UPDATE: Azusa Rock Quarry referendum deadline is today

I haven’t heard anything from the Azusa city clerk’s office this morning, but the deadline for the county to respond on the Azusa Rock Quarry referendum effort is today.

Members of the political action group Azusans Against Mining Expansion submitted 2,532 signatures to the city clerk’s office. They needed 1,650 registered voter signatures to qualify the referendum.

The referendum would then head to the ballot either next March during the council elections, or during a special election. Its intention is to repeal Vulcan Materials Co.’s development agreement with the city over its recently amended Azusa Rock Quarry mining plan.

AAME believe by repealing the development agreement, it will nullify the council’s decision to approve the plan. City officials believe it won’t stop the plan, but only take away money gained by the city via the development agreement.

The Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office deadline to respond for the confirmation of qualified signatures is today, but what time they will hand them over to Azusa is not known.

We will have something posted on the website the first we hear of it.

UPDATE: County told me the signatures have been reviewed and are now being looked at by the division manager and assistant registrar. It will then go to the County Clerk for final review before the results are given to the city either today or tomorrow.

She declined to give the preliminary results of the count.

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

Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association backs former chief’s big time-off cash payout

(via reporter Thomas Himes)

The Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association on Wednesday came out in support of a former police chief who received $576,000 in pay and benefits during his last nine months of work for the city.

In a report published last week, it was revealed that former police chief Jones Moy collected more than half-a-million in pay and benefits in 2009. A significant portion of that money, $372,000 stems from unused time-off Moy cashed out before leaving. It was also revealed earlier this week that Moy and eight other top city officials are eligible to receive three months off a year they can cash out at 100% of their highest pay.

The President of the Monterey Park Police Officers’ Association, Ruben Semerena called the report a “politically motivated act intended to turn the citizens against those who strive to make the community a safe and better place for everyone…”

Semerena came to that conclusion by alleging Moy’s payout was publicly posted earlier this year on the city’s website. City officials said Moy’s compensation was not posted online. Semerena has not responded to requests for further explanation of claims made in his letter.

Dear Editor,

September 29, 2010

Dear Editor,

I am writing in my capacity as the President of the Monterey Park Police Officers Association in response to last week’s article and op-ed piece about retired MPPD Police Chief Jones Moy.

As I read the article I was somewhat concerned about the article’s subtext, which, at least as I perceived it is Chief Moy acted unethically when he was paid for his unused leave time. First, I have known Chief Moy for a number of years, and throughout our professional relationship I can attest to both his dedication to the Citizens of Monterey Park and his commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards of conduct expected of a law enforcement officer.

When I read the op-ed piece in which the writer says Chief Moy did nothing “below board” I was somewhat relieved, but the piece contains the accusation Chief Moy and other Monterey Park Police Officers serve for no other reason except to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers. Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.

When comparing the pay and benefits the Police Officers of Monterey Park earn to surrounding agencies (do not even bother comparing them to the benefits earned by Police Officers in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or Torrance) you will note the City’s benefits are not as generous. As an example, the retirement for MPPD Officers has a lower benefit than all but one other municipality in Los Angeles County that participates in CalPERS.

Furthermore, in both the article and op-ed piece there is a reference to the City’s budget deficit and the layoffs in which the City recently engaged to balance the budget. What was omitted are the following facts: the City Council has frozen or eliminated ten sworn police officer positions, the sworn officers comprising the membership of the Police Officers Association voluntarily took a five percent pay cut to help balance the budget, and the membership agreed to begin the process for Association members to contribute to their retirement.

Finally, another thing not explained in your article is why Chief Moy’s final compensation is suddenly an issue since he received his final pay check with all of the payouts last year, and the information about Chief Moy’s salary and payouts was posted publicly on the City’s website early this year. Therefore, I am left to conclude the reason for excoriating and attempting to humiliate someone who dedicated his entire adult life to the citizens of Monterey Park is a politically motivated act intended to turn the citizens against those who strive to make the community a safe and better place for everyone while couching their true motives behind the veil of fiscal responsibility.

I understand everyone in the United States is suffering during these difficult economic times, but I urge you and your readers to remember it is the Police Officers I represent who are on the streets every day and night working to ensure your safety and make the community a better place for everyone.


Ruben Semerena, President

Monterey Park Police Officers Association

A lesson in civics

There were some new guests at the Glendora City Council meeting Tuesday.

Students from a government class at Glendora High School were on hand, taking notes through the meeting.

The students were tortured (I kid, I kid) …. ahem … were given this riveting learning experience for an assignment regarding local government. The students were allowed to attend any council meeting, but these students choice Glendora, because, well, it was easiest. I would have done the same.

After the meeting I caught up with a couple students and asked them how they enjoyed seeing democracy at work.

Blair Collins Rivera, 17, of Duarte was one of the students.

“It was kind of interesting to watch the public speakers,” the Glendora High senior said.

I have to agree. Glendora has some of the most passionate public speakers I have seen. The criticism can be downright personal and mean at times, and the council has at times engaged in the mud slinging. If you are a 17-year-old kid watching a meeting, it is easy to see how this might be the most entertaining part.

I asked them about the council’s discussion about immigration, but they smartly strayed from putting their own feet to the fire.

“It was hard to follow, but interesting to see the debate,” said Brittni Perez, 16, also a senior at Glendora High School.

Perez, of Azusa, said she didn’t know enough about immigration and the debate to have a feeling one way or the other.

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

Glendora votes down resolution to support state, federal laws (because they already do, duh!)

One of the more interesting moments of Glendora’s city council meeting Tuesday night was the discussion over a resolution that would be a proclamation of support for “The Rule of Law and State Rights”

The resolution, as it was written, would make it known that Glendora supports the law. As its justification, It has a few paragraphs relating to immigration, such as acknowledging the country’s history of immigrants, support of legal immigration, acknowledging the country and state has laws regarding immigration, raises issues of human trafficking and drugs, and finally says, in probably its strongest statement, that other states and cities have enacted laws as a result of unfair practices by the federal government (Arizona anyone?)

The intent, when councilmen Doug Tessitor and Ken Herman asked for it to be drawn up, was as a stance against illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

When the resolution went before the council, many members had problems with it. Tessitor and councilman Gene Murabito thought it wasn’t strong enough to express the council’s intent. Tessitor called it “vanilla.”

City Attorney Wayne Leech said it was his intent to water it down in an effort to not put the city on the side of a law that could be rendered unconstitutional.

So the actual resolution section only stated “The City of Glendora supports the rule of law and that enforcement of all government laws, rules and regulations must be done in a fair and equitable manner so that its citizens believe that regardless of their race; family status; religion, creed or financial ability will be treated in the true spirit of Justice being blind to those elements.”

Councilman Terry Kent expressed what most people watching probably thought too. If this does nothing more than say Glendora supports all laws, and considering the city already enforces those laws, than why is the council even talking about this?

“We are already doing it,” Kent said during the meeting. “I don’t know why we are here, to be honest with you.”

Councilwoman Karen Davis echoed Kent’s comments.

“We have, we are and will enforce the laws and in terms of other cities, what we say or do will not impact what those other cities will do,” she said. “We have a jurisdiction to enforce the laws in Glendora, which we have, are and will do. If the intent is to make a reflection on what some other cities have chosen to do, then maybe the language of this needs to be different.”

Murabito had problems with the resolution’s intent versus the actual language.

“If we want to make a statement the we support the laws, why do we then in one paragraph here get very specific to immigration law?” he asked. “To me this whole resolution is saying in essence, we support the laws … and then, oh by the way, we are going to draft this to address immigration.”

Tessitor said immigration should be part of the resolution, and in fact, brought forward stronger within the resolution because “immigration is the lynch pin” by which other cities have fashioned sanctuary city laws.

“I think that is the nexus that is important in taking a stand,” he said.

In the end, only Herman and Tessitor voted in favor of the resolution which died 3-2.

Motto, scha-motto, let’s call the whole thing off

History triumphed over a historical marketing campaign in San Gabriel yesterday.

The San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians were able to convince the council to oppose changing the city’s motto from “City with a Mission” to “History in the Making.”

The new motto was part of a marketing effort to attract business to the city. The old motto is a clever title (you see how mission has two meanings? cool, uh!) that represents the city’s roots.

Also, Developer Trammell Crow Residential last week announced the release and publication of the draft Environmental Impact Report on its proposed 537-unit Canyon Residences multi-family housing proposal in Rowland Heights.

Glendora to take back (minimal?) raises to department managers

In previous episodes of the salary/association wars in Glendora, the city was prepared to suspend a salary schedule recently approved for department managers that has been the subject of some controversy.

It appears, after reading the staff report today, (updated) the city intends to take back some raises that relate to the schedule. What exactly will be taken back is unclear based on the report’s language.

“That any Department Director’s salary that was minimally adjusted to allow payroll to place them into a corresponding salary step in accordance with resolutions 2010-26 and 2010-005 be returned to their prior salary in a y-rated step to their monthly rate, as identified in their contract and/or their personnel file immediately prior to July 27, 2010.”

After contentious debate between the city and the Glendora municipal employees association regarding a new contract, it will be interesting to see how the two sides are able to negotiate a salary schedule with so much room for interpretation.

Most importantly, how will the city seek to define “exceeds performance” regarding merit increase. In private industry, that is usually a broad definition left to interpretation by the supervisor. In this situation, I suspect the union will want more clarity. Does “exceeds expectations” mean doing your job PLUS that of another or is it doing your job better than anyone else would do it?

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

A weekend to remember (and look, you can with this recap! How nice.)

Here is a quick look at the cost of Azusa’s environmental impact report for the recently approved Azusa Rock Quarry project.

A recent survey shows SGV school districts pay superintendents an average of $185,000 annually.

Advocates against police checkpoints say a new video shows an illegal checkpoint run by the Baldwin Park Police Department. A local expert agrees.

And look, someone won $150,000 from a winning lottery ticket sold in Covina. Who’s happy for him/her? That’s right, nobody because we are all bitter we didn’t win that cash (and it was SO close!)

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

Don’t cross the streams! Or What would happen if you put your hand in front a beam that smashes protons

Here is some fun viewing for your weekend. Not to heavy thinking involved, only discussions about advanced physics, anti-matter, multi-verses, math that might as well be in Latin and such.

But the first question was too compelling not to watch.

What WOULD happen if you put your hand in front of the Large Hadron Collider beam? watch here.

Republican nominee for 57th district asks for a do-over concerning his endorsement of Roger Hernandez

Got this via reporter Rebecca Kimitch:

Something got to Brian Gutierrez, Republican candidate for the 57th Assembly district, over the summer.

Just two months after the 20-year-old candidate made the unusual move of endorsing his Democratic rival, West Covina Councilman Roger Hernandez, Gutierrez has done a complete 180.

This week he not only “vehemently” rescinded his endorsement, he went on to refer to Hernandez as “a typical double-talking politician known for his lying.”

Gutierrez said Hernandez hasn’t lived up to his promises to take the young GOP candidate on the campaign trail with him and to listen to the ideas of Republicans.

“I had been badly misled and duped by him,” Gutierrez said.

In July, Gutierrez sang a different song. Back then, he praised Hernandez as someone who would listen to all constituents, regardless of party, and said the Democrat has more experience than him.

Gutierrez also called Hernandez a role model and mentor, remembering how his rival had him over for Thanksgiving when his mom died.

Back in July he said: “My party may not be happy with me for the decision I made, but I believe that no matter who one person may be in terms of their party, you should always support someone you believe in and who can do the job.”

While Gutierrez acknowledged this week that he “simply didn’t do his research” before endorsing his rival, he said he wasn’t being naive in believing a Democrat would listen to Republican ideas.

Either way, the flip-flop won’t likely have much of an outcome on the race. Considering how Democratic the 57th leans, Hernandez is largely considered a shoo-in for the seat.

Here is Gutierrez’s news release:

Brian A. Gutierrez
Republican Nominee

Former Board of Director for the Rowland Unified School District Foundation, and Republican nominee for the 57th Assembly District, Brian A. Gutirrez pulled his endorsement of Roger Hernndez for California Assembly District 57th today, saying he no longer believes him to be the best representative for the residents of the 57th Assembly District.

The 20 year old Mount. San Antonio College student admits he simply didn’t do his research before lending his name to Hernndez’s campaign, and made the endorsement without properly seeking guidance from his consultant. In fact, he believes he was misled by Hernndez’s assertions that they could ‘work together’ for the benefit of the people of the 57th Assembly District.

Gutirrez discovered Hernandez’s tax & spend habits and does not, as a fiscally conservative Latino, support further taxes on small businesses and middle class families. Hernndez’s involvement in the City of West Covina’s Measure D campaign also alerted Gutirrez to the fact that Hernndez has little care for honest government. The FPPC recently fined the committee’s treasurer $6,000 for failing to properly filing campaign financial disclosure statements.

Gutirrez also admits that only recently he became more informed about Hernndez’s unethical behavior and knack for creating hostile work environments in the City.

Gutirrez stated in the past that Hernndez was his mentor and role model, but as maturity tends to do, he realized Roger is a typical double-talking politician known for his lying. In fact, Roger doesn’t even have the support of his own council, not a single endorsement from any of them due to his lack of character. Gutirrez was mistaken about Hernndez’s leadership ability and vehemently rescinds his endorsement.

Finally, Gutirrez has just this to say, “Roger left me no alternative than to pull my endorsement, and he knows why. I had been badly misled and duped by him, but luckily I found out before November and will do my utmost to try and right this wrong. I also oppose his support for a $200 fee on residents that are forced to call 911. It’s a slap in the face of hard-working taxpayers who have already paid their taxes for emergency services while Hernndez, along with other council members have shifted those taxes from public safety to their own pay checks.

Please join Brian A. Gutirrez as he works hard the next five weeks to get out the vote in the 57th AD. Gutirrez hopes you join him in making change happen. Feel free to visit Gutirrez official website at www.gutierrezforassembly.community.officelive.com

I Brian A. Gutirrez approved this letter:


Brian A. Gutierrez
Candidate/Nominee for California’s 57th
Assembly District.

Vulcan announces Saturday access day through mining site to Fish Canyon trail

Vulcan Materials Co. will host an open access day to Fish Canyon on Saturday, officials said.

The mining company will provide shuttles for access through its Azusa Rock Quarry mining site to reach the Fish Canyon Trail located just behind the site.

There will be free parking at Vulcan’s site for those who wish to attend. The three mile hike leads to the Fish Canyon Falls, noted as one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the San Gabriel Valley.

Access starts at 7 a.m. with shuttles running to the beginning of the trail until noon. All hikers must return to the site by 3 p.m.

Vulcan’s site is at the north end of Encanto Parkway, off Foothill Boulevard, in Azusa.