke, president of a government watchdog group Californians Aware, said the council members did not violate the Brown Act because they did not stay for the meeting.

“The problem would start when the actual presentation or discussion starts,” Francke said.

The MPOA’s decision to rescind its endorsement comes after Urteaga’s felony conviction became public in October. In 1998, Urteaga pleaded no contest to grand theft of personal property totaling $30,000, according to court documents.

The criminal complaint filed by the District Attorney’s Office in February 1999 accused Urteaga of five counts of check forgery and one count grand theft. In a July 1999 plea agreement between Urteaga and prosecutors, the forgery counts were dropped by the district attorney.

  • Typical Bullying

    Councilmembers usually use bullying tactics to get things accomplished their way.

    Montebello is not alone…Trust me….Montebello is DEFINITELY not alone!!!

    Residents needs to raise a ruckus by remindng Councilmembers in every city that they work for the community and not themselves.

  • Theolona Ranger

    The question is not only if the councilpersons attended the meeting it is did 3 or more of them meet and discuss the City’s business (as used here Conspired) outside of an Agended open to the public City Council Meeting.
    Did anyone see them conversing?

  • Chupis

    last time I saw more drama than this was at a Lucha Libre match.

  • 43 yr Mtb resident

    The Mtb city council has been flouting the Brown Act for at least the last 5 years with regards to the Montebello Hills proposed development. Ex-city employees and some candid present employees admit that councilmembers, department heads and city employees have been meeting with the PXP’s (the Hills’ owners) representatives to push forward developing the hills at least once a week for the last 5 – 7 years without any records of who attended these meetings, minutes of the meetings or decisions made at these meetings. The city has chosen to call these clandestine meetings ‘private communications’, as though that voids the Brown Act.

    With regards to the possible misuse of the MPD by the city council, Anna Arreola complained loudly at a city council meeting that she and her husband thought that someone had died when a MPD car with flashing lights parked in front of her house and two officers approached her front door. The officers actually were delivering a letter from the city concerning the two recall petitions. Anna believes that this was an intimidation tactic and asked the city council to use a stamp to deliver any letters next time.

  • 43 yr Mtb resident

    The problem with the Urteaga felony is not what he did, but that he apparently lied by omission by leaving blank the part of his application to run for city council which asks whether he has ever been convicted of a felony. I always thought that lying on a government form was cause for a perjury prosecution. Isn’t the City of Montebello interested in clean government or honesty in public affairs? (That’s a rhetorical question, of course.) A County Deputy DA who was in contact with me about possible investigations in our fair city told me tnat unless city officials were improperly receiving monies, failing to disclose financial links to companies having business or pending developments with the city, not recusing themselves from votes concerning the aforementioned matters, the DA was willing to let the voters decide the fates of their dirty politicians rather than prosecuting them in court.

    With regards to many past and present city council members, the words: ‘honesty’, ‘ethics’, ‘proper’, ‘legal’, and ‘transparency’ are apparently missing from their dictionaries.

  • stevs

    Ethics and honesty do seem to be missing in Montebello politics. With that, it seems very odd that even though the city is having elections in November, it is still going through with an expensive and unnecessary recall election. I think there are other reasons for it other than an old felony conviction…especially when you look at the ungrounded reasons for recalling Salazar. Someone just doesn’t like them.