Glendora names Castro new chief

Rob Castro, the current captain for the Glendora Police Department, has been selected by City Manager Chris Jeffers to replace outgoing chief Charles Montoya.

The decision is subject to council approval at the Jan. 25 meeting. Jeffers made the announcement today via a written statement.

“Rob showed through a very rigorous process that he has prepared himself on many levels to become a chief of police in today’s environment,” Jeffers said. “I am proud to say he will be Glendora’s chief.”

Montoya officially left his post with the department in December after retiring in 2009. He worked in 2010 under the CALPERS 960 program, but was still able to work full-time while the city searched for a new chief.

Castro said it was a post he had prepared his whole career to achieve.

“I have been preparing for this position for 25 years,” he said in a written statement. “I am deeply devoted to Glendora and it is an honor to be selected as the city’s police chief.”

The department is in charge of 52 sworn personnel and 38 civilian employees. Castro was selected from a pool of 41 applicants.

The selection doesn’t come without some things left to be resolved. A salary for Castro and benefits still must be worked out and approved by the council.

Last year, councilman Doug Tessitor vowed to get rid of administrative leave for city executives when it was reported that Montoya cashed out $80,000 in unused leave time as he often used administrative leave days in place of vacation.

Will the promise be kept with Castro’s contract? Tune in next time to find out…

New sushi restaurant in downtown Glendora

Replacing Pico de Gallo in downtown Glendora (which, I thought, served a pretty good taco) is a new sushi restaurant in the downtown Glendora village.

Sushi and I just moved in and councilman Doug Tessitor gave it his seal of approval at Tuesday’s council meeting. He did the same with the new sandwich shop Kara’s Korner Deli at an earlier meeting.

The restaurant is at 201 N. Glendora Ave.

Why is this on here? Well, because… I like sushi. How’s that for some media bias?

Herman to leave Glendora council. Could March election be the biggest political shift for the city since Herman was first elected?

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if you haven’t seen it yet, some fantastically handsome journalist is reporting that Glendora Councilman Ken Herman will not seek re-election in March.

The decision comes in a year where political ally Gary Clifford stepped down and his appointment is only serving as a fill-in.

That leaves two seats wide open on the council and incumbent Doug Tessitor left to fend off challengers all by his lonesome.

It won’t be terribly lonesome. He still as Herman’s full support in seeking re-election and Tessitor has been around since 2003, only one year less than Herman.

The pair stormed onto the Glendora political scene in 2002 when Herman, Gary Clifford and Cliff Hamlow were all elected to the council during a 2002 recall campaign. Tessitor was elected the following year.

The move started a changing of the guard in Glendora and set a political majority for nearly a decade. But with Clifford departing this year and Herman’s tenure ending in March, Tessitor will be the sole voice left from the once prominent majority.

How much will change is uncertain. Two candidates for council are John Fields and Jason Nagy, both of which are soon to be new members of the local Kiwanis club of which Herman is president.

In addition, current council members Karen Davis and Gene Murabito often agree with Tessitor and Herman on city decisions. The group is often known as a 5-0 council, even though Murabito and Tessitor love to joke about that distinction.

When I talked to Herman today, he said he hopes nothing changes.

“I hope it continues to be the way it has been,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t have a radical change.”

Quick update on Glendora council candidates

No new people have pulled papers for the Glendora council race as of my last update. So the field remains – potentially – with John Fields, Jason Nagy, Ed Brubaker, Erica Landmann-Johnsey, Joe Santoro and incumbents Doug Tessitor and Ken Herman.

But as of yesterday, only Santoro, Tessitor and Fields had returned their paperwork, and only Tessitor and Santoro were approved (Fields is awaiting approval). So, only Santoro and Tessitor are official candidates at this point.

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Add one more to the list of potential Glendora, Azusa council candidates

I can’t tell you how much I am excited for the upcoming city council elections in March. There are so many story lines for two of the cities I cover in races that should be highly competitive.

In Azusa, the Azusa Rock Quarry referendum and the project’s general implications should make for some fireworks for councilman Angel Carrillo and Urial Macias, both seeking reelection. The election may also test the power of Mayor Joe Rocha.

Former planning commissioner Jorge Rosales is planning to kick of his campaign in two weeks on Saturday Dec. 11. You may know Jorge through his involvement with Azusans Against Mining Expansion or as the guy who takes pictures at every city function. He also happens to be buds with Mayor Rocha.

Also in the mix is Peggy Martinez, a former Downtown Azusa Business Association director, who is a fixture in the city, and Paul Naccachian, who ran and lost two years ago but has become more prominent and vocal in the community on the Vulcan issue as well as others, such as bicycle helmet safety. The newest name on that list is Madelyn Payne, chair of the city library commission and president of the Friends of the Library group.

And then there is Glendora. With recent revelations about their city manager having left Monterey Park four years ago with about $500,000 in unused leave time and their own city’s issues with benefits as shown when their police chief retired in 2009, there is some ammunition for potential candidates against incumbents Doug Tessitor and Ken Herman.

Plus, the city has butted heads with its employee union over employee compensation. The city has taken a hard line against benefits for employees, including the way the CALPERS retirement plan is funded. That could play well with voters, but if the unions are pitted against the incumbents, campaign contributions could favor contenders.

As for the update on potential challengers in Glendora, I have already reported that Jason Nagy, John Fields, Ed Brubaker and Erica Landmann-Johnsey previously pulled papers. Now you can add Joe Santoro to the list.

The deadline for papers to be filed is still about two weeks away and I expect a few more names to be added to the list before it is all said and done.

Consider this: When Gary Clifford resigned from the council earlier this year, the council had 15 applicants for the position. They chose Terry Kent who pledged to not run for council. That means, besides the two incumbent positions, there is an open slot on this council. New blood is coming in and someone can run and not have to challenge the incumbents to do it. I expect a big field.

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Glendora Fresh and Easy not part of list of scheduled openings

The Glendora Promenade has been an empty retail space for some time now. The remodeled center was geared around its anchor tenant Fresh and Easy and is relying on it attract businesses to the center.

But with the grocery store still awaiting its opening, the center has remained barren with only a Tutor Time and a Subway to show for it.

Fresh and Easy released a press release Thursday that didn’t add any hope.

The release announced 10 southern California stores scheduled to open next year. Glendora’s was not among them.

Southern California stores opening early next year:

Here is the list:

January 12th

2nd St. & Madison Ave. El Cajon

February 9th

El Toro Rd. & Trabuco Rd. Lake Forest

Newport Blvd. & Harbor Blvd. Costa Mesa

Camino Del Norte & Dove Canyon Rd. San Diego

February 16th

Oceanside Blvd. & Vine St. Oceanside

Alameda St. & Florence Ave. Walnut Park

Seaward Ave. & Thompson Blvd. Ventura

February 23rd

Arneill Rd. & Las Posas Rd. Camarillo

Bonita Ave. & San Dimas Canyon Rd. San Dimas

March 30th

* Atlantic Ave. & 33rd St. Long Beach

PS – I haven’t been posting as I have been away from the office most days covering the Manling Williams trial.

Glendora to take back (minimal?) raises to department managers

In previous episodes of the salary/association wars in Glendora, the city was prepared to suspend a salary schedule recently approved for department managers that has been the subject of some controversy.

It appears, after reading the staff report today, (updated) the city intends to take back some raises that relate to the schedule. What exactly will be taken back is unclear based on the report’s language.

“That any Department Director’s salary that was minimally adjusted to allow payroll to place them into a corresponding salary step in accordance with resolutions 2010-26 and 2010-005 be returned to their prior salary in a y-rated step to their monthly rate, as identified in their contract and/or their personnel file immediately prior to July 27, 2010.”

After contentious debate between the city and the Glendora municipal employees association regarding a new contract, it will be interesting to see how the two sides are able to negotiate a salary schedule with so much room for interpretation.

Most importantly, how will the city seek to define “exceeds performance” regarding merit increase. In private industry, that is usually a broad definition left to interpretation by the supervisor. In this situation, I suspect the union will want more clarity. Does “exceeds expectations” mean doing your job PLUS that of another or is it doing your job better than anyone else would do it?

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Glendora councilman Doug Tessitor’s apology

Glendora councilman Doug Tessitor was caught with his foot in his month last month when debating the merits of imposing a new set of contract restrictions on the general employees association.

Tessitor had said it was “BS” when the association claimed the police officers association and others made concessions to help spare the general employees association. It later came out – from the POA – that it was actually quite true.

To his credit, Tessitor owned it. He did so in the Tribune and made remarks at Glendora’s council meeting Tuesday admitting his mistake. (Relevant discussion is at 33:30)

The one gripe I might have is that Tessitor says that POA President Mike Henderson told him the city rejected the POA’s offer of taking a bullet for the GMEA.

When I spoke with Henderson, his characterization to me was that the city accepted their proposal, only to renege later in an effort to have equal cuts.

Henderson’s words to me were: “After we made the concession they still pursued 3 percent and we found out that it was desired to have every group in the city give up the same amount.” (italic emphasis added by me)

That doesn’t exactly jive with Tessitor’s recap of what happened.

Glendora woman loses court case against apartment management company, faces eviction

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For frequent visitors of Glendora City Council meetings, Sharon Green is no stranger.

Green, 69, is a common speaker at the council meetings, either talking about her issues with turning onto Glendora Avenue from her (former) apartment complex Heritage Oaks or lately she has been giving updates on her trial against her landlords for what she claimed was an illegal eviction.

But Green’s civil trial ended with a jury siding with the apartment complex managers, Anchor Pacifica, and Green’s eviction will stand. A press release regarding the trial says Green now faces homelessness.

Green was given 90 days notice of eviction from Heritage Oaks in Oct. 2009. She wasn’t given a reason for the eviction, she says.

She claimed the eviction was retaliation and argued that despite receiving a government subsidy to pay rent, she should be covered by the same laws that protect section 8 users and tenant based rental assistance.

The jury didn’t see it that way. They sided with Heritage Oaks management in saying they were justified to evict.

Green’s attorneys are considering an appeal.

Maybe Sharon Green to check move to one of these cities that offer a homelessness prevention program.

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BREAKING: Man who allegedly shot and killed 5 in Lake Havasu previously lived in Glendora

A man who Lake Havasu police say shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, her boyfriend and three others, had an address in Glendora, according to public records.

Brian Diez, 26, apparently committed suicide after shooting ex-girlfriend Deborah Langstaff, 23, and four others before abducting his two children.

Glendora police said they have not been contacted by Lake Havasu Police in regards to any connections Diez may have had in Glendora.

Glendora Police Lt. Joe Ward said Diez’s DMV regards have not listed his address in Glendora since 2005, and since then his address has been listed in Lake Havasu.

Still, Diez has apparently spent time in the San Gabriel Valley during that time. He was last arrested in the area by Glendora Police on Jan. 17, 2010., Ward said.

Pomona police actually made the initial arrest of Diez on a bench warrant regarding a previous arrest of driving on a suspended license, Ward said.

Glendora was the original arresting party in 2005, when Diez was cited for driving without a license, Ward said. When Pomona police arrested him earlier this year, he was turned over to Glendora before going to court, he said.

That was the last contact Glendora police had with Diez, Ward said.

Here is a story from the San Bernardino Sun on the shooting. Diez was found in Rancho Cucamonga at a relative’s home where he killed himself:

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