UPDATE: Azusa Rock Quarry referendum deadline is today

I haven’t heard anything from the Azusa city clerk’s office this morning, but the deadline for the county to respond on the Azusa Rock Quarry referendum effort is today.

Members of the political action group Azusans Against Mining Expansion submitted 2,532 signatures to the city clerk’s office. They needed 1,650 registered voter signatures to qualify the referendum.

The referendum would then head to the ballot either next March during the council elections, or during a special election. Its intention is to repeal Vulcan Materials Co.’s development agreement with the city over its recently amended Azusa Rock Quarry mining plan.

AAME believe by repealing the development agreement, it will nullify the council’s decision to approve the plan. City officials believe it won’t stop the plan, but only take away money gained by the city via the development agreement.

The Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office deadline to respond for the confirmation of qualified signatures is today, but what time they will hand them over to Azusa is not known.

We will have something posted on the website the first we hear of it.

UPDATE: County told me the signatures have been reviewed and are now being looked at by the division manager and assistant registrar. It will then go to the County Clerk for final review before the results are given to the city either today or tomorrow.

She declined to give the preliminary results of the count.

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

A lesson in civics

There were some new guests at the Glendora City Council meeting Tuesday.

Students from a government class at Glendora High School were on hand, taking notes through the meeting.

The students were tortured (I kid, I kid) …. ahem … were given this riveting learning experience for an assignment regarding local government. The students were allowed to attend any council meeting, but these students choice Glendora, because, well, it was easiest. I would have done the same.

After the meeting I caught up with a couple students and asked them how they enjoyed seeing democracy at work.

Blair Collins Rivera, 17, of Duarte was one of the students.

“It was kind of interesting to watch the public speakers,” the Glendora High senior said.

I have to agree. Glendora has some of the most passionate public speakers I have seen. The criticism can be downright personal and mean at times, and the council has at times engaged in the mud slinging. If you are a 17-year-old kid watching a meeting, it is easy to see how this might be the most entertaining part.

I asked them about the council’s discussion about immigration, but they smartly strayed from putting their own feet to the fire.

“It was hard to follow, but interesting to see the debate,” said Brittni Perez, 16, also a senior at Glendora High School.

Perez, of Azusa, said she didn’t know enough about immigration and the debate to have a feeling one way or the other.

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

Vulcan announces Saturday access day through mining site to Fish Canyon trail

Vulcan Materials Co. will host an open access day to Fish Canyon on Saturday, officials said.

The mining company will provide shuttles for access through its Azusa Rock Quarry mining site to reach the Fish Canyon Trail located just behind the site.

There will be free parking at Vulcan’s site for those who wish to attend. The three mile hike leads to the Fish Canyon Falls, noted as one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the San Gabriel Valley.

Access starts at 7 a.m. with shuttles running to the beginning of the trail until noon. All hikers must return to the site by 3 p.m.

Vulcan’s site is at the north end of Encanto Parkway, off Foothill Boulevard, in Azusa.

SGV Mystery: The case of the canceled Azusa referendum fundraiser at the American Legion

Too much with the headline? I thought so too.

Anyway… If you are involved in the referendum issue in Azusa regarding Vulcan Materials’ mining project, you are probably aware of the most recent fundraising snafu.

If you aren’t, here is the short recap: Azusans Against Mining Expansion planned a fundraiser for the referendum effort at the Azusa American Legion.

Upon public notice (including a brief in the Tribune) of the event, the legion people got spooked because they feared people thought they were endorsing the referendum effort. Despite another public announcement (another brief in the Tribune) which stated the legion was a neutral party, the event was still canceled.

On the surface, the episode seems to border on the absurd while it sits in the realm of over reaction. Most people know that American Legions, VFWs and other community groups with event halls often rent out those spaces as a way to make a quick buck. In this case, the American Legion was more a location than an entity.

So why the fuss?

For the American Legion officials to react in such a way means their decision became controversial. The question is, how?

Was it public outcry? Possible.

The issue is contentious and the legion is a public facility meant for military personnel of varied political affiliations in Azusa. Maybe they had some angry residents make an issue out of it.

But that’s unlikely.

While the Azusa Rock Quarry is controversial, most of the public outcry has been against the project with support coming at a more tempered tone and often from public officials or pockets of community members.

What is more likely is pressure from public officials. City Council, staff, business partners, Azusa business officials, someone with clout came forward upset with the legion’s decision to host the event. That pressure spawned the political issue and thus the event’s cancellation. Is that true? As of yet, I have nothing to suggest it is besides a whisper here and a grumbling there. But it seems like the most likely reason.

UPDATE: Spoke with councilman Uriel Macias, who has had his own events at the Legion and is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, and he said he knew nothing about the issues with the Legion and AAME except what he read in the paper.

He said he heard rumors that he called the legion to pressure them out of the event, but called that assertion “ridiculous.”

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

We’re going back in time…

I imagined the song from Back to the Future when I wrote that headline. Sadly, all I have to show for it is weekend in review.

This story is a bit older than the weekend, but I wasn’t here to post it. Cal Poly Pomona’s iconic CLA building may be on its last leg. Officials are seeking to get rid of the pointed structure and replace it with a more efficient building. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I graduated from Cal Poly Pomona. The building is the face of the university. It is hard to believe it would be gone, but as a friend said “at least I still have the Gattaca DVD) (NOTE: The building was used in the movie Gattaca.)

Crystal Lake Campground is struggling to survive without Highway 39 (is there a theme running here?). With the highway project stalled, the campground is near shutting down.

And to brighten your spirits, the annual Route 66 Parade passed through Duarte. Check out the photo gallery when you get a chance.

UPDATE: I forgot to add. D Club is D Closed.

Dueling farmer’s markets

This just in (and by that, I mean, I decided to write it right now): Farmer’s market planned in Azusa will directly compete with Duarte’s! SHOCKING.

Not really. I mean, it is just a farmer’s market. But in a heated political environment where the two cities have battled and are now going to court regarding Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry mining plan, I asked Azusa City Manager Fran Delach if the thought crossed his mind that the city’s recently approved farmer’s market falling at the same time as Duarte’s would create a mini controversy. Keep in mind, during the debate over the quarry project, some Duarte city officials and residents threatened to boycott neighboring Azusa and businesses there.

“It is not our intention to compete or impede the Duarte market at all,” Delach said. “It is not a money making venture on the part of either city. It is more a resource the community brings in for its residents. There are plenty of farmers and vendors to go around.”

It would appear then that the non-existent controversy has ended. For now….

In the realm of real news, there will be more on Azusa’s farmer’s market in tomorrow’s newspaper.

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

Office of Mining Reclamation approves Azusa Rock Quarry reclamation bond

It an elegantly worded letter (sarcasm) the Office of Mining Reclamation responded to Azusa’s financial assurance cost estimate submitted regarding the reclamation bond for Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry mining plan.

The bond would serve as insurance for the planned reclamation, which Vulcan has billed as a more innovative, technologically advanced and environmentally friendly way to reshape the hillsides post-mining.

OMR found the $81 million bond to be “adequate” and had no further comments on its “adequacy.”

Now that OMR sees the cost estimate is “adequate”, Azusa now needs to file the bond with the agency within 30 days, according to the letter.

You can view the letter for yourself following the absurdly titled link below.


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

Duarte, Azusa and Vulcan to sit down next week per court order

As part of the ongoing legal battle filed by Duarte against Azusa’s approval of Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry mining project, the three parties will have a meeting next Tuesday.

In a case like this, the court mandates a settlement hearing for the three sides to discuss any options that could prevent the issue from going to court. A mediator for the meeting is possible, officials said.

All three parties will be there, but expectations are limited. Previous settlement talks between the groups have broken down, and since then heated rhetoric has been exchanged between both city staffs.

Azusa’s City Manager Fran Delach said the city remains open to talks with Duarte, but that he has no expectations going into the meeting.

“I think there is always a possibility of getting a settlement,” he said.

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

Azusa Rock Quarry battle by the numbers

Just wanted to throw out a few numbers that will be addressed in a story we will run soon about the money spent in the ongoing battle about the Azusa Rock Quarry.

Legal fees, public relations, consultants, etc. Azusa, Duarte and (presumably) Vulcan Materials Co. have all spent money in regards to the now approved amended plan that has faced a lot of scrutiny.

Here are some of the figures.


The city set up a $700,000 fund – Fight Against Vulcan Expansion – a few years ago anticipating a lengthy battle. Of that money, here is a breakdown of funds spent.

Legal (Rutan & Tucker): $200,707.53*
Printing, Postage, Flyers: $14,359.17
Public Relations: $34,332.07**
Technical Consultants: $18,010

*Total is for billing from Rutan to the city between 2005 to July 21, 2010.
**Is a combination of funds spent on city contracted public relations from Marry Barrow as well as Englander, Knabe and Allen.


The city hasn’t needed to hire a public relations firm to defend or fight the plan considering they have a technical consultant on board for the environmental impact report and staff to defend its recommendations. In addition, Vulcan has their own ability (and money) to defend its plan.

As for the environmental impact report, it cost about $613,000. (Vulcan had to reimburse the city for that money)

Also, knowing that city lawyers have been very involved in this process and will be in the future, we can assume that a chunk of the money the city spends on its city attorney and other legal fees went toward this project. Here is a city breakdown of those numbers.

Retainer for services from Best, Best and Kreiger (namely City Attorney Sonia Carvalho) – $252,315 from the city’s general fund. Other legal service charges from general fund total $79,403.

The absolute total amount of money spent of legal services for the city across all departments is $1,317, 675.


Being a private company, Vulcan isn’t bound by the same public records laws as Duarte and Azusa. What we can say is they eventually had to pony up for the EIR with the $613,000.

In addition, we know they have hired and use public relations firm Curt Pringle and Associates out of Anaheim. Throughout the process (until post-approval) Curt Pringle’s Vice President Todd Priest functioned as the spokesman for Vulcan.

Curt Pringle and Vulcan have also put out flyers, launched an education campaign in Azusa to present the plan pre-voting/city discussions, callers and door-to-door campaigns (via another PR firm and Curt Pringle).

That all didn’t come free.

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

Duarte’s lawsuit available online

For those who just love to read 60-plus pages of a legal complaint, boy, is today your lucky day.

As I have reported here and here, Duarte filed their lawsuit against Azusa Tuesday regarding Vulcan Materials Co.’s mining plan.

We will have more in the lawsuit in tomorrow’s paper. For now, you can read the lawsuit for yourself here.

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