Glendora council candidate connected to allegations of misconduct at Rio Hondo College

Reported in today’s paper that Rio Hondo college is investigating potential problems with its Police Academy beyond a testing breach being investigated by the state.

At the heart of the allegations – that include employees watching porn and improper range training – is the school’s former Dean of Public Safety and the academy’s supervisor Joe Santoro.

Santoro, the former Monrovia Police Chief, is also a Glendora resident that announced his bid for the City Council this week. With his background, both educational and administrative, Santoro was a potential favorite in that election. Now, the fate of that election bid may be directly tied to the outcome of these allegations.

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Duarte mayor uses Azusa Rock Quarry comparison to argue against marijuana dispensary

I am asking for trouble writing about this, so here is a warning:

This post is Vulcan related.

I covered the medical marijuana dispensary public hearing last night in Duarte where the Regional Planning Commission rejected a plan for one in an unincorporated county area in Arcadia, which is near El Monte, Baldwin Park, Duarte and Monrovia.

The first speaker was Margaret Finlay, mayor of Duarte, who compared the issue of the dispensary to that of her city’s battle against Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry mining plan.

“People that are for this are those who are doing to make money off of it,” Finlay said of the mining plan. “I think this (dispensary plan) is a similar situation.”

Leon San Blas, the applicant for the dispensary, said he was opening the business not to make money, but out of the goodness of his heart. San Blas, wheel chair bound himself, uses medical marijuana to relief pain.

I don’t think too many people bought the “it’s marijuana to help the community” business plan.

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Baldwin Park joins with other cities in posting city salaries on website

We are keeping track of the cities that are starting to post city employee salaries online after Gov. Schwarzenegger and the State Controller called for more transparency from local governments. Also, various news outlets (the Tribune) have made numerous public record requests from cities in recent weeks.

We already have Monrovia and Diamond Bar on the list of cities that have put the salaries online.

We can now add Baldwin Park to that list.

Know any other cities that have posted their city salaries online? Let me know.

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Weekend roundup

42606-20100627_120628_6-25-10-8 VALINDA01_400.jpg

I know it doesn’t seem like anything else matters after the U.S. lost its FIFA World Cup match against new soccer (futbol for those speaking the Queen’s English) nemesis Ghana, but there was some news over the weekend, believe it or not.

Reporter James Wagner and I combined to become something of a super group with this piece on crime in the Valinda corridor.

The Glendora City Council had a special meeting last week where they decided to lay off five city employees and combine two engineering departments.
An attorney for the employee’s association is not pleased.

And while we have chronicled the problems La Puente is having in dealing with its marijuana dispensaries, Monrovia has the seeds of a developing controversy of their own. (My apologies for the pun. I couldn’t resist.)

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The Terminator comes to Monrovia

32222-the-terminator-1-1024.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a trip to Monrovia this morning and saved a group of developmentally disabled residents from being thrown out on the streets.

The nearly two dozen residents of Regency Apartments — ages 21 to 61 — got notices in August that their leases were being terminated in order to comply with housing laws.

Apparently the complex is classified as a senior citizen community, so residents under 62 were asked to vacate.

But on Friday, Schwarzenegger paid a personal visit to tenants of the building and brought with him some good news — they don’t have to move.

Eviction terminated.

Monrovia mayor in the news…twice in one day


The same day that Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond was quoted in the LA Times was the same day that Pasadena Star-News reporter Nathan McIntire found out he won’t be running for re-election.

Monrovia mayor will not seek reelection
By Nathan McIntire, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 10/13/2008 05:12:24 PM PDT

MONROVIA – Mayor Rob Hammond has decided not to run for reelection in April’s municipal elections, according to City Manager Scott Ochoa.

Ochoa wrote in his weekly report released today that Hammond has decided to step down at the end of his current two-year term. He plans to return to college to obtain his degree.

Rumor control


Monrovia’s got a rumor control page on their Web site that addresses, well, rumors.

I spotted just this on there:

The City ordered First Christian Church to close down its ministry to the homeless and threatened to fine the church $2,000 per day if it did not comply.

Fact: The Monrovia Police Department informed the church’s leadership on several occasions that neighbors were filing complaints about the homeless people who came to the church to use its showers and to be fed – complaints that they were sleeping in neighboring yards and urinating and defecating on home lawns.

There were many reports of similar incidents on public property and at the nearby Community Center as well. The church was told that the complaints were mounting, that neighbors were considering a Public Nuisance lawsuit against the church and that the complaints on file with the police department could support such a suit.

The church leadership itself then shut down aspects of the homeless outreach program. At no time did the City or the Police Department order the church to end its program.

I don’t remember us reporting on this, but I could be wrong. None the less, it’s a pretty interesting issue…..

Brush it off…

Star-News reporter Nathan McIntire wrote a story today about mandatory brush clearance in Monrovia.

The catch is property owners are going to have to remove brush on their property, and on other people’s properties too.

The ordinance compels homeowners to maintain up to 200 feet of clearance between their buildings and any hazardous brush that constitutes a fire hazard, even if that brush rests on city-owned or private property.

Ochoa said the justification for the ordinance is that homeowners stand to lose more from a brush fire than the owner of undeveloped land.

“The crux of the city’s brush clearance and mitigation efforts is to create defensible space around a dwelling,” Ochoa said. “What we have done is to place the responsibility on the owner of the potential liability and loss.”

If the property is not cleared, the city can enter it, remove the brush and attach a lien to the neighbor’s property tax bill for the full cost of services rendered.

Administrative fines also can be imposed if the ordinance is not adhered to. If homeowners fail to respond to three written notices, they can be fined $1,000. Further failure to comply can result in a maximum fine of $5,000.

The ordinance has been in effect since 1992, and the city has never placed a lien on property or fined any homeowners for brush clearance violations, according to Ochoa.

But Jogminas said the law has only been fully enforced since Monrovia terminated its brush clearance contract with the Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures last year. Previously, the county would clear undeveloped land if the landowner did not. The landowner would then be billed, said Jogminas, who lives in the Highland Place neighborhood.

What do you think? Is this justified? Or is the city just passing the buck along?

Read the full story here…

Who needs Vegas when you got King Ranch?


The San Gabriel Valley certainly has its share of all things quirky.

And the King Ranch market in Monrovia off of Huntington Drive is no exception.

Every time I walk into that supermarket, I always notice their interesting take on the claw game.

When most people play this addicting game — usually found at Chuck E. Cheese’s or Shakey’s pizza — the most they can win is a purple stuffed hippopotamus.

And most of the time, it’s about 10 quarters later…

But not at King Ranch. The stakes are higher, sometimes $5, $10 and even $20 higher….Is that technically considered gambling?