Turkey politics


It’s the season of giving, but only if you are on the right list. That’s what one San Gabriel Valley resident found out today when he swung by a turkey giveaway by Congresswoman Hilda Solis in El Monte.

Apprently, the resident said that he went to pick up a free turkey only to be told that he couldn’t have one.


A representative from Solis’ office confirmed that, yes, there was a turkey giveaway but only for people who were selected by agencies co-sponsoring the event.

So, the turkeys would be given to those agencies so that those groups could in turn give to those in need.

While there was probably the image of Solis smiling and handing out turkeys, it was to the middle man, not the people in need. As long as those in need get the turkeys, I guess that’s all that matters.

Meantime, Assemblyman Ed Hernandez had a turkey hand out of his own on Tuesday at Picasso’s Cafe in Irwindale. The event benefits Our Neighborhood Homework House.

Support for councilman’s nephew

A fundraiser was held Sunday to benefit the family of Irwindale Councilman H. Manuel Ortiz’s nephew, who suffered a stroke in August at just 15 years old.

Marcos Lepe, a student at Northview High School in Covina, has been hospitalized since the stroke.

Family members to reporter Brian Day on Saturday that Marcos is recovering, but his family is bombarded with medical bills.

All benefits from today’s dinner, held at the Irwindale Senior Citizens’ Center, are going to the family.

“I’m very pleased at how the community has come together,” Councilman Ortiz said. “I’m just overwhelmed by the response we’ve received.”

Seven-hundred tickets to the event had been sold by Saturday afternoon. Sounds like it was a success.


The teenage son of former Irwindale Councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez found himself in some trouble early Sunday morning after he plowed through a neighbor’s wall while he was driving home around 4 a.m.

But it ended up being a non-issue. A police report was not made, no one was arrested, no one was hurt, and neighbors decided not to press charges on what was classified initially as a hit-and-run.

Here are some pics taken of the wall, at the corner of Irwindale Avenue and Peppertree Lane.


And here is the damage of the truck, found in front of Ramirez’s home.

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IRWINDALE — The teenage son of former Councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez fled the scene after he drove his truck into a neighbor’s brick wall.

A resident called police around 4:10 a.m. on Sunday to report a possible hit and run suspect who ran his vehicle into the wall at the home of 4940 Irwindale Ave., police records show.

The driver’s name could not be released because he is a juvenile, said Police Chief Sol Benudiz.


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Could Irwindale be looking for a new top exec?

A private investigator from Woodburn, Oregon called me today asking me questions about Irwindale City Manager Robert Griego. Griego is one of two candidates being considered for the city administrator position in Woodburn.

Griego said today that he sent a letter to the council members informing them that he is interviewing for other positions outside of Irwindale.

More to come in tomorrow’s paper.

Dam upgrades

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While on a run at the Santa Fe Dam, I noticed that there have been upgrades at the trailhead, including landscape improvements.

They have also been releasing water over there, and it sure makes for a nice walk and run in the evening with a pretty backdrop.

It’s hard to believe that there is this little gem in the hole-infested city of Irwindale.

Irwindale facing deficit

Little old Irwindale, which has a population of 1,490, is facing a $2.6 million deficit. That is largely due to a 11.5 percent decline compared to last year in sales taxes, utility user taxes and mining taxes. There is also a $500,000 increase in the budget for reimbursement of staff services that will be paid the city’s redevelopment agency.

A complete story will come later in the week.

Mariscos Uruapan discussion postponed. Again.

Several months back I wrote a story on Irwindale’s Mariscos Uruapan, a happening Mexican food joint that turned into a club a night. The problem is that the alcohol permit was obtained in a questionable way. Even though the city of Irwindale did not permit the restaurant to serve hard liquor. Mariscos Uruapan somehow was granted a liquor license by ABC. And they often kept the party going till 2 a.m. — also a violation of the city’s permit.

For several weeks now, the City Council was scheduled to talk about it. But it looks like the discussion has again been postponed. I spotted this on the agenda for Wednesday. Mariscos Uruapan has applied for a modification of their city issued permit.

Resolution No. 2008-34-2306 – Modification to a Conditional Use Permit to Allow the Sale of Distilled Spirits for On-Site Consumption in Conjunction with a Bonafide Eating Establishment; Modify the Entertainment Permit, 16034-16038 Arrow Highway (Mariscos Uruapan)

Recommendation: Continue to the meeting of July 9, 2008

One resident thinks that there is a reason that the discussion continues to be postponed. I’ll have to make a few calls before I report his theory. Here’s part of the previous story:

Restaurant’s liquor license questioned

Whittier Daily News, The (CA) – April 1, 2008
Author/Byline: Jennifer McLain, Staff Writer
Section: News
IRWINDALE – A popular Mexican restaurant obtained a liquor license with fraudulent information, city records show.

Now, Irwindale has asked that Mariscos Uruapan stop serving all hard liquor as the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control investigates the city’s claims.

“We received the information, assigned it to an investigator, and are putting together facts,” said John Carr, ABC spokesman.

Restaurant owner Marcos Padilla did not return phone calls.

ABC issued a liquor license to Mariscos Uruapan in 2003 for the sale of beer, wine and hard liquor, but a city permit only allows it to sell beer and wine.

Records used for the 2003 liquor license show that a planner, Marcos Bereda, authorized the approval. But city officials said that no planner with that name ever worked for the city.

The city concluded last month that ABC “erroneously” issued the restaurant, at 16034 Arrow Highway, a license four years ago and relied on false records to do so.

Mariscos Uruapan

The documents I received about Mariscos Uruapan were not obtained through the traditional method. Usually, I go to the city, ask for the documents, and they are given to me within – normally – a 10 day period. No, I got my hands on these documents because the easy way: they were given to me.

But as we recently were reminded in the LA Times fiasco, just becasue the documents look the part doesn’t mean they are legit. So, with that in mind, I headed over to the Irwindale Police Department and Irwindale City Hall, and called ABC to confirm the documents were legit. They were.

Each agency was helpful, but I couldn’t help but bite my tongue when a Irwindale City employee seemed especially annoyed that I asked her to verify the validity of the documents.

I came walking in with seven pages that I asked her to verify. She greeted me with eight pages in her hands. The information, except for the extra page she had, was exactly, word for word, the same information.

“So these are the same documents,” I told her rhetorically.

“Well, they are not the same. Your copies are darker,” she told me.

“But, these are legitimate documents issued and or obtained by the city of Irwindale, right?” I told her. It was obvious that they were, but for some reason I felt that I needed her to agree. Now I realize I didn’t.

And then she told me: “You know, there are proper ways to obtain public records.”

She’s right. But this way is a whole lot easier … and faster.

And the moral of my story: If you have ever a story that you want the paper to look into, if you have the documents, and if it is a good story, it speeds up the process.