Bear crime escalation: From picnic baskets to cars

Yogi was just a petty thief compared to this Colorado bear.

On Friday in Denver, a bear searching for a snack ended up going for a joy ride in a teenager’s 2008 Toyota Corolla.

Once the car came to an abrupt stop, the bear was trapped inside and tore apart the car. Officials were able to open a door of the car from a distance using a rope and the bear returned to the wild.

Despite the excursion, the bear may want to get a few extra hours of experience behind the wheel before he applies for his driving test.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Your weekly weekend roundup and crystal ball (a.k.a. Internet) look

I am not sure what news could overtake the bittersweet emotions of the Angels losing three out of four to the Rangers, moving to seven games out of first place, and trading 8-year Angel veteran Joe Saunders while getting a great pitcher (and hometown hero?) Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Haren went to Bishop Amat High School and owns a home in West Covina, so in a way, he heads home by being traded to the Angels and can become something of a hometown favorite with them.

And in a similar twist of fate, Saunders is traded to Arizona where he owns a home in Phoenix. If that is solace to Saunders who fell just short of tears when speaking to reporters is unknown.

As for the remainder of the weekend news from the Tribune, look no further than the links below. (Actually, if you browse the website for a bit you will find many tales of lore and city road construction projects. These are just some highlights.)

- For 80 years the El Calvario Community Center in El Monte provided classes, daycare and tutoring to neighborhood children and teens. But when the center closed down nearly three years ago, it began providing quite the opposite – a hideaway for methamphetamine users.

- Baldwin Park will reconsider its vehicle impound policy after the Police Department took a woman’s car for 15 days – even though she was in the passenger seat and willing to drive her car away from a police checkpoint.

- Majestic Realty Co. CEO and chairman Ed Roski Jr. said he remains committed to returning professional football to the region and building a state-of-the-art NFL stadium near the junction of the 60 and 57 freeways.

- Anyone who has an opinion about a Navy proposal to clean up most of the contamination it left near Morris Dam during torpedo tests has one last chance to share it with government officials.

- Duarte is going to take legal action against Azusa over a recently approved plan to mine part of the Azusa Rock Quarry near Duarte’s border.

As for the week ahead, special council meeting in Azusa tonight at 6:30 pm. at the Azusa Light and Water Conference Room, 729 N. Azusa Ave., will discuss purchasing a new police vehicle and a new contract with the Azusa Chamber of Commerce.

Glendora’s council meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall, 116 E. Foothill Blvd., will look at, among other items, fees for city services.

Also Tuesday, San Dimas City Council will consider a request for the Five Cities 10K run on Nov. 6.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

New spokesperson for Vulcan Materials

For those of you familiar with the ongoing issue of the Azusa Rock Quarry, the plan from Vulcan Materials Co., and the battle between Azusa and Duarte, you are familiar with Vulcan spokesman Todd Priest, who is with the public relations firm Curt Pringle and Associates.

Well … I learned today that while Priest and his crew will remain as part of the team working for Vulcan, a new spokeswoman has taken over as the voice of the company from here on out.

Peg Casey, an employee with Vulcan, will be the one answering questions through the litigation process.

I spoke with Casey today following up on Duarte’s decision to pursue litigation. She has worked with Vulcan for 16 years and has been involved with the Azusa Rock Quarry project since 2003. Here what she had to say and more about the impending lawsuit in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Senators backing bill that blocks net neutrality get major donations from AT&T

Lost in the wave of Shirley Sherrod, BP, financial regulation, SB1070, health care, and the overwhelming intelligence structure is this little thing called net neutrality.

Now, for many people (specifically many tech industry folk or just those who are concerned with internet freedom) net neutrality isn’t something that should be lost in the shuffle. Advocates argue it is necessary to prevent the government or an Internet service provider from blocking certain sites (i.e. information).

Regarding the subject, Techdirt has a great post about the debate a new bill called the Freedom of Consumer Choice Act.

It would appear that many of the bills proponents have seen major campaign contributions from communications giant AT&T. Interesting…

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Isn’t this where we always thought it would go? Duarte will take Azusa to court

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Just when you thought it was over there is breaking news the Duarte City Council has unanimously decided to pursue litigation against Vulcan and Azusa over the recently approved Azusa Rock Quarry mining project.

OK, you didn’t really think it was over did you?

This is really only breaking news because it happened last night at a closed session council meeting. In truth, this probably surprises no one. Not me, not Duarte (the vote was unanimous), not Azusa, and not Vulcan.

Azusa has said all along they anticipated litigation, Vulcan and Azusa agreed in the development agreement that Vulcan would pay to fight any legal challenge, and Duarte has that $700,000 Fight Against Vulcan Expansion fund.

Plus, when Duarte, Vulcan and Azusa failed to reach a settlement deal earlier this year, if the project was approved what other outcome was there?

Now we will get to see what Duarte’s legal arguments will be. My guess is they will argue about the flaws in the environmental impact report, their believed contradictions in the development agreement, and the lack of a full evaluation and consideration of alternative project options including mining both sides of the canyon without cutting down any ridge lines.

Add in the potential for two Brown Act violations by Azusa, including the fact the original vote to reconsider the project was originally not on the council agenda.

Azusa (via Vulcan’s lawyers) will have to defend those allegations and its review of the project in court.

How does this affect mining for now? Duarte can seek an injunction that would prevent operations until the legal challenges end. The court would have to approve any injunction.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Goats. Billboard. IHOP. Local news reporting at its finest (really though)

Every now and then there is a story that everyone should be aware of: Washington Post’s Top Secret America, the Shirley Sherrod debacle, and Virginia goats hanging out on an IHOP billboard.

OK, maybe you aren’t aware of the goats, but you should be.

The reporting is superb. No bias or editorializing, great interviews, lets the people tell the story. The reporter doesn’t put himself into the story despite knowing full well this good be the one, the story that puts him on the road to glory … or at least a waffle with strawberries.

The man in the story says the goats like the shade of the billboard and the goats are cautious about safety. But hey, maybe goats like IHOP.

Without further ado, here are the goats on a billboard via the blog site The Awl.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

UPDATED: No Bell type salaries in local San Gabriel Valley cities

The reporting staff here at the Tribune came together like the A Team … no wait … The Justice League (way more fitting) to check in on local cities to see what the City Managers and City Councils are making in the wake of news reports about the city of Bell’s City Manager making something like $800,000.

Here is the rundown. (Note: most of us had this information on hand as we regularly check on these things. In cases we didn’t, the city handed over the information readily)

Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers makes $201,816 annually.

La Verne’s (soon to be retired) City Manager Martin Lomeli makes $194,580 annually. (Side note: La Verne City Council just passed an ordinance for City Manager pay with $160,600 as the base pay with $195,000 at the peak)

San Dimas City Manager Blaine Michaelis makes $196,452 a year.

Azusa City Manager Fran Delach is paid $212,483 annually. (He got a 5 percent raise at the beginning of this year)

Rosemead City Manager Jeffrey Allred gets $175,000 a year.

El Monte City Manager Rene Bobadilla makes $170,000 a year.

South El Monte City Manager Tony Ybarra takes in $120,000 a year.

Covina’s Daryl Parrish’s annual salary is $199,500.

West Covina’s Andrew Pasmant gets $223,656 a year. (UPDATE: Councilman Mike Touhey called to tell me that Pasmant took the equivalent of a 5-percent pay cut on his deferred comp. That saves the city about $11,000, Touhey said.)

Walnut’s Rob Wishner is paid $196,650 a year.

La Puente’s Josi Kenline gets $160,000 a year.

Industry City Manager Kevin Radecki takes in $158,133 a year.

Diamond Bar’s James DeStefano’s salary is about $194,000 a year.

Baldwin Park’s Chief Executive Officer made $152,000 a year in 2006, up to $800 a month in lodging, $1,200 a month in health and dental – reimbursed in cash if not all spent – and $300 a month in vehicle expenses or a city car.

As for City Council stipends, San Dimas councilmen make $620 a month while Mayor Curt Morris earns $830 a month.

In La Verne, the city council brings in $519 a month and is entitled to the same benefits as executive management employees. Council woman Robin Carder and Mayor Don Kendrick waived those benefits. In addition, the redevelopment agency pays $30 per meeting. City Clerk Evelyn Clark said they meet about four time per year.

Glendora council members bring in $700 a month.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

I don’t think Carl Harstine will have a problem replacing those flags

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Since my story ran today about WWII veteran Carl Harstine’s flags being stolen – twice – I have probably received at least seven e-mails and phone calls from people eager to replace the lost flags. And that was probably in my first hour of work today.

Pretty soon, Carl may have more flags than he knows what to do with.

As for the story, it has some people really fired up, including one person’s comment that flag thieves should get a 10-year prison sentence.

While the justice system usually bases the severity of a theft on its monetary value (flags about $40 each, poles about $60 in this circumstance) it is unlikely the perpetrators would face much more than your basic burglary charges.

But the “feeling” that something more has been stolen stems from our intrinsic sentiment that adds emotional value to the American Flag.

Where does that value come from? What does the flag mean to you? Can you trace those feelings to a specific moment, meaning, person or ideal? Tell me about it in the comments below or via twitter @dgtedford.

Also, don’t forget about another veterans related story in the Tribune today about a financial firm offering a special consulting program.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Azusa Target now accepting applications

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The economy is saved! The new Target being constructed in Azusa is now accepting applications for jobs.

OK, so maybe the economy still has a long way to go, but for those in need of work you can now apply for future jobs at the Target in Azusa. The city posted a link to the stores job site this weekend and you can apply for jobs with the company via its website.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Weekend roundup and tonight’s events

I hope everyone enjoyed their heat-wave filled weekends.

In case you were out enjoying your life, here is your weekend roundup so you can get the news and be an informed member of society and all that.

There is this whopper of a story where Glendora teen bartered his way to a Porsche after starting with a cell phone. (I know, I’m awestruck too. And jealous. Mostly jealous.)

When it comes to taking money from groups pushing for new laws – and introducing their so-called sponsored bills – Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, stands out.

Three officers were severely injured when they were attacked with beer bottles while trying to break up a party Saturday, officials said.

As for the future, the Montebello City Council will meet at 4:30 p.m. today to discuss releasing Interim City Administrator Randy Narramore from his contract and appointing an interim to take his place.

And Azusa meets tonight with a second reading of the Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry plan on tap.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune