12 local cities get with the program, put easy links to salaries on city homepage

The last time we looked at how many cities posted their salaries online in the wake of the Bell salary scandal and state government officials calling for more transparency, we had just a few that had fallen in line.

As the days have worn on, more cities are jumping on board. To date, here is a list of San Gabriel Valley cities who post salaries online and links to those pages.

Walnut
Diamond Bar
San Dimas
La Verne
West Covina
Baldwin Park
Pasadena
Monrovia
Arcadia
Sierra Madre
Whittier
La Mirada
UPDATED: Lucky 13 is San Marino
UPDATED: Monterey Park joins in. (Note: I couldn’t get some of the files to download. Let me know if you can.)
UPDATED: Karen Herrera, Assistant City Manager in Duarte, left me a message while I was away informing me that some city salaries were posted online here.

Only cities with a quick link on the city’s homepage directly to a city salary page or document have been included in this list.

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

Your weekly weekend roundup and crystal ball (a.k.a. Internet) look

I am not sure what news could overtake the bittersweet emotions of the Angels losing three out of four to the Rangers, moving to seven games out of first place, and trading 8-year Angel veteran Joe Saunders while getting a great pitcher (and hometown hero?) Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Haren went to Bishop Amat High School and owns a home in West Covina, so in a way, he heads home by being traded to the Angels and can become something of a hometown favorite with them.

And in a similar twist of fate, Saunders is traded to Arizona where he owns a home in Phoenix. If that is solace to Saunders who fell just short of tears when speaking to reporters is unknown.

As for the remainder of the weekend news from the Tribune, look no further than the links below. (Actually, if you browse the website for a bit you will find many tales of lore and city road construction projects. These are just some highlights.)

- For 80 years the El Calvario Community Center in El Monte provided classes, daycare and tutoring to neighborhood children and teens. But when the center closed down nearly three years ago, it began providing quite the opposite – a hideaway for methamphetamine users.

- Baldwin Park will reconsider its vehicle impound policy after the Police Department took a woman’s car for 15 days – even though she was in the passenger seat and willing to drive her car away from a police checkpoint.

- Majestic Realty Co. CEO and chairman Ed Roski Jr. said he remains committed to returning professional football to the region and building a state-of-the-art NFL stadium near the junction of the 60 and 57 freeways.

- Anyone who has an opinion about a Navy proposal to clean up most of the contamination it left near Morris Dam during torpedo tests has one last chance to share it with government officials.

- Duarte is going to take legal action against Azusa over a recently approved plan to mine part of the Azusa Rock Quarry near Duarte’s border.

As for the week ahead, special council meeting in Azusa tonight at 6:30 pm. at the Azusa Light and Water Conference Room, 729 N. Azusa Ave., will discuss purchasing a new police vehicle and a new contract with the Azusa Chamber of Commerce.

Glendora’s council meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall, 116 E. Foothill Blvd., will look at, among other items, fees for city services.

Also Tuesday, San Dimas City Council will consider a request for the Five Cities 10K run on Nov. 6.

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

Weekend roundup and tonight’s events

I hope everyone enjoyed their heat-wave filled weekends.

In case you were out enjoying your life, here is your weekend roundup so you can get the news and be an informed member of society and all that.

There is this whopper of a story where Glendora teen bartered his way to a Porsche after starting with a cell phone. (I know, I’m awestruck too. And jealous. Mostly jealous.)

When it comes to taking money from groups pushing for new laws – and introducing their so-called sponsored bills – Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, stands out.

Three officers were severely injured when they were attacked with beer bottles while trying to break up a party Saturday, officials said.

As for the future, the Montebello City Council will meet at 4:30 p.m. today to discuss releasing Interim City Administrator Randy Narramore from his contract and appointing an interim to take his place.

And Azusa meets tonight with a second reading of the Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry plan on tap.

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

U.S. Labor Secretary Solis mum on Industry NFL stadium

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was in town Tuesday morning, visiting the Los Angeles Electrical Training Institute, a union center in Commerce that teaches electrical skills, and talking green jobs.
So we asked Solis – the former U.S. representative for El Monte, West Covina and Baldwin Park – what she thought of the plan to build a $800-million, 75,000-seat “green” NFL stadium in Industry.
Solis punted the question, saying she was “not really aware of it.”
When asked if she had any thoughts, she replied: “Not really because I’m here mostly to talk about what our investments are.”
Solis was referring to the federal grants and contributions made to California to promote green jobs.
Maybe Solis was caught off guard by the question but the NFL stadium issue has been a hot topic for the region and state, given Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval of the stadium plan.
Labor unions heavily backed the stadium plan as billionaire developer Ed Roski and his Majestic Realty Co. touted the project as a way to create 18,000 jobs and create $760 million in yearly economic output.

Longtime school board member Fuller exits with grace

After losing his seat Tuesday in the West Covina Unified School District school board race, George Fuller took defeat with grace and a sense of professionalism.

He lost to challenger Eileen Jimenez and incumbent Jessica Shewmaker.

“Ms. Shewmaker has done a good job and I assume she will continue to do so. I really do congratulate her for what she has done. I would like to say it has been a real pleasure to serve the community. I appreciate those who have supported me over the years. I look forward to serving the community in years to come and really appreciate that.”

Fuller, upon reflection, felt his stance on a contract issue with San Jose Edison Academy may have been his stalling point. He took an unpopular stance, he said, which may have given fuel to Jimenez’s campaign.

To meet or not to meet

West Covina’s gone and done it again.

For the second year in a row, the city has scheduled a council meeting on the night of an election — last year it was the presidential election, this year, it’s the local municipal election.

There’s only one item on the agenda for Tuesday night, an update on a senior housing project.

Mayor Roger Hernandez
told reporter Amanda Baumfeld he’s been asking to discuss this before the council for months — but he didn’t want to do it on election night.

Hernandez said even though he is opposed to meetings on election night, he can’t cancel the meeting without a majority of the council agreeing to it.

Councilman Mike Touhey said Hernandez can cancel the meeting, and accused him of setting a double standard.

Measure D support group admits campaign finance errors

Dana Sykes left me a message earlier this week informing their had been “numerous errors” on the campaign finance reports filed for the Concerned Citizens for a better West Covina.

Sykes is the treasurer for the group, which is supporting Measure D — a controversial proposal to divide the city into five council districts

But Sykes is also the wife of Fred Sykes, who is running for City Council in the Nov. 3 election.

As a result, Dana Sykes said she hasn’t been involved in the record-keeping for the Concerned Citizens group, and it recently came to her attention that there were errors on the reports filed Oct. 22. She blamed the mistakes on an assistant who didn’t know the group had to file its expenditures —- the heart of campaign finance reporting.

This news comes days after West Covina resident Lloyd Johnson sent a letter to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office questioning the legality of three campaign mailers the group sent to residents supporting Measure D.

In Johnson’s letter, he accused the Concerned Citizens for sending out the flyers but not reporting the postage and printing costs of the three mailer.

We haven’t hadn’t a chance to look for ourselves, but Sykes said she has filed amended forms with the West Covina City Clerk.

West Covina resident files campaign violation complaint

You know it’s election time when the district attorney’s office starts getting ethics complaints about campaign literature.

West Covina resident Lloyd Johnson sent a letter to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Friday questioning the legality of three campaign mailers sent to residents about Measure D.

The measure — which has been under debate for months — proposes dividing the city into five council districts.

The mailers support the measure, and one features West Covina Mayor Roger Hernandez superimposed over a chalkboard.

In Johnson’s letter, he accuses the Concerned Citizens for a better West Covina of sending out the flyers but not reporting the postage and printing costs of the three mailers in their Oct. 22 campaign finance reports.

Those reports show a total of $3620,18 in expenditures, including $2,575 for posters and $1045.18 for flyers.

“We ask the District Attorney’s office for swift action with regards to this falsification and illegality in the current election,” Johnson writes in the letter addressed to Dave Demerjian, head of the district attorney’s Public Integrity division. “The residents have a right to know who is funding the Yes on Measure D campaign.”

Johnson also takes issue with the committee’s treasurer Dana Sykescq, who is West Covina Council candidate Fred Sykes’ wife. Fred Sykes is largely behind the push for Measure D and council districts.

Dana Sykes said this is a political ploy by the opposition to Measure D.

“I was a member of the group prior to (my husband’s bid for candidacy),” she said. “When it comes to doing the books, I really don’t do the books, someone else does them because right now I am helping with my husband’s campaign.”

Johnson, a Vietnam veteran, said he is against Measure D, but that has nothing to do with his stance on the issue.

Demerjian could not be reached for comment Friday, but officials in his office confirmed they did receive a faxed letter about the issue.

West Covina commissioner puts funky home colors on blast

31242-purple house.jpg

Ever drive through a neighborhood and notice homes that are painted lime green, bright purple or even pastel pink?

In West Covina, Planning Commissioner Robert Sotelo is trying to stop residents from painting their houses with such bright colors.

Ben Baeder is working on a story about Sotelo’s mission — “I would not really like to have a pink house or a lime-green house next to me,” Sotelo said.

Apparently, enforcing such a rule isn’t easy. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.

In Lauderhill, Fla., the city in 2003 forced the owner of a purple house to repaint the home with colors that complied with the city’s guidelines.

We’ll see what West Covina decides. Look for Baeder’s story in this week’s paper.

(FYI, the photo above isn’t from West Covina … just a purple house somewhere in the U.S. … but you get the picture)

How do you fight a fiscal deficit? With fire …

31185-fire.jpg

Looks like West Covina will be $1.1 million richer over the next two years thanks to Fire Department employees who agreed to defer their raises.

Ben Baeder reported earlier this week that the Fire Fighters Association’s and Fire Management Association have opted against a 5-percent raise they were supposed to receive beginning in January to help with the city’s budget deficit.

Now, they’ll get half of that proposed raise in July 2011 and the other half in January 2012.

All Fire Department employees will also get 36 hours of vacation time.

The city’s police union agreed to a similar deal in July, which saved West Covina $1.8 million.

West Covina was looking at a $10 million deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year, but the gap has narrowed due to concessions from employees and other cuts.