There’s a poet lurking in San Dimas City Hall

I read reports prepared by city staff at least several times a week. They are by and large insipid, monotonous affairs – full of technical jargon and written with the sterility of an operating room.

San Dimas’ mid-year budget report that I’m busy sifting through is an entirely different animal. Sure, it’s full of sales tax figures and drones a bit about revenues and expenditures, but tucked into little corners of the document are tiny flourishes of poetic language.

My favorite example opens the section of the report dealing with the loss of the city’s redevelopment agency. I’ve included it below for your reading pleasure.

“Like a multi-trunk tree, the city’s General Fund and Redevelopment Agency have grown together over the years to produce a broad and successful economic canopy that has strengthened the City of San Dimas.”

Corny? Hell yes, but cheesy or not, it’s a welcome breath of fresh air from the gobbledegook I usually have to read.

I don’t know who wrote this report, but I’ll find out when I talk to city staff later today.

Awww … San Dimas soldier skypes with his dog before heading to Afghanistan

This totally has nothing to do with city politics or officials in any way, but it was just so adorable, I couldn’t not post it here.

Azusa grandmother Alma Taylor called me today to ask if I’d be interested in seeing a video of her grandson, Justin McKettrick skyping with his dog. Was I interested? Definitely.

You see, McKettrick of San Dimas is getting deployed to Afghanistan soon. I think he’s in Virginia right now. Grandma said he wanted to see his faithful friend one last time before he left. I won’t describe it. I think the video speaks for itself.

Controversial San Dimas businessman closes downtown liquor store

San Dimas residents are reporting that local businessman and perennial city council candidate Sid Maksoudian has shut down his high-end liquor store.

Assistant City Manager Ken Duran confirmed what many people were telling me: Chalet Gourmet, 120 W Bonita Ave., is closed for business.

After calling Sid a few times, I finally got him to pick up the phone on Tuesday. With some hostility he asked why his business is any of my business.

I persisted, but my efforts were rewarded only by an obscenity-laced response that I’ll assume means “no comment.”

Then he hung up.

Sid has during the years tangled with councilmembers, other downtown business owners, the Chamber of Commerce and organizers of the San Dimas Rodeo. As far as anyone knows, Sid still lives in San Dimas, so while he might not be a presence downtown anymore, it’s probably too soon to assume this is the last of him.

SGV foothill cities round up

Moving from west to east, just because it makes sense to me:

AZUSA – At its meeting Monday, the city council approved the three following items:

A 5-percent increase in salary for a civilian administrator in the police department. City Manager Fran Delach said the pay increase is in response to new duties. That increase pencils out to an additional $405 a month.

Taking responsibility for 330 feet of Azusa Avenue north of Arrow Highway and adjacent to Corky’s Corner. That small section of road was still being managed by Caltrans, despite the fact that Corky’s Corner was annexed by the city in 2008.

Putting finishing touches on a new retirement plan for the city’s police officers. Under the new plan, new hires will be able to retire at age 55 with 3 percent of their pay for each year of work. Current officers can still retire at 50 with the same benefit. Police and city officials have been working on the deal for at least a year.

Other news: Delach said he’s offered the police chief job to Azusa police Capt. Sam Gonzalez. Current Chief Robert Garcia officially retired in June, but has been working for the city on a part-time, interim basis. Nothing has been finalized yet.

GLENDORA – The city council will on Thursday vote on whether to ratify a state of emergency declared last week by City Manager Chris Jeffers. Jeffers estimated that the city has spent about $250,000 to $300,000 on cleanup and overtime costs from last week’s windstorm. By declaring an emergency, the city makes itself eligible to reimbursed by the state or feds for some of those costs.

The Business Improvement District will consider giving $1,000 raised at the Village Wine Walk to the Glendora War Memorial at its meeting Thursday morning.

SAN DIMAS – The Planning, Parks and Recreation and Equestrian commissions will hold a special joint meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. to take a look at a survey of the city’s foothill trails. Parks and Rec. Director Theresa Bruns said the city is thinking about expanding its trail network. Three committees in one meeting? San Dimans sure love those trails.

In other news that probably almost no one will care about, the San Dimas Development Plan Review Board has cancelled its Thursday meeting. The next meeting has been scheduled for Dec. 22.

I’m still awaiting phone calls from Irwindale and La Verne. Irwindale may have declared its own state of emergency this week. La Verne might be holding a special election in the spring for some kind of changes to taxes on telecommunication services.

UPDATE: Irwindale City Manager John Davidson says the city council ratified a state of emergency declaration at its meeting Monday. He says an estimate of the damage was not yet been compiled.

San Dimas talks Gold Line site

Long after residents dissuaded San Dimas from locating a future Gold Line station at Bonita and Cataract, the city is still discussing the best place to put a station.

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority is currently studying a site south of the tracks between Walnut and San Dimas avenues, and held a community meeting Thursday to gather information for its environmental report, due in draft form by late summer.

The desired site is now occupied by Storage Solutions, and the business owners aren’t happy about the idea. But city and train limitations leave few other options for a 400-car parking structure that isn’t taller than two stories. Other ideas include the auto shop and kennel next door, and expanding the park and ride across San Dimas Avenue. There’s also the undeveloped part of the Grove Station project, but Community Development Director Larry Stevens is pessimistic about that possibility because of entitlements attached to the property and the city’s vision for mixed-use development.

The light-rail train’s arrival is years away, probably a decade. It currently operates from L.A. to Pasadena, and construction is now underway on a Pasadena to Azusa extension.

No place like home for San Dimas council, employees

Before the City Council’s first meeting in the newly renovated San Dimas Civic Center, the city had an open house and ribbon-cutting celebration Tuesday for the $12 million project.

There was no actual ribbon, but Mayor Curt Morris and Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Templeman unveiled a dedication plaque near the building entrance. The open house featured public tours and commendations from various county and state politicians.

The expansion and renovation took about a year to complete. The new Civic Center opened for business April 5.

51597-San Dimas city hall unveiling.jpg

San Dimas candidates online

Incumbent John Ebiner, one of three candidates for two City Council seats in the March 8 election, has asked for your support via YouTube:

His website is sparse, featuring only a short statement and an e-mail address, but I imagine that will change.

Incumbent Emmett Badar and challenger Chris S. Grant also have websites.

In the mayoral election, it looks like Curt Morris’ website isn’t updated often, and I couldn’t find anything for challenger Sid Maksoudian. Sid ran for council two years ago and is well known for his criticism of the current regime, so I expect to have lots of information from him as election season gets into full swing.

MOST EXCELLENT NEWS: Bill and Ted looking to make third feature film

San Dimas High School Football Rules!

Bill and Ted and their most awesome ways may be back for a feature film that would turn the popular stoner comedy into a trilogy, says “Ted” Theodore Logan actor, the one and only, Keanu Reeves.

I remember reading some time back about Reeves wanting in on another Bill and Ted movie but his agent wanted none of that. Well, it looks like Reeves has his own agenda (which is cool that he has cast the wise career advise aside to pay homage to a cult classic).

The original film was set in San Dimas (despite being filmed in Arizona) and featured Raging Waters in the movie. The city recently stole the movie’s slogan “Excellent Adventure” for its 50th anniversary celebration.

Honestly, what better news could there be today? Seriously? What? I can’t think of anything.

And take some advice from Rufus and be excellent to each other today.

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Footnotes on the city clerk salary story

Since I had already gone running and screaming out the door for my week long summer vacation by the time my city clerk salary story was published in the newspaper, here are some footnotes on the story that I can now share since I have been restored to the working-class real world.

San Dimas – who is noted in the story as not responding to public records request in time for the story – responded the Monday following the article’s publish date. The city clerk’s annual salary is $99,600.

In fairness, Debra Black noted the city responded within the 10-day window allowed for records requests by law. Although, I submitted the request to the very person the request pertained to, so I didn’t think it would take too long.

Here is a letter from Christian G. Shalby, executive director of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks:

Dear Mr. Tedford,

I just read your August 15 article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on City Clerk Salaries and found it highly interesting, informative and a clear depiction of the Municipal Clerk profession.

As Executive Director of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC), I couldn’t agree more with your assessment on the value of the Clerk’s profession. It is unheralded and often misunderstood, but important to the mix and function of municipalities. Mr. Johnson’s comments also ring true, especially when it comes to handling elections and important city filings.

As much as some people may frown at the high salaries, they’re comparatively low when you weigh in on the responsibility assigned to this position.

IIMC is a professional nonprofit association with more than 10,000 members throughout North America and 15 other countries, representing municipalities with populations of 1,000 to more than 8 million. The Organization has been in existence since 1947. We prepare our membership to meet the challenge of the diverse role of the Municipal Clerk by providing services and continuing educational development opportunities in 45 permanent college-and university-based learning centers. IIMC offers Municipal Clerks a Certified Municipal Clerk Program (CMC), a Master Municipal Clerk Academy (MMCA) Program and other opportunities to benefit members and the government entities they serve.

I appreciate your time and the well-written article.

Thank you.


Jane, an eager reader, is a little upset the story didn’t focus more on Santa Fe Springs and a potential conflict of interest.

Mr. Tedford,

You mention in your article the salaries for the City Clerks in California are sometimes high and in the case of Santa Fe Springs, the City Manager functions as the City Clerk, isn’t it a big conflict of interest since the city clerk handles the city elections and is one of the most delicate and sensitive duties that the city clerk has? How is that this is allowed? or the City Manager did not want to provide the salary information for the residents of Santa Fe Springs so your readers be fully informed. Also, it will be convenient to inform your readers of the specific duties that a City Clerk does in a given city.
Please provide an answer to this request. Thank you for providing these kind of information to your reading audience.

Jane (last name redacted)

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