Lujan still being investigated


Just got off the phone with Dave Demerjian, head of the district attorney’s Public Integrity Division.

He said a lingering case investigating alleged campaign finance violations by La Puente Mayor Louie Lujan is still ongoing.

No charges have been filed yet.

“We’re still working it,” Demerjian said.

Last we heard, a grand jury was supposed to be held in August and former water board member Leon Garcia was subpoenaed to attend.

We never heard back from Garcia about whether or not it actually happened, and Demerjian can’t confirm grand jury proceedings until — or if — criminal charges are filed.

Meanwhile, you could follow Louie on Twitter — except he hasn’t tweeted yet.

Are you ready for some football?


It’s almost official — almost.

With the larger of two legal challenges against an NFL Stadium in Industry settled, officials are saying that the hope of pro football returning to LA are “that close.”

The Industry City Council approved a $9 million settlement agreement with Walnut on Thursday. That leaves only one legal challenge left — a lawsuit filed by a citizens group in Walnut.

It appears talks to settle that suit have broken down, though I’m sure billionaire developer Ed Roski Jr.’s people aren’t giving up that easy.

In the meantime, take our online poll (just scroll down the homepage) to vote for which NFL team you would like to see in LA.

Pasadena looks at retirees for possible cost-savings

Pasadena officials may have identified an easy way to save millions in crucial city dollars — identify retiring employees and then decide whether to fill their positions.

Dan Abendschein reports the city has identified 35 employees who are likely to retire this year and are studying the potential savings of keeping their posts vacant.

There’s no telling who will actually retire and its still unclear if city officials would actually keep their positions open, fill them or opt for some kind of solution in between.

But the move could potentially save the city millions.

$9 million settlement looming in Walnut Vs. Industry lawsuit

James Wagner reports that Walnut has agreed to drop its lawsuit against Industry over the proposed NFL stadium for $9 million, among other concessions.

The settlement agreement was approved by the Walnut City Council on Tuesday. It’s expected to go before the Industry City Council this morning.

According to Wagner’s story
, “Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Industry will pay Walnut $9 million for traffic improvements. In addition, Industry will pay for all improvements on Valley Boulevard near Fairway Drive and pay a ‘fair share’ of three other traffic improvement projects.

Industry will also guarantee that Walnut receives an annual payment into a ‘community fund.’ The amount of that payment will vary year-by-year depending on how many events the stadium hosts. Estimates in the agreement suggest that Walnut would receive $350,000 per year if at least 24 events are held. That amount would go up with the number of events, and can also be raised for inflation.”

The most interesting part however is that a provision in the agreement prohibits Walnut officials from helping any opposition to the project — that includes a pending lawsuit filed by Citizens for Community Preservation Inc.

It seems Walnut Councilman Joaquin Lim may not understand that provision. He told Wagner today that if the Citizens group held a meeting and invited him, he would attend.

The Terminator comes to Monrovia

32222-the-terminator-1-1024.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a trip to Monrovia this morning and saved a group of developmentally disabled residents from being thrown out on the streets.

The nearly two dozen residents of Regency Apartments — ages 21 to 61 — got notices in August that their leases were being terminated in order to comply with housing laws.

Apparently the complex is classified as a senior citizen community, so residents under 62 were asked to vacate.

But on Friday, Schwarzenegger paid a personal visit to tenants of the building and brought with him some good news — they don’t have to move.

Eviction terminated.

El Monte Transit Village in more trouble

For many, a massive, billion-dollar development plan for the El Monte Transit Village was always a little bit far-fetched.

But ever since the president of the development company pegged to build the center was arrested on fraud allegations, the proposal has been lost on a growing number of people.

Just last week, city officials considered canning $2.5 million in federal dollars for a green building within the village, because the fraud investigation made it difficult for developers to meet certain conditions, according to reporter Rebecca Kimitch.

That’s in addition to $40 million in state grants that have already been lost as a result of Titan Development President John Leung’s June arrest.

El Monte police took Leung and another Titan executive into custody on suspicion of fraud, embezzlement, and theft. The pair were released and no charges have been filed against them, but the probe has been turned over to the District Attorney’s office.

The entire scandal is doing serious damage to the already shaky project.

Still, city officials are doing what they can to keep their dreams for a transit-oriented, destination spot — and the $2.5 million federal grants — alive.

“We can’t afford to lose what we have going,” Councilwoman Emily Ishigaki said.

Need Rose Bowl tickets? Gotta get on the list

If you were lucky or connected enough to score some Rose Bowl game tickets last year through a Pasadena official, that may have been the last time.

The Pasadena City Council has tightened the rules behind giving out complimentary tickets to the annual game, Star-News reporter Dan Abendschein reported last week.

This comes after a California Fair Political Practices Commission decision last December ruled in favor of disclosure.

That means now, council members have to submit the names of people to whom they give tickets and a reason for the gift.

And there’s a special list of “qualified ticket recipients,” too, which includes business owners, family members, volunteers and residents who do work on behalf of Pasadena.

Each council member gets 90 tickets to distribute, and the mayor gets 150.

No, the tickets aren’t free.

But considering how fast the Rose Bowl game sells out, it would be nice to have the option of buying tickets without having to stand in line for hours, or purchasing tickets at three times the price online.

Duvall denies “sexual conquests”

31996-duval_large.jpgFormer Assemblyman Mike Duvall may have been caught on tape bragging about his “sexual conquests” to a fellow lawmaker, but that doesn’t mean they actually happened.

The married Republican from Yorba Linda — whose district includes parts of La Habra — tendered his resignation last week, after a July videotape of him recounting sexual encounters with two alleged lobbyists surfaced.

In the videotape, Duvall talks about having sex with the women and details his spanking fetish.

He makes other remarks as well, but those are too lewd to mention here.

Still, despite the on-air sexual confessions — the talk about simultaneous affairs and references to skimpy underwear — Duvall specifically denies ever having an affair.

“I want to make it clear that my decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs,” he said in a written statement released on Wednesday. “My offense was engaging in inappropriate story-telling and I regret my language and choice of words.”

Former Rosemead mayor runs for school board


It seems former Rosemead Mayor John Tran just can’t stay out of the political ring.

Five months after losing his seat on the Rosemead City Council by just one vote, Tran is now trying for the El Monte Union High School District board, which serves parts of Rosemead.

Tran will be facing six candidates in the Nov. 3 race: incumbents Tonson Man, Carlos Salcedo and Theresa Velasco, and newcomers Ben Escobedo, Jane Myring and Steve Ortiz.

He also would have been facing former El Monte Police Chief Ken Weldon, who pulled papers to run on July 15. But Weldon must have had a change of heart — he never filed his nomination forms.

Tran served on the Rosemead City Council for four years.

He lost a bid for reelection in March, but didn’t give up that easy. He filed a lawsuit and challenged dozens of disqualified ballots, which resulted in four additional votes going to Tran.

But it still wasn’t enough to beat Councilwoman Sandra Armenta, who won by one vote.

Pico Rivera officials safe from parking tickets?


Parking tickets.

We all get them, except that is if you’re one of the 15 to 20 Pico Rivera officials and their family members who were exempt from parking violations.

A public safety employee — who requested anonymity citing job safety — told reporter Bethania Palma Markus that six city parking enforcement officers were told in March not to ticket vehicles belonging to certain elected officials and an administrator.

How would they be able to tell?

Apparently, the hand-held devices they use to issue citations were programmed so that the license plate numbers of vehicles belonging to those people would show up as “exempted vehicles,'” according to the unnamed employee.

City officials said the policy was a way to keep the City Council and the city manager from being ticketed while out on city business.

But the employee said they were told not to ticket certain relatives of the council and city manager as well.

“Why should we penalize our City Council when they are doing (city) business?” City Manager Chuck Fuentes asked at a council meeting last week. “I think it is very legitimate.”