Part of a well balanced breakfast, don’t forget to add some weekend links!

I saw the Social Network yesterday. Good film, if not wholly accurate. Aaron Sorkin’s writing style – and the dialogue that follows – may not be for everyone, but I always enjoy it. Only a few more films to see before I got all the Oscar nominated films covered.

Anyway, you didn’t come here for my film ramblings (oh, how I wish you did), but here are some weekend links you might have missed while watching “The Rite.”

A 230-foot tower is getting planted next to some homes in Duarte. Naturally, they had a few concerns.

Glendora became another city trying to keep Gov. Jerry Brown and the state away from their redevelopment dollars.

No new taxes, is the familiar cry of many elected officials. But increased fees? That’s totally different.

New contract for Glendora’s chief cuts benefits

Went over the new contract for Glendora Police Chief Rob Castro who was approved by the council Tuesday.

Highlights include:

– No administrative leave time
– Base salary of roughly $180,000 a year
– Vacation capped at 200 hours, will accrue at the rate of 176 hours
– If he is terminated, will receive 6 months severance.
– Will pay full share of the employee portion of CALPERS.

Background: Former chief Montoya cashed out $80,000 in unused leave time when he retired in 2009. He credited the ability to use administrative leave in place of vacation in order to save it.

Full story in tomorrow’s paper.

La Puente: Kenline update, Holliman’s last meeting

Former City Manager Josi Kenline is still negotiating the terms of her departure.

A settlement agreement was listed on tonight’s council agenda, but I’m now hearing the item will be pulled. Her contract called for $160,000 in severance.

I’ve got an article pending on Kenline’s management of City Hall in the past year. It’s been holding for a couple weeks, but should see print later this week. Stay tuned.

Also tonight, this should also be interim City Manager Al Holliman’s last meeting. He’s going back to his full-time teaching position at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri. The council has already interviewed two candidates to replace him — still on an interim basis — and will hire one tonight.

Planning Commission appointments are also on the agenda, along with the Puente Pride and Education commissions.

Weekend links

Live downstream from the Whittier Narrows or Santa Fe Dams? You have reason to worry, according to a new report.

Speaking of water, one of the areas most prominent local innovators for water projects died recently. Tim Jochem spent almost a decade as the general manager of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District.

California is leading the pack nationally when it comes to implementing federal health care reform, and has already passed legislation and allocated federal resources to do so.

U.S. Army Corps cuts ribbon on new break room! Oh, btw, local dams might break…

The Santa Fe and Whittier Narrows dams have Dam Safety Safety Class II – URGENT (Unsafe or Potentially Unsafe), but there isn’t a press release about that on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ website.

You know what there is a press release for? This:

LOS ANGELES–More than 30 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District team members welcomed the addition of a much-anticipated break room on the 11th floor during a ribbon cutting ceremony here Jan. 19.

Col. Mark Toy, district commander, said one of the first things he did after taking command July 1, 2010, was to examine employee work stations and brainstorm ways to improve them. One of the things Toy noticed was there was nowhere for workers to take a break and recharge their batteries throughout the workday. Since the compression of the building at 915 Wilshire Blvd. was completed last year, there was no designated location for employees to relax.

“You can’t work 14 hour days and then [take a] break in the hallways, parking lot or the bathrooms. I was really concerned there wasn’t a place for our people to get away from work. Now we have a great flat screen TV, really nice furniture and vending machines,” said Toy.

Completion of the break room was made possible thanks to a partnership and coordination between the executive office; Lincoln Properties, which manages the building; the Logistics Office and General Services Administration.

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

DA’s office says no decision on misuse of public funds allegations against Duarte prior to Tuesday’s special election

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office of Public Integrity said an investigation into the misuse of public funds by Duarte officials regarding an Azusa referendum remains open.

Furthermore, Head Deputy District Attorney for the department, David Demerjian, said he doesn’t expect any decisions on the case prior to the special election based on the referendum in question which is scheduled for Tuesday.

Azusa Mayor Diane Chagnon alleged in a complaint filed with the district attorney’s office in November that Duarte hired a public relations firm to help with a referendum campaign in Azusa and illegally discussed certain items in closed session.

Officials in Duarte rebuked the claims and submitted hundreds of documents to the attorney’s office in response.

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

Details hard to come by regarding Glendora retail development


I tried to get the lowdown on the new Glendora Plaza development being built near the corner of Route 66 and Grand Avenue.

I called the project’s developer Georges Attar, and I got some basics. It is a 19,000 square foot development with a restaurant pad. He purchased the property a couple years back, but development was slowed by the economy.

I asked him about any concerns getting tenants in the building – after all, the Fresh and Easy anchored center just a couple blocks south remains mostly vacant – but he shook it off.

“It is a totally different location,” Attar said.

For any more details, he referred me to his partner Elie Attar.

I called Wednesday and left a message. I called today and spoke to a Frank. He said Elie was out and I should call back. I asked if he would be in today, and Frank’s response was a quick “I don’t know.” In the middle of asking when would be a better time to call back, Frank hung up.

I called back to ask when the best time to call back would be, but just after introducing myself again, Frank clamored, “He is not here right now,” before hanging up.

I thought about calling back a third time, but realized I would just look foolish when he hung up on me again. The lack of control in a phone call is infuriating at times.

Maybe we will get the details in the future, but for now it looks like a dead end.

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

San Dimas candidates online

Incumbent John Ebiner, one of three candidates for two City Council seats in the March 8 election, has asked for your support via YouTube:

His website is sparse, featuring only a short statement and an e-mail address, but I imagine that will change.

Incumbent Emmett Badar and challenger Chris S. Grant also have websites.

In the mayoral election, it looks like Curt Morris’ website isn’t updated often, and I couldn’t find anything for challenger Sid Maksoudian. Sid ran for council two years ago and is well known for his criticism of the current regime, so I expect to have lots of information from him as election season gets into full swing.

Notes on the Glendora candidates forum

Last night was the Glendora council candidates forum where the seven contenders sparred (not really, more like, politely conveyed their views) over various city issues.

First and foremost, I must say that Ken Herman was a gracious moderator. Despite the questionable choice to choose a once candidate, incumbent Mayor to be the moderator that adds the opportunity for someone to cry foul over the forum’s fairness, it wasn’t an issue.

Herman read the questions, kept everyone within their allotted time, and commended the candidates as a group. He never singled out a candidate, interjected or gave his opinion.

Now for the highlights.

– In a forum where many of the candidates talked about leadership styles, the need to communicate better with residents and listen, incumbent councilman Doug Tessitor showed his experience.

For my two-cents, he had the money quote of the night – right or wrong. “Any decision you make has two sides. No matter what decision you make, it makes someone mad and someone happy. The person who is happy thinks you listened. The person who is mad thinks you didn’t listen.”

– Jason Nagy pulled a John Boehner, choking up during one bit.

OK, I feel genuinely bad for that joke. Nagy was clearly passionate last night and often spoke about his run being from his heart. No ill will intended.

– Cynthia Carrasco told me she is training for a bicycle marathon. So don’t be surprised if you see some bicyclists with some “Vote for Cynthia” jerseys.

– John Fields, while responding to a question about lawsuits from residents, said he felt some lawsuits were based on personal vendettas. He went onto say that some public records requests are also based on vendettas and he wondered if there was a way to filter such requests.

Short answer: No. Public records are just that. Public. Anyone person has a right to view them, vendetta or not.

– On the flip side, Fields promised to bring some flair and excitement to the council in the form of entertainment. This is actually a pretty good idea. Get people wondering what you might do if elected and maybe you get the curiosity vote. I can dig it.

– When asked the fully loaded question of what new state taxes the council candidates would support, the candidates had this shocking reply: None.

Who would have guessed? I am glad we got that question out of the way because otherwise who knows what could have happened.

– As a footnote, two candidates – Fields and Erica Landmann-Johnsey – graduated from Cal Poly Pomona representing the green and gold. Go Broncos! (If you haven’t figured it out, I am an alum)

– Landmann-Johnsey defended herself well with the forum’s most personal question regarding lawsuits against the city. Landmann-Johnsey was part of a group, Friends of Glendora, who filed a lawsuit against the city. In response, she said “”Lawsuits are sometimes necessary for people … who feel they are not being represented.”

– To the same question, Joe Santoro said “You’re really in jeopardy when someone wants to sue you.”

– Meg Whitman should have taken some lessons from Judy Nelson. Nelson, a business owner in Glendora, said she had not voted or paid attention to city politics for many years as she focused on her life. She owned it.

“I learned that is the wrong way to go,” she said.