Rival asks Cedillo to donate campaign contributions to homeless

The money might be spent, but one of state Sen. Gil Cedillo’s political rivals wants him to give it back.

Rafael Nadal, who, like Cedillo, is a candidate for the 32nd Congressional district, is asking Cedillo to donate to the homeless and needy the $125,000 in campaign contributions the LA Times reported the senator spent on lavish hotels, meals and shopping trips.

Nadal is the parliamentarian for the Chicano Latino caucus of the California Democratic Party, and an Army veteran who has championed the cause of homeless veterans.

Nadal wrote Cedillo:

I am writing to you to request that you donate the amount of money that you spent on luxuries as reported in the Los Angeles Times (April 11, 2009) , money given to you by campaign donors. I request that you donate the same amount to food banks, shelters, churches, senior citizens, homeless women and children, and homeless veterans.

As a State Senator you reported spending $125,000 in a lavish lifestyle proper of the rich and famous. Your expenses only compare to those of Fabian Nuez, the former Speaker of the California Legislature. Let’s see, according to the Times you spent $1,203 for dinner in the Patina, the haute cuisine restaurant at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. You spent $5,705 at the Standard, the rooftop bar of the downtown hotel. Your expenses include $7,022 at Nordstrom; $3,483 at Banana Republic; $1,418 at Ann Taylor; $498 at Bloomingdale’s; $450 at Crate & Barrel; and $375 at Macy’s.

At a time of a painful economic crisis in California, I cannot believe that you would relish in such luxuries. While people are losing their homes, children go without eating, and senior citizens have to choose between buying medications or paying their rents. This is an outrage, Mr. Cedillo, shame on you, you must give the money to charities.

On top of living a lavish lifestyle, now you voted to raise taxes that affect senior citizens, when they are barely able to keep their homes, where is your compassion, Mr. Cedillo? have you lost your moral compass?. You are not worthy to serve in the U.S. Congress.
Cedillo claims that his expenditures are “ethical”, but a time where there are hundreds of homeless people in your District, I have to call your expenditures as immoral.

BP’s Lozano says he’s “vindicated” in China case

I just finished writing up this story. There’s much more meat to it, but I was limited on space. This week’s Leftovers column will have more ….

BALDWIN PARK — A criminal probe of Mayor Manuel Lozano following his 2007 all expense-paid trip to China concluded the mayor broke no laws, authorities said Thursday.

Deputy district attorneys with the DA’s Public Integrity Division began the probe in September. They had received a complaint that Lozano took the all-expenses paid trip, but never claimed it on his statement of economic interests.

In a letter dated April 13, Deputy District Attorney Juliet Schmidt said that Lozano’s trip was paid for by the Chinese government, and did not need to be reported.

“As I said from the beginning, I had not done anything wrong and if I needed to amend my forms I would do it,” Lozano said Thursday. “I wasn’t worried about anything. I hadn’t committed any crime.”

Local businessman Greg Tuttle, who said the review stemmed from a separate grievance he filed last year with the California Fair Political Practices Commission, said he was disappointed with the decision.

Tuttle had alleged the trip was paid for by a local businessman.

“(The DA) asked everyone that went on the trip if the Chinese government paid for it,” Tuttle said. “But they failed to do the one thing: (show) the Chinese government paid for it.”

Tuttle said he would continue to pursue the matter with the FPPC, which is still actively investigating the case, according to Executive Director Roman Porter
.
Lozano previously said the trip was paid for by a bank in Rowland Heights.

But on Thursday, he said he knew all along it was paid for by the government, and simply had not clarified his statements before.

According to Schmidt’s letter, because witnesses confirmed Lozano gave speeches during the trip, he did not need to report it on his statements.

First Cedillo disses endorsements, then he touts ‘em

This press release from the Gil Cedillo campaign touts his endorsements from the mayors of both Baldwin Park and Irwindale. This after the Cedillo campaign dissed endorsements.

Here’s the gist:

El Monte, CA – Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano and Irwindale Mayor Larry Burrola have retracted their duel endorsements in the race for California’s 32nd Congressional District to throw their full support behind Senator Gil Cedillo

“The race to succeed Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is too important
not to make a clear choice. After weighting the field of candidates
carefully, I have decided to pull my endorsement from Board of Equalization member
Judy Chu and throw my full weight behind State Senator Gil Cedillo,” said
Mayor Burrola. “He is clearly the most qualified candidate to represent the
working and middle class families of the San Gabriel Valley.”

“Senator Gil Cedillo’s is one of California’s top crime fighters and
a key advocate in the Legislature for improving our schools,” said Mayor
Lozano. “In Congress, Gil Cedillo will be a voice for the issues that matter most
to Baldwin Park and I am proud to endorse him”

Pleitez staffer offends West Covina council members

A staffer working on the campaign for a “26-year-old idealist from East LA” got a bit of a tongue lashing by West Covina council members on Tuesday after he used an emotional discussion about potential employee layoffs as a campaign pitch for Emanuel Pleitez, who is running for the 32nd Congressional seat.

JC Stiassni spoke on behalf of Pleitez during the public comment portion of a meeting. His comments were sandwiched in with comments by employees who were upset with a resolution that was proposed by Mayor Roger Hernandez to protect public safety employees from layoffs. His resolution did not offer the protection to non-public safety employees, and it was the non-sworn officers who spoke in fear of losing their jobs.

Then comes Stiassni, wanting to tell a story about Emanuel. Wasting the public comment time to campaign didn’t sit well with Councilman Mike Touhey, who was especailly vocal about how insensitive it was for Stiassni to use this time to campaign.

Press Secretary Emily Dulcan said that speaking at public meetings is one of the several political strategies that they have taken on in getting the word out about Pleitez. But in hindisght, she said, it probably wasn’t the best time to bring it up.

“On behalf of the campaign I want to express my apologies for the insensitivity that may have been portrayed,” Duncan said. “In no way did we mean to offend the participants.”

Fighting words from Cedillo’s camp

I was wondering just how Sen. Gil Cedillo would be combating Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s endorsement of Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu.

And then I got a press release from Cedillo’s media reps reminding us that it is the voters, not endorsements, that will decide the winner of the 32nd Congressional eat, left open after Hilda Solis took the job as Obama’s labor secretary.

This release follows a press conference today where Villaraigosa formally announced his endorsement of Chu. The photo to the left was taken at the 108th annual Golden Dragon Parade.

The Cedillo press release goes on:

It was Gil Cedillo, Supervisor Gloria Molina and Senator Gloria Romero who stood up to Villaraigosa and the other L.A. politicians and said there would be no Proposition R unless the San Gabriel Valley got its fair share of the proceeds. The efforts of Senator Cedillo and his allies were successful and thanks to them, there are 1.8 billion dollars allocated to local transportation projects that benefit San Gabriel Valley families.

Gil Cedillo is a proven leader who has taken on those big money special interests for years to help workers get better wages and benefits. He took care of the people of the San Gabriel Valley when Antonio Villaraigosa and the L.A. powerbrokers wanted to take their tax dollars and literally send it down a hole under Wilshire Boulevard.

By standing beside Antonio Villaraigosa today, Judy Chu has shown that she will cozy up to the entrenched political interests, the C-E-Os and wealthy campaign contributors and take care of their interests in Congress instead of putting the hard working families of the San Gabriel Valley first.”

‘Eager to participate’

West Covina City Council met last night, and among the items on the agenda was a request by Councilman Steve Herfert to discuss Mayor Roger Hernandez’s recent inquiry about being quoted in city press releases.

As Councilwoman Shelley Sanderson explained it, this was not intended to be an attack or “gotcha Roger” moment. It was just an attempt to clarify the city’s policy, she said. She added that the reason Hernandez had not been included in any of the recent press releases was because there have not been any grand openings of businesses since he’s been mayor, and all of the times former Mayor Sherri Lane had been quoted was on grand opening stories.

Here’s the email exchange between Hernandez and Freeland about the issue:

From: Mayor Roger Hernndez
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2009 5:41 PM
To: Chris Freeland
Cc: Mike Touhey; Shelley Sanderson; Sherri Lane; Andrew Pasmant; Sandy Galvez; Thomas Bachman
Subject: Re: Press Releases

Chris,

Thank you for your quick response and research. I may not have been clear when conversing with you and inquiring about the inclusion of a Mayor’s quotes in press releases. My request was not that the Mayor be quoted in every press release. Rather, my request was to be informed as to whether it is practice to refrain from including a quote from the Mayor in ANY press release issued by the City. It seemed odd that after several months as Mayor, I had not been asked to contribute quotes and have, indeed, not been quoted in a single press release since the commencement of my term. I do recall that previous Mayors had been quoted. As I shared with you, I am not seeking to be treated better or be given any privileges not afforded to others. I sincerely hope you did not leave with that impression. I only want to be treated equally, and certainly no worse. However, thank you for answering my question and confirming that the Mayor is quoted in, at least, some press releases. I think it is best to continue that practice, and for staff to continue to use their judgment in determining when quotes are appropriate. As spokesman for the City, you can understand that I am eager to participate in the same way that other Mayors have done in the past. I do look forward to assisting the City in the preparation of future press releases. Please let me know how and when I can assist.

Sincerely,

RH

Roger Hernndez
Mayor
City of West Covina

________________________________
From: Chris Freeland
To: Mayor Roger Hernndez
Cc: Mike Touhey; Shelley Sanderson; Sherri Lane; Andrew Pasmant; Sandy Galvez; Thomas Bachman
Sent: Wed Apr 15 18:13:09 2009
Subject: Press Releases

Dear Mayor Hernandez,

The other day you requested that City staff include quotes from you in each of the press releases that are generated by the City. As I mentioned to you, past practice has been to include quotes from the Mayor in some, but not all the press releases. For example press releases that promoted a grand opening included a quote and other significant programs and projects had a quote from the Mayor. We have not historically included a quote from the Mayor in every press release that is generated, for example the canceling of an event, invite to attend certain City activities, etc. After further discussions, to include a quote from the Mayor in every press release would be a change in the past practice that would be something for the City Council to review for the possible development of a clear policy for City staff to follow.

Chris Freeland

Deputy City Manager
City of West Covina

1444 W Garvey Ave South, West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 939-8402 direct | (626) 939-8406 fax

www.westcovina.org

Rosemead interim city manager on the outs?

It hasn’t been very long since Jeff Stewart took over the Rosemead interim city manager position — and he’s already got one foot out the door.

Stewart is in negotiations with the city of Los Alamitos for a permanent city manager position there, which means Rosemead could be out of a CM really soon.

Stewart took over after Oliver Chi resigned earlier this month, and city officials said they had hoped to keep Stewart on permanently.

“Though our desire was to have him full-time in our city, we knew there was possibility he would be leaving us,” Councilman Steven Ly said. “Our goal was we needed to have a quick change in direction of the city to acknowledge the voters’ desires … If (Stewart) does end up leaving, I’m sure we will begin our search process sooner rather than later.”

Study sessions planned for Montebello Hills

The city will hold two study sessions to review the Montebello Hills Specific Plan and associated Draft Environmental Impact Report.

The first session will be dedicated to the Montebello Hills Specific Plan and the Second Study Session will be dedicated to the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

Cook Hill Properties LLC submitted the Montebello Hills Specific Plan December 2007 to build 1,200 residential homes, a series of trails and a public park on a portion of 480 acres of open space.

Cook Hill is a development consultant for Plains Exploration & Production Co., which owns the property.

The study sessions will provide the public with the opportunity to comment on the proposed project and content of the Draft EIR.

Staff will accept written comments and public testimony during both Study Sessions. All comments will be included in the appropriate administrative records.

The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 28. The second meeting will be held on Thursday, May 7. Both meetings will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1600 Beverly Boulevard.

For more information, call (323) 887-1477.

Chu gets Villaraigosa endorsement

Judy Chu grabbed an endorsement from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, according to a press release. There will be an event tomorrow formally announcing the endorsement.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Officially Endorse Judy Chu for Congress

Mayor to be Joined by San Gabriel Valley Elected Officials at Special Press Event

EL SERENO – The Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, will be joined by his counterparts from Azusa, West Covina, South El Monte, Duarte and scores of other San Gabriel Valley elected officials on Wednesday as he officially announces his endorsement of Judy Chu in the race for the 32nd Congressional District seat recently vacated by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

The event, which will include just a fraction of the more than 75 elected officials from the San Gabriel Valley who have already endorsed Judy Chu, will feature statements from Mayor Villaraigosa and other mayors and mayors pro tem from the San Gabriel Valley

Closed schools, Rosemead guidelines and endorsements

Covina-Valley Unified School District voted to close two schools, Covina and Valencia elementaries, because of budget cuts and declining enrollment. Read here.

New council majority, new guidlines. The Rosemead City Council looks for middle groud as it rethinks the city’s building heights, parking requirements and density laws. Read here.

The California Democratic Party endorses Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu, who is running for the 32nd Congressional seat.