Citrus Walk project gets golden shovel photo op

Here’s the photo the Olson Co. sent us of their groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.


Those are the Olson execs on the right, and one on the left. Covina council members and staffers are in the middle. Absent is Councilman Bob Low, who opposes redevelopment and the Citrus Walk project.

Construction is expected to take about two years on the downtown mixed-use project.

Not every door opens for a mayor

Covina Mayor Peggy Delach had a unusual excuse for missing Tuesday’s City Council meeting — she was stuck on the tarmac at Ontario airport because the plane’s door was stuck. This after the flight was already delayed.

Delach wound up spending a couple of hours in her seat before passengers were finally freed, and she got home around 9 p.m. At least she didn’t have to stay overnight.

Covina also adjourned its meeting in memory of Grant Parrish, father of City Manager Darryl Parrish. A former Marine and Yucaipa resident, Grant Parrish died Dec. 19 at age 90. The city manager said he had a lot of thank you cards to write after receiving well wishes from employees and residents.

The timing was rough because Parrish was in the middle of finding a new home. He had been staying in the city-owned house that will soon be torn down for the Olson Citrus Walk. Parrish moved into a new place on Badillo this week.

Marijuana dispensaries raided for turning profit, if only the rest of the economy could be so lucky

When was the last time you heard about a business getting arrested for turning a profit? Today, that’s when.

Apparently, medical marijuana sellers aren’t the small business backbone (I think a better small business metaphor is to say they are more like nerve endings or knee caps. Yeah, knee caps) of America. Dispensaries are non-profit businesses, as outlined by state law. So when a few of them allegedly starting bringing in extra proceeds, the police decided it was time for a raid.

If that is the case, enough said. They broke the law and that’s that, right? The owners and partners with the dispensaries deny police claims, but that will play out in court.

But this begs the larger question, with something as potentially profitable as marijuana and the ongoing issues with dispensaries – including the popularity of opening them – to avoid these problems, why not just have this administered by the state or hospitals to avoid issues of free market business meddling with the law? Is this a viable option? Maybe I’m crazy, and if I am, I’ll be happy to hear why.

In other news, no arrests have been made against the charitable “non-profit” organizations that offer 400,000 plus salaries for its executives.

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Leftovers column: Nobody seems to care about old houses in Covina

By Ben Baeder
Staff Writer

I can’t stand it when people go all out to save street trees. Unless they’re grand old native Oaks or cottonwoods or some other California tree, I’ll choose the cracking, root-clogged sewer line over the tree every time.

Sorry tree huggers.

But I’m a sucker for old houses. You can’t grow those.

In October, I noticed that no one seemed to care when a fire torched three turn-of-the-century homes on Center Street near downtown Covina.

We got no telephone calls decrying the loss of history. On the reader Internet posts, only one woman lamented the loss, and that was only because she grew up in one of the homes.

According to our statistics, not too many people read the story online.

If the fire was in Pasadena, or Whittier or Monrovia, this would have been among the day’s most-read stories on those cities’ newspaper Web sites.

But it was only Covina.

Despite having some of the oldest homes and buildings in the county, the people of Covina, for some reason, don’t seem to care much about the city’s historic character.

Councilman Kevin Stapleton first realized this years ago when he and his wife tried to drum up momentum to increase preservation efforts.

After getting a little initial support, the effort soon fizzled.

Stapleton said Covina has a Mills Act program in place, which allows owners of historic homes to get property tax reductions in exchange for a promise to keep a property looking

But no one ever signs up, said Stapleton, whose home was built around 1905.

“I love older homes,” he said. “You actually have rooms. Things like a dining room, a living room, things like a yard for relaxing.”

Perhaps the city’s conservative residents don’t want “the man” telling them what to do with their old house.

“Maybe people don’t turn to government as readily as they may in other cities,” Stapleton said.

But Covina resident Rudy Uribe has evidence that old-home lovers do exist in the eastern San Gabriel Valley.

He owns the big green house on San Bernardino Road and North Larkin Avenue next to the old Badillo homestead.

He bought the the 1910 American Victorian for $300,000 10 years ago, and he has been working on restoring it ever since.

He recently repainted most of the outside, and most of the inside is immaculate. It has hardwood floors, barreled ceilings, pocket doors – all the things old-home nerds like me go gaga for.

Uribe, an electrician, said the restoration has been hard work – way more than he thought when he bought the 3,300-square-foot monster.

But when he’s working outside, people let him know they appreciate what he’s doing.

“They stop by all the time,” Uribe said Friday after he climbed down from a ladder. “People wave, honk, they tell me they love it.”

Stapleton said it might be time to try to stoke the passions of preservation again – especially because the city’s downtown is thriving.

“It might be time to talk about it again,” he said.

As for the trees, maybe they can be milled down and used for facia.

Covina city manager, finance director take a little heat from old boss

The City Council in Covina is standing by their man, well men, after a Colton councilman complained that Covina City Manager Daryl Parrish and Finance Director Dilu De Alwis left Colton with a big budget deficit.

Both formerly worked in Colton, where Councilman Vincent Yzaguirre is complaining about a $5.8 mililion deficit he said is due in part to bad budget projections.

De Alwis said he did indeed overestimate, but he claimed a lot of other cities did the same thing, including Covina before he took the job there.

Parrish said he wasn’t very involved in the budget.

Here’s the beginning of a story from Amanda Baumfeld.

COVINA _ City officials spoke in support of two top executives this week after a Colton councilman accused the men of making budgetary mistakes during the executives’ stints in Colton.
Colton Councilman Vincent Yzaguirre said miscalculations by City Manager Daryl Parrish and Finance Director Dilu De Alwis contributed to the city’s $5.8 million budget deficit.
Parrish and De Alwis now work for Covina as the city manager and finance director.
“Human errors were made in the budget and they exacerbate the situation we are in with the economy,” Yzaguirre said in a phone interview this week. “We have to make up for that shortfall.”
Mayor Walt Allen said he is “happy” to have Parrish in the city.

Consultants, Colton and Covina

Covina’s newest City Manager, Daryl Parrish, is scheduled to begin on June 1.

In this story, which ran in The San Bernardino Sun, it discusses a “perception problem” that may have been created when Parrish used $15,000 from Cotlon’s discrentionary funds to hire a consultant to work for the city.

Meanwhile, Covina was using the same consultant to interview city manager applicants. In the end, Parrish was selected for Covina.

Councilman Kevin Stapleton, however, said that Covina used the consultant back in the 1990s when they first hired the previous city manager, Paul Philips, and that the consultant had no say in their selection of Parrish.

Here’s the story:

Colton consultant also worked for Covina, which just hired Colton ‘s city manager
Sun, The (San Bernardino, CA) – Monday, May 25, 2009
Author/Byline: Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Section: News

COLTON – A consultant hired to provide ethics training and other services for the City Council is the same man the Covina City Council used to recruit its new city manager.

Colton City Manager Daryl Parrish was one of 59 applicants who vied for the Covina job and ended up being Covina’s top choice.

The recruiter who narrowed the field from 59 to about 15 is Bill Mathis, a psychologist that specializes in management psychology. Mathis is one of about seven recruiters in the state that helps cities find candidates for high-profile job openings.

In October 2007 Parrish used his $25,000 discretionary fund, which doesn’t require council approval, to award a $15,000 contact to Mathis to aid the council in developing a “norms and ethics policy,” goal setting and provide other services until April 30, city reports say. In August, the council voted 4-3 to extend the contract to June 30 and increase Mathis’ compensation to an amount not to exceed $50,000, reports say.

The situation has raised the eyebrows of some residents who say Parrish and Mathis should have disclosed the issue to the public to avoid any perception of backdoor dealings.

“My understanding is that he ( Parrish ) has been looking for a job elsewhere for a while,” said Frank Navarro, a resident and member of the political group Colton First, which is often critical of city leaders. “It raises questions for anybody who has an interest in the community. Did he use taxpayer money to improve his chances of obtaining a job elsewhere?”

Parrish denies any ill intent in hiring Mathis. In the wake of scandals involving former councilmembers – including Ramon Hernandez and Donald Sanders – Parrish said Councilman David Toro directed him to formulate some sort of ethics system the council would follow and the idea was supported by Mayor Kelly Chastain.

Toro said his intent was to implement a policy that would set consequences if elected officials engaged in unethical activity, but such a system never came to fruition.

The recommendation to use Mathis for ethics training came from the city’s law firm, Best Best & Krieger, city reports say.

Parrish has stated in public that he has applied for city manager jobs in other cities. In 2006 and 2007 he was a finalist for city manager openings in Hemet and Redlands, respectively. Mathis was not the recruiter for either city.

“I think people in the marketplace know that I’m a senior manager,” Parrish said. “There was no premeditation on my part to hire Mathis so I could use him as my personal executive recruiter. The Covina council will attest to that, I’m there because I won the race.”

A hiring committee made up of Covina Mayor Walt Allen and Councilman Kevin Stapleton took the 15 applicants Mathis selected from the entire pool and reduced the field to six finalists. Parrish was unanimously selected by the five-member Covina council, Allen said.

“He (Mathis) had nothing to do with the final selection of the candidate,” Allen said. “There was just no comparison. We had some stellar candidates, but he ( Parrish ) just had what we were looking for.”

Mathis said he didn’t notify the Colton council he had selected Parrish as a candidate from the pool of applicants in Covina because “all of the city managers who were applying were guaranteed by me confidentiality.”

Mathis said he didn’t personally recruit Parrish and he learned the job was available and applied for it on his own.

Jessica Levinson, director of political reform for the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies, said applicant privacy is a valid reason for not making the job search public, but public officials should take special care to avoid creating a situation the public could view as unethical.

“It’s the perception problem here,” she said, “of making it look like public officials are going behind the backs of the public and engaging in dealings for their own benefit.

“Whether that was going on or not, the way to avoid that is to be as open and as transparent as possible, especially when you have a city that has a history of scandal. When the public starts to lose faith in their public officials it hurts the integrity of the governmental process.”

City Manager gets $203,490 per year, plus free car, plus free rent, plus 20 days vacation time, plus…

The contract for Covina’s newest City Manager, Daryl Parrish, is going to be approved tonight. Here what he’s getting, according to the contract on page 186 of tonight’s staff report:

1. Annual salary: $203,490, subject to an annual 5 percent bonus pay. Base salary is $199,500, but htat is increaesd because of a 2 percent educational incentive.

2. City Car: Parrish will get a fully equipped sedan capable of seating at least 5 people. Insurance and maintenance paid for by the city.

3. Time off: 75 hours per year of administrative leave, 20 days of vacation leave, same holidays and sick leave accrual as all other city employees.

4. Retirement Benefits: CalPers/PARS benefit totalling 2.7 percent @ 55; plus $250 a month paid by city in a deferred compensation plan.

5. Free Rent: The manager can live at the city owned 125 E. Italia Street property on a month-to-month basis. When the property will be needed for redevelopment purposes, the city will offer housing assistance payment of $1,000 per month.

6. Severance: If the City Manager is fired, he gets a 12 month severance pay ($199,500).


Patricia Allen, 58, loses battle with cancer

Patricia Allen, wife of Covina Mayor Walter Allen III, lost her 16 year battle with cancer on Tuesday.

Here is some information provided by the city:

Patricia Thomas Allen, the wife of Covina Mayor Walter Allen III, passed away
following a valiant sixteen-year battle with cancer on Tuesday, May 19, 2009.
Patricia was born on November 11, 1951. In addition to her husband of 37 years,
she is survived by her son Walter David Allen IV, and two brothers Keith and
Richard Thomas.

Patricia Allen was an artist, specializing in acrylic and oil. She was a vibrant,
active member of the community; involved with many civic organizations and St.
Louise De Marillac Catholic Church, and she enjoyed spending time with her many
loving friends. Among her many friendly and outgoing qualities, Patricia will be
remembered for her beautiful smile and positive attitude, even during her most dire
health challenges.

Services for Patricia Allen will take place on Thursday and Friday, May 28 and
May 29:

Thursday, May 28, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Rosary at St Louise De Marillac
Catholic Church, 1720 E Covina Blvd. Covina CA

The City of Covina provides responsive municipal services and manages public resources to enhance the quality of life for our community.

Friday, May 29, 10:00 AM, Mass at St Louise De Marillac Catholic Church,
1720 E Covina Blvd. Covina CA, followed by Interment at Oakdale
Cemetery, 1401 So Grand Ave. Glendora CA

Following Internment, family and friends are invited to celebrate Pat’s life at
Covina Center for the Performing Arts 104 N. Citrus Ave. Covina CA, hosted by
Chris & Retha Champion.

In lieu of flowers the family has suggested donations to one of the following:

Citrus Valley Hospice, 820 N. Phillips Avenue, West Covina CA 91791
Ettie Lee Youth and Family Services, PO Box 339, Baldwin Park CA 91706
Stillpoint Family Resources, PO Box 5103, West Hills CA 91308
American Cancer Society, 915 N. Grand Avenue, Covina CA 91724

From Colton to Covina

Here’s a story printed in our sister paper, the San Bernardino Sun, about new Covina City Manager Daryl Parrish:

Colton city manager headed to Covina
Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/07/2009 06:38:35 PM PDT

COLTON – City Manager Daryl Parrish has resigned to become the city manager of Covina, it was announced Thursday.

His last day with Colton will be sometime after May 14, Parrish said. The City Council will discuss its strategy to find a replacement at a meeting Tuesday, he said.

“Transitions can be bittersweet as this one certainly is,” Parrish said, “as I leave behind a gifted, talented and caring staff, a community on the brink of exciting and dynamic change, and a mayor and council who I feel will rise to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with vision, determination and hopefully with solidarity.

Assistant City Manager Mark Nuaimi can fill the role of “acting city manager” while a replacement for Parrish is sought, but law prohibits a mayor of one city from also being the city manager in another, Parrish said. Nuaimi is Mayor of Fontana.

Parrish began working in Colton in 1991 with the Redevelopment Department. He became assistant city manager in 1996 and city manager in 2001.

“Daryl has been a dedicated servant to the people of Colton,” Councilman Richard DeLaRosa said. “He’s provided the leadership in tough times and I hope this opportunity benefits him and his family.”

A news release from Covina says Parrish will start his new job June 1. He will make a base annual salary of $199,500, the release said. Parrish’s base annual salary with Colton was about $193,000, he said.

“I really appreciate him for his good work in Colton, but most of all I’m going to miss having this caliber of a person around,” Councilman Vince Yzaguirre said. “He’s a good man.”