Cedillo hits the SGV pavement

More on Cedillo:

So, Sen. Gil Cedillo kicked off his campaign in El Monte on Saturday, Rebecca Kimitch reports. His surprise endorsement was Congressman Xavier Becerra, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Gloria Molina and retired congressman Esteban Torres.

Here’s a snipet from the story:

Though the crowd responded enthusiastically to most of Becerra’s words, they were not as responsive when asked who in the room had been directly helped by Cedillo’s efforts.

One of the biggest criticisms facing Cedillo is his relative inexperience representing the area of the San Gabriel Valley that makes up the 32nd Congressional district – which stretches from east Los Angeles, through Monterey Park, Rosemead, South El Monte, El Monte, Baldwin Park, West Covina and Irwindale to Covina, Azusa and Duarte.

By contrast, his leading opponent, Chu, has represented the western part of the district in the state Assembly. But Cedillo, who grew up in Boyle Heights, says his roots are in the area – his parents have worked in the Valley and his family goes back three generations in valley cities including Alhambra and Monterey Park.

Cedillo also said he worked for the entire county when he was general manager of the Los Angeles County employees’ union.

The candidate added legislation he has pushed in Sacramento, as both a state senator and state assemblyman, has served all residents of the San Gabriel Valley, not just his district.

Some of the legislation for which he has fought most fervently is aimed at allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. After introducing the proposal in consecutive sessions of the legislature, his colleagues began referring to him as “One-bill Gil.”

Cedillo to kick off campaign in El Monte

State Sen. Gil Cedillo is going to take a trip out of his Senate district in Los Angeles to kick off his campaign in El Monte on Saturday.

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Cedillo is running against Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu, who just last week kicked off her campaign for Rep. Hilda Solis’ seat in El Monte.

Here’s the press release:

Cedillo for Congress
For Immediate Release

March 3rd, 2009

Cedillo to Kick-Off Campaign and Unveil High Profile Endorsement on Saturday

El Monte, CA - State Senator Gil Cedillo will host a campaign kick-off and office opening party in El Monte this Saturday, March 7th. Lunch will be served at 11:00 AM and a short program will begin at noon. The Senator will be available to press to discuss the race for California’s 32nd Congressional District following the program.

Cedillo for Congress Campaign Kick-Off
Saturday, March 7th, 2009
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Cedillo for Congress Headquarters
10808 Valley Mall, El Monte, CA 91731

This Saturday will mark the launch of Senator Cedillo’s aggressive grassroots-driven field program, and the campaign will be unveiling a very high profile endorsement. Campaign Manager Derek Humphrey calls the soon to be announced endorsement “one of the most meaningful and impactful endorsements in the San Gabriel Valley.*” Humphrey added that the endorsement, “will arguably give Senator Cedillo the three most important individual endorsements in the race for California’s 32nd Congressional District.”

Guests can call (626) 421-1522 to RSVP and press can call Derek Humphrey at (951) 805-4167 to set up an interview time.

The 32nd Congressional District was vacated last week after Congresswoman Hilda Solis was confirmed as the new Secretary of Labor. The Los Angeles County district encompasses a swath of the San Gabriel Valley from East Los Angeles to Covina. An election date for the Special Election to replace Congresswoman Solis has not yet been set, but it is expected to occur in mid-May.

For more information, please visit www.gilcedillo.com or call Leo Briones at (213) 628-9300.

*Any guesses who this powerful endorsement is?

El Monte police offer up 10 percent pay cuts

News of layoffs within the El Monte Police Department is traveling fast.

I’ve already spotted coverage of a protest at City Hall Tuesday night on two news stations, and our own Rebecca Kimitch is working on an in-depth story on the issue for tomorrow’s paper.

In the meanwhile, here’s the news we have so far: We’ve been reporting for some time now that El Monte police fear they could lose as many as 17 officers if the city can’t figure out another way to reduce the budget and deal with a growing multi-million dollar deficit.

Last night, the El Monte Police Officers Association asked instead that the city cut police salaries by 10 percent to avoid layoffs.

Apparently, the deal is being discussed. Layoffs, pay raises and hiring freezes at police departments is always a touchy issue, with law enforcement agencies often arguing that low benefits and a reduced force can lead to decreased public safety.

What do you think? Should the city layoff officers, or will a 10 percent pay cut suffice?

Solis finally sees some Senate action

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Judging from the number of e-mails and calls I get about the nomination of Rep. Hilda Solis as labor secretary, I know that many of you are closely following the issue.

And it seems that Solis may finally be getting a little bit closer to filling the seat.

Her nomination was cleared Wednesday by a vote of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Now, her bid will go before the full Senate for a final vote. Reports confirm it will likely happen this week.

El Monte’s Gregg set to close

Rebecca Kimitch reports today that the infamous foundry, Gregg Industries, is closing in May and laying off more than 200 employees in the process.

Apparently, the company is losing more than half a million dollars a month, and just can’t afford to stay open anymore.

Of course, the closure brings mixed reactions from the public. El Monte Councilman Art Barrios told Kimitch the closure is “devastating.” Others, however, may not be as sympathetic.

The foundry has been the target of complaints for years, with neighbors alleging that Gregg has failed to remedy odors and emissions coming from the plant, which sits on eight acres on Hickson Street.

I’m sure no one, though, is rejoicing at the idea of hundreds of job losses.

It’s yet to be determined what will happen to the site once Gregg closes.

Solis’ tax woes

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Hilda Solis couldn’t have run into more snags as she makes her way to the labor secretary seat. USA Today ran a story earlier this week about Solis’ husband, who just recently paid some outstanding tax liens on his auto repair shop.

Problem is, some of the liens were as old as 16 years.

We had a story about it buried in today’s paper. Here’s a link to the USA Today piece. 

Also, FYI, Solis’ confirmation vote has been postponed, again. 

El Monte’s budget deficit goes up, again

It started as a mere $400,000 budget deficit in El Monte.

Then it ballooned to $4 million. But after a series of cuts, the city was able to bring that number down to $1 million.

Now, that deficit has skyrocketed again, because of a $2 million dip in sales-tax revenues. Reporter Rebecca Kimitch chronicles the financial troubles in a story in today’s paper.

According to Kimitch, the city now needs to “shave an additional $3 million in costs” from its already cash-strapped buget. El Monte Police Officers Association President Brian Glick said the city plans on laying off 14 to 17 officers.

Other workers might get caugt up in the storm, too.

 

Rejected, again

The city of El Monte has declined to fulfill my second records request asking for Mayor Ernie Gutierrez’ arrest report from last year.

Citing all sorts of legal jargon, basically, the city is arguing that they are exempt from giving up the report because it was used for law enforcement purposes. All they have to give to me is the basics: the who, what, when, where, why of the arrest —- which they did the first time around.

Here’s their most recent correspondence to me:

Chatila_1-3-09_letter_re_Gutierrez_PRR.pdf

I get that they don’t have to give us the report, but in this case – since the investigation is closed – why not?

I’m just saying….

A small victory for El Monte Mayor Ernie Gutierrez

From reporter Rebecca Kimitch:

El Monte Mayor Ernie Gutierrez seems to have won a minor victory against the city council this week when City Attorney Clark Moseley determined the council can’t remove him from an MTA board.

Council members have voted Gutierrez off three other regional boards and commissions, including the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, saying his arrest in November is “detrimental” to the city’s reputation.

They were also considering Gutierrez’s removal from MTA’s San Gabriel Valley Service Sector Governance Council. However, Moseley concluded that post is up to the MTA, not the council.

Gutierrez was arrested in November on suspicion of domestic violence, but he was released that same day after prosecutors determined no clear evidence proved he was not defending himself.

The mayor defended his innocense and accused council members of playing politics in anticipation of the mayoral elections in November.

“For the council to think they are the judge, the jury, and the executioners, they are living in the 1860s, 1870s… they would lynch people without a judge, jury and trial,” he told me.

Another round of Leftovers

You’re weekly fix:

It seems like every week now there’s something new in the race for Rep. Hilda Solis’ seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The latest round of politicians to announce their interest in the Congressional seat — which will be empty if Solis is confirmed as President Barack Obama’s labor secretary — are Blanca Rubio and Ed Chavez.

Rubio, president of the Baldwin Park Unified School District Board of Education, said she’s definitely running and thinks her experience would allow her to successfully serve the people.

Chavez, on the other hand, still is tossing the idea around. The recently elected Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District board member has formed an “exploratory committee to gauge the level of support” for his candidacy.”

Chavez lately has been taking some heat in the political community from residents and colleagues questioning why, months after getting elected to the water board, he would consider running for higher office.

According to a recent press release he sent out, Chavez said he wants to “fight for the people and not for the greedy corporate giants.”

If he runs Chavez (and Rubio) will square off against Board of Equalization Chariwoman Judy Chu, who recently was endorsed by two of the most powerful labor unions in the region — the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and Service Employees International Union.

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What a week in Industry.

First, 60 voters approved a $500 million bond for infrastructure improvements, about a third of which will go toward improvements around developer Ed Roski’s National Football League stadium slated for Industry.

Then, the City Council essentially paved the way for the stadium’s construction by approving its environmental impact report.

Of course not everyone is happy, including representatives from Walnut and Diamond Bar. Walnut Mayor Joaquin Lim has said Walnut would explore legal options if the EIR was approved.

Lim said he understands the NFL project could bring benefits to the region, but wished politicians would try to look at the project from Walnut’s point of view.

“I have always avoided saying anything about other cities,” Lim said. “But I wish some of the other leaders would put themselves in our shoes.”

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It’s official. After a few flubs and two swearing-in ceremonies, Barack Obama is our 44th president.

Residents and politicos alike spent Inauguration Day last week hosting parties and barbecues to watch the historic ceremonies that come with the official swearing-in of the president.

Locally, the Democrats of the San Gabriel Valley hosted their own shindig at Taste of Texas, a barbecue restaurant in Covina. The co-hosts were La Puente Mayor Louie Lujan, West Covina Mayor Roger Hernandez, Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu and Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, who was there in spirit because he actually was in Washington, D.C.

As a side note, organizers said the venue had nothing to do with Texas-native George Bush. The restaurant was chosen because it’s in the middle of the 57th District.