Leftovers column

Here ya go….

The race for the 57th District Assembly seat is heating up.

Baldwin Park Councilwoman Monica Garcia is the latest candidate to throw her name in for the June 2010 primaries.

She joins a growing list of local politicians vying for the seat, which comes open when state imposed term limits catch up to incumbent Democrat Ed Hernandez.

Besides Garcia, La Puente Mayor Louie Lujan, West Covina Mayor Roger Hernandez and West Covina Councilman Steve Herfert have all filed statements of an intent to run for the seat, according to documents filed with the California Secretary of State.

Garcia, 34, said people have been encouraging her since last year to run for the 57th District. She made her decision last month.

“I know that right now is a critical time for our state and even more so for our district, for the 57th,” Garcia said. “I want to go up to Sacramento and make sure our district is getting its fair share.”

Garcia said she has always been an advocate for “working-class communities,” and has spent about a decade working in public service.

“I want to make sure the working families I’ve served over my career — over 10 years, children, seniors — I want to make sure they are protected and we take a sustainable approach to balance the budget,” she said.

Garcia was elected to the Baldwin Park City Council in 2007, and served on the city’s Planning Commission prior to that.

She has also worked for state Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, has spent time working with inner-city youth while attending USC as undergraduate student, and has worked in Washington, D.C., with a group advocating for women, children and families, Garcia said.

“I really have committed myself since college to serving populations that are disadvantaged,” she said.

Montebello City Councilwoman Kathy Salazar is a woman who is willing to fight for what she believes in.

Salazar passed up the chance to settle a lawsuit with the city for $25,000 because she wanted her name — and only her name — on a city plaque.

Salazar first filed the lawsuit against the department, the city and former Police Chief Garry Couso-Vasquez in 2007, claiming she was wrongfully booted from the Citizen’s Patrol Unit.

Reporter Amanda Baumfeld got a hold of court documents last week and reported that Salazar’s demanded $25,000; reinstatement into the unit; and recognition as its sole founder.

But the city wanted to list her on a plaque as the group’s co-founder — and Salazar wasn’t having it.

“The city kept saying, ‘no, no, no,’ and the price kept going up, up, up,” Salazar told Baumfeld. “We went to mediation three times because I just wanted to finish this.”

Under the latest settlement agreement, Salazar would be awarded $130,000 — $80,000 of which would go to her attorney — she would be reinstated into the Citizen’s Patrol Group and recognized as the sole founder.

Her only problem now is Couso-Vasquez, who has said he would rather go to trial then agree to the settlement.