Leftovers from City Hall: La Puente reeling

Holy smoke.

Mayor Louie Lujan last week resigned from office and a day later pleaded guilty to felony perjury for lying on campaign-finance forms.

He faces three months probation, a $1,000 fine and a ban on holding public office.

After the plea, Lujan told our reporter he was “hungry” and declined to comment further.

The former mayor of a city with a bunch of marijuana dispensaries had a case of the munchies.

I guess I cue up a bunch more pot jokes here. But the litany of scandal and bad news coming out of La Puente isn’t funny, just sad.

Last summer La Puente and the surrounding unincorporated Valinda neighborhoods were rocked by a dozens of shootings. People were trying to blast each other in broad daylight in a park full of kids.

We tried to track the number of shootings, but we eventually lost count around 24.

In 2008, the city discovered $500,000 of towing fees was missing. Former sheriff’s deputy Joe Dyer and his wife have been indicted on suspicion of taking the money.

In late 2007, county investigators discovered that a woman was allegedly running a drug taxation and extortion operation from her La Puente home on behalf of her husband, Jacques “Jacko” Padilla, a Mexican Mafia member who was serving time for murder at Corcoran State Prison.

The City Council recently allowed about a dozen marijuana clinics to get business permits because it failed to renew a moratorium in 2008. Then last week they moved to outlaw all clinics, a tactic that will probably lead to the the city spending money on attorneys.

Meanwhile, redevelopment projects slated for the demolished bowling alley on Hacienda Boulevard and the downtown have gone nowhere.

At this point, should La Puente even bother trying something big – like an auto mall – since neighboring Industry will always have more cash and more space to do something bigger?

Can a ray of light crack through?

Some are calling for the return of Lola Storing, who lost a re-election bid in November.

But she is rehabbing from a car accident and won’t return calls from even her close friends.

There’s a saying that it is darkest before dawn.

Here’s to hoping it’s 5 a.m. in La Puente.

– Ben Baeder is the Deputy Metro Editor of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune