DMV employees start furloughs today

23521-State_Budget.JPGState Department of Motor Vehicles employees are not taking their forced two-day-a-month furlough lightly.

Today was the first day of the governor’s implemented furlough plan, which is shutting down DMV offices in California every first and third Friday of the month for the next 18 months.

Employees took the streets with rallies, protesting the measure at the DMV’s Los Angeles and Whittier field offices today.

Meanwhile, customers at several local DMV locations showed up today expecting to serviced. Instead, they were welcomed with dimmed lights, locked doors and signs announcing the closures.

As reported in the DMV story we ran in our paper today, the California Employment Development Department office in West Covina was also scheduled to be closed every first and third Friday, but they got word earlier this week they would remain open.

That isn’t saving employees from furloughs though — they still have to take two unpaid days off each month. Over the course of 18 months, that equates to a 10 percent pay cut.

Mills Act could mean big money for owners of historic homes

Anybody living in a home connected to the area’s history should check this out.

Two homeowners in La Verne are applying for the Mills Act, a program that gives property tax back to families that promise to fix up and maintain their old houses. The program can save thousands every year.

The program is popular in some of the area’s older cities, such as Pasadena, Monrovia or Whittier.

Reporter Daniel Tedford called the city, and they said about 10 people in La Verne have applied.

Drum roll please….

Think your city is hot stuff?

Find out this weekend. Reporter Daniel Tedford is working on a story about the top cities in the San Gabriel Valley. Tedford is using a CNN/Money Magazine formula to rank the cities based on housing affordability, job growth, marriage and divorce rates, commutes, school test scores, and crime rates.

Just a heads up, you’ll likely be VERY surprised to see whose at the top and bottom of the list.


Whittier feels the economic crunch

The economic crisis is hitting home in the San Gabriel Valley, particularly Whittier, where officials are planning to slash $2 million from the budget to offset the loss of some major retailers.

Mike Sprague reports that City Manager Steve Helvey “is asking all of his department heads to come up with a 5 percent cut to make that happen.”

Apparently, in December 2007 Board Ford shut down, followed by the closures of a Chrysler dealership and Whittier Mitsubishi. A Mervyns retail store will be the next to go.

“Helvey said he will let the department heads come up with their own budget “hit list.” Those have yet to be developed.

But he wants to slash entire programs, not just diminish them.

“I’d prefer to stop things we do than doing things halfway,” he said.

Helvey said the cuts may affect personnel, but it’s too early to say if there will be layoffs.

Look for the full story in tomorrow’s paper.

Off to an early start

14195-delgado.JPGThey say the early bird gets the worm.

Think that’s what Whittier City Council hopeul Mike Delgado is thinking?

The insurance agent is throwing his hat — and his money — into the race about two years early, according to Whittier Daily News Reporter Mike Sprague.

Here are some exerpts from the story running in Monday’s paper:

Delgado, 48, had spent $15,650 for a poll and a consultant as of June 30, according to a campaign finance report filed with the City Clerk’s Office.

His mother, Eleanor Garcia Delgado of Redlands, lent him $15,000. The other $650 came from Delgado.

The terms of Councilmen Greg Nordbak and Bob Henderson expire in April 2010.

Nordbak already has announced he will seek a fifth term. Henderson said he won’t make a decision on whether to run for a sixth term until about a year before the election.

Delgado said he is getting an early start because you need to take the election seriously.

“It’s important for me to plan ahead,” he said. “When it comes to something as important as getting a City Council spot, I want to be well ahead of the curve.”

To our readers…

My apologies for not updating the blog earlier today. Because today will be a late night — I got in at 2 p.m. to cover the El Monte meeting — I am just now getting into the daily grove.

For the reader concerned about our Gregg Industries coverage: It is my understanding that a reporter has been covering that and is still at the hearing. We will have an update when she returns.

And yes, chasing down dead ducks and chickens does cut into blogging and reporting time.