Vikings executive says Leiweke, Roski groups have both contacted the team


The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports today that vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley said both AEG as well as Ed Roski’s group have both contacted the team about potentially moving to California.

Roski has plans approved for a football stadium in Industry, while AEG’s Tim Leiweke has recently bolted onto the scene, stealing the headlines with a downtown stadium proposal.

According to Bagley’s quote in the article, it appears Roski contacted the team in the past, but Leiweke was the most recent to reach out to the team.

The Vikings have long since been on the radar as one of the potential teams available to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles. The Vikings want a new stadium and if that doesn’t come to pass, they may be looking for new digs elsewhere.

The Vikings are down to the last year on their lease and decisions must be made soon.

Other teams that have been rumored as candidates for Los Angeles are the Buffalo Bills, the San Diego Chargers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the St. Louis Rams, and the Oakland Raiders.

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Add one more to the list of potential Glendora, Azusa council candidates

I can’t tell you how much I am excited for the upcoming city council elections in March. There are so many story lines for two of the cities I cover in races that should be highly competitive.

In Azusa, the Azusa Rock Quarry referendum and the project’s general implications should make for some fireworks for councilman Angel Carrillo and Urial Macias, both seeking reelection. The election may also test the power of Mayor Joe Rocha.

Former planning commissioner Jorge Rosales is planning to kick of his campaign in two weeks on Saturday Dec. 11. You may know Jorge through his involvement with Azusans Against Mining Expansion or as the guy who takes pictures at every city function. He also happens to be buds with Mayor Rocha.

Also in the mix is Peggy Martinez, a former Downtown Azusa Business Association director, who is a fixture in the city, and Paul Naccachian, who ran and lost two years ago but has become more prominent and vocal in the community on the Vulcan issue as well as others, such as bicycle helmet safety. The newest name on that list is Madelyn Payne, chair of the city library commission and president of the Friends of the Library group.

And then there is Glendora. With recent revelations about their city manager having left Monterey Park four years ago with about $500,000 in unused leave time and their own city’s issues with benefits as shown when their police chief retired in 2009, there is some ammunition for potential candidates against incumbents Doug Tessitor and Ken Herman.

Plus, the city has butted heads with its employee union over employee compensation. The city has taken a hard line against benefits for employees, including the way the CALPERS retirement plan is funded. That could play well with voters, but if the unions are pitted against the incumbents, campaign contributions could favor contenders.

As for the update on potential challengers in Glendora, I have already reported that Jason Nagy, John Fields, Ed Brubaker and Erica Landmann-Johnsey previously pulled papers. Now you can add Joe Santoro to the list.

The deadline for papers to be filed is still about two weeks away and I expect a few more names to be added to the list before it is all said and done.

Consider this: When Gary Clifford resigned from the council earlier this year, the council had 15 applicants for the position. They chose Terry Kent who pledged to not run for council. That means, besides the two incumbent positions, there is an open slot on this council. New blood is coming in and someone can run and not have to challenge the incumbents to do it. I expect a big field.

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Who deserves to die? A discussion on the death penalty

As I have spent the better part of the last month in a courtroom, it seems only fitting that I donate at least one post to what I have been doing.

The Manling Tsang Williams murder case has been ongoing for nearly a month now. Convicted of murder, the case is now being deliberated by the jury to recommend a sentence for Williams: life or death.

The jury’s deliberations come at the same time that retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has changed course and come out against the death penalty. You can read Stevens’ review of a book on capital punishment – where he details his reasons for condemning the death penalty – at the New York Review of Books.

Stevens was part of the Supreme Court that made the death penalty legal in the 1970s, and his change in opinion has been the subject of major headlines.

In his essay, Stevens argues that system is rife with racism, is often lead by politics, and is contradictory to the principles of the justice system.

In one paragraph, Stevens directly addresses one of the main components of the penalty phase of a trial considering the death penalty. As we have seen in the Williams case, numerous family members and friends – on both sides – have been called to testify. For the family and friends of Neal Williams – some friends of Manling as well – testified to the impact the murders have had on them and their families.

For Stevens part, he criticizes the procedure.

The dynamic supporting a broader application of the death penalty is revealed in cases involving victim-impact statements, felony murder,2 controversy over attitudes toward the death penalty in jury selection, and race-based prosecutorial decisions. As Garland correctly observes, testimony about impact on victims “has been criticized for increasing the emotional temperature of an already highly charged process and exerting additional pressure on the jury to return a death sentence.” In Booth v. Maryland (1987), the Court held that such evidence could serve no purpose other than inflaming the jury and was “inconsistent with the reasoned decision making we require in capital cases.”

You can read the lengthy essay by Stevens for yourself and I suggest you do.

But for this blog, I am curious to see what other people think about the death penalty. I have seen some of the basic comments on my stories, but here I was looking for more of a discussion on the death penalty rather than a checklist of “fors” and “againsts.”

For my feelings, I sit on the fence. I think most people have empathy with victims whose life has been tortured by the murder of a loved one. The death penalty often times seems fair. Eye for an eye. Life for a life.

But it can be more complicated. Despite horrific crimes, can a person still have something to offer the world? A positive impact? Cases like Stanley “Tookie” Williams speak to that. The founder of the Crips gang, convicted of four murders during robberies, Williams later became an anti-gang activist of much notoriety. He was put to death in 2005.

Then there is the efficiency argument. With a decision as serious as the death penalty – and the obvious implications – the system for appeal and review must be exhaustive. The decision to put someone to death must be one made with confidence and clarity. The slightest error, bias, misjudgment, prejudice, etc., could render the decision a grave mistake. To avoid putting to death someone innocent or to deny someone their right to appeal, would defy the justice system’s purpose. But because the process is so lengthy and costly, does it render the death penalty moot?

What do you think?

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Who doesn’t believe in comebacks?

I must apologize for the lack of posting on the blog over the last month. As those avid newspaper readers may well know by now, I have been covering the Manling Williams murder trial and subsequent penalty phase (who am I kidding, no one reads bylines).

But as the Thanksgiving holiday has passed and the jury remains in deliberations, we can get this motor running. We can pick ourselves up off the mat and get in the ring.

And what better to reignite this bonfire of city politics and general news blathering than a review of this weekends most important news items. (OK, no more metaphors)

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has completed its investigation into West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills. Wills asked for the review after it was revealed that officers from the West Covina Police Department investigated allegations of vandalism and rape against the ex-husband of Wills’ then-girlfriend.

In El Monte, 108 of the city’s 278 employees received wages topping $100,000 last fiscal year when you account for overtime, benefits and other perks.

The San Dimas Brasada residential project is becoming a reality despite years of push back. The environmental impact report is scheduled to be reviewed in December.

That is all for now. Let’s take this slow. Don’t want to rush it right when we are just getting started again. As for now, I will be waiting on a decision in the Williams’ case. And I want to post something on that later today and talk about the death penalty. Controversy is just what we need to get reacquainted.

Glendora Fresh and Easy not part of list of scheduled openings

The Glendora Promenade has been an empty retail space for some time now. The remodeled center was geared around its anchor tenant Fresh and Easy and is relying on it attract businesses to the center.

But with the grocery store still awaiting its opening, the center has remained barren with only a Tutor Time and a Subway to show for it.

Fresh and Easy released a press release Thursday that didn’t add any hope.

The release announced 10 southern California stores scheduled to open next year. Glendora’s was not among them.

Southern California stores opening early next year:

Here is the list:

January 12th

2nd St. & Madison Ave. El Cajon

February 9th

El Toro Rd. & Trabuco Rd. Lake Forest

Newport Blvd. & Harbor Blvd. Costa Mesa

Camino Del Norte & Dove Canyon Rd. San Diego

February 16th

Oceanside Blvd. & Vine St. Oceanside

Alameda St. & Florence Ave. Walnut Park

Seaward Ave. & Thompson Blvd. Ventura

February 23rd

Arneill Rd. & Las Posas Rd. Camarillo

Bonita Ave. & San Dimas Canyon Rd. San Dimas

March 30th

* Atlantic Ave. & 33rd St. Long Beach

PS – I haven’t been posting as I have been away from the office most days covering the Manling Williams trial.