Leftovers column

This week’s installment:

The November municipal elections are coming up, which means a lot of ongoing coverage about who is running, how much they’ve raised and what’s in their campaign platforms.

In El Monte, a dozen candidates are hoping to fill five seats in the city: mayor, city treasurer, city clerk and two city council seats.

Starting with the mayoral race, Ernie Gutierrez will face challenger Andre Quintero for the largely ceremonial post. Quintero is a deputy city attorney for the city of Los Angeles and a Rio Hondo College board of trustees member.

Gutierrez faced criticism last year when he allegedly showed up drunk at a Sister City event. Months later he was arrested on domestic violence allegations in a separate incident. No charges were ever filed in that case.

Moving on to the City Council, incumbents Juventino “J” Gomez and Art Barrios face four other candidates in their bids for reelection.

They are: Angel Ralph Nunez, a purchasing agent in the city’s finance department; planning commissioner Richard Garner; 30-year-old information security specialist Kien Lam; and architect Norma Macias.

City Clerk Lorene Gutierrez will face Bharat Patel, a hotel owner and planning commissioner, for her seat.

And City Treasurer Henry Velasco, who has held his post for 17 years, faces former El Monte Police Lt. Richard Thomas in that race.

**********In La Puente, there are two open seats in November’s City Council race, and only four people running.

Incumbents Lola Storing and Louie Lujan will face former Councilwoman Renee Chavez and former council hopeful David Argudo in the Nov. 3 election.

All are vying for four-year terms.

Here’s some brief background information on the candidates:
*Storing has been serving on the City Council for eight years. Her political career is familial too — her husband Charlie was on the council years back, and has served as mayor.

*Lujan is also running for his third term on the Council, as well as exploring the option of an Assembly seat run. He is currently the target of a District Attorney investigation alleging campaign contribution violations.

*Argudo is a business owner and La Puente High School graduate. He ran for council in 2007, but lost to Councilman John Solis by just 27 votes.

*Chavez ran for council in 2007, but as an incumbent. She too lost, coming in 94 votes behind Solis. But that’s not Chavez’s only failed run for political office.  She has run unsuccessfully for La Puente council before, and as a democrat e 57th Assembly District seat in 2006.
At the time, she was trying to fill the seat being vacated by her husband, Ed Chavez, who was termed out.

*********Looks like West Covina will be $1.1 million richer over the next two years, thanks to Fire Department employees who agreed to defer their raises.

Ben Baeder reported last week that the Fire Fighters Association and Fire Management Association have opted against a 5-percent raise they were supposed to receive beginning in January to help with the city’s budget deficit.

Now, they’ll get half of that proposed raise in July 2011 and the other half in January 2012.
All Fire Department employees will also get 36 hours of vacation time.

The city’s police union cut a similar deal in July, saving West Covina $1.8 million.