The search is over: La Puente finally hires city manager

LA PUENTE – After more than a year with an interim city manager, La Puente has hired a permanent chief executive.
Josefina Mendez Kenline — who has been working as a part-time volunteer for the city and served as the assistant to city managers in Colton and Indio — will begin work Tuesday.
Her first order of business will be getting more familiar with people who live an work in La Puente, she said.
“I am looking forward to getting out into the community and getting to know the people, because in my opinion that’s where real life happens,” said Kenline, who lives in Yucaipa and hopes to move closer soon.
She replaced interim City Manager Frank Tripepi, who has acted as chief executive since Carol Crowley retired from the post in September 2008.
While Mendez Kenline, 47, has never served as an executive in any city, City Council members were impressed with her 20 years experience in municipal government and her ability to get along with the city’s staff, said Mayor Louie Lujan.
“She offered some volunteer hours in the city manager’s department and the entire staff and council got to know her,” he said. “She served for a number of cities, she had a good wealth of training in a lot of positions. She’s well cross-trained.”
Mendez Kenline will be paid $160,000, according to a contract approved unanimously at a Nov. 24 council meeting. If she gets fired within the first year, she will get nine months serverance pay, and she will get a year’s pay if she fired after that, according to the contract.
Mendez Kenline immediately will face a bevy of redevelopment issues in the working-class city of about 40,000 residents.
The city’s largest sales-tax producer, Ed Butts Ford, has been pressuring the city to offer redevelopment assistance for expansion and advertising. But the city has declined, setting off a war of words between council members and the Iannone family, which owns the dealership.
Another major issue is the redevelopment of the former bowling alley site on Hacienda Boulevard.
The city in 2004 began an effort to purchase and redevelop the 6.5 acre site, but it still remains vacant.
And the city could soon begin to craft a plan to take advantage of an NFL stadium proposed for neighboring Industry, which would be built if developer Ed Roski Jr. is able to bring a team to the Los Angeles market.
The council doesn’t expect Kenline to tackle everything at once, Lujan said.
“We’re taking it a day at a time,” he said. “She’s going to have a plate full of items to look at.”
ben.baeder@sgvn.com

U.S. Labor Secretary Solis mum on Industry NFL stadium

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was in town Tuesday morning, visiting the Los Angeles Electrical Training Institute, a union center in Commerce that teaches electrical skills, and talking green jobs.
So we asked Solis – the former U.S. representative for El Monte, West Covina and Baldwin Park – what she thought of the plan to build a $800-million, 75,000-seat “green” NFL stadium in Industry.
Solis punted the question, saying she was “not really aware of it.”
When asked if she had any thoughts, she replied: “Not really because I’m here mostly to talk about what our investments are.”
Solis was referring to the federal grants and contributions made to California to promote green jobs.
Maybe Solis was caught off guard by the question but the NFL stadium issue has been a hot topic for the region and state, given Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval of the stadium plan.
Labor unions heavily backed the stadium plan as billionaire developer Ed Roski and his Majestic Realty Co. touted the project as a way to create 18,000 jobs and create $760 million in yearly economic output.

Fond farewell

By the time you read this, I’ll almost be gone.

Sounds like an opening line to a bad runaway note, but it’s the truth.

This is the last blog entry I’ll be writing for the Tribune as I’m moving on from journalism to that other side of information sharing — internal communications at USC’s health sciences department. My last day here is actually today. In in about four hours, my last shift will be over.

It’s been a crazy two and half years here filled with missteps, personal growth, opportunity and of course loads of experience.

I’ve been working in professional newspapers since I was 19, but I have to say no newsroom has been quite like this one. Working in the San Gabriel Valley gave me a crash course in real crime, real politics and real people.

And now it’s really time to go. This isn’t to say I won’t ever return to journalism (readers out there are either smiling or cringing at that thought) — journalism and writing has always been my passion.

It’s the art of storytelling that compels me. But for now, the transition is right for me and my future.

Lucky for you, it isn’t the end of this column or the blog. City Editor Ben Baeder will be taking over and he’s already got a list of ideas of to flesh out.

He’ll also have the help of the rest of the reporters in the newsroom for inspiration.

Keep reading …

Longtime school board member Fuller exits with grace

After losing his seat Tuesday in the West Covina Unified School District school board race, George Fuller took defeat with grace and a sense of professionalism.

He lost to challenger Eileen Jimenez and incumbent Jessica Shewmaker.

“Ms. Shewmaker has done a good job and I assume she will continue to do so. I really do congratulate her for what she has done. I would like to say it has been a real pleasure to serve the community. I appreciate those who have supported me over the years. I look forward to serving the community in years to come and really appreciate that.”

Fuller, upon reflection, felt his stance on a contract issue with San Jose Edison Academy may have been his stalling point. He took an unpopular stance, he said, which may have given fuel to Jimenez’s campaign.

Final results: SGV, Whittier-area cities

– BALDWIN PARK CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

SUSAN RUBIO 2,178 29.74
MARLEN GARCIA 1,673 22.85
CRUZ BACA SEMBELLO 1,605 21.92
ANTHONY J BEJARANO 1,275 17.41
HENRY HUANG 592 8.08

– BALDWIN PARK CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

SUSAN RUBIO 2,178 29.74
MARLEN GARCIA 1,673 22.85
CRUZ BACA SEMBELLO 1,605 21.92
ANTHONY J BEJARANO 1,275 17.41
HENRY HUANG 592 8.08

– BALDWIN PARK CITY GEN MUNI MAYOR

MANUEL LOZANO 2,491 58.46
RICARDO PACHECO 1,770 41.54

– DIAMOND BAR CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

STEVE TYE 3,081 24.01
RON EVERETT 2,624 20.45
LING-LING CHANG 2,408 18.76
ROBERT L VELAZQUEZ ,384 10.78
DAVID T LIU 1,291 10.06
LUCY HUANG 1,148 8.94
S DHAND 898 7.00

– DUARTE CITY GEN MUNICIPAL COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

MARGARET E FINLAY 1,429 20.67
T PARAS-CARACCI 1,292 18.69
PHIL REYES 1,104 15.97
ROSALIE ZESATI 883 12.77
LIZ REILLY 869 12.57
BROOKS-WASHINGTON 399 5.77
TONY SANCHEZ 379 5.48
ARTHUR L MOSS 374 5.41
M WILSON-BUCHANAN 84 2.66

– EL MONTE CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

NORMA MACIAS 2,790 30.05
J “J” GOMEZ 1,590 17.13
RICHARD GARNER 1,515 16.32
ART BARRIOS 1,379 14.85
KIEN LAM 1,280 13.79
ANGEL RALPH NUNEZ 730 7.86

– EL MONTE CITY GENERAL MUNI MAYOR

ANDRE QUINTERO 3,621 67.48
ERNEST G GUTIERREZ 1,745 32.52

– EL MONTE CITY SPEC MUNI MEASURE

RR – OVERNIGHT PARKING ADVISORY – YES 2,028 38.99
(ADVISORY VOTE ONLY) – NO 3,173 61.01

P – MAYOR/COUNCIL TERM LIMITS – YES 2,153 41.53
(MAJORITY OF VOTES CAST) – NO 3,031 58.47

– LA PUENTE CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

DAVID E ARGUDO 1,083 31.14
LOUIE LUJAN 838 24.09
RENEE CHAVEZ 785 22.57
LOLA K STORING 772 22.20

– MONTEBELLO CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

W M MOLINARI 2,383 16.57
A R “ART” BARAJAS 2,255 15.68
FRANK A GOMEZ 2,006 13.95
G “JOE” VENEZIANO 1,765 12.27
R “ROSIE” VASQUEZ 1,603 11.15
NANCY CADENA-PEREZ 1,364 9.48
JAMSHID J JAVAHERI 1,213 8.43
JORGE MANZUR 1,143 7.95
RICHARD GARCIA 651 4.53

- MONTEBELLO CITY SPEC MUNI MEASURE

M – PUBLIC SAFETY ORDINANCE – YES 3,552 81.81
(55% OF VOTES CAST) – NO 790 18.19

– PICO RIVERA CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

DAVID W ARMENTA 1,754 21.59
GUSTAVO CAMACHO 1,605 19.75
EA “PETE” RAMIREZ 1,190 14.64
M “MARTY” MORONES 1,176 14.47
RON BEILKE 1,110 13.66
LUIS ALVARADO 931 11.46
RAUL RIESGO 360 4.43

— SANTA FE SPRINGS CITY GEN COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

LOUIE GONZALEZ 1,155 18.87
BETTY PUTNAM 981 16.03
JUANITA TRUJILLO 974 15.92
MICHAEL MADRIGAL 855 13.97
JOSE ANGEL ZAMORA 722 11.80
LILLIAN C PUENTES 639 10.44
ALBERT “AJ” HAYES 438 7.16
GARY MENDEZ 356 5.82

– SO EL MONTE CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

ANGELICA R GARCIA 638 35.46
JOSEPH J GONZALES 539 29.96
BLANCA M FIGUEROA 380 21.12
RAUL PARDO 242 13.45

– SO EL MONTE CITY GEN MUNI MEASURE

SE – EXTENSION OF MAYORAL TERM – YES 631 58.64
(MAJORITY OF VOTES CAST) – NO 445 41.36

– SO PASADENA CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

M A CACCIOTTI 2,346 39.09
PHILIP C PUTNAM 2,033 33.87
W “BILL” SHERMAN 1,623 27.04

– WEST COVINA CITY GEN MUNI COUNCILMEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

SHERRI LANE 4,670 21.42
MICHAEL TOUHEY 4,342 19.92
SHELLEY SANDERSON 4,225 19.38
FREDRICK SYKES 3,671 16.84
COLLEEN B ROZATTI 2,974 13.64
S GOMEZ-PEDROZA 1,915 8.79

WEST COVINA CITY GEN MUNI MEASURE

D – COUNCIL ELECTION BY DIST – YES 3,057 37.08
(MAJORITY OF VOTES CAST) – NO 5,187 62.92

Final election results for SGV, Whittier-area schools

– EL MONTE CITY SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

A R SALCEDO 2,271 22.91
EDDIE ZUNIGA 2,191 22.11
ROBERTO E CRUZ 2,046 20.64
JANYE LEE IBERRI 2,001 20.19
ROBERT M BARRIOS 1,402 14.15

– GARVEY SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

A “TONY” RAMOS 866 27.89
JOHN YUEN 750 24.15
IRENE FLORES 748 24.09
BOB BRUESCH 741 23.86

– MOUNTAIN VIEW SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

JOE A MORENO 1,105 26.42
ROBERT L GRIFFITH 1,104 26.40
ADAM C CARRANZA 1,042 24.92
IRMA L ZAMORANO 931 22.26

– ROSEMEAD SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

DENNIS MCDONALD 687 20.81
RHONDA A HARMON 645 19.53
FRED S MASCORRO 638 19.32
FRANCES R CHAVEZ 426 12.90
ROBERT KHAN TRAN 423 12.81
TRACY L LOA 346 10.48
BARBARA MURPHY 137 4.15

– VALLE LINDO SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

GLORIA OLMOS 489 32.19
RUDY T MARTINEZ 390 25.67
DAVID R DEL RIO 368 24.23
J “JACKIE” TOVAR 272 17.91

– EL MONTE UNION HIGH SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

CARLOS G SALCEDO 4,509 22.96
T “TESS” VELASCO 3,204 16.31
JOHN TRAN 3,005 15.30
BEN ESCOBEDO 2,808 14.30
TONSON MAN 2,616 13.32
STEVE A ORTIZ 1,919 9.77
JANE M MYRING 1,580 8.04

– BALDWIN PARK UNIFIED SCH GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

HUGO ANTONIO TZEC 2,284 33.28
TERESA I VARGAS 1,667 24.29
PAUL A FLORES 1,311 19.10
OLGA S MORALES 1,243 18.11
JAMES MILLER 359 5.23

– BASSETT UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

VICTORIA A MEDINA 590 17.30
ART SANDOVAL 523 15.34
PAUL SOLANO 510 14.96
TAIWAN A ALVARADO 479 14.05
R “BOB” FUENTES 431 12.64
ANDREA S ELIAS 359 10.53
JOSHUA L ACEVEDO 229 6.72
LIZET ANGULO 105 3.08
MARISSA V CASTRO 98 2.87
FRANK T MORALES 86 2.52

– CHARTER OAK UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

JANE A BOCK 1,236 34.87
DON DAVIS 1,101 31.06
DAVID R ROSE 816 23.02
P “TRISH” DIAZ 392 11.06

– COVINA-VALLEY UNIFIED SCH GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

CHARLES M KEMP 1,926 30.50
RICHARD WHITE 1,728 27.37
KIM ROGERS 1,426 22.58
TERI M MEISTER 1,234 19.54

– DUARTE UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

REYNA E DIAZ 1,725 36.76
KEN M BELL 1,674 35.68
TOM REYES 1,293 27.56

– EL RANCHO UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

RACHEL CANCHOLA 2,807 29.47
RITA JO RAMIREZ 1,876 19.70
JOE RIVERA 1,849 19.41
LUPE SALAS 1,669 17.52
LORRAINE DE LA O 1,323 13.89

– GLENDORA UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

CHUCK GOMER 2,535 31.29
MIKE A GAUTREAU 2,072 25.58
DENICE K DELGADO 2,051 25.32
LINDA S BOYD 1,443 17.81

– HACIENDA LA PUENTE UNIFIED GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

RUDY R CHAVARRIA 3,162 23.63
ANITA PEREZ 3,068 22.93
JOSEPH K CHANG 2,899 21.67
HENRY E GONZALES 2,253 16.84
MIKE ITOW 1,998 14.93

– LA CANADA UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

SCOTT E TRACY 1,687 22.21
SUSAN BOYD 1,649 21.71
JOEL PETERSON 1,574 20.72
NEAL S MILLARD 1,244 16.37
DAVE WILCOX 749 9.86
ERNEST J KOEPPEN 694 9.14

– MONTEBELLO UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

HECTOR A CHACON 5,490 27.04
EDWIN “ED” CHAU 4,913 24.20
GERRI GUZMAN 4,306 21.21
C M ILLINGWORTH 3,651 17.98
MARYLOU SAAVEDRA 1,945 9.58

– NORWALK-LA MIRADA UNIF SCH GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 4

ED HENGLER 2,296 18.66
ANA M VALENCIA 2,198 17.86
MARGARITA L RIOS 2,174 17.67
DARRYL R ADAMS 2,065 16.78
CHRIS PFLANZER 1,890 15.36
J G URQUIDI 1,681 13.66

– ROWLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

ROBERT F HIDALGO 1,901 18.05
CARY C CHEN 1,764 16.75
GILBERT G GARCIA 1,667 15.83
A KIMO MORRIS 1,464 13.90
PHILLIP R ESTRADA 1,373 13.04
CECILIA S ORNELAS 1,085 10.30
C J GREEN 722 6.85
BRIAN A GUTIERREZ 557 5.29

– SAN GABRIEL UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

DENISE MENCHACA 1,257 21.44
PHILIP HU 1,243 21.20
MATTHEW C STADTLER 978 16.68
KEN K TCHENG 945 16.12
ANDREW L AMMON 724 12.35
CYNTHIA L JUVINALL 715 12.20

– SAN MARINO UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

C JOSEPH CHANG 1,655 32.19
JENG YEN 1,483 28.85
NAM JACK 1,465 28.50
L “LINDA” WU 538 10.46

– TEMPLE CITY UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

MATT W SMITH 1,165 39.80
JOE WALKER 1,058 36.15
K KNOLLENBERG 704 24.05

– WALNUT VALLEY UNIFIED SCH GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

NANCY A LYONS 2,972 26.26
HELEN HALL 2,586 22.85
CINDY M RUIZ 2,252 19.90
ANYORK LEE 2,142 18.93
MICHAEL WEST 1,365 12.06

– WEST COVINA UNIFIED SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

EILEEN M JIMENEZ 1,989 22.99
JESSICA SHEWMAKER 1,792 20.71
GEORGE FULLER 1,718 19.86
MICHAEL T FLOWERS 1,596 18.45
MINDY MIRACLE 1,557 18.00

– KEPPEL UNION SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

ROBERT M DUTTON SR 437 18.26
CHRISTINE C SMITH 434 18.14
VANCE D POMEROY 426 17.80
GEORGIA L HALLIMAN 410 17.13
JEFF SAUER 362 15.13
JAMES MONROE LEER 324 13.54

– LITTLE LAKE CITY SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 2

HILDA A ZAMORA 1,626 43.21
GEORGE S BUCHANAN 995 26.44
A “AJ” MUMTAZ 802 21.31
HENRY J BESTWICK 340 9.04

– LOS NIETOS SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

MARISA B HERNANDEZ 563 27.28
ART ESCOBEDO 483 23.40
SILVIA R MONGE 312 15.12
DIANA L VILLALBA 270 13.08
GRISEL VASQUEZ 258 12.50
DAVID NAVA 178 8.62

– SOUTH WHITTIER SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

JORGE S HERNANDEZ 685 37.85
SYLVIA V MACIAS 443 24.48
LAYLA AVILA 420 23.20
JOSUE ALVARADO 262 14.48

– WHITTIER CITY SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER
VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3

LINDA L A SMALL 1,824 28.64
KEN HENDERSON 1,789 28.09
EFRAIN ACEVES 1,763 27.68
G SYLVIA HURTADO 993 15.59

Challenger takes lead over incumbents in La Puente race

With six out of 11 precincts reporting late Tuesday night, La Puente council candidate David Argudo took the lead over two incumbents in the race for a pair of open seats on the council.

By 11 p.m., Argudo had 589 votes. Councilwoman Lola Storing was behind him with 508, and Mayor Louie Lujan trailed with 493. Former City Councilwoman Renee Chavez was the lowest vote-getter with 445 votes.

Union-backed candidates lead in El Monte

Again from reporter Rebecca Kimitch, but this time early El Monte elections:

EL MONTE — In early voting results Tuesday night, three incumbents appeared to be headed for defeat in the races of El Monte mayor and two open City Council seats.

Voters instead favored union-backed candidates Andre Quintero, 34, for mayor and Norma Macias, 38, for City Council.

Quintero had a significant lead over incumbent mayor Mayor Ernie Gutierrez.

“If these results hold, the community is definitely looking for new leadership,” Quintero said.

Quintero is a deputy city attorney in Los Angeles and a former Rio Hondo Community College District trustee.

In the City Council race, Macias, an architect who oversees infrastructure projects in South El Monte, and Kien Lam, 30, an information security specialist for a biomedical company, held the number one and two spots.

They were followed by Planning Commissioner Richard Garner, 60, a 32-year city employee; incumbents Juventino “J” Gomez and Art Barrios; and finally Angel Ralph Nunez, 57, a 20-year city employee.

West Covina city staff allegedly asked to unlawfully approve development project

WEST COVINA – Mayor Roger Hernandez at a meeting Tuesday called for an investigation of the West Covina Senior Villas project after a city employee told him that fellow employees are being asked to unlawfully approve parts of the project.

Hernandez said a city employee approached him because city employees are being asked “to unlawfully approve things to move the project forward.”

Hernandez asked City Manager Andy Pasmant to investigate the project and all employees involved with the development.

Developers Pacific Development/TELACU Industries proposes to build a 24-unit condominium complex on Workman Avenue. The complex would provide affordable housing to seniors.

Irwindale reports own election results

From reporter Rebecca Kimitch about the Irwindale City Council race:
(As a side note, Irwindale was the only San Gabriel Valley area city that did not turn over its election to the county)

In Irwindale, the city’s voters put Council members H. Manuel Ortiz and David “Chico” Fuentes ahead for two open seats on the council, with all but a handful of ballots counted, according to unofficial results.

Ortiz and Fuentes were followed by Raul Anthony Hernandez, Darlene Osmonson, and Patricia “Patsy”Gonzales.

“All the hard work paid off,” Ortiz said.

The winners will be responsible for selecting a new city manager and police chief. City Manager Robert Griego and Police Chief Sol Benudiz both announced they will retire at the end of the year.

They will also face challenges regarding city finances.

“The economy has hit our city, so we just to continue working hard to bring our city back to the way it was. Residents will see changes coming,” Ortiz said.

The two measures on the ballot – Measure T, a transient occupancy tax and Measure U, a utility users tax – are also headed to victory.