Do you still care about Octomom?

I know a lot of the Leftovers readers are the people the posts directly pertain to – city staff, employees, politicos, local politics junkies – so that means not a lot of comments on the posts.

People don’t want anything traced back to them, even harmless replies, in the case it could affect their job or political standing. I get it, no worries.

But for those who do read and don’t mind commenting, I have a question to pose.

Is Octomom, i.e. Nadya Suleman, still news you want to hear about? Or are we just feeding the beast in giving her attention?

You’ll notice the brief on the Tribune’s homepage regarding Suleman and her recent tribulations. Apparently, her attorney is now the owner of the home Suleman lives in.

But do people still care to hear about Suleman or have the legs on that story finally tired?

People often criticize the media for stories they cover when they don’t feel they are newsworthy. I don’t always disagree with those statements, but other times I feel it is the general public that dictates the news based on their interest and instead of looking to the media, they should look to themselves, their friends and neighbors.

I don’t know which it is in the case of Suleman. You tell me.

In related starved media attention news, Gloria Allred plans to end her hunger strike. From Allred’s “urgent media advisory.”

Attorney Gloria Allred who has been on a hunger strike giving up 90 solid food meals for 30 days to draw attention to the need to add the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.) to the U.S. Constitution will end her hunger strike on August 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM at a press conference at the West Hollywood City Hall Lobby at 8300 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Rosemead city manager gets a bump in pay

Rosemead City Manager Jeffrey Allred got his raise Tuesday, 2.5 percent.

The bump in pay pushed the city executive’s pay from $175,000 to 179,375.

The raise came despite a city projection of a $1 million drop in revenues for this fiscal year.

Councilman Stephen Ly justified the raise because of Allred’s “stellar” performance and the fact that city services remain intact.

Read more the online story here.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Claims of liar may have been exaggerated at Glendora council meeting

Wendell Phillips, the attorney representing the Glendora municipal employees association, took a beating at the council meeting Tuesday night.

In the process of making a unanimous vote to impose contract concessions on the association, many council members questioned Phillips handling of the truth.

Watch for yourself toward the end of the council meeting video.

But Phillips may not have been fibbing about the motivation behind concessions made by the police officers association and police managers association last year.

Phillips has said that the POA and the PMA took the bullet for the employees association last year by making concessions with the understanding that the employees association would not have to.

At time time, Councilman Doug Tessitor called those claims “B.S.”

Well… I spoke with Police Officers Association President Michael Henderson and PMA President Sgt. Scott Strong and both confirmed Phillips’ claims to be true.

Henderson said that part of the motivation for agreeing to defer their salary increases as well as making other concessions was to avoid the employees association being hit. Henderson said they made their motivation clear to the city during negotiations.

After agreeing to those concessions, Henderson said they later learned the city wanted a 3 percent concession across the board.

Strong echoed those remarks, saying they made clear that they were making the concessions with the understanding the GMEA would not be asked to make the same concessions. Those negotiations were with City Manager Chris Jeffers, Finance Director Josh Betta and then deputy city manager Culver Heaton, Strong said.

Considering the council’s remarks from last night, Strong said there must have been some “misunderstanding.”

Councilman Doug Tessitor called me today and apologized for his remarks. He said he was wrong on that particular issue and planned to clarify that at the next council meeting.

“That was an error on my part,” Tessitor said. “I intend to make a public announcement at the next council meeting that I was in error and apologize for making that statement.”

Jeffers, in remarks to this newspaper, and in city staff reports regarding the negotiations, an argument made in favor of approving the city’s recommended concessions was that the employees association had not made concessions in the previous year.


The one thing that seems to be clear is, at least for this one, Phillips may have been telling the truth.

More on this story online tomorrow and in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

For your happy news of the day, I give you: dancing panda bear

This has no relevant news data. There is no connection to the San Gabriel Valley. It in no way relates to politics, leftovers, journalism, current events in local cities, or even current events at all.

It is just pure, unadulterated dancing panda put to silly rap music. Enjoy.

(PS – I am a big fan of pandas, so they always qualify as newsworthy in my book. Don’t question it, just accept it and move on)

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Insults, snide remarks no stranger at Glendora council meetings

This won’t be the last thing I post regarding Tuesday night’s Glendora council meeting where the city battled against the general employees association.

But I wanted to discuss something unrelated to that matter before we get into the hot debate of the moment.

I have been to my fair share of council meetings. I have been in packed auditoriums in Azusa with 300 people for meetings about Vulcan Materials Co.’s mining proposal. I have used the wi-fi and watched council members (one in particular) roll their eyes at public speakers in Newport Beach.

I have covered various school board meetings and others.

But there is one thing that stands out in Glendora. When they don’t like a public speaker, they don’t hide it.

Most cities, when they get speakers that are highly critical of the council, will often listen, nod their head and move to the next speaker and/or subject. If anything, they may ask a city staffer to make a note to follow up with some facts or clarification.

In Glendora, you saw a different way of handling things.

Ed Brubaker and Mark Smith are speakers at nearly every council meeting. Brubaker in particular, who spoke first Tuesday, is extremely critical and often insults the council and staff. Whether or not Brubaker’s and Smith’s comments have merit is not something I am discussing here.

But some people in the audience were upset about how Mayor Ken Herman responded with sarcastic remarks following both Brubaker and Smith.

After Brubaker, Herman said “Your inaccuracies are really astounding.”

Following Smith’s remarks, Herman said “Birds of a feather.”

The third speaker, Sharon Green (also a common speaker), took issue with Herman’s comments.

The Ralph M. Brown Act, which sets the law for council meetings, has two applicable parts to what transpired Tuesday.

(2) No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not
appearing on the posted agenda, except that members of a legislative
body or its staff may briefly respond to statements made or questions
posed by persons exercising their public testimony rights under
Section 54954.3. In addition, on their own initiative or in response
to questions posed by the public, a member of a legislative body or
its staff may ask a question for clarification, make a brief
announcement, or make a brief report on his or her own activities.
Furthermore, a member of a legislative body, or the body itself,
subject to rules or procedures of the legislative body, may provide a
reference to staff or other resources for factual information,
request staff to report back to the body at a subsequent meeting
concerning any matter, or take action to direct staff to place a
matter of business on a future agenda.

(c) The legislative body of a local agency shall not prohibit
public criticism of the policies, procedures, programs, or services
of the agency, or of the acts or omissions of the legislative body.
Nothing in this subdivision shall confer any privilege or protection
for expression beyond that otherwise provided by law.

Herman doesn’t appear to have violated any rules, but he would probably be better served just letting speakers he disagrees with go on without him chiming in off the cuff. In all fairness, I think anyone would find it difficult not to speak up when you are publicly attacked every two weeks.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

La Verne’s job openings

I have noticed a few jobs pop up on La Verne’s website in recent days. Nothing fancy or high paying, but for those looking for work it could be a welcomed sight.

The new jobs advertised include maintenance worker and two recreation leader positions. Other jobs available (that have also been posted for a considerable amount of time) are crossing guard and reserve police officer.

For more on the jobs, visit La Verne’s city website.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Rosemead city manager may get a bump in pay tonight

Considering we have been following city salaries closely in the last month, here is an update on one.

Rosemead City Manager Jeffrey Allred may be getting a raise soon. Allred makes $175,000 now, but council members may decide to give Allred a 2.5 percent raise. Council members will discuss the pay increase tonight at their council meeting.

Apparently Allred’s evaluation was so double rainbow all the way that he deserved a 5 percent merit increase, but he decided that was too much during the recession and asked to have it dropped to 2.5 percent.

Public employee salaries have been heavily scrutinized in the wake of the Bell scandal where the city manager was making nearly $800,000 a year.

Allred’s is not near that amount, but there are bound to be some people not pleased with their tax dollars being spent on giving extra money to public employees already making six figure salaries.

The council will also look to cast into stone a city ordinance that would hope to put a cork on teenage drinking. The council will consider the ordinance and pay raise at its 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 8838 E. Valley Blvd.

Check out the brief previewing tonight’s meeting here.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Azusa dips more than 8 percent in assessor’s annual property roll report


The county assessor’s office put out its 2010 Annual Report you can read for yourself.

But if you are busy with work, the kids, or are just being lazy reading about lazy, slacker movie characters wearing hoodies played by Michael Cera, then here are some highlights of the report.

What stood out to me and others in the newsroom is the considerable drop in overall value for Azusa properties – a whopping -8.5 percent. That is compared to a -1.5 percent drop in Baldwin Park, a -2.1 percent decline in El Monte, -0.3 percent in neighboring Duarte, and for opposite side neighbor (the right side for the map viewing audience) Glendora a -0.8 percent drop.

Other notable drops was -6.8 percent for Inglewood (also pronounced IngleWOOD), -14.4 percent for Lancaster, -12 percent for Palmdale, -7.8 percent for Downey and an uptick of 4.4 percent for Arcadia.

Overall there was a $18.5 billion decline (Holy crap, I think i just swallowed my tongue. Wait…yep, I swallowed my tongue) which computes to about -1.7 percent (oh, well that doesn’t seem so bad if you say it that way. I am feeling more sprite. Maybe I’ll go running. Oh yeah, it is 270 degrees outside).

UPDATE: I realize some of you might be a wee bit confused or at least not up to date on your property tax/value laws and meanings. If you need some background reading to understand the significance of the report, go here.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

A tale of two letters: Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers vs. employee association’s Wendell Phillips

In tomorrow’s paper there will be a story on the failed negotiations between Glendora city staff and the general municipal employees association and how it will now be incumbent upon the council to make a decision Tuesday night.

The two groups have been going at it for months now, and it doesn’t appear that the attorney for the employees association Wendell Phillips and Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers get along very well.

While the pair have traded subtle barbs at each other in articles in the newspaper and with the way negotiations turned out, those don’t seem to have been tea and crumpets type meetings either.

Now we have two letters, both sent to Glendora employees, one from Jeffers, one from Phillips, at the apex of this battle.

Take a look and tell me what you think. Phillips’ letter is decidedly more aggressive and is a rebuttal to Jeffers. It goes as far as to call Jeffers petulant.

Jeffers letter has a political tone. It paints a picture of today’s environment for public employees, is trying to sway opinion in favor of the city’s efforts, and makes a case that the employees association’s negotiators are being unreasonable.

Both seem to use taxpayer angry against public officials/employees to their advantage.

What do you think? Who makes the better argument?

FYI: Both letters were obtained anonymously, but were both confirmed to exist by Jeffers and Phillips.

Glendora Chris Jeffers letter.doc
Glendora employees association attorney letter.doc

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Some perspective (I found, not wrote) on the Ground Zero Mosque

I thought this blog entry by Steve Clemons at The Washington Note was interesting.

I haven’t talked much about the Ground Zero Mosque here and neither has this newspaper as it doesn’t pertain to the San Gabriel Valley. And really, what can I offer that hasn’t already been said by at least one of the millions of pundits, journalists, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, various stakeholder groups and even Sarah Palin?

But I thought this piece showed some interesting angles not always talked about and offers insight into an issue that probably isn’t as divided down party lines as people might think.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune