Diamond Bar selects new mayor, mayor pro tem

Diamond Bar planned the annual musical chairs with the mayor/mayor pro tem positions Tuesday.

The Diamond City Council on Tuesday night selected Steve Tye as mayor and Ling-Ling Chang as mayor pro tem.

Tye, who was first elected in November 2005 and re-elected in 2009, replaces Carol Herrera. This is his second term as mayor, first serving from 1997 to 1998.

Chang, first elected in November 2009, previously served on the Walnut Valley Water District Board of Directors and worked in the education field. This will be her first term serving as mayor pro tem.

Still on the council are Herrera, Ron Everett and Jack Tanaka.

The positions are largely honorary and many councils, such as Glendora and Duarte, exchange the positions on a yearly or biennial basis. For all intensive purposes, it is mostly done to choose a person who runs the council meetings. On a more nuanced basis, council members often turn to the mayor as a spokesperson for the city and the positions are used by some council members as a display of pride, leadership, or accomplishment.

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

Full length interview with Diamond Bar BBQ champ Harry Soo


Considering this is the LEFTOVERS from City Hall blog, I figured it might be appropriate to post the full interview I did with Diamond Bar man Harry Soo, a national barbecue champion.

The story ran online and in the paper Tuesday, but due to space constraints, it didn’t run in full. Here is there full length interview. Happy grilling!

Harry Soo, a Diamond Bar resident who runs Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ, recently won their fifth grand championship of the year on July 3 in Stockton.

Soo and his company have rapidly become one of the most prodigious barbecue competitors nationwide. Soo is now teaching a barbecue class once a month to reveal some of his secrets and tips to prime barbecue.

Soo took the time to answer a few questions regarding barbecuing, give some tips and talk about some of his favorite things to cook.

What is the most common mistake people make when using the barbecue?

Most common beginner mistake is doing too much. One of my barbecue wisdom sayings is ‘less is more.’ That is, less rub, less smoke, less sauce, and less add-ons. For example, beginners very often over smoke their barbecue.

For beginners, what are some of the first things you recommend? What meat or recipes should they start with?

A very tasty and forgiving meat to start your barbecue journey is chicken. It’s inexpensive and easy to prepare. Make a simple rub with something salty like kosher salt, something sweet like sugar, something with color like chili and paprika, and some spices. Sprinkle on your chicken pieces and put skin side up into a 275 degree oven or charcoal smoker or gas grill. Do not touch it and let it cook until internal temperature is 175 degrees. Brush on your favorite barbecue sauce, let set for 10 minutes, remove and enjoy.

On your web site, you say grilling and barbecuing are not the same thing. What’s the difference?

Grilling is cooking directly over high heat, usually over 300 degrees. BBQ is cooking indirectly with lower heat, less than 300 degrees. Both are good depending on the meat you are cooking. Grilling is good for meat that is tender. In technical terms, tender meat contains strands of protein called collagen that are loose, examples include chicken and fish. Conversely, low and slow barbecue is good for meat that is not tender, which is attributable to very tightly coiled strands of collagen. Examples include pork ribs and beef brisket. Low heat for long periods will loosen the chewy collagen and transform the meat into a tender delicious state called gelatin.
Understanding this little bit of food science will put you on the right path to creating moist and tender barbecue.

If you were trying to convince someone to become more of a barbecue user, what would you tell them?

Simple, have them taste properly smoked low and slow authentic American barbecue. Once you have tasted good barbecue, you’ll never go back to the steam grilled barbecue you find in those chain barbecue stores. No names mentioned but they rhyme with Rome. Barbecue is the only true authentic American food. We stole everything else — the pizza, hotdog, hamburger, noodles, etc. — from other countries. No other culture in the world cooks meat low and slow for up to 12 hours above ground. The Hawaiians cook for long periods too but it’s below ground. Barbecue was borne out of necessity when the plantation owners would give the workers less cuts of meat and the workers learned to start a fire and cook it low and slow so supper would be ready when they returned home after sunset. I’ve had many folks sample my barbecue pork and they literally fall into a stupor called ‘hog heaven’ because the mini explosion of flavor in their mouth is like a symphony that evokes intense visceral emotion from the combination of smoke, meat, rub, sauce, and all the messy goodness.

One of the problems I always run into while barbecuing is flare-ups on the grill, how should I handle that and what can I do to prevent it?

Have a spray bottle with water and spritz the meat to put out the flare up. Also, you can move the meat to a cooler spot on your grill.

What is your favorite thing to barbecue?

Rib tips. They come from the top portion of a pork sparerib. When a sparerib is trimmed into a St. Louis rib, the top portion of the sparerib is removed. That piece is called the rib tip. More barbecue restaurants will have rib tips if you ask for them. There is no better eating barbecue than rib tips.

What makes cooking on the barbecue more enjoyable, and taste better, than other means?

Barbecue is just honest food. If cooked properly, it’s amazingly delicious stuff. Pair it with some classic sides and you’ve got a plateful of authentic American food ala apple pie. The smoke, char, rub, sauce, and tender meat is a universally loved. That’s why grilling and barbecue is found in every culture in the world. Meat plus smoke plus rib equals happiness.

What do you prefer in the age-old debate — gas or charcoal grill?

Both are good if you know what you are doing. As I always say, it’s the pitmaster, it’s not the pit. We’ve proven that simple point while cooking on the competition circuit with a pair of Webers we bought off Amazon for $200 each and have beaten many teams countless of times who are brandishing $30,000 custom pits.

For more information or to register for one of Soo’s classes, visit www.slapyodaddybbq.com.

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

Diamond Bar in the market for a City Hall

From reporter James Wagner:

The City Council will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight to tour a building it’s considering for a relocation of its cramped city hall.

Council members will visit the building at 21810 Copley Drive, across the street from the current City Hall offices.

For ten years, Diamond Bar has rented space from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, officials said.

The council is then scheduled to hold a 6:15 p.m. closed session discussion with Behringer Harvard, a Texas-based real estate company that owns the property.

The meeting will be held at Room CC-8 of the AQMD/Government Center at 21865 Copley Drive.

The city hasn’t decided if it will rent or buy the potential building, a city official said.

Diamond Bar councilwoman Chang already on notice

Welcome to the big leagues, Diamond Bar councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang.

You won a council seat in November and have occupied it a mere four weeks.
But you’ve already done something to irk some people.

Already, a group (or what appears to be one) is bent on keeping tabs on you.

A recent example: “Citizens Watching Councilmember Ling-Ling Chang” has been circulating e-mails about a recent Chang vote.

(We received a couple this week.)

At a Dec. 15 meeting, the city council approved the contract of a city consultant Gary Neely by a vote of 3-2 with Chang voting in favor.

The problem, however, the group alleges, is that Chang took $198 in contributions from Neely in her successful council run.

She did, according to her campaign finance statements. A review of the other Nov. city council candidates — from current council members Steve Tye and Ron Everett to newcomers David T. Liu, Robert Velazquez, Lucy Huang and Shawn “S” Dhand — didn’t reveal any other Neely contributions.

The group didn’t return two follow-up e-mails seeking comment and more importantly, questions of who they are.

But there is one telling paragraph in their e-mail to us that shows we likely won’t be getting a response:

Unfortunately, we are not willing to disclose our names out of fear of political retaliation and rebuke by the New Diamond Bar Council Majority, because we will be ridiculed by the Councilmembers Herrera and Tye on the truth that we are trying to convey if anyone would listen and wake up!

No pictures, please


Regular beat reporting has taken a back seat to ongoing fire coverage the past week, but here’s a little tidbit out of the Diamond Bar City Council election:

S. Dhand is one of seven people running for two spots on the Diamond Bar City Council.
But don’t expect to see a picture of him anytime soon.

The West Covina-based physician — who has been practicing medicine for nearly three decades — wasn’t too keen on providing his photo when reporter James Wagner asked him for it.

Dhand told Wagner he didn’t think it was appropriate.

The political newcomer has been a Diamond Bar resident for 28 years, and isn’t affiliated with any political groups or leaders.

He’ll face two incumbents in the Nov. 3 election.

Wonder what is campaign mailers will look like?

Diamond Bar politicians ‘go after everything’

Diamond Bar is celebrating its 20th birthday, and during that time, politicians have been playing hard-ball, Bethania Palma Markus reports.

Former Councilwoman Eileen Ansari, who served on the council from 1993 to 2001, has first-hand experience, as do many who have run for City Council.

“They were saying I went to Pakistan and went to meet with al Qaeda,” she said of a City Council election she lost eight yeas ago. “They go after people’s kids. They go after everything.”

NFL stadium update through Diamond Bar lense

I got this update from a Diamond Bar resident about the city’s meeting last night. The hot topic: the NFL stadium.

Here’s the letter:

“I attended my city council meeting in Diamond Bar.

The attendance was overwhelming and surprisingly filled with those IN SUPPORT of the Stadium project slated to be constructed in the City of Industry.

The council took two hours of comments under “public comments” portion of the meeting. All councilmembers took attentive notes with seriousness and appreciated the imput from the public. Then, several councilmembers reminded the public that they, city staff and others are acutely aware of the project’s impact towards Diamond Bar.

The Fire Department and Sheriffs Department was present to maintain order. It was possible that the Fire Department was present due to the large flow of audience, which caused an overflow for concern of the capacity of those in the room.

Nevertheless, it was one of the most important meetings that the council had in years regarding the Stadium controversy. For those have been regulars at Diamond Bar City Council meetings concurred that they have never seen such meeting crowded, besides swearing-in new councilmembers or Mayor rotation. You were lucky to find a seat, if you arrived late, but several Sheriff Deputies were very helpful to coordinate by finding mpty seats for late arrivals.

Furthermore, it appeared that there were few official’s from Majestic watching the meeting proceedings and thanked those for attending as the evening progressed.”

Reorganization in Diamond Bar City Hall

I go this email earlier today about the transition in Diamond Bar City Hall:

FYI: Last night at the Diamond Bar City Council meeting the council picked Ron Everett as Mayor and Carol Herrera as Mayor Pro Tem during the council reorganization event, which occurs every year in December.

Jack Tanaka was given well wishes and certificates from Senator Bob Huff’s office, Rep. Gary Miller’s office, LA County Sheriff, LA County Fire Department.

Dial-a-ride supporters victorious


This just in from reporter Bethania Palma:

DIAMOND BAR — The City Council last night chose to do away with proposed changes to the city’s dial-a-ride program and keep it as-is. The only change will be an expanded service area for medical facilities, from a 10-mile radius to a 20-mile radius.

Here’s Palma’s original story:

Ride changes protested
By Bethania Palma, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 08/01/2008 11:23:49 PM PDT

Tom Ortiz, from left, Al Rumpilla and Mike Graves stand with their signs to protest the proposed changes to the city’s dial-a-ride program in front of Diamond Bar City Hall on Friday August 1, 2008. A group of residents are unhappy with the proposed chamges to the Diamond Ride program. (Staff photo by Keith Durflinger) DIAMOND BAR – A group of seniors and disabled residents gathered outside City Hall on Friday afternoon to protest changes made to the city’s dial-a-ride program, which went into effect this week.

A handful of people protested with signs that read “Stop destroying our Diamond Ride,” complaining that services are being cut for people that need them most.

The city has changed the program so that riders have to pay regular cab fare for non-medical trips beyond the city boundary. Riders used to pay $2.50 for each mile traveled outside city limits, officials said.

“A month ago we had the best dial-a-ride program in California,” said Al Rumpilla, 64, who uses a wheelchair. “People are very upset that they can’t go to the same places anymore.”

City officials said the program is being altered to better serve those utilizing it for medical trips, and also cope with rising gas prices.

“Initially we had heard the majority of ridership was to doctors’ offices, so we shifted the radius from 10 miles to 20 miles for medical appointments and doctors’ visits,” said Diamond Bar Mayor Jack Tanaka. “We gave some on one end where we thought the majority of ridership was, and we reduced it on the other end.”

Officials added that Diamond Ride users can still take the same trips, but will have to pay regular Yellow Cab fare – $4.75 for the first mile and $2.50 each additional mile – for non-medical trips once they go beyond city limits.

But Kamar Quasin, 60, who cannot drive due to paralysis on one side of her body, said the changes will put a damper on her shopping trips. Her outings to Brea Mall used to cost her $6 each way, but that will increase.

She said she skipped out on her trip this week.

“In Diamond Bar, we don’t have any malls,” she said. “I’m thankful for this ride program but the changes aren’t good.”

City officials said some aspects of the program haven’t yet been finalized. The cap allowing 30 trips per month and special approval for long-distance trips will come up for further consideration at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Tanaka said the program will be reviewed in 6 months to see how the changes are working.


(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2236

Bob Huff on Democrat-suggested tax increases

i-9c2f878a153d06b2e4f89d31259dc65a-mempic_Huff[1].jpgI don’t know much about Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, other than the stories the Tribune recently published about his proposed bills.

Those bills were AB 2086, the Parental Opt-Out for Sexual Orientation-based Curriculum, which would require a district to send a letter to parents at the beginning of the school year alerting them that sexual orientation education will take place; and an illegal immigration pacakage, AB 2418, AB 2420, AB 2421, and AB 2422. The bills included the denial of bail to any person charged with a gang-related crime or violent felony; and illegal immigrant employer penalties, which outlines a business license revocation process for those employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Well, after surfing his Web site, one thing is for sure: He sure is against tax increases proposed by Democrats.

Here’s what Huff has to say about tax increases proposed by Democrats this year:

This month, Democrat leadership stated that the Democrats’ only solution for California’s budget problems was raising taxes. They even threatened to hold up passage of the budget if it did not contain at least $5 billion in higher taxes.

Here are the ”Top 10” tax increases proposed by Democrats so far this year:

10. The iTunes Tax
Assembly Bill 1956 (Calderon) would require state tax officials to begin imposing sales taxes on music, movies and software purchases made online, such as on iTunes. Democrats have also talked about taxing all items purchased on the Internet ($500 million tax increase).

9. The Plastic Bag Tax
Assembly Bill 2829 (Davis) would impose a new plastic bag tax, at a still-unspecified level, on the plastic bags used by grocery stores and other retailers to package purchases.

8. Making It Easier for Politicians to Raise Taxes
Senate Constitutional Amendment 18 (Torlakson) would make it easier for local politicians to raise taxes, by allowing educational finance districts to impose special taxes by a majority vote.

7. Increasing the Car Tax
Assembly Bill 2388 (Feuer) would raise the car tax based on the weight of the vehicle and the amount of carbon dioxide emissions it emits, to a still-unspecified level.

Assembly Bill 2522 (Arambula) would authorize San Joaquin Valley air quality officials to impose a new $30 car tax on local drivers, without a vote of the people.

Assembly Bill 2638 (Coto) would impose a new sales tax on the sale of cars in California that get less than 15 miles per gallon.

Senate Bill 1731 (Yee) would authorize San Francisco Bay Area transportation officials to impose a higher car tax on local drivers, without a vote of the people.

Democrats have also proposed restoring the higher car tax imposed by former Governor Gray Davis and repealed by Governor Schwarzenegger upon taking office, a $6 billion tax increase.

6. Increasing the Gas Tax
Assembly Bill 9xxx (Nez) would impose a $1.2 billion ”oil severance” tax on the cost of oil production in California. This will cause gas prices to soar to new heights in California as this new tax will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices at the pump.

Assembly Bill 2744 (Huffman) would authorize San Francisco Bay Area transportation officials to impose a new gas tax, of as much as 10 cents per gallon, to pay for new government spending.

Assembly Bill 2558 (Feuer) would authorize Los Angeles transportation officials to impose one of two different taxes, subject to a majority vote, to address climate change an increased gas tax as high as 3 percent, or an increased car tax as high as $80.

5. Raising Income Taxes
Assembly Bill 2372 (Coto) would impose a new 1 percent tax on Californians earning more than $1 million per year, raising the state’s highest income tax rate to 11.3 percent.

Assembly Bill 2897 (Hancock) would impose a new 10 percent tax rate for individuals earning more than $136,115 every year ($272,230 for joint filers) and a new 11 percent tax rate for individuals earning more than $272,230 per year ($544,460 for joint filers).

4. Closing So-Called ”Tax Loopholes”
Democrats and others have pushed closing ”tax loopholes,” which is an effort to raise taxes on working Californians. These so-called loopholes include taking away the senior citizen tax credit (a $255 million tax increase) and reducing the child dependent tax credit ($2.4 billion) which will hurt middle-class families.

3. New Health Taxes
Democrats have proposed the largest tax increase on businesses in state history, an $8 billion jobs tax, to pay for government-run health care. In addition, Assembly Bill 2967 (Fuentes) would impose a new .06 percent tax on the gross operating costs of every California hospital, to pay for new government health care programs.

2. Creating a New Tax on California Businesses
Speaker Nez has talked about creating a new split-roll property tax on California businesses, which would be a $3 to $7 billion tax increase on businesses. This would lead to higher prices for consumers and the threat of job losses.

1. Taking Away the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

Democrats have proposed eliminating the state home mortgage interest deduction, also known as the homeowner’s tax, which provides significant tax savings for working families and helps many Californians afford the expensive costs of home ownership. This would be a $5.3 billion tax hike.