I don’t think Carl Harstine will have a problem replacing those flags


Since my story ran today about WWII veteran Carl Harstine’s flags being stolen – twice – I have probably received at least seven e-mails and phone calls from people eager to replace the lost flags. And that was probably in my first hour of work today.

Pretty soon, Carl may have more flags than he knows what to do with.

As for the story, it has some people really fired up, including one person’s comment that flag thieves should get a 10-year prison sentence.

While the justice system usually bases the severity of a theft on its monetary value (flags about $40 each, poles about $60 in this circumstance) it is unlikely the perpetrators would face much more than your basic burglary charges.

But the “feeling” that something more has been stolen stems from our intrinsic sentiment that adds emotional value to the American Flag.

Where does that value come from? What does the flag mean to you? Can you trace those feelings to a specific moment, meaning, person or ideal? Tell me about it in the comments below or via twitter @dgtedford.

Also, don’t forget about another veterans related story in the Tribune today about a financial firm offering a special consulting program.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Stimulus plans, David Dreier and “Phelan High”


I covered Congressman David Dreier speaking at an Arcadia Chamber of Commerce event on Friday, just days after President Barack Obama signed a $838 billion stimulus plan and announced another $75 billion proposal to aid the slumping housing market.

Dreier had some interesting things to say about both plans, including his hopes that the housing bill would force homeowners to take on more accountability when they take out loans.

“We need to make sure people out there misstating their income levels to qualify, that needs to end,” the San Dimas Republican said.

Dreier’s harshest comments, however, were about the stimulus bill which he feared would not do much to boost the employment market or get the nation out of this recession. His biggest concerns: the $1.3 trillion in debt the nation will likely accrue after all is said in done, and fear of too much government control.

“Massively increasing government’s the reach of government is not a good idea,” he said.

Dreier said he didn’t know if the stimulus package would actually create jobs, and he didn’t know what if any impact it would have here locally in the San Gabriel Valley.

Apparently, nobody really knows just yet. It’s an 1,110-page document and local pols are still analyzing it.

On a side note, Dreier told a funny story about Phelan, California, an unincorporated community in San Bernardino County. Apparently, there was some debate there about what to name the local high school … they didn’t want to go with “Phelan High.”

City Council Extravaganza

OK, so maybe not extravaganza. But Glendora and San Dimas both have meetings tonight.

On tap: Glendora, in its consent calender, is approving a number of street and constructing projects. A slurry seal project for Route 66 between Lone Hill Avenue and Lorraine Ave for about $140,000 should be approved. Also a Gladstone Street Water Improvement should be approved for about $612,000.

As for new business on the agenda, Glendora will be discussing the naming of its new Library Expansion Room

In San Dimas, a public hearing will go over the performance report for fiscal year 2008-2009 and the proposed fiscal year 2009-2010 projected use of funds.

Glendora’s city council meeting is in council chambers at 7 p.m., 116 E. Foothill Blvd.

San Dimas’ council meeting is in council chambers at 7 p.m., 245 E. Bonita Ave.

San Dimas takes a tour of the foothills

San Dimas City Council members, Planning Commissioners, city staff, council candidates and some locals took a tour of about 200 acres of land in the foothills near Glendora Jan. 24 as a proposal for development of the land will make its way to the city this summer.

The land, owned by NJD and Kim Scott, has been controversial in the past as Scott has had his issues with Glendora.

Scott has previously tried to unload the land, and it appears he finally might have a chance at a development deal in San Dimas.

Mayor Curt Morris said the tour was to give people involved a sense of what is actually on the ground when proposals are presented on paper.

They spent three hours touring the land. Morris said it may be difficult to try and build a residential neighborhood up there as the terrain is rugged. Also, a road that would be adequate for housing would be difficult, he said.

I was also cruising L.A. Observed today and saw they had linked to a L.A. Times story about a D.A. investigating the Temple City mayor and two City Council members for soliciting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and a condominium from a developer in exchange for their support of a $75-million mall project.

Weird…I have this strange feeling of Deja Vu.

Wait…that’s cause the Tribune and the Pasadena Star-New, written by Alfred Lee, had a story about the beginning of this saga here more than a month ago, Dec. 12. And then this one on Dec. 17. And then there was this one on prosecutors seizing tapes Jan. 8.

San Dimas Wine Shop squaring off with the city

The San Dimas Wine Shop and Tasting Room is in the news again over another instance of a lack of a permit. Owner Heidi Daniels had a canopy and heater constructed in her patio area to keep customers warm and dry during the winter. But the downtown area doesn’t allow such things and Daniels didn’t get a permit through the city. Now the city is telling her to take it down and she has refused.

More to follow on this story this weekend, but for now here is a sneak peak.

If the city of San Dimas has their way, for the time being, some patrons of the San Dimas Wine Shop may have to drink their wine chilled.

But not if the owner has anything to do with it.

Heidi Daniels, the owner of the Wine Shop and Tasting Room, recently had a canopy and heater constructed for a patio area outside her store.

Daniels hired a contractor to build the more than $1000 membrane structure and didn’t know she needed a special permit from the city. San Dimas doesn’t allow stand alone projects such as the canopy in the historic downtown district.

“The policy is a very long standing policy, been reviewed a few times and been upheld,” said Mayor Curtis Morris. “It is against the policy. She should have gone through a process to see about getting that done.”

After building it, Daniels was denied a permit by the planning commission. Her appeal was brought to the City Council and the council voted unanimously to review the policy to possibly make a change.

But at the same time, the council split 2 to 2 in a vote on whether to take down the canopy until the policy is reviewed. In the event of a tie, the recommendation carries and the city’s decision asks for the canopy to be taken down.

“It is a ridiculous request,” Daniels said. “I am the only viable business downtown after 5 p.m. I am trying to keep my customers warm and dry during the winter.”

Councilman Denis Bertone and Jeff Templeman voted to allow Daniels to keep the structure while the policy is reviewed, while Mayor Curtis Morris and Councilman Emmett Badar voted against. Councilman John Ebiner recused himself because he owns a business within 500 feet of Daniels’.

“Unfortunately, John Ebiner had to recuse himself or it would have been a slam dunk,” Daniels said.

Daniels was instructed to have the canopy torn down by Friday, Dec. 19. She ignored that request and doesn’t have any intention on abiding by the city’s rules.

“The fact of the matter is this, my customers love sitting out there in the evening, when it is cold, enjoying themselves,” Daniels said. “When you own a retail business in a down economy, you better listen to your customers.”

“I am sorry to hear she is not going to comply with the law,” said Morris. “She wants to do what she wants to do. You can’t let everybody make their own decisions on the law.”

Election ’09: San Dimas

The San Dimas City Council race, before any of the issues have been hashed out, is already ripe for controversy.

One of the candidates, Sid Maksoudian, as already made considerable noise in the community when he tried to get a permit for his business in downtown San Dimas.

Maksoudian runs Chalet Gourmet, an upscale liquor store. When he first sought to open the store over the summer, he ran into problems with some business owners in the community and City Councilman Denis Bertone – one of the incumbents Maksoudian will be running against.

“There are a small group of entitled individuals who have been running this city without any respect for what the majority wants,” Maksoudian said. “They really don’t know what they are doing and they have been at it for a long, long time.”

Maksoudian, during his issues in getting his business permit, didn’t make friends with other business owners. Heidi Daniels, an owner of a local wine shop and tasting room, was ousted by Maksoudian concerning a health permit. Supporters of Daniels often opposed Maksoudian.

In addition, Bertone didn’t want Maksoudian’s store because it represented an over concentration of alcohol in the area.

The council eventually voted in favor of Maksoudian, 3 to 2. Daniels’ wine shop is also still open.

Bertone, who was first elected to the council in 1988, welcomes Maksoudian to the election season.

“He has issues with everything that is happening in the city,” Bertone said. “I actually look forward to his candidacy and we will let the people of San Dimas decide how they want this city run.”

Maksoudian, if elected, would end the long runs of members on the council, like Bertone.

“I want term limits,” he said. “Council members should not have a dynasty.”

As for newcomer Jeffrey Kahn, the 27-year-old Wells Fargo banker is betting on his financing powers to propel him to the top of the election heap. A volunteer ski patroller who hopes to open a marketing business soon, Kahn was inspired by President-Elect Obama to run for City Council.

“The reality is if you understand what the people want and need, all you have to do is follow the hope and the dream,” Kahn said.

Kahn declined to make any campaign statements, but instead discussed his background. A graduate of Cal State L.A. with a degree in finance and a minor in economics, Kahn developed a number of small businesses while in school.

His father lives and owns a small business in San Dimas and whenever Kahn spent time there, he enjoyed it. When the time came – about 8 years ago – to put his flag down, he chose San Dimas.

“I want to help the community and serve the community,” he said.

More to come soon on incumbent Jeff Templeman, as well as newcomer Kevin Kenney.

Templeman has been on the council since 1996 and has been elected three times since.

Preparing for March election

This week marks the municipal election filing deadline for several cities in the San Gabriel Valley. San Dimas, Covina and Monterey Park’s filing periods closed on Friday. Azusa and Rosemead closes today, La Verne and Glendora close Wednesday.

Look for stories throughout the week about who will be vying for these seats on these city council’s.

I am heading now to Covina to take a look at the filing papers, and pick up the statement of economic interest papers. The filing period for the city clerk’s position in Covina has been extended to Wednesday because Covina City Clerk Rosie Fabien is running for council.

“Your time is up”

The Marshall Family had some not so nice things to say about Chalet Gourmet owner Sid Maksoudian.

The San Dimas business owner got the following note from someone – or some persons – who only go by “The Marshall Family.” It’s pretty self-explanatory, and almost a bit unnerving…

14407-pink slip.jpg

Reporter Brian Day said Maksoudian – who was denied membership into the San Dimas Chamber of Commerce – has reported the letter to police. That being said, the controversy is getting pretty ugly….

I got this e-mail from a San Dimas resident on Monday:

Its not only the executives at the San Dimas Chamber of Commerce that put the ‘smackdown’ on the Chalet Gourmet membership request. I have been a member of this Chamber for years and support my Chamber in this decision. This man is a bully and does not in any way represent what our chamber stands for. I applaud the Executive Board and stand behind their decision 100%.

It’s not a vendetta…

This is from reporter Brian Day:

In a Saturday, Aug. 16 article entitled “Chamber answers businessman’s ire,” it was written that Sid Maksoudian did not deny he had a vendetta.

This statement was my summary of what I perceived to be the facts of the situation, however as Maksoudian has pointed out to me, he did not himself use the word “vendetta” and takes issue with the term being attached to his statements.

When I wrote “vendetta,” I merely meant to imply the ongoing disputes and issues between Maksoudian and and the Chamber of Commerce and local businesswoman Heidi Daniels.

Maksoudian has expressed concern that this phrasing is innaccurate and implies that he has ill will towards others or wishes to see others come to harm, which he said is not the case.

Maksoudian said he merely has a list of grievances with the chamber and perceived injustices he would like to see remedied, not a vendetta.