Walnut to honor military reservists

Councilman Tom King has arranged for members of B Company, 1st Battalion of the California State Military Rerserve in Azusa to be honored at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Walnut City Council meeting.

These volunteers drill out of the Azusa Armory and support National Guard Soldiers from all over the San Gabriel Valley and Southern California who are deploying overseas in Afghanistan.

 

state of Diamond Bar

There is a trend these days of mayors giving speeches highlighting how their cities are doing. Usually, they gloss over the bad stuff and emphasize the positive.

I don’t know if that is the route that Diamond Bar Mayor Ling-Ling Chang will take. But Chang, who was in Washington D.C. lobbying for 57-60 Freeway funds, will be giving the Diamond Bar “State of the City” speech at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 22 at the Diamond Bar Center, 1600 Grand Ave.

That is two days after the next Diamond Bar City Council meeting, which will be Tuesday, March 20.

Chang in D.C.

Diamond Bar Mayor Ling-Ling Chang concluded her ad-hoc remarks quickly Tuesday night, saying she was catching a red-eye flight to Washington D.C.
Today, her Facebook page indicates she’s checked into the Prime Rib restaurant in our nation’s capital for lunch with Rosemead Mayor Steven Ly.
Chang said she was going to help attract funding for the “57/60 (freeways) confluence” project.
I’ll think of them the next time I’m changing lanes in the confluence of death, the other name given for where those two freeways come together in Diamond Bar. I’ll be there tomorrow night.

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.

Five chicken indoors, five chickens outdoors; Azusa doesn’t care

I’m writing a story for the weekend about people choosing to raise chickens in their backyards, which seems to be the result of a perfect storm of recession-induced stinginess and a frenzy for all things organic. Since every city seems to have different poultry policies, this has meant a lot of phone calls on my part today.

I was just on the phone with Conal McNamara, Assistant Community Development Director for Azusa, and I found out something very interesting: Azusa residents can keep up to five adult chickens inside their homes if they so choose. You read that correctly – inside.

I dunno who would choose to do such a revolting thing, but it actually sounds like less hassle than keeping the chickens outdoors, in which case Azusa has lots of rules about property lines, setbacks and enclosures.

Azusa, Irwindale city manager spill few secrets over trash fight

As you might already know, Azusa and Irwindale have been locked in an epic battle over trash-recycling facilities. Titans of trash Waste Management and Athens Services each want a material-recycling facility – Athens in Irwindale and Waste Management in Azusa. As is apt to happen whenever you add garbage to the mix, things have gotten messy.

Irwindale has been holding up Azusa’s project with legal maneuvers. Azusa responded by making tons of public records requests from Irwindale.

Things have been pretty quiet though lately. The last big article we had about the situation was written in August by reporter-turned-online editor Daniel Tedford.

Yesterday, I was getting a little nervous that I might miss some important development if I’m not paying attention, so I called both city halls for an update.

John Davidson, Irwindale city manager, wasn’t giving out any specifics, but he seemed to suggest that the cities aren’t getting any closer to cooperating. His suggestion to me was to keep an eye on Irwindale’s close session agendas.

James Makshanoff, Azusa city manager, didn’t have much to report, either. He also said Azusa and Duarte aren’t really getting anywhere in their dispute over the Vulcan rock mining proposal.

Neither James nor John were in charge of their respective cities when all this mess started. John was running South Pasadena. James was Azusa’s assistant city manager. I wonder how they feel about being thrust into this battle. It might make an interesting topic for a future article.

P.S. James, who is normally a pretty stoic character, actually seemed really excited that Azusa is going to swear in Capt. Sam Gonzalez as its new police chief on Tuesday.

“We’re ready to rock and roll!” he said. Unbridled enthusiasm? Almost …

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.

Baldwin Park highlights accomplishments in 2011

Baldwin Park City Manager Vijay Singhal, referred to as the city’s CEO, on Wednesday laid out Baldwin Park’s accomplishments in the last year during his presentation of the city’s Year in Review report Wednesday night.

Among the achievements, he cited the city’s one homicide last year as the lowest in 32 years.

However, local businessman Greg Tuttle said the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“We have a gang problem. We have a lot of problems in this city. It’s not safe,” he said during public comment Wednesday night.

During his report, Singhal said no city is crime-free.

“It doesn’t mean we are crime free, but no city is,” he said.

Singhal also highlighted the city’s upgraded bond rating and success in enacting more strict policies on tobacco, which has earned the city a top rating from the American Lung Association.

La Puente to discuss more travel guidelines tonight

The La Puente City Council will hold its regular meeting at 7 tonight to discuss several items, including one that requires council members to gain approval by the council before traveling for a conference.

The item is being brought forward by Councilman David Argudo, who by far spent the most and traveled the most of any council member in 2011.

According to city documents, Argudo went on nine trips and spent about $11,686. Many of those expenses include hotel-room goodies ($10 chocolate-covered almonds), room service ($63 breakfast) and very expensive dinners – a $109 (plus a $21 tip) dinner at Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse and a $156 (plus $25 tip) at the Signature Room at the 95th – while on a trip to Chicago.

Mayor John Solis, on the other hand, went on seven trips at a cost of $7,768, which included a $75 valet parking charge he billed to the city for a trip to Indian Wells.

He insisted to me during a call he made to me soon after a travel story I wrote came out that it was a necessary charge because the hotel requires it. Calling it a one-sided story – because I included that pesky charge – he asked me to look the expense report over again. I discovered that I failed to mention that on top of those $75, he also gave out about $35 in tips to the valet driver. Then I went to the hotel’s website and saw that the regular parking fee is $12 a day. Nice try.

Councilman Vince House went on six trips totaling $6,438. While on a trip to Oxnard in October, House rejected an $83.50 mileage refund he was due because he stated that he was already receiving auto allowances, according to documents.

Councilman Dan Holloway went on two trips, one of which he spent $2,584 and the other he did not charge the city for.

Councilwoman Nadia Mendoza has not traveled since she was elected to office in 2007.

Records show that the City Council collectively spent $28,475 in 2011.

Each council member, though, can spend about $8,400 for the fiscal year, which runs from July 2011 to July 2012.

Spending at least $3,066 since July, Solis recently went to the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. I’m not sure on the cost of that trip yet.

But according to the warrant register on the agenda tonight, it sounds like Argudo, who has spent $7,347 since July, recently went on a trip to San Francisco. For someone who said last month that he was under his travel budget, I hope that trip was less than the remaining $1,053 he has.

We’ll see how tonight’s meeting goes.

Jim Lloyd remembered

The West Covina City Council adjourned its meeting Tuesday night in honor of former councilman-turned-congressman Jim Lloyd, who passed away Thursday in Florida.

Lloyd served on the West Covina City Council from 1968 to 1975 and immediately afterward was elected to Congress where he served three terms from 1976 to 1981. The centrist Democrat lost to upstart Republican David Dreier, who remains in office today.

In addition, Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, was getting ready to adjourn the state Assembly in Lloyd’s honor.

Lloyd was a Navy pilot in World War II and Korea and also served as public information director of Guantanamo Bay in 1962 during the cuban missile crisis. He lived in West Covina with his wife, Jackie Vaughan Lloyd, until recently. Lloyd moved to Cameron Park, near Sacramento, to be with his son, Brian, 57, after his wife passed away last year.

Lloyd, 89, died after crashing his 2003 Acura on Scenic Highway in Pensacola. He was visiting his son, Seth, who is training to be a Navy pilot. Lloyd apparently sustained a massive stroke and lost control of the car. He died 11 days later. No one else was injured in the solo-car crash.

The story is one of the most clicked on stories I’ve written. I keep getting emails and phone calls about Lloyd, whom as far as I can recall, was the only West Covina council member to be elected to Congress.

Eileen Spiegelman, the former co-owner of Marty’s Restaurant, called me today and said she wanted to send her condolences to Lloyd’s son, Brian. She said Jim was “a very frequent customer.” She called Jim “a wonderful person.”

Marty’s Restaurant, formerly located at Vincent Avenue and West Covina Parkway, was a place where city hall types, judges and lawyers from the nearby courthouse would meet for lunch and dinner, she said.

She said Lloyd was a regular customer.

People can send letters and cards to Chris Freeland, deputy city manager, West Covina City Hall, 1444 West Garvey Ave., West Covina, CA 91793. There is no iinformation on any memorial service. Brian said his father would be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in the summer.

-steve scauzillo
@stevscaz/twitter.com
steve.scauzillo@sgvn.com