Monterey Park parts ways with Yotsuya

During a special meeting Wednesday, the Monterey Park City Council voted 3-2 to dismiss City Manager June Yotsuya.

“The decision, because of this economic condition all over the state right now, we decided to go in another direction,” said Councilman Frank Venti.

Jim Smith, the city’s interim police chief, will serve as acting city manager, Venti said.

Venti said he expects that an interim city manager would be chosen within the next week.

“We’re looking for somebody definitely who has city manager experience, with a good, strong financial background,” Venti said.

Yotsuya, who served as assistant city manager for the city of Seal Beach before coming to Monterey Park, was appointed in April 2008.

She was hired by the old City Council majority, which was overturned in when Betty Tom Chu beat out Sharon Martinez in the last City Council election.

Monterey Park city manager seat getting reheated

For about the fifth time, the Monterey Park City Council today is scheduled to discuss firing City Manager June Yotsuya.

Yotsuya took the job in 2008.

The council met Wednesday to talk about Yotsuya’s contract, but they didn’t make a decision. They were scheduled to meet again Friday, but Councilman Frank Venti was sick.

Today’s meeting is at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

Selecting new councilman not on La Puente agenda

The La Puente City Council agenda doesn’t list a hearing regarding the city selecting a council member to fill Louie Lujan’s seat. Lujan resigned two weeks ago, a day before he pleaded guilty to perjury for lying in campaign finance forms.

Last we heard, the council tonight was scheduled to choose between five finalists. We’re told the council didn’t list the hearing because it was continued from a hearing last week, when the five candidates were chosen as finalists.

But how would anybody know about tonight’s hearing unless they were at last week’s meeting?

I admire the council for trying to move quickly, but I’m pretty sure this type of thing should have been publicized.

Trash could get expensive in La Puente

LA PUENTE – The City Council on Tuesday will consider raising residential trash rates by 5 percent and commercial rates by 10 percent.

Trash hauler Valley Vista Services proposed raising monthly residential rates by $1.13 to $23.32, according to a report from the city. Commercial monthly rates could increase by $18.93 to $208.27, according to the report.

The city’s staff recommended the council approve the increase. The residential rate is little less than average for area cities.

Glendora, for instance, charges $25.61 monthly for residential customers.

In neighboring Hacienda Heights, Valley Vista charges $17.50 a month for residential customers, but that rate is expected to increase in the coming years.

The meeting in La Puente is at 7 p.m. at City Cally, 15900 E. Main St.

To see the staff report on the increase, go to:

For more information, call 626-855-1500.

Read more:

Monterey Park city manager on the hot seat Friday morning

MONTEREY PARK – The City Council at 8 a.m. Friday will discuss firing City Manager June Yotstuya, according to a notice from the City Clerk’s office.

The council discussed Yotsuya’s contract Wednesday night but failed to make a decision whether to let her go.

Yotsuya was hired in March 2008 after months of negotiating by the City Council.

She was awarded a salary of $186,000 annually after she was hired in a 3-2 vote.

If she is fired, Yotsuya will get 12 months of severance pay, according to the contract approved in 2008.

The city’s agenda says the City Council will consider appointing Yotsuya’s replacement.

The meeting is in room 266 on the second floor of Monterey Park City Hall, 320 W. Newmark Ave.

Monterey Park’s Venti goes Old Testament

I’ve always wondered why Monterey Park Councilman Benjamin “Frank” Venti had that ponytail. Now I know why. Here’s a piece from reporter Daniel Tedford’s story about former Monterey Park Councilwoman Sharon Martinez being charged with several felonies.

Venti was happy to hear charges had been filed. When the mailer first appeared in 2007, Venti vowed to grow his hair out until the perpetrators were discovered.

“My hair grew and now I got to figure out a day when I am going to cut it and celebrate,” Venti said.

Venti said he ultimately hopes to find out what motivated the mailer.

“I think the motive is the most important thing,” Venti said. “Was it just to get me off the council? I doubt it. Was it a conspiracy of something else? That is what we have got to get to the bottom of.”

I love hair vows. They’ve been popular since the time of the Judges.

He then goes on to imply that there is more to be discovered.

Another mystery: Why would Venti ditch a cool name like Benjamin for a name like Frank?

For the whole story, click here:

Another San Gabriel Valley politician facing criminal charges

Former Councilwoman Sharon Martinez looks like she might be in trouble:
Here’s an update from reporter Daniel Tedford:

MONTEREY PARK – County prosecutors have charged former Councilwoman Sharon Martinez with five felonies in connection with a 2007 election campaign mailer.

Martinez, 43, was charged on Feb. 26 with one count of conspiracy to commit false campaign advertisement, one count of false campaign advertisement, one count of forgery, one count of use of a counterfeit city seal, one count of perjury and one misdemeanor attempt to dissuade a witness, said David Demerjian, head deputy of the District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity.

If convicted, Martinez faces a maximum of five years and four months in state prison, Demerjian said.

Martinez could not imeediately be reached for comment.

The charges stem from a 2007 election campaign mailer that targeted Councilman Frank Venti, Demerjian said.

The mailer contained a letter signed by Venti claiming he was working to oust the city’s fire department and replace it with a contract with Los Angeles County Fire Department, Venti said. The signature on the letter was a forgery and contained a counterfeit city seal, according to the complaint filed by the district attorney’s office.

Martinez paid Alhambra political consultant Melrose Castillo $5,000 in cash to produce and distribute the mailer, anonymously, according to the complaint. Castillo is also charged with the same five felonies, according to the complaint.

Martinez had served on the Monterey Park City Council since 2001 before she was defeated in a reelection bid last year.

She came in fourth in the March 2009 election when Councilwoman Betty Tom Chu replaced her on the council with an election victory. Councilman David Lau was also reelected that year.

Diamond Bar still doesn’t feel like dancing

Despite objections from Councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang, Diamond Bar maintained it’s ban on new businesses that include dancing:

DIAMOND BAR – The City Council has decided not to seek changes to an ordinance banning live entertainment and dancing at new businesses. When enacting the ordinance in January, council members asked planning officials to consider possibilities of loosening the regulations. But at a meeting Tuesday to discuss the matter, the council opted to leave the rules intact.

“It’s really important that we maintain control for our residents,” Mayor Carol Herrera said at a study session before the regular council meeting. Passed with little public opposition, the ban also caps the number of parties with live entertainment at community centers, lodges and hotels with exemptions for schools, churches and some city-sponsored events.

Businesses with existing approvals for live entertainment are allowed to continue.

Councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang, a vocal opponent, pushed to relax what she has called an “extremely restrictive” ordinance.

Though she voted for it, she said she considered it a “temporary” fix as a city moratorium on bars was expiring.

Chang wants to allow live entertainment and dancing – citing flamenco music at a potential Spanish restaurant as an example – but still enact security, parking and other regulations modeled after other California cities.

El Monte City School District chooses replacement for Salcedo

The El Monte City School Board selected a candidate to fill the seat vacated by the death of Agustin Roberto “Bobby” Salcedo, who was killed in January while visiting his wife’s family in Mexico.

He is being replaced by Robert “Mike” Barrios, a former board member.

Here’s a link to a story about how Salcedo died and the effort to find out who did it.

Tonight they dance in Diamond Bar, or at least they talk about it

The Orwellian dance saga in Diamond Bar continues:

DIAMOND BAR — City officials tonight will meet to discuss ways of possibly changing the city’s ban on new dancing and live entertainment businesses, such as restaurants and bars. Councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang is the city most vocal proponent for implementing a less strict ban. It’s a study session at 5:30 p.m. and no action is expected to be taken.