Argentine President makes a compelling case for same sex marriage, how does it relate to the issue in California?

I came across this video of Argentine President Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner talking about same sex marriage via the Washington Note blog the other day (NOTE: The video is subtitled). Argentina’s government was debating the merits of a marriage equality bill this week. On Thursday, the country became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage.

The blog’s writer, Steve Clemons, said the speech was “one of the most eloquent and compelling defenses of same sex marriage equality that I have heard from a head of state.”

Now, while this particular battle over marriage is from another country and isn’t exactly local news, it parallels what America, and specifically, California has had to discuss regarding marriage.

Prop. 8 was one of the most controversial issues to be on a ballot in years when California voters voted in favor of making marriage between a man and a woman. Since then, there have been various legal battles and the issue is far from settled.

What do you think of the video? Does it make you think differently about the issue? Did you think it was a good argument no matter what your position is? What about her points regarding the “tone” of debate? Do you think she was right or wrong when she talks about the types of arguments being made that she believes are inappropriate?

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Montebello City Administrator, Police Chief both suddently resign


I have no idea what is going on in Montebello, but some intriguing stuff went down Wednesday night.

The Interim City Administrator and the brand spanking new Police Chief both left their posts. Neither had comment.

MONTEBELLO – Interim City Administrator Randy Narramore and new Police Chief Ken Rulon left their posts with the city Wednesday night.

Narramore was appointed in December to run the city after former Administrator Richard Torres retired. He also served as interim police chief after former Chief Dan Weast left in January under pressure from the City Council.

Rulon was hired this week to replace Narramore as police chief and began his duties on Tuesday.

Narramore declined to comment Thursday, deferring to City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman, and Rulon didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

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Going beyond the check-out line: Glendora Albertsons’ store manager receives industry honor

Got this e-mail Albertsons about a Glendora store director Kathy McClard.

Apparently she received the honor of being named one of the “Top Women in Grocery” by industry trade magazine “Progressive Grocer.”

She received the nomination through her leadership and influence, according to the news release.

I don’t mean to take away from McClard’s accomplishments – I am sure she is proud of the acknowledgment and her hard work – but I had no idea this kind of stuff existed.

Here is an excerpt from the release.

FULLERTON, CA (July 13, 2010) – ALBERTSONS/SUPERVALU announced today that Glendora ALBERTSONS Store Director, Kathy McClard was named to Progressive Grocer’s fourth annual “Top Women in Grocery” listing for her outstanding efforts, involvement, leadership and success in the supermarket industry.

McClard is one of seven women to represent SUPERVALU, ALBERTSONS parent company, on this year’s distinguished list. She was honored in the Store Manager category. Progressive Grocer is a leading grocery industry trade magazine. All of its honorees were profiled in their June 2010 issue.

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Vulcan editorial linked on Azusa website, does it matter to you?

The city of Azusa’s website posted a link to the Tribune’s editorial on the Vulcan Materials Co’s Azusa Rock Quarry mining proposal decision.

This, to my recollection, is the first time the city has ever linked to a story written by this newspaper regarding the subject (the city of Duarte, on the other hand, has links to nearly every story written on the subject).

Being that the council passed the proposal and that the editorial is mostly in favor of the plan, it doesn’t seem coincidental that the city posted the link on its homepage.

This got me thinking. How important are newspaper editorial’s in formalizing your opinions on an issue?

All newspapers write them, politicians often use them in campaigns, and major newspapers like the New York Times can cause considerable controversy or conversation with its editorials.

Do editorials affect your opinions? Do you read newspaper editorials or take them seriously?

Note: Reporters, such as myself, don’t write newspaper editorials and have no input on what they favor/disfavor, and we wouldn’t want to have any. The opinions expressed in editorials are those of the paper’s editorial board.

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Full length interview with Diamond Bar BBQ champ Harry Soo


Considering this is the LEFTOVERS from City Hall blog, I figured it might be appropriate to post the full interview I did with Diamond Bar man Harry Soo, a national barbecue champion.

The story ran online and in the paper Tuesday, but due to space constraints, it didn’t run in full. Here is there full length interview. Happy grilling!

Harry Soo, a Diamond Bar resident who runs Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ, recently won their fifth grand championship of the year on July 3 in Stockton.

Soo and his company have rapidly become one of the most prodigious barbecue competitors nationwide. Soo is now teaching a barbecue class once a month to reveal some of his secrets and tips to prime barbecue.

Soo took the time to answer a few questions regarding barbecuing, give some tips and talk about some of his favorite things to cook.

What is the most common mistake people make when using the barbecue?

Most common beginner mistake is doing too much. One of my barbecue wisdom sayings is ‘less is more.’ That is, less rub, less smoke, less sauce, and less add-ons. For example, beginners very often over smoke their barbecue.

For beginners, what are some of the first things you recommend? What meat or recipes should they start with?

A very tasty and forgiving meat to start your barbecue journey is chicken. It’s inexpensive and easy to prepare. Make a simple rub with something salty like kosher salt, something sweet like sugar, something with color like chili and paprika, and some spices. Sprinkle on your chicken pieces and put skin side up into a 275 degree oven or charcoal smoker or gas grill. Do not touch it and let it cook until internal temperature is 175 degrees. Brush on your favorite barbecue sauce, let set for 10 minutes, remove and enjoy.

On your web site, you say grilling and barbecuing are not the same thing. What’s the difference?

Grilling is cooking directly over high heat, usually over 300 degrees. BBQ is cooking indirectly with lower heat, less than 300 degrees. Both are good depending on the meat you are cooking. Grilling is good for meat that is tender. In technical terms, tender meat contains strands of protein called collagen that are loose, examples include chicken and fish. Conversely, low and slow barbecue is good for meat that is not tender, which is attributable to very tightly coiled strands of collagen. Examples include pork ribs and beef brisket. Low heat for long periods will loosen the chewy collagen and transform the meat into a tender delicious state called gelatin.
Understanding this little bit of food science will put you on the right path to creating moist and tender barbecue.

If you were trying to convince someone to become more of a barbecue user, what would you tell them?

Simple, have them taste properly smoked low and slow authentic American barbecue. Once you have tasted good barbecue, you’ll never go back to the steam grilled barbecue you find in those chain barbecue stores. No names mentioned but they rhyme with Rome. Barbecue is the only true authentic American food. We stole everything else — the pizza, hotdog, hamburger, noodles, etc. — from other countries. No other culture in the world cooks meat low and slow for up to 12 hours above ground. The Hawaiians cook for long periods too but it’s below ground. Barbecue was borne out of necessity when the plantation owners would give the workers less cuts of meat and the workers learned to start a fire and cook it low and slow so supper would be ready when they returned home after sunset. I’ve had many folks sample my barbecue pork and they literally fall into a stupor called ‘hog heaven’ because the mini explosion of flavor in their mouth is like a symphony that evokes intense visceral emotion from the combination of smoke, meat, rub, sauce, and all the messy goodness.

One of the problems I always run into while barbecuing is flare-ups on the grill, how should I handle that and what can I do to prevent it?

Have a spray bottle with water and spritz the meat to put out the flare up. Also, you can move the meat to a cooler spot on your grill.

What is your favorite thing to barbecue?

Rib tips. They come from the top portion of a pork sparerib. When a sparerib is trimmed into a St. Louis rib, the top portion of the sparerib is removed. That piece is called the rib tip. More barbecue restaurants will have rib tips if you ask for them. There is no better eating barbecue than rib tips.

What makes cooking on the barbecue more enjoyable, and taste better, than other means?

Barbecue is just honest food. If cooked properly, it’s amazingly delicious stuff. Pair it with some classic sides and you’ve got a plateful of authentic American food ala apple pie. The smoke, char, rub, sauce, and tender meat is a universally loved. That’s why grilling and barbecue is found in every culture in the world. Meat plus smoke plus rib equals happiness.

What do you prefer in the age-old debate — gas or charcoal grill?

Both are good if you know what you are doing. As I always say, it’s the pitmaster, it’s not the pit. We’ve proven that simple point while cooking on the competition circuit with a pair of Webers we bought off Amazon for $200 each and have beaten many teams countless of times who are brandishing $30,000 custom pits.

For more information or to register for one of Soo’s classes, visit

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South El Monte’s ninja team … err … City Council takes on sewer fees, budget

I was going to write a cheeky post about how South El Monte was going to discuss some foul smelling news at their meeting tonight, not too mention a sewer fee increase.

The foul smell was going to be about the budget, except… it isn’t so bad.

So much for being clever.

Anyway, here is a clip and a link to our update. More to come in Thursday’s paper.

And for those of you interested in more interesting sewers than South El Monte’s, there is always this.

SOUTH EL MONTE – The city council will discuss tonight the city’s budget for the 2010-2011 budget year and whether to charge residents a new sewer fee to help replace the aging sewer system.

The city was facing an estimated $414,000 shortfall between predicted revenues and expenditures for the new budget year. City staff has recommended cuts to make up for the deficit.

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Azusa Mayor Joe Rocha announces (early) he will seek reelection


About two weeks ago at an event with some of his supporters and friends, Mayor Joe Rocha announced he will seek reelection in March.

Rocha said he normally announces his campaign before the political season hits full throttle because he runs a “grass roots campaign.” He needs early word of mouth in order to be competitive because he won’t ask for political contributions, he said.

“It makes me uncomfortable in these economic times to ask people for money for signs,” Rocha said to me in a phone conversation today.

He said he will run on his record and use friends around town to ask others to support his campaign.

He hasn’t heard of anyone running against him (neither have I) and it wouldn’t be surprising if he was once again unopposed. Rocha is regarded by many in the community as being someone who votes with his heart as much as his mind. He is actively involved in the community and a vocal advocate for the needy and veterans.

He is also accessible. I have heard numerous stories from people calling on Rocha or him visiting people at their homes (without him trying to draw attention to it) to help with a problem or offer some counseling.

Those efforts have made him many friends in the community that would make it difficult for a challenger to run against him.

In addition, he was the only council person to vote against the Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry mining proposal. How that would play out in an election is yet to be seen.

Besides Vulcan, major topics in the next election would be getting a grocery store, downtown development and bringing a quality hotel to Azusa, Rocha said.

Rocha was first elected Mayor in 2007 when he defeated incumbent Diane Chagnon, leaving behind his council seat.

He then ran unopposed in 2009 for his first reelection campaign.

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Weekend roundup and a brief glimpse into the future

For those of you busy watching the World Cup over the weekend, I got your local news for you right here.

How the free environmental pass to the Industry Stadium is affecting others.

A state water agency approved a set of tough new environmental regulations for the Los Angeles River on Friday that cities say could cost them billions.

San Gabriel Valley officials met Friday with the top state assembly Democrat to discuss a budget proposal that could bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to local cities.

In the wake of the death last week of a 15-year-old girl, organizers on Friday for the second time called off an unrelated rave expected to draw 5,000 partiers.

As for what’s to come this week, San Dimas and Glendora both have city council meetings tomorrow.

On Glendora’s agenda
is a request to change the City Clerk’s administrative assistant position to Deputy City Clerk and increasing the position’s salary by about $11,000 a year. The city hopes this can help to innovate and better services from the department.

The San Dimas City Council and Planning Commission are having a joint meeting to discuss the ongoing City Hall renovation project and the potential NJD Project Development in the northern foothills.

Two final items of note. Congratulations to my all time favorite baseball player Tim Salmon. Salmon, who has the most career home runs at 299 without ever appearing in an All-Star game, was the MVP of the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game in Anaheim Sunday.

Secondly, for your viewing pleasure and to stay fresh on Internet lingo, this is so double rainbow.

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La Verne City Manager leaving his post (no, not for Miami)

We reported yesterday that long time La Verne City Manager Martin Lomeli was packing away the briefcase and moving on. The 23 year City Manager is retiring next month and will be replaced by Assistant City Manager Bob Russi.

In a day in age when City Managers last at one city about as long as star athletes do with one team, (Lebron reference #1) it is absolutely unheard of to have a City Manager retire after spending 23 years at his post, not to mention 30 years with the city as an employee as Lomeli has done.

He left the post gracefully, and humbly without making a big tada about it (that’s #2) using a written statement to the city and a replacement groomed and ready to go.

Just as a comparison. Chris Jeffers in Glendora started in 2007, before that he was with Monterey Park.

Fran Delach, Azusa’s City Manager, has been with them for five years. Before that he was the City Manager in Covina for six years.

Blaine Michaelis in San Dimas has had a long tenure with the city at 10 years.

Covina’s City Manager Daryl Parish started there in 2009, before that he was City Manager of Colton for 8 years.

El Monte fired their City Manager not long ago and is now being helmed by Rene Bobadilla. Rosemead is breaking in a new City Manager. La Puente and Monterey Park … well, you get the idea.

Suffice it to say, it speaks to Lomeli’s work with La Verne that he lasted as long as he did. Also, it says something about loyalty for a guy who, various city officials say, was renowned across the state as one of the best at his business. We all know that it is hard for some people when they are considered to be one of the best to not be consumed by ego (trifecta!).

Also, you got to respect the fact he didn’t make the decision during a one hour TV special. (All right, I’m done.)

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The Vulcan hangover (this is far from over)

41996-Azusa Rock.jpg

Like many others, I have lost some sleep because of the Azusa Rock Quarry mining proposal controversy in Azusa.

My loss of sleep is more of the I had to work until the wee hours of the morning due to a late council meeting variety rather than the “soul searching” Mayor Joe Rocha was speaking of last night, but, nonetheless, it has been a long ride for everyone involved for a myriad of reasons.

Anyway, despite the final decision being handed down last night giving approval to Vulcan’s plan to shift its operations to the west, everyone should already know – this fight is far from over.

Duarte has contended for a long time that they would fight this in court. That decision will come soon.

Then there is the potential referendum from Save Our Canyon.

So, while everyone is feeling the hangover from last night’s/this morning’s decision, recover soon because there is more where that came from.

A preview of tomorrow’s story.

AZUSA – In a decision that many council members said would define their careers representing the city, a new Azusa Rock Quarry mining proposal passed 4-1 Wednesday morning.

After nearly six hours of discussion ended just after midnight Wednesday, the Azusa council reversed an earlier decision and decided to allow mining to go west into Van Tassel Ridge in exchange for an overall better looking hillside, officials said.

“This council is going to be chiseling its name in stone for a project that we are going to have to live with,” councilman Keith Hanks said at the meeting. “We are going to own this one way or the other.”

The proposal also takes mining further away from Azusa’s Mountain Cove community, spares Fish Ridge, adds millions of dollars in revenue to the city, and forces Vulcan to reshape previous mining benches into smaller benches the city hopes will improve an eyesore.

Mayor Joe Rocha, the lone dissenting vote, said he was “heartbroken” by the decision to cut down Van Tassel Ridge.

“Once that ridge is gone, it is gone forever,” he said. “We will have to preserve it in pictures.”

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