Hug it out, West Covina representatives

An editorial tackles Mayor Roger Hernandez’s accusations that the City Council is engaged in a gift of public funds. The editorial conlcudes:

There is every possibility that there might be something to Hernandez’s suspicions about too much money being paid for the property in question. Too much in the way of public funds are spent on redevelopment projects all the time, with little of the proper haggling and due diligence that goes on in the private sector when it’s a person’s or a business’s hard-earned money in play.

So these are legitimate questions, ones that local politicians need to ask more often, in the public interest. And it’s not news that the West Covina council is, sadly, a very dysfunctional family indeed, with no love lost between Hernandez and his colleagues.

But we deserve more from our politicians than the empty gesture that was Hernandez’s stunt.

Speaking of dysfunctional family, some of the behavior seen at City Council meetings is seen among the West Covina commissioners. On Tuesday, the City Council is going to adopt a code of ethics for its commissioners, who have apparently been acting rudely toward city staff and among one another. Among the items on the code of ethics are to be polite to one another, not say comments that could be considered heresay and not direct staff.

So what’s the answer for the West Covina City Council members and its commissioners? Here’s a light hearted recommendation: Watch this video and hug it out.

  • Anonymous

    haha, McClain just called the WC council bitches.

    Your subtle humor always gets me JM.

  • Concerned

    I find this an absolute insult to those who are on staff or on the Council that have NOTHING to do with this nonsense!

    It’s just a couple of guys and they should be held accountable!!

  • Oh Please

    Oh c’mon Mclain, this has got to be your lamest post yet…let the goofy mayor and the other guy hug one another, no one else wants to be within 100′ of them.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not from West Covina and this question is posed very sincerely. I know there are issues in every city but what “exactly” is it specifically (I’m not talking about wild speculation or opinions)…but what specifically is it that has some of you so ferociously against Roger Hernandez. I’m not here as a defender…don’t know much about the man etc. Still there seems to be a very intense animousity that I’ve never seen very clearly explained in any other than rabbid (albeit non-specific) rants.

    Again, please lay it all out. I’m not a partisan I just want to understand.

    Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t care for Roger because he’s a jerk off. His behavior, both in public and in private, has always been far from appropriate. From a personal stand point, I think he’s a an a$$. From a political standpoint, he’s an opportunistic glory hound who never champions a cause for the right reasons–he only does it for publicity.

    Others can give you a full list (it’s been posted here many times) of his various transgressions.

    For me, as a non-wc resident, and from a personal perspective, he’s just the worst kind of guy.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I’m not challenging the factualness or sincerity of anything you’ve just said but again it’s sort of typical of the comments. Very generalized and hyper-abstract assertions about his personality but nothing specific.

    I’m mean lets be honest. Pretty much ALL of these electeds have “personality” issues. I mean you have to be just a little bit full of yourself in the first place to run for office. In that regard, I don’t see how Hernandez is much different from the norm.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right. I intentionally was not specific so as not to reveal my identity, b/c much of my opinion is based upon personal interaction with him.

    However, if you ever go to a WC council meeting, you will see what I am talking about. He’s unnecessarily combative, he revels in creating conflict and drama (e.g., this special meeting he called).

    Yes, many electeds have “personality” issues. But if you spend a little time with or around the guy, you will see what I mean.

    There’s a reason why he’s been consistently on the losing end of a 4-1 vote. And while it may be fun to speculate that the other 4 are in cahoots and are corrupt, most times the most simple explanation is the accurate one: He just doesn’t play well with others.

    And that’s without even getting into the potential corruption stuff (Alhassen, etc.).

  • West Covina Resident

    What has happened to the Tribune? It’s insulting to read this trash. The Mayor is the problem. How dare you insult our City with your yellow journalism. You have lost so many readers because you don’t print the truth. What happened to respect for those who do the right thing. The Mayor lies, the Mayor takes bribes, the Mayor is hostile, the Mayor is sued, the Mayor is a crook, print the truth or fold the paper. The Tribune sucks!!!

  • Anonymous

    Get real. Every single one on the WC council is corrup. The DA needs to investigate them all. Especially Mike Touhley. He is a big time consultant for many construction companies. Tray them all the same. The city is going under thanks to their mismanagement of city money. They are too busy fighting and pointing fingers to focus on city problems and issues that really matter at this uncertain times. Focus you buch of idiots. Why do you think you pit you all into office. Grow up, knock the smart ass comments off, and get to work.

  • Old Man

    Anonymous, You call people corrupt (you forgot the “T”) which proves you are careless. You should not accuse those of corruptness without evidence. There is nothing, so this negates your claim.

    What budget issues the city faces are front and center due to the economy. Have you been in a cave? To prove my point, some members have been in office for many years and have had balanced budgets.

    The fighting I see comes from Mr. Hernandez. It’s convenient to blame them all. You need to stop calling names and pointing fingers yourself especially without any proof.

  • Anonymous

    Hernandez Record:

    Employees at the Rowland Unified School District left after Hernandez was elected to the School Board because during his Senior year in High School he was expelled for slapping his girlfriend in the face. He was actually sent from Nogales to Rowland because of this action.

    When elected to the Board, he threatened the former Superintendent at Rowland Unified School District

    When elected to The West Covina City Council he refused to resign from the Roland Board. It took Senator Gloria Romeros state legislative action to get him to understand you cant hold two offices at the same time.

    As a Councilmember he voted to give Mr. Alhassen 3.5 million taxpayer dollars. Within six months he was investigated by the DA for purchasing an SUV from Mr. Alhassen for almost nothing. He claimed he was a good businessman. Within a few months he traded in the car at a value greater than what he purchased it. Subsequently he has been seen at the Alhassen dealership weekly and is always asking for City legal fees regarding the Alhassen lawsuit, now worth over 7 million dollars to the City. Hernandez wants his buddy Alhassen to get a special deal.

    With regards to the DA investigation, he accused Councilmember Touhey of turning him into the DA. It was later revealed that the person who turned him in was actually a person who loaned him money for his campaign and Hernandez refuse to pay him.

    For the first time in the history of West Covina. A Councilman Mr. Hernandez tuitition was paid for by the City of West Covina residents. How did this $10,000+ expense benefit the residents?

    In 2006, Mr. Hernandez was investigated for Hostile work issues related to West Covina City employees. In the report by private investigator Ed McErlain, he found that Mr. Hernandez was guilty of inappropriate conduct by a preponderance of evidence. Nine City employees came forward to state incidences where Mr. Hernandez intimidated them. The City Council censored Mr. Herandez for his actions.

    In 2007 police were called to Mr. Hernandez house after screams from a woman. He resisted arrest and was uncooperative with police. The police questioned a woman at the house and she stated they were arguing. Subsequently Mr. Hernandez blamed Councilmember Touhey for calling the police. This was later proven untrue by a Sheriff Department investigation. Then after his election was in doubt, he charge the West Covina Police Department with falsifying the report. He later, after the election, admitted he was made up the charges.

    In October of 2008 Mr. Hernandez Campaign Manager plead guilty of election fraud. She registered at Hernandez house in West Covina when she lived in LA. Hernandez is also under investigation

    Two West Covina employees have filed claims against the City of West Covina for Mr. Hernandez actions. These lawsuits could cost the City more than 6 million dollars. The City Council must now defend Mr. Hernandez or settle with the employees.

  • http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/opinions/ci_12472249
  • Hernandez’s grandstanding

    Our View: Hernandez’s grandstanding

    Posted: 05/28/2009 05:29:01 PM PDT

    West Covina Mayor Roger Hernandez may have thought it would be politically savvy – politically dramatic, even – to call a special City Council meeting last week for which he had a good idea no fellow members would show up.

    So there he was, at his seat in the middle of the council horseshoe last Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m., two city staff members forced to be present, a couple of watchdog-type citizens and a reporter in the audience, all ready to call the roll.

    Though he joked about how his colleagues might be stuck in “L.A. traffic,” there’s no reason to believe the mayor thought that either a council quorum or all of his fellow council members – Shelley Sanderson, Steve Herfert, Sherri Lane and Michael Touhey – would show up.

    After seven minutes of quiet, Hernandez was forced to concede that he wouldn’t be gavelling the meeting to order that afternoon.

    Several, perhaps all, of them, had already informed Hernandez that they had time conflicts for the special meeting, and that they would not be able to make the meeting.

    The issue Hernandez had hoped to address – whether the city was being taken financial advantage of in spending $3.5 million in redevelopment funds on a senior housing project – is certainly a legitimate one.

    Hernandez acknowledges that he as well as the other four council members initially voted for the investment of public funds. The good news from the point of view of wanting to take another look at the
    Advertisement
    deal is that rules require a member who cast an “Aye” vote to call up a decision for review. There’s nothing as such wrong with doing so.

    But – and you’ll pardon the fact that wishing won’t make it so – there is something wrong with political grandstanding. It’s simply not what becomes a mayor most, wasting the people’s time with what amounted to a council-chambers dumb show.

    Council members are elected to represent the people of their city. A mayor is elected from within that council to have the honor of temporarily putting aside personal concerns and passions in order to agendize matters of importance, seek consensus and learn how to count to, in West Covina’s case, three – to a council majority vote – so that the city’s best interests are served.

    There is every possibility that there might be something to Hernandez’s suspicions about too much money being paid for the property in question. Too much in the way of public funds are spent on redevelopment projects all the time, with little of the proper haggling and due diligence that goes on in the private sector when it’s a person’s or a business’s hard-earned money in play.

    So these are legitimate questions, ones that local politicians need to ask more often, in the public interest. And it’s not news that the West Covina council is, sadly, a very dysfunctional family indeed, with no love lost between Hernandez and his colleagues.

    But we deserve more from our politicians than the empty gesture that was Hernandez’s stunt.

  • Chris Cama

    Jen, this was funny! I want a hug now.

  • Anon

    That video was so funny. But please consider with West Covina being the way it is, if someone was to take your advice the next lawsuit would be one that claims sexual harassment.

  • Debbie

    Anon:

    SOOOOOO TRUE!!! Maybe hugging isn’t such a good idea … at least John Nunez doesn’t work in that city

  • Hernandez is a loose cannon
  • Anonymous

    West Covina is one of many cities that pay for councilmembers to attend college. It doesn’t matter if a city benfits from them going to college, as long as ” THEY” benefit from it. It furthers their own future, no one elses at the city and taxpayers expense. The city of South El Monte paid for two such individuals and nothing was done. Both Councilmemders Hector Delgado and Angelica Garcia had the city pick up the tab on their books and tuition. They both recieved their degrees and are now employed by El Monte High School District and El Monte City. Now that is what I call being politically smart. They got their cake and ate it too. Congratulations to them both. They are better educated to run the city and educate the kids in South El Monte and El Monte. They do deserve this perk. They work hard to represent their city and are underpaid. Garcia and Gonzales make more money than the other three each month as elected officials. Jennifer can you check on other cities who pay for their councilmenbers to attend college? What is the total on each that has been paid out? Would they have to report it on their 700 Form, as a gift? How can I get a city to pay for my sons education at UCLA? Does he have to be a councilmenber? Please let us all know. West Covina is a far better city than South El Monte

  • McLain is bringing down the Tribune!

    This blog is down right pathetic! I’m getting tired of the constant beating up of West Covina to hide her friendship with Hernandez. It is obvious that she takes more of his side than anybody elses. Why is it the Tribune allows this nonsense? What ever happend to true, non-bias journalism? I guess that is an oxymoron!

  • Anonymous

    It just goes to show how corrup many elected officials are. Once they get into office they do what they please. They have the majority of the votes and city managers are usually in their pockets. They can’t do enough to assure them that their fondest desires are met. They literally get away with everything, unethical, illegal or not. They later move on to higher office and continue to take advantage of their elected positions. They have become very good of going away with being dishonest. We all pay the price for their nonsence.They should be recalled and not allowed to run for office any where.

  • Concerned

    Why isn’t the D.A. Investigating this abuse? Most of the cities in the San Gabriel Valley are going under. Why do these jerks get away with this? This is a outcry. Why are these so called politicians re-elected? The people that vote them in should get a swift kick in the pants. The voters need to be informed about these criminals, who do the crime, but don’t pay for it. Enough already. West Covina is doomed.

  • Ada

    It actually goes to show how clueless some people are. How do you fools know it’s abuse, how do you know elected’s are all corrpt?? You don’t! You just spew your hate-filled lies. You are the one who needs a swift kick in the pants for your stupid remarks.

    You idiots should research things before you open your fat mouths. I read this blog and then have researched this myself and there has been no crime done.

    Your fools!

  • Anonymous

    So who died and made you judge and jury? We will see if there was a crime committed! It is called “conflct of interest.” Research that, Mr. Know It All. Yeah right.

  • Ada

    Because you have NOTHING Anonymous but air to support your lame comments.

    I have read all the documents and know someone that went to the city meeting. Everything was done according to the law.

    So what DO you have for your evidence these people are crooks? Again NOTHING!!!!

    I am a voter so I can be the judge and jury expecially since I got off my butt to get the information, unlike YOU.

  • Question Is

    The question is: drum roll please, Why did Mayor Hernandez vote for a project in a public forum, then all of a sudden decide oops I’ve changed my mind??? This question is the one that needs to be answered and investigated big time.

  • Anonymous

    Hernandez knew no one would show for the special meeting. He even made a comment at the previous city council meeting that the council was trying to delay putting the district issue until the next meeting which they know is being cancelled since they are out of town.

    Hernandez is for himself – period. He can lend himself $100,000, but does not have the money to pay his own tuition. Hernandez wanted a campaign contribution from the developer. When they said “NO” he was against the project, after voting for the project. Roger is now the new John Kerry – West Covina version.

  • Interesting

    Anonymous you seem to know alot. I think it would be interesting to find out how often and who the WC Mayor Hernandez tries to get money from developers. This should be looked into!

  • Anonymous

    Tribune please show and print all 700 Forms and 420 Financial Statements for the last four elections in West Covina. That will show who is lying and who should not worry. It will be written in black and white. Right?

  • WC Voter

    If Mayor Hernandez has a $100,000 for his campaign then the question is why didn’t he pay for himself to go to school. As a taxpayer I’m appalled that I have to pay for a SLIMY politician like him to get a degree. No wonder West Covina has budget issues. It’s high time we stand up to Hernandez and say “PAY FOR THINGS YOURSELF AND STOP TRYING TO GET A FREE RIDE”.

  • http://None Anon

    About grandstanding…the folks who have commented about this gesture (Ie. Hernandez grandstanding) don’t realize that the mayor was forced to call the special meeting. The city had to sign the documents within, oh, days… because escrow would be closing. If he didn’t call the meeting and at least try to reverse that stupid deal, then there would be little chance to do it later (and at a higher cost). So, what some have called “grandstanding” was an act of necessity. Hope that is something to think about.

    To the individual that read all the documents and appears to think that makes him or her qualified to say that nothing is going on (Ada)…it’s not about reading the documents. It’s about analyzing them and asking critical questions. I’m not going to do your homework for you but you should look back, think about the state of this economy, think about the selling price, the players, think about how quickly everything moved…something does not add up.

    And, Old Man…you made me laugh. You said that because Anonymous or someone forgot a “t” it is proven that they are careless and basically have no credibility. Wow. One spelling error and you can’t listen to a word that one gal or guy has written. That’s just stupid, frankly. Sorry.

  • Get A Clue

    Anon you obviously are getting info. from Hernandez as you are so quick to defend and believe his untruths, but the facts are just the facts…Mayor Hernandez called for a special meeting when he knew no one was available (PHOTO OP), he voted for a project in public and later declared he changed his mind. Evidently he must not of done his due diligence as a councilmember in a timely fashion and voted to approve a project and later changed his mind. This seems blatently obvious that this is his normal routine when something doesn’t go his way. As I understand it this money can only be used for housing, so what better use of the money than to build affordable housing for seniors. So I find your comments interesting, uneducated and to use your words, frankly stupid.

  • Anon

    Well Jen, the council didn’t take your advice. The council was their usual selfs on Tuesday night.

    BTW – for people that complain about the posts here aren’t real reporting. Blogs are not meant to be your only news source. They are more like an interactive editorial.

  • Anonymous

    Hernandez was so sick he had to leave the council meeting early, but was talking in the parking lot to people 30 mintues later!! I guess he did not want to go on the record and make tough budget decisions. He will claim was not part of the conversation so he can’t express an opinion.

    Roger’s problem is simple – he is a dishonest person who expects to be paid to play. When he can’t get his way, which impacts his bribe income, he says everyone but him is being paid-off. If Roger is correct, then he is the dumb one for not getting his piece with the others. Again, Roger can’t play well with others – he wants everything, does not want to share in the kick-backs.

    By the way – all but the parts about Roger are tongue in check comments.

  • Anonymous

    Hernandez was so sick he had to leave the council meeting early, but was talking in the parking lot to people 30 mintues later!! I guess he did not want to go on the record and make tough budget decisions. He will claim was not part of the conversation so he can’t express an opinion.

    Roger’s problem is simple – he is a dishonest person who expects to be paid to play. When he can’t get his way, which impacts his bribe income, he says everyone but him is being paid-off. If Roger is correct, then he is the dumb one for not getting his piece with the others. Again, Roger can’t play well with others – he wants everything, does not want to share in the kick-backs.

    By the way – all but the parts about Roger are tongue in check comments.

  • http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/opinions/ci_12472249