Here ya go, a little bit early:
It’s been a tough last several days for city leaders in the San Gabriel Valley, who have had to deal with a host of serious issues ranging from potential harassment to misdemeanor charges.
Let’s start with Temple City, which is short a council member following David Capra’s resignation last week. Capra pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation — he failed to report a campaign contribution of $1,000 or more between Jan. 25, 2007, and March 19, 2007, staff writer Alfred Lee reported.
As part of his plea deal, Capra agreed to give up his seat on the council and has also agreed not to run for public office again for four years. In addition, Capra has been placed on 36 months probation and will pay a $150 fine, according to Lee’s story.
In a statement, Capra blamed the resignation on health issues. “My health has deteriorated since my recent stroke and my decision to resign is in large part due to my current health concerns,” he said in the statement.
Regardless of the reason, Temple City is now left to pick up the pieces, including appointing a new council member and dealing with the fallout of a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office investigation into allegations Capra, Mayor Judy Wong and former Mayor Cathy Wilson solicited bribes from a developer.
Since Capra pleaded guilty to the campaign violation charge, he’s off the hook in the bribery case. But that doesn’t mean Wong and Wilson are out of hot water. That case is pending.
Moving on to Baldwin Park, an investigation was just opened to determine whether Councilman Ricardo Pacheco harassed, intimidated or retaliated against a city department head during a recent telephone interview.
Different versions of the story are floating around with some saying Pacheco cussed out this unnamed department head, and called for his or her resignation. Pacheco denies all the allegations and says these are all ploys in an election year.
He accused his peers on the dais of lying and playing political games.
“I have been a council member for more than 10 years. I have never ever disrespected anybody on this city … (This is) basically because (the rest of the council members) have no allegations to make about me. I haven’t been arrested. My residence isn’t in question. I don’t throw people out of council meetings. My family members don’t work here.”
Councilman Anthony Bejarano — who initially requested the review — said the issue isn’t personal, and it’s the city’s legal duty to investigate such allegations.
Bejarano also referred to West Covina, and the millions of dollars in lawsuits officials are facing there from harassment claims.
“We just want to make sure we do our due diligence under the law,” he said. “If it turns out this was nothing that rises to the level of harassment or retaliation — good.”